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View Poll Results: How well trained is your parrot/parrots?
Not trained at all (doesnt step up) 1 3.57%
Steps up 4 14.29%
Obeys basic commands (step up, come, etc.) 12 42.86%
Obeys more advanced commands (no, stay, go to ___, etc.) 11 39.29%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2018, 08:22 AM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

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The Rb (aka Genghis Conure)... trained?
Well, if you preface any of those tricks or compliances with "if he feels like it..." he's a star! If he doesn't feel like it... well...

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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2018, 10:06 AM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

Except for my budgies, my birds are fairly well trained. They both step up, fly to me on command, are target trained, and do a variety of cued tricks. For tricks, Kermit can do wave, spin, wings, flip, and fetch reliably. He even does an aerial version of fetch where he flies with the ball and drops it in my hand. Ducky knows more tricks than Kermit, and can do wave, spin, wings, tunnel, fetch, ring toss, and basketball. She also flies to wherever I point in the bird room (for example, if I say “go to tree” and point to the tree stand, she’ll fly over and land on it). However, both Ducky and Kermit aren’t the best about going in their cages, so I often have to bribe them with seeds.

Overall, I think they’re pretty well trained. I’ve ordered an Aviator harness for Kermit and I’m going to work on that for as long as it will take. In preparation for harness training I’ve gotten him comfortable with me grabbing his body, putting my fingers around his neck, and lifting up his wings. I probably won’t harness train Ducky for a long time just because she’s skittish of new people and wouldn’t enjoy the experience. Kermit on the other hand, loves to socialize and doesn’t even mind children.

They’re both very bonded to me in the sense that they call for me, fly after me when I leave the room, and love scritches and cuddles. Kermit was actually afraid of hands touching him before I began training, and now he loves it when I cup my hand around him while I give him scritches. He closes his eyes and snuggles in and turns his head to show me where to scritch. Kermit also likes to sit on my shoulder and nuzzle against my face. He also loves to give lots of kisses, maybe too many! Ducky is also a very cuddly bird, she bows her head to demand scritches and closes her eyes and turns her head when I do. If I don’t scritch her, she’ll come up to my hand and bump it with her head - it’s so cute! Ducky also loves to sit on my chest and nuzzle against my cheek while I give her more scritches. She’ll stay in this position for several minutes and she just melts my heart.

I wouldn’t consider my budgies to be “trained” at all. They usually won’t step up for me, don’t allow me to touch them, and they don’t do any tricks. Pearl can talk clearly, but I don’t think this is really trained. My budgies aren’t bonded to me and just prefer doing their own birdie things.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2018, 10:46 AM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

This is a very "odd" poll question, in that "trained" means something different to different people...I'm with Bill in that I don't at all believe that the more "obedient" a pet is the stronger their bond with you is; if that were true then most of us here would not be very bonded to any of our birds!!!

Training your bird to do "tricks" is great if that's your thing, although I don't at all like some of the methods people commonly use to train their birds to do "tricks", namely food-deprivation and actually making their daily food (meaning their meals) dependent on how "obedient" they are and how well they are "performing" and "doing what they are told"...I know a few people who are excellent "parrot-trick-trainers" and have parrots that do quite an array of amazing "tricks", and who have made very successful careers from their very "well-trained" parrots, which is impressive when you watch their birds, until you learn HOW they went about and still go about "training" them to do pretty much whatever they tell them to do. So that's not my gig at all...

And as far as "stepping-up" goes, maybe I'm alone in this because all 4 of my larger birds were hand-raised/hand-fed and my 8 Budgies were hand-raised/hand-fed by me, but they ALL stepped-up for me immediately without any issues from the first day I met them, while still at their breeder's home, and I guess that's just something that baby birds who are hand-raised just learn? I'm actually asking that question because I don't know the answer...I didn't "train" my 8 Budgies that I hand-raised/hand-fed myself to "step-up", I just put my finger down in front of their bellies for them to "step-up" on, starting when they were around, I don't know, 4-5 weeks old...And they just did it. And I'm assuming the same went for my 4 larger birds that were hand-raised by other breeders, I don't think they were "trained" to do that, I think they just do it naturally if they start doing at such a young age...So no "training" there....

