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Old 01-16-2019, 04:57 PM
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Kermitís harness training thread

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Iím starting this thread to document my journey with harness training Kermit, share our ups and downs, and maybe get some advice along the way. My ultimate goal is to have Kermit willingly put his harness on and associate it with positive experiences and for me to be able to take him on outings with me. The training to get there, however, will be long and difficult.

Today was not a good day for us. Kermit was just being stubborn the whole time and he was refusing to stay put even though he clearly wanted the treats. When I finally got him to settle down, he wouldnít stay in the harness and even bit me a few times in frustration. The most difficult step has been getting him to stay in the loop and not pull his head out. Iím having trouble figuring out how to teach him that he has to stay and that he canít cheat by grabbing as many treats as possible and then pulling his head out to eat them. I always give him an extra few treats and say ďgood birdĒ when he waits for me take it off him, but I donít know if thatís enough to show him that he canít pull away early.

I never force him to do anything he doesnít want to, he has complete control of the process. The problem is that he chose NOT to do what he knows will get him more treats. He actually decided to fly away and abandon the session at one point (and we werenít very far along), so I ended it early. Heís NOT scared of the harness and has stayed in the loop many times before. We WERE making progress. Should I just take a break from training tomorrow? What should I be doing differently?
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:32 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

You've already made good strides with Sir Kermit's training process. I think I went through something similar with Lady Kermit.

First of all, what kind of treats are you using? Not all treats are created equal in this process. I had really good luck with safflower seeds. They're desirable enough to work for but fast enough to eat that I'm not waiting there all day. They're also pretty small for a more coordinated process I'll describe to you.

What I'd do is I'd actually stuff multiple safflower seeds into my index finger and thumb. I'd lure Lady Kermit's head through the loop with a single seed and quickly show to her there's another one in there waiting for her if she stays in the loop. This is where birds start doing some complicated math where 2 safflower seeds right then and there is better than just one. I'd keep adding as many safflower seeds into my thumb and forefinger as I could, keeping Lady Kermit there (theoretically) for as long as I had seeds.

After you get passed this point, I introduced the concept I like to call "the infinite bowl of seeds". After she puts her head through the hoop, I set out a small bowl of seeds in front of her which she has access to as long as her head is in the loop. Again, bird math. Infinity is much bigger than 1 seed.

In terms of Sir Kermit wanting to end training sessions early, I'd say that's mostly growing pains. It takes them a while to process the harness as ok. I've taken many breaks with the harness and have found good success in that. So its not a bad way to go
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:52 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

Quote: Originally Posted by IndySE View Post
You've already made good strides with Sir Kermit's training process. I think I went through something similar with Lady Kermit.

First of all, what kind of treats are you using? Not all treats are created equal in this process. I had really good luck with safflower seeds. They're desirable enough to work for but fast enough to eat that I'm not waiting there all day. They're also pretty small for a more coordinated process I'll describe to you.

What I'd do is I'd actually stuff multiple safflower seeds into my index finger and thumb. I'd lure Lady Kermit's head through the loop with a single seed and quickly show to her there's another one in there waiting for her if she stays in the loop. This is where birds start doing some complicated math where 2 safflower seeds right then and there is better than just one. I'd keep adding as many safflower seeds into my thumb and forefinger as I could, keeping Lady Kermit there (theoretically) for as long as I had seeds.

After you get passed this point, I introduced the concept I like to call "the infinite bowl of seeds". After she puts her head through the hoop, I set out a small bowl of seeds in front of her which she has access to as long as her head is in the loop. Again, bird math. Infinity is much bigger than 1 seed.

In terms of Sir Kermit wanting to end training sessions early, I'd say that's mostly growing pains. It takes them a while to process the harness as ok. I've taken many breaks with the harness and have found good success in that. So its not a bad way to go
Thank you for your help

I am using safflower seeds for Sir Kermit as well. Instead of holding individual seeds in my fingers, I have an entire handful of seeds in my hand that I place in front of the loop so Kermit can take as many seeds as he wants to when he stays there. The problem is that heíll stuff multiple seeds in his beak then pull his head out when he doesnít feel like staying in the loop. I will try your method to curb this behavior.
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:56 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

Lady Kermit did the same thing. She'd stuff the seeds in her beak like the glutton she is then back out as soon as she can. Putting them between your fingers and feeding one doesn't give them the option. Sir Kermit still might be leery of the idea, but he'll at least know he has to work to get his treats. Once he gets the idea, you could try going back to the seeds in your hand method; though I only started doing this once Lady Kermit permits me to rest the entire harness on her neck without fuss.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:13 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

Kermit had a good training session today. I’m still working on getting him comfortable with putting his head through a smaller loop, but overall he’s been doing well at staying in the harness. I show him the harness, he walks over and puts his head through the wing loop, I put my hand full of seeds in front of him and he eats until I say “off” and pull the loop off his head. I continue to give him seeds even after I take it off to reinforce this concept even more. I’m hoping he’ll start putting his head through the actual collar soon. Slow and steady wins the race...
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:21 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

It's time for me to do this kind of training for Kise.
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Old 01-25-2019, 05:14 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

Today was a great training day and I think Kermit made a lot of progress. He is willing to put his head through a much smaller hole now and stay there while I give him treats. I’ve also started using millet instead of safflower seeds because he is more motivated to work for millet. Way to go Kermit!!
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:07 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

Today marks three days in a row of great progress!! Today Kermit put his head through a small hole almost the same size as the head loop and stayed there while eating millet. He not only put his head through, but he basically had it all the way on his neck with the straps resting on his back and belly. He even wiggled his way in with no bribery! I’m so proud of my Kermie bird!!!
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:27 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

Congratulations! That's a big deal!!!!
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:29 PM
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Re: Kermitís harness training thread

How is Ta-dah’s harness training going?
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