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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 01-09-2019, 11:47 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

We're at a setback, but honestly that's more due to me than Kermit. Anytime we take a few days break from harness (in my case because I was scurrying around hosting friends for the New Years), she generally takes a few hearty steps backwards in progress. My biggest challenge is getting her to put her head through the hole now. She KNOWS the reward is infinite seeds, but she's very reluctant to put herself out there. Once it's on her head, she's content to munch on seed for a good 20 seconds.



I'm probably at the point where most owners would just shove the harness on their bird. With enough coordination, dexterity, and speed I could probably get it on her... I've already managed both wings and her head on a handful of occasions and just haven't gotten to tightening it. However, I'm just nervous about pushing her too far out of her comfort zone. I've certainly pushed her a lot, and I feel so bad everytime she gets all tangled up in her harness. I think those experiences are a lot of why she has set-backs.



I try very hard to end on a positive and build her confidence with a lot of easier successes, as well as hoping that she'll eventually realize there's no need to panic because I'll ultimately untangle her. And there's been SOME progress in that department. But I feel like a lot of our "setbacks" are just me not being good enough. But Kermit is patient enough to humor me and get a safflower seed out of the deal, so once I view this more as a bonding and trust experience I'm ok with it.



As what you should expect with your Kermit, I suppose it depends. I started introducing my ladyKermit to her harness at a year old which may have missed the window of comfort the babies get. You may get a setback if Kermit has a somewhat traumatizing experience. And some days just aren't "learning" days. However, those days are usually pretty special, because the following day you can expect some great leap.

Last edited by IndySE; 01-09-2019 at 11:51 PM.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2019, 12:24 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Don't stress!! With scary things like the harness, it does take daily familiarisation. What I used to do was one 5-min session the moment I got home from work (just on-off a couple of times, then on-touchwings-off once or twice). Train something else like recall, play a little, then another 5-min (repeat on-off, on-touchwings-off). Then right before bedtime, we'd do it again.

After on-touchwing-off is 'normal' (enough for Kermit to be calm-ish about it), then you can loop a wing. I didn't stay too long at the loop a wing part because I practiced with him so long at the touchwings part. For touchwing, I started just touching the outside, then practiced lifting it up and moving it around, then added in touching his side underneath his wing. He got used to the touching with the harness just being over his head, so when we got to looping wings, it was super fast.

Another reason I didn't dwell too long with the wing-looping is because it is such a high risk of entanglement (big scary event). So we almost leapt from harness-on (basically head through) and touching all over for a long period of time to harness completely on.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2019, 01:24 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Thank you for that advice. I've actually gotten Kermit very comfortable with her wings being handled. We started touching them outside of the harness and then slowly introducing it with a harness. Once her head's through the loop, she's generally ok with me touching her wings. Sometimes, though, she has a brief wave of panic so I have to move fast before we hit that point. I can also see more consistency and multiple trainings a day would be helpful (I'm not the world's most consistent parrot trainer as far as timing is concerned... I can get easily distracted. I'm a bit bird brained, haha).

I guess what I'm getting from this advice is next I get her up to speed where she was, I'll have to try the harness all the way on.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:30 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

You ultimately know your bird best. I was only able to go for the whole harness because I was able to ready his body language, which hinted that he was open to trying more. But if Kermit isn't ready yet, then no need to rush. It's just about being careful with the harness not getting caught anywhere and about keeping everyone calm. If there's any hint of panic, just reassure, back-off, positive reinforcement for staying calm, then try again.
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:58 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

How about a cheat?

I got my parrots entangled a few times- and it is not nice.
Then I realised: if I work with them on the table/ a flat surface they are bound to scuttle backwards when something spooks them and in general go crazy...
(I wanted to give them more room to move about so they could approach the avitor on their own terms)

but... the few times they were actually on a perch (of my lap) ...
nu scuttling about (they know they would fall off)
and they actually remained a lot calmer.
(not really fair: they had nowhere to go, but it actually forced them to really look for other opportunies)

I really, really dislike forcing my birds into anything...but if this helps them not to go in a flight-modus and get entangled (and possibly traumatized) ...

(mine did get entangled but not traumatized- because it was not a big deal/ I refuse to let it become a big deal, we just moved on)



Legs and feet that are busy holding a bird in place will not get entangled easily


The other thing that really helped me: name what you are doing and stick to that routine. Birds are smart - and they love knowing what is going to happen.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2019, 06:20 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Good point, Christa! All of our training takes place on his perch (except for some tricks), so I never thought of that possibility of them running back.

And seconding naming everything. It gets them warning so they can mentally prepare themselves and be in a mindset that they're in control also.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2019, 09:27 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Quote: Originally Posted by IndySE View Post
We're at a setback, but honestly that's more due to me than Kermit. Anytime we take a few days break from harness (in my case because I was scurrying around hosting friends for the New Years), she generally takes a few hearty steps backwards in progress. My biggest challenge is getting her to put her head through the hole now. She KNOWS the reward is infinite seeds, but she's very reluctant to put herself out there. Once it's on her head, she's content to munch on seed for a good 20 seconds.



I'm probably at the point where most owners would just shove the harness on their bird. With enough coordination, dexterity, and speed I could probably get it on her... I've already managed both wings and her head on a handful of occasions and just haven't gotten to tightening it. However, I'm just nervous about pushing her too far out of her comfort zone. I've certainly pushed her a lot, and I feel so bad everytime she gets all tangled up in her harness. I think those experiences are a lot of why she has set-backs.



