My Quaker Won't Stay on My Finger

HappilyDivorced2015

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Dec 13, 2021
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Blue Quaker
I'm new to parrot ownership...brand new. I purchased a Blue Quaker Parrot recently, but only after reading numerous books and researching multiple websites to truly understand what I'd be getting into.

I have only had Blu for a couple weeks, but I have been working with him daily and I have him consistently stepping up on my finger on command and without hesitation.

In fact, there are times I'll walk up to the cage and before I even have the door open, he's holding out his foot...super adorable!

The issue I'm having isn't getting him on my finger, it's getting him to STAY on my finger. I've read many books on training and the suggestions and advice seem to be working quite well; however, there isn't a single book I've found that tells me how to train him to stay on my finger or the training perch once he's there. Can someone please provide some suggestions?

Blu's wings are clipped...for now. They were clipped when I bought him, which is what I wanted for training purposes; however, I realize how important exercise from flying is for a bird, so once I have him trained well, I plan to stop clipping him.

The vet stated that he would eventually figure out on his own that his wings don't work and he'll quit trying to use them so the problem should resolve itself, and in the meantime, I should just keep working with him.

Is this sound advice or is there a way that I can train him to stay on my finger or the perch? I'm eager to continue training him, but unless I can get him to stay in one spot outside of his cage for more than 10 seconds, my attempts at training will be futile.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!
 

foxgloveparrot

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Hi, welcome!
Target training would help. Target training is the answer to so many problems, I can't even list half of them. You can also just try to keep him there with treats. Reward him for staying and ignore him when he doesn't stay. In time, he'll figure it out.
 
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HappilyDivorced2015

HappilyDivorced2015

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Hi, welcome!
Target training would help. Target training is the answer to so many problems, I can't even list half of them. You can also just try to keep him there with treats. Reward him for staying and ignore him when he doesn't stay. In time, he'll figure it out.
I actually JUST read the section on target training in the book I have, as in, just four hours ago...lol.

I'll give that a shot or I can use the treats. I guess that didn't occur to me. I used the treats to teach him to step up in the first place, I can't believe I didn't think to simply do the same to keep him there.

I appreciate the help!
 

foxgloveparrot

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I actually JUST read the section on target training in the book I have, as in, just four hours ago...lol.

I'll give that a shot or I can use the treats. I guess that didn't occur to me. I used the treats to teach him to step up in the first place, I can't believe I didn't think to simply do the same to keep him there.

I appreciate the help!
You're welcome! Let us know if you have any trouble :)
 

Laurasea

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Welcome to you and Blu..
I hope you two have a long happy life together!

I have 3, a rescue ( terrible circumstance) a re homed ( well loved, but college, work, plus roommates bad combination) and I bought pets store ( but consider a rescue , as she screamed around the clock there for months and they were sending her back)...

I don't think its the best idea to be trying for a stay put, or even always doing step up training. Instead do more stuff together, do foraging fun together, move him around to different stations with different stuff to explore while you go about your day. Create climbing stuff. Teach simple tricks, ( of course complex ones if that's your thing:) ) like touch this. Pick this up, jump through a hoop. I just do simple stuff for fun.

I do keep mine all flighted, I have their "furniture " stations around the house, and a lot of stuff on top and hanging above their cages. They are on those or on me. They all eagerly step up, tho I allow a refuse if they are busy , ( just about never do they refuse) l never spent time with repetitive step up training. They all return to cage when asked. It didn't take much to teach them that, because I praise, I treat, I make it fun, abd they have plenty if out if cage time. So the cage us a safe retreat. Probably their favorite time if day is veggies time, morning and afternoon, they are so excited to see what and how I'm offering stuff. I love em to pieces. Ok I'm going to go get some stuff to link fir you.

Parrots are not like other pets, they are so intelligentand self aware wile by naturecomplex social creatures. Keeping any training short sessions no more than five repetitions, or the get bored and not motivated to keep doing the same thing over and over, so mix it up. Wirk in enrichment
A great read on parrot behavior, and towards the bottom covers some issues like bites, screaming
 
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HappilyDivorced2015

HappilyDivorced2015

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Dec 13, 2021
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Blue Quaker
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Welcome to you and Blu..
I hope you two have a long happy life together!

I have 3, a rescue ( terrible circumstance) a re homed ( well loved, but college, work, plus roommates bad combination) and I bought pets store ( but consider a rescue , as she screamed around the clock there for months and they were sending her back)...

I don't think its the best idea to be trying for a stay put, or even always doing step up training. Instead do more stuff together, do foraging fun together, move him around to different stations with different stuff to explore while you go about your day. Create climbing stuff. Teach simple tricks, ( of course complex ones if that's your thing:) ) like touch this. Pick this up, jump through a hoop. I just do simple stuff for fun.

I do keep mine all flighted, I have their "furniture " stations around the house, and a lot of stuff on top and hanging above their cages. They are on those or on me. They all eagerly step up, tho I allow a refuse if they are busy , ( just about never do they refuse) l never spent time with repetitive step up training. They all return to cage when asked. It didn't take much to teach them that, because I praise, I treat, I make it fun, abd they have plenty if out if cage time. So the cage us a safe retreat. Probably their favorite time if day is veggies time, morning and afternoon, they are so excited to see what and how I'm offering stuff. I love em to pieces. Ok I'm going to go get some stuff to link fir you.

