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Old 02-15-2021, 11:12 PM
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Training a treat-obsessed, hyper GCC

I am a new part-time parrot parent (taking care of a friend's GCC for a few months while she's out of the country) and while her Kona is very smart, her training sessions keep descending into chaos because she's SO focused on the treats that she doesn't pay attention to what I'm cueing her to do. She'll climb down her T stand and onto the table/onto me and just go scrambling trying to get to wherever I've got the treat container. She just totally loses focus.

A few theories, which I'd appreciate thoughts on:

- I'm too slow at cueing tricks so she gets impatient? I try to wait until she's done chewing but it takes her several seconds to eat just a safflower seed or teeny (like, 2-3mm square) chunk of almond so we can't go super fast.

- I'm using treats that are too high value? Again, mainly safflower and tiny almond bits. But she has safflower seeds in her everyday food so I didn't think she'd go so crazy for them, plus even when half the time I give her something she doesn't care so much about (like millet or pistachio) it seems to have the opposite effect - rather than making her be more "meh" about the treats it just makes her scramble more for the dish.

- She doesn't have enough tricks to cue so she gets bored? She waves, spins, and steps up/down as well as targeting. That's about it, and I'm kind of at a loss for what new to give her, since she doesn't trust me enough yet for anything that might need a little more handling (she'll play dead for her owner, but doesn't like me holding her on her back)

I have also tried training "chill" by waiting for her to stop pacing/crawling around and then giving her a treat when she shows relaxed body language, but so far it doesn't seem to be working. Only been doing it for ~5 days so far though.

Perhaps I'm sweating it too much but I want our interactions to be enriching, and also, importantly, not hormonally triggering, which cuddles seem to be after a point...

Any help appreciated!
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Old 02-16-2021, 07:47 AM
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Re: Training a treat-obsessed, hyper GCC

Made me smile. My gcc is smart and active, she doesn't wait either. I start her right next to the trick so she can do quickly fir her treat.

What a great freind you are.
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Old 02-16-2021, 12:25 PM
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Re: Training a treat-obsessed, hyper GCC

I agree, what a great friend you re being! Key points when training

Consistent - be consistent in how you request a given trick, so you dont confuse the bird
Immediacy - reward immediately when the action is done, have the treat ready, dont forget verbal praise to reinforce it
Progress - reward when there is even just a tiny bit of progress towards the goal.

Some suggestions for new tricks: shake hands, give Hi Five, roll over. If you have a chop stick you can try spinning on that either horizontally or vertically. Simple props like that are great for tricks. Infant and baby toys can make great props. You are right, they get bored with the same tricks day in an day out, my Salty knows over 40 tricks but we only do maybe 1/2 of them in any one training session.
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Old 02-16-2021, 05:06 PM
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Re: Training a treat-obsessed, hyper GCC

Wrench 13 is the trick pro around here and his Salty is a joy to watch!

Good on you, you are truly a friend!
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Old 02-16-2021, 05:29 PM
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Re: Training a treat-obsessed, hyper GCC

Do weigh the burd on a kitchen scale. My GCC lost weight when with a sitter. She would only eat with sitter right with her sbd talking to her.
It could be Kona isn't eating enough on her own. And when you socialize with her she is ready to eat.
Plus its great practice to weigh them weekly. Most burds drop weight when sick. And as they hide being sick you can catch it early.
But might aldo tell you if Kona isn't eating enough.
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Old 02-16-2021, 10:50 PM
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Kai (2002-2004) Blue budgie who lived too short a life </3 Kona (short term care until 6/2021) - GCC
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Re: Training a treat-obsessed, hyper GCC

Thanks - I have been weighing her on a gram scale and her weight is consistent - 57 or 58g in the morning before breakfast. She is on the small side for a GCC so this seems ok. And she eats on her own - I can hear her munching away on her nutriberries and pellets and flinging chop everywhere from my room while I work ^_^

Thanks @wrench13 for the trick suggestions! I think doing a loop around a perch could work. I bet she'd follow a target stick for that.
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