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Old 08-24-2016, 04:55 PM
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A debate on treats

Hi everyone, hope all is well!

I was wondering what type of treats you find most useful when training your birds. Our 3 year old caique Murphy came to us knowing a handful of commands, but I would like to start working on some fun tricks so he can get more mental stimulation and as an opportunity to bond more with him. I know he loves raisins, but it often takes him quite a while to get through them, and I feel like a training session would take much longer if I were to wait for him to eat raisins. I have read many people saying nuts and seeds are best, and some people swear by fresh fruit. I know variety is ideal, but what do you find works best for you? Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:01 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

The correct response is: What Works with your Parrot!

Note: Reduce the size of the Threat so that with a couple of bites your Parrot has completed eating and ready for the next step.

By the way, Welcome to the Parrot Forums!

Last edited by SailBoat; 08-25-2016 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:13 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

Good advice...
My bird loves green chiles. I will admit that the only way His Majesty (flighted, fearless) goes back into his cage is by ME tossing a chile in there. The big chiles were too satiating and had limited power. But I buy small Serrano peppers and they help me trick the Rickeybird back into his prison several times a day!
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:37 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

Welcome welcome! Sailboat really nailed the comment I was going to make already, so I'll just echo him by saying cut up the raisins. It sounds like you already have something you know he loves, so just make it smaller and you should be set.
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:23 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

Yep! Smaller portions are key! I use nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pine nuts and cashews for training, but the bigger ones I break down into at least four bite-size pieces. They get a yummy little treat that gets worked through in a handful of seconds and leaves them eager for more. Too big a treat takes too long to eat and fills them up too quickly.
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:15 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
The correct response is: What Works with your Parrot!

Note: Reduce the size of the Threat so that with a couple of bites your Parrot has completed eating and ready for the next step.

By the way, Welcome to the Parrot Forums!

Welcome to Parrot Forums...

SailBoat is absolutely correct!! The best treat to use for your bird is THEIR favorite thing to eat. In my home, it's pine nuts for the macaw, pistachios for Ivory, sticky rice for Victoria's Folger, almonds in shell with the foster Grey Alex, millet for the little guys... Would say for Kelly (the evil green YNA), its mine or my husband's flesh (but bad joke).

But definitely, whatever works for your bird. Watch what your bird eats first thing out of the food bowl, and that is what you use. And to note, whatever you use as a reward, you only use as a reward, it does not go into the food or treat bowl. Its only for rewards!!

And if raisins is your bird's 'crack', then cut a raisin into quarters, so you are just giving a small piece that will be quickly eaten! Good luck!!
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:23 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

The regular 'good boy' treats I use are safflower seeds. Although they're so small and to me it doesn't seem like enough, the guys don't seem to mind. They'll accept a single seed as something they look forward to.

Edit: IME, I've discovered that verbal positive reinforcement (with no edible treat) can be just as effective for some birds. Ruppell's parrot Griffin (and late budgie Twigs) have successfully learned the meaning of voice commands (go home, go in cage, no biting/gentle), and even Griffin learning "move" to get away from his water dish so I could change it without him biting (sort of like station training), reinforced only by verbal praise and positive tone of voice.

Last edited by RavensGryf; 08-27-2016 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:39 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

Quote: Originally Posted by RavensGryf View Post
Edit: IME, I've discovered that verbal positive reinforcement (with no edible treat) can be just as effective for some birds. Ruppell's parrot Griffin (and late budgie Twigs) have successfully learned the meaning of voice commands (go home, go in cage, no biting/gentle), and even Griffin learning "move" to get away from his water dish so I could change it without him biting (sort of like station training), reinforced only by verbal praise and positive tone of voice.
Excellent point!! This works really well for a very bonded bird. I joke that training and such can be a challenge when the greatest reward for Max is a head scratch or snuggle with mom. But that type of reward doesn't work at all with my cockatoo, guess she's a more material girl
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Old 08-27-2016, 02:01 PM
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Re: A debate on treats

Quote: Originally Posted by jenphilly View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by RavensGryf View Post
Edit: IME, I've discovered that verbal positive reinforcement (with no edible treat) can be just as effective for some birds. Ruppell's parrot Griffin (and late budgie Twigs) have successfully learned the meaning of voice commands (go home, go in cage, no biting/gentle), and even Griffin learning "move" to get away from his water dish so I could change it without him biting (sort of like station training), reinforced only by verbal praise and positive tone of voice.
Excellent point!! This works really well for a very bonded bird. I joke that training and such can be a challenge when the greatest reward for Max is a head scratch or snuggle with mom. But that type of reward doesn't work at all with my cockatoo, guess she's a more material girl
Interestingly though, neither Griffin nor the late Twigs was 'well bonded' to me and 'verbal praise only' still worked. I could not touch either bird.

I have come a long way with Griffin getting him over a major phobic disorder that he developed. It took about 6 mo to a year to see quantifiable results, but it worked (and is an ongoing work in progress). I still can just 'barely' touch his forehead now for about 1-2 seconds with my index finger (when he's in the mood), whereas before he was terrified of my entire body. He will step up now for a second, but that's only with a treat. I have to constantly remind him of "gentle" when he's on or near me, and even though he doesn't always heed it, he does know what it means.

One of these days I will post Griffin's entire story and our progress. I have to tell you though Jen, I was talking to Victoria about a year ago, and it was she who suggested letting his wings grow out (were clipped from when I got him). That was the best suggestion! The flight allowed Griffin to gain self-confidence when he knew that he could fly away from a source of panic instead of running under furniture screeching for his life. Once he had this base of self confidence, slowly we were able to gain some ground toward getting him more normal again. Not that he will ever be 'normal' he is such a freak lol, but we have come a long way, and the majority of positive reinforcement was verbal only, because at the beginning he wouldn't even take food from my hand.
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