My birds fly to me when I call them, and I have a unique "contact call" with each of my birds, but that wasn't "trained" either; each bird started saying something or making a noise/sound/whistle that was unique when they were young, and I just answered them back making the same, unique words or sounds...And those became their "Contact Calls", and when I wanted them to fly to me I would make their individual Contact-Call and then say "Bowie, come here!", or "Kane, come to mama!" after the Contact-Call, and they just came, lol...As Noodles already said, I too suck at formal training....BUT, I simply listen to my birds. I get to know each of them well, I bond with them, and then as Bill said, I earn their trust and they earn mine, and from that comes a mutual understanding of each other, and from that comes them doing things that I ask them to do. I have NEVER actually sat and had a "training session" with any of my own birds, not ever...I have hand-tamed many a parent-raised Budgie or Cockatiel, but that's not really training them, that too is simply listening to them, getting to know them, letting them get to know me, earn their trust, they earn my trust, and eventually they are "tame" and will "step-up", not because I trained them to step-up, but because I have earned their trust and they in-turn will do what I ask of them, and because we come to understand each other, they know what I am asking them to do.

I think it's great if you use "trick training" as a way to spend time with your birds and bond with them. That's a very positive way to become closer and closer to them, and to earn their trust. So props to those that use "training" time as a way to become closer to their birds...I just don't like those who only care about achieving a certain end-result from their birds, and in order to achieve that end-result they use not only negative-reinforcement but also some methods that are anything from questionable to downright cruel and abusive.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2018, 11:00 AM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

Well trained and very cooperative 95% of the time. Salty can be stubborn occasionally and some nights will simply not be into doing our nightly training sessions, and thats OK, he has a mind of his own and only works with me to do the advanced tricks because he likes doing them. But Salty also works well and listens to my wife too. They had a rocky begining but her patience ( and treats) has won him over.

Salty steps up when ever presented with a hand and only needs a verbal push ( Up up) once in a while. We havent poop trained him.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2018, 11:02 AM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

In response to Ellen’s post, the “Parrot Wizard” is an example of using food deprivation/portion control to achieve better training results. This video shows how small a serving he actually feeds his parrot in a meal.


I don’t agree with this at all, as there are much better ways to train parrots without depriving them of food. I train my birds tricks, but I only use positive reinforcement and I listen carefully to their body language. I use treats that they don’t get in their regular diet, mainly safflower seeds for Kermit and spray millet for Ducky, as reinforcers. By saving these treats for training only, my birds are willing to work for them and I don’t have to do anything to their normal diet of pellets and chop.
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:26 AM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

It’s a misnomer to call it deprivation. When done correctly, The idea is that the training treats make up the balance of the diet outside of the smaller meal portions. So they aren’t actually deprived. You just train when they are at their most hungry, just before a meal.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2018, 12:04 PM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

Parrots are very food motivated. I'd venture our little feathered fids get far more in excess to meet their daily caloric requirements with human "companions" than they ever would in the wild. That said, treats are just that - something small and yummy that our buddies really want, but don't necessarily need outside of their regular meals.


Anyhow - both ours know how to Step-up, and poop, on command. Mango does both willingly. Mochi the GCC does both for my spouse but not for me, especially when Spouse is around.
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Old 12-26-2018, 12:36 PM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

Quote: Originally Posted by GaleriaGila View Post
The Rb (aka Genghis Conure)... trained?
Well, if you preface any of those tricks or compliances with "if he feels like it..." he's a star! If he doesn't feel like it... well...

More like he has you trained!!
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Old 12-26-2018, 12:40 PM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

Quote: Originally Posted by dhraiden View Post
Parrots are very food motivated.

Actually that is not always true...
the group of research parrots here is so enthousistic about "working for their supper" that if they are given the choice to do some work and get a snack or just get a snack for free...they all choose to do the work!