I try very hard to end on a positive and build her confidence with a lot of easier successes, as well as hoping that she'll eventually realize there's no need to panic because I'll ultimately untangle her. And there's been SOME progress in that department. But I feel like a lot of our "setbacks" are just me not being good enough. But Kermit is patient enough to humor me and get a safflower seed out of the deal, so once I view this more as a bonding and trust experience I'm ok with it.



As what you should expect with your Kermit, I suppose it depends. I started introducing my ladyKermit to her harness at a year old which may have missed the window of comfort the babies get. You may get a setback if Kermit has a somewhat traumatizing experience. And some days just aren't "learning" days. However, those days are usually pretty special, because the following day you can expect some great leap.
My Kermit (confusing I know, our birds have the same name) is one and a half years old, so heís certainly not a baby anymore. I wish I would have started harness training when he was a baby, but he seems to be catching on despite his lower tolerability. He hasnít had a single negative experience yet because Iíve been going very slow in desensitizing him to the harness. However, I can see that some days he just isnít motivated like what you described as ďnon-learningĒ days.
One thing that concerns me is that heís not 100% comfortable with me touching his wings and grabbing him. I was training him to let me handle him for a couple months but we stopped that training when I got the harness. He sort of regressed with the handling/grab training even before I introduced the harness to him ó I think I was pushing past his limits. Iíll have to get back into that before I can put his wings through the loops, but Iím far from that step as of now. Right now Iím focused on building confidence with the head loop, which Iím figuring will take a while.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:36 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post
How about a cheat?

I got my parrots entangled a few times- and it is not nice.
Then I realised: if I work with them on the table/ a flat surface they are bound to scuttle backwards when something spooks them and in general go crazy...
(I wanted to give them more room to move about so they could approach the avitor on their own terms)

but... the few times they were actually on a perch (of my lap) ...
nu scuttling about (they know they would fall off)
and they actually remained a lot calmer.
(not really fair: they had nowhere to go, but it actually forced them to really look for other opportunies)

I really, really dislike forcing my birds into anything...but if this helps them not to go in a flight-modus and get entangled (and possibly traumatized) ...

(mine did get entangled but not traumatized- because it was not a big deal/ I refuse to let it become a big deal, we just moved on)



Legs and feet that are busy holding a bird in place will not get entangled easily


The other thing that really helped me: name what you are doing and stick to that routine. Birds are smart - and they love knowing what is going to happen.
I train Kermit on a flat surface instead of on a perch... I will look out for any signs of trying to back away. I don’t really have a suitable training perch though (I only have elaborate playstands which would quickly distract him), and he seems relaxed when I put him on my lap to do training. He can do tricks on the playstands without getting distracted, but harness training takes a little more focus because he needs to stay still. Do you recommend that I get a simple t-stand just for training?
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:52 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Ok so I just did our training session and I’ve been wanting to ask this question. Toward the end of the session Kermit tends to lose focus and he doesn’t want to stay in the head loop. What ends up happening in this situation is that I keep urging Kermit to do it one more time so I can end the session on a positive note, but I’m worried that the end of the session is actually becoming more negative than positive. I don’t want to push his limits, but I also don’t want to end the session prematurely when he’s making good progress. Will this cause a setback? Should I be ending the session before he starts to lose focus? I often think about ending the session earlier but then I think, he’s doing so well, so I’m going to take this opportunity while it lasts. Also how long should our training sessions be in general? Right now we’re doing a 15-20 minute session once a day.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:36 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

So much good progress for the Kermits today ! This thread was appropriately named to serve their needs.


A quick update on Lady Kermit: Today's training went ok. I convinced her to put her head in the loop and got one wing through a loop too. Unfortuneatly she started to panic, but I transferred her to my lap per suggestion and kept trying to keep her attention on the safflowers. I undid the loop, let the harness rest a little longer, and she was done easy peasy. I kept the training session going so we could end on a positive. I did manage to get her head thru the loop again, but this time only handled her wings which she let me do with ease. So I think she just needs to warm up again and it shouldn't be, hopefully, too much effort to get her back where she was.


Lady Kermit really surprised me with her rings today. She was very on-it with language, and in a few points seemed to differentiate between "putting" the ring vs "taking the ring" of the specified color. Not 100%, and I am giving her some body language clues on occasion, but she's starting to get the hang of it. I'm curious to see where she goes with it. Sometimes I do wonder if she's already understood this game for a long while and is merely bored with following directions.



@FlyBirdiesFly;;


To answer your question, you can try a T-stand I just haven't had much luck using this with Lady Kermit for harness training. It makes me a little less maneuverable as I prefer resting my arms on the table. But I do use them with good success for other tricks. Just word to the wise: if you get a plastic one, make sure it has good grip because that fact alone made Kermit leery of it for harness training purposes.


As for your other question, it's hard to predict what will cause a setback and what won't. I've had perfectly excellent days with no traumatizing tangling experiences followed up by days where she was very unmotivated. I would say it's best to end early. At 15-20 minute sessions, you're pushing the upper limit of Sir Kermit's attention. Birds have an incredible ability to pick things up pretty fast, but generally do not excel with giving their 100% for long periods of time. Remember, there's no rush or timeline to get him to wear a harness so taking extra time with shorter sessions will be well-worth the effort. You could also try shifting gears to some fun trick training after a harness training session, which Lady Kermit really enjoys. I'm also considering doing multiple, shorter training sessions throughout the day as this seems to be some advice I've heard.

Last edited by IndySE; 01-10-2019 at 09:38 PM.
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