Parrots are not like other pets, they are so intelligentand self aware wile by naturecomplex social creatures. Keeping any training short sessions no more than five repetitions, or the get bored and not motivated to keep doing the same thing over and over, so mix it up. Wirk in enrichment
A great read on parrot behavior, and towards the bottom covers some issues like bites, screaming
Thank you for the response, and I completely agree. I'm beyond step up training, from the standpoint that he has learned it and is eager to do it.

The issue is that I'm trying to teach him more things, but I can't get him to stay on my finger long enough to get him to the training perch.

When he steps up and I remove him from the cage, it's typically 10 seconds or less and he flies off my finger, either to the floor or something else nearby.

I then ask him to step up again and he does it right away, but again, as soon as start to head for the training perch, he flies off again.

I then moved the training perch to right outside of his cage, which allowed me to get him on it, but then he only stays there a few seconds and flies off it.

I haven't been able to train him to do anything else because he just won't stay put long enough for me to try, but I'm going to read the information you provided and maybe that'll give me some additional insight on how to address the problem.
 

Laurasea

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If this a young bird , they go through a fledgling a post fledg hard wired behavior to fly. They are obsessed with flying and learning to fly, and building up breathing and flight muscles. Its so unfortunate that breeders pet store clip them at this important life stage! His body abd programming are telling him to keep at it, you must learn to fly. Sadly they loose this drive and it's much more difficult for them to learn to fly when those feathers finally molt out, which can take two years. ...my first from a breeder I git at 6 weeks, for a few months all he could think about was flying. He actually became a pretty good flyer clipped bless him. So this can be partly a life stage issue.

So make it extra fun and interesting, huge praise, yummy treat, then move him to a different station quickly, work with him on the couch so he can run around and explore stuff, set it up with a few different things you want to try. If you don't have other pets, work with with him on the floor. :)
Change up your idea of what training looks like.
Don't forget to just have spend time out of the cage and explore abd have fun with no training
 
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I would recommend praising the bird when they step up, and giving them millet, or any other treat they like. Or hold a toy, like a bell, near the bird so that they play with it and stay on your finger longer. My birds don't really like to stay on my finger either, but when they are both on one finger at the same time, they tend to stay longer. You want to tell the bird that staying on your finger is good, and that they will be rewarded for doing it. When they bird finally stays on your finger for the desired amount of time, slowly ease out of rewarding, but don't spot abruptly or the bird will soon learn that they won't get rewarded and stop staying on your finger longer.
 

wrench13

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Another thing to keep in mind is to take Blu to another area completely away from his cage or daytime hang out place, as Quakers are notoriously cage protective. Moving to a completely different area, out of sight of his cage or hanging out place will prevent that instinct to kick in. The suggestions above are also very good ones too. IN training keep in mind:

Be consistent in how you ask for a given action or trick. Always use the same prompt, so you don't confuse the parrot

Be immediate - have the treat or reward available immediately when there is progress towards the desired result, so he clearly knows that he done good!

Be realistic in your goal. They should be achievable. Try breaking up the action into smaller goals!
 

Skarila

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Welcome to you and to Blu!

This year I got a wild (aviary bred) Emma's conure so I had to go through all of the training bits, even the one where I'd like him to stay on my finger just a little longer to at least get him to his stand.

Here's what I learned from my experience with Pascal:

He was too scared/afraid if I'd pull away from the cage, so he'd also fly back to the cage. It's simply his safe spot. Mostly time and him relaxing a bit with me helped a lot that I could carry him around. To be fair from the spot where he'd step up to where I could carry him around the room took good 6 months.

There are a few things I did if I wanted him to stay on my finger just a tiny bit longer, I would feed him small bits of his treats. I mixed this with the headshake trick. So, first I taught him the heaadshake, I would then ask him to step up and to do the headshake while on my finger. He would stay on the finger and patiently wait for the treat. When he got the treat I would slowly put him back on the cage where we did the training ( he was terrified of everything else so I kept the training there). In the beginning he would rush to his door and often trip, but now he waits patiently to step down in a calm manner.

Recall training also helped a lot. From step up to a hop onto the finger, and slowly moving away, inch by inch every time. getting him to fly to me from 30cm was an achievement, and now he will happily fly to me across the room. I knew he had a few tall spots whereever he would land during his flights so I used those spots as "pitstops". First "step down" was the cage which was beside his and the lamp next to it as they were the closest. He had to step down, gets a treat, and step up again, treat again. Movign him across the room to his stand was not possible then at all, and even less getting him to any other room. Another thing I did is I would keep feeding him his tiny treats while he was perching on my finger and I would slooowly move around the room and talking softly, I make one lap, put him back to his cage door and praise him. I did it serveral times, if he would fly off, the training stops immediately. Baby steps every day!

Once he got used to me making the laps around the room with him, next step was to have him step down onto the wardrobes where he likes to land. and again step up from there. I keep switching him between his cage and those spots.

Another thing with his stand is that at first he was terrified of his play stand. He would often waddle on the table on my laptop when I am working, at first I only approached the stand, and poking the stand and doing stuff with it, which he would perch on my finger from a safe distance. I placed him on the table, and let him approach the stand by him self, aaand with a LOT of coaxing with yummy food. He soon realized the stand wasn't going to kill him, at first he didn't use it much, but I keep yummy food there so he often comes to the stand to eat there. Also I started doing tricks/training from the stand instead now, so I guess it's an achievement :D

TL;DR - take it slow, loads of coaxing in the beginging, be persistant, slow and understandable!
 

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