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Old 01-12-2019, 01:44 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

small Kermit update: Today was not a "learning day", but I've often found that's the case with days of great progress. Although she only let me put her harness on once today, she seemed calmer about it than yesterday. I did push our session long because I was trying to get her to do it again (with lots of patience and mini breaks on mom's shoulder), so by the time we got to rings she was in a throwing kind of mood.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 01-12-2019, 09:44 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Yesterday was a great learning day for my Kermit. I made the loop a lot smaller, but not quite as small as the collar. He eagerly put his head through many times and despite the small loop size, he didn’t pull away - he munched on seeds the whole time. He really lights up when he sees the harness because he knows that it means he will get lots of treats. In fact he was so eager and motivated that he doesn’t want me to put the harness down after I take it off (to give him a break and allow him to finish his last seed). I ended the session just a little earlier, I definitely made the right decision. He probably would have lost focus if I had kept going. We then played a few games of aerial fetch after the harness session. Overall a great day for sir Kermit!

I also wanted to share how Ducky’s training is going. Yesterday we worked on mostly flight skills with some trick practice. She did great yesterday at more advanced recall including flying to me when she can’t see me, flying through the birdroom doorway and into the room where I am standing, flying up and down the stairs, and flying to various places that I point to. I am not planning to harness train Ducky anytime soon because she doesn’t like strangers and I think she would get really freaked out any time someone would walk up to her. She goes outside in her aluminum King’s carrier in my garden only during the spring/summer. Ducky also hates having her wings touched and it would take a LOT of hard work and patience to get her wearing a harness.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:20 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

I haven't updated this thread in a while and that's largely because I hit a massive step back at Kermit. She's very good once I can get the loop over her head, but the pain is getting it there in the first place. I used to lure her forward with the seed then move the harness over her head while she was distracted, but this somehow got interpretted in her parrot mind as scary. Anytime she so much as sensed the harness move forward, she would scuttle away. She wouldn't lean further into the harness, either. I tried behind patient and gently coaxing her with some easy wins as long as she got her beak through, but she'd almost always get antsy once her eyes went past the loop. It seemed to be getting worse with each day, so we took a break.

The last few days I've taken a fresh approach that seems to be working. I want to resolidify to her brain that the harness moving forward isn't scary. So instead of using the very small loop for her head, I've been improvising with the larger loop where her wings are meant to go through instead. I started with a larger loop and coaxed her head thru the same way. She still got nervous when the harness moved forward over her, but since its a much bigger loop, she did not panic as much. She also relearned the awesomeness of the infinite bowl of seeds once she's through the loop and letting it rest on her body. I intend to make the loop progressively smaller until we are in a similar place, then reintroduce her using the head-hole again
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:51 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

You could try letting her put her head through herself instead of doing it for her. Hold the harness up and lure her through with a treat without moving the harness at all. Using the large wing loop has worked really well for me and Sir Kermit. He still hasn’t gotten comfortable yet with putting his head through the small head loop (he will stick his head through and pull away immediately after grabbing one treat) but he’s definitely made progress. He will put his head in the wing loop and stay there while munching on seeds, no longer taking advantage by stuffing them all in his beak and pulling away. Now he usually waits for me to give the command “off” before he pulls his head out, and then I reward him afterward with more treats.

It seems like harness training the smaller parrots is more difficult because the harness is proportionately larger for them than with the bigger parrots. The straps are bulkier on them and for some reason they tend to spook more easily. It takes a LOT of patience to harness-train any parrot, though. How long have you been harness training Lady Kermit?
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:57 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

I did try to have Kermit put the loop on herself, but I couldn't get her to go any further than she was going after some concentrated effort with this which is why I switched gears. With our new tactic, I'm getting a lot more progress within only two days... so I'm hoping this is the right direction for us. But if not, I will work more with your suggestion in getting her to put her head thru herself

Good job Sir Kermit, by the way ! I'm glad someone is making progress.

Ahh... I'm not sure.... a year and a half? Way too ridiculously long, but that has more to do with my ineptitude as a parrot trainer than Kermit's. When I'm training I'm pretty good I like to think, but I struggle with doing things consistently by virtue of my easily distracted mind. I get discouraged when we hit road bumps, so often our breaks are as much for my benefit as ours. I have faith that Sir Kermit will take to it much more easily
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:58 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

I have been considering taking a hiatus on harness training and doing flight recall. This will have its own challenges (Kermit hates flying, even after leaving her wings grow out), but maybe we will have more luck. I also think it is dead useful in the event of a breakout.
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:29 AM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Teaching flight recall is definitely a good idea. Have you target trained Lady Kermit? That will help a lot with flight recall. If she isn’t used to flying you can start with just getting her to walk over to you on command, then progressing to short jumps and gradually increasing the distance between you.

Sir Kermit wasn’t motivated to train today, so I just let him be. We’ve been training every day for about a month now (maybe more) so I’m ok if he skips a day of training. Overall he’s been doing really well, but of course he’ll always have has his days where he isn’t very focused. I hope you keep up with Lady Kermit’s harness training — you have so much patience!
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:16 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

I have never target trained Lady Kermit, though I know it is the initial step I probably need to invest in/make another 2-stand perch. I think she'll take pretty well to target training, but once I start asking her to fly it will be a game of patience and persistance as per usual.

We took a small step forward today with harness training. This is my 3rd day with my new method and today I started periodically interchanging the smaller head-loop for her to put her head through. By the end of her 10 minute session, her confidence was high enough that she just put her head through. She started to panic, but rather than letting her back out and have a bad association, I gently grabbed her and kept feeding her safflower seeds to coax her.... and by no means was she there because I made her, she wanted all those safflower seeds. I don't like to play the game of tough love, but my experience is that she tends to remember how sessions ends. I'd rather her remember the Infinite Bowl of Seeds than the The Terrifying Headloop of Despair. Usually the next day is telling on if I made the right move, so we will see how she feels about the harness.
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:44 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

I want you to succeed! Because I want to harness train to, but after doing it wrong years ago with Ta-dah I'm terrified! GCC have such strong wills ,you are my inspiration right now.
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 02-06-2019, 09:21 PM
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Re: A Kermit Training Update

Thank you Laurasea! They do have such strong little opinions... their only blessing is that they respond well to bribery. There's few things Kermit wouldn't do in this world for a safflower seed (well, ok, she won't fly yet for one but we'll get there).
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