One of them (you really should hear Nico tell this story) loved getting into the action SO much, he even risked getting obese because the initial rewardsystem was automated ... so they adapted it and it turned out he would just as enthousaistic perform the little tasks if he got no reward at all or only sometimes!
For him and the others (who all got their normal food, so no peckish/ marginally hungry/starving parrots whatsoever) is was all about the fun and the challenge. The reward was a nice extra.


Of course (for us) offering snacks is a great motivator in the beginning (because a lot of things we ask of them can be a bit scary / against their normal behaviour) but I think most of us find that after a while you do not need to reward so heavily/densely anymore because they eihether get used to it or even just plain enjoy doing it.
Getting a reward can become just part of the trick-routine as well...
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2018, 02:24 PM
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Re: How (well) trained are your parrots? (poll)

Quote: Originally Posted by ChristaNL View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by dhraiden View Post
Parrots are very food motivated.

Actually that is not always true...
the group of research parrots here is so enthousistic about "working for their supper" that if they are given the choice to do some work and get a snack or just get a snack for free...they all choose to do the work!


One of them (you really should hear Nico tell this story) loved getting into the action SO much, he even risked getting obese because the initial rewardsystem was automated ... so they adapted it and it turned out he would just as enthousaistic perform the little tasks if he got no reward at all or only sometimes!
For him and the others (who all got their normal food, so no peckish/ marginally hungry/starving parrots whatsoever) is was all about the fun and the challenge. The reward was a nice extra.


Of course (for us) offering snacks is a great motivator in the beginning (because a lot of things we ask of them can be a bit scary / against their normal behaviour) but I think most of us find that after a while you do not need to reward so heavily/densely anymore because they eihether get used to it or even just plain enjoy doing it.
Getting a reward can become just part of the trick-routine as well...
Can personally attest to this (or at least, on behalf of Cairo). He'll start of doing things for treats, and it really seems just to be a way to get him comfortable with something.

He was very hesitant about flipping upside-down at first. We coaxed and encouraged him with treats. Now one of his favourite things to do is to flip upside-down and pretend attack his perch. Then I got him a rope hoop perch this Christmas. He initially saw it as just a rope ladder, I think because he felt it was too unstable. So I first gave him a treat every time I put him on the hoop and he stayed there to get an extra treat (one for going on there and one for staying a longer period of time). Then I trained him to fly to the rope hoop on command (and then recall). He got really confident about it. Now, he spent all of tonight playing on it (he had so much fun play-attacking the toys around him and chewing on them).

Even when it comes to stacking cups or his box of shapes (something more trick-like). He'll play by himself, stacking and unstacking them. If he notices us watching him, he will sometimes run over, expecting a treat. But if we ignore, he's happy to play by himself. He sometimes grunts in frustration if a shape doesn't fit properly where it should and gets more agitated, frantically trying to fit a piece in. Then the moment it does fit in, he runs to grab another piece to fit into the box.

I see tricks like "wave" and "shake" (the ones he can't use to play by himself) as more socialisation tools. He normally gets very shy in front of strangers - initially he was skittish, now he's just reserved. But practicing those simple tricks that don't require anything but him and me help put him in the mindset that this outside space with strangers in it was also a safe place because it was a training space full of opportunities for treats. And treats in this case is always used to reassure him that things were a-ok. We would quickly access strangers - those who were respectful of Cairo's space, we asked if they would feed him a small sliver of almond or we would ask him, and those who didn't know how to handle themselves around an animal, we would ask him to wave then offer him a treat. After several outings like this, Cairo is less skittish when strangers walk past him. He'll even start practicing his vocab outside on our walks.

So while Cairo is food-motivated (our vet even commented on it), after he understands how to play or after he puts the positive association with an experience, then he's happy to proceed without treats even. That being said, since he was a free-flight bird, I will always give him a treat when he's recalled (I can't afford to risk losing that strong positive association - it's the only way he gets dehydrated bananas).
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