Tips for Bonding and Building Trust

jacko

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Jun 7, 2019
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Hi Everybody, Those tips and tricks seem to be the answer to my problem only where would I buy a clicker? I live in the UK by the way, anyone any suggestions?
 

Tami2

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Aug 18, 2017
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Levi - 6 yr old CAG

DOH-4/2/2016
Hi Everybody, Those tips and tricks seem to be the answer to my problem only where would I buy a clicker? I live in the UK by the way, anyone any suggestions?

Have you tried Amazon?
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
A mechanical clicker with crisp distinctive sound is best, however there is a smartphone app for that! In IOS (and likely Android) search for "dog clicker" and you'll find several choices.

I know this only because I downloaded one for a rather odd use at work. (too long of a story to post, but it was labor union related :D)
 

Inger

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Bumble - Pacific (or Celestial) Parrotlet hatched 02/19/17
A mechanical clicker with crisp distinctive sound is best, however there is a smartphone app for that! In IOS (and likely Android) search for "dog clicker" and you'll find several choices.

I know this only because I downloaded one for a rather odd use at work. (too long of a story to post, but it was labor union related :D)



I’m now having visions of you clicking/rewarding the well-behaved employees! [emoji23]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Inger

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Bumble - Pacific (or Celestial) Parrotlet hatched 02/19/17
Hi Everybody, Those tips and tricks seem to be the answer to my problem only where would I buy a clicker? I live in the UK by the way, anyone any suggestions?



Not all of us use clickers. I don’t have enough hands for a bird, a treat, a clicker, trick props, etc. Instead, I use a high-pitched, excited YES every time Bumble does what I want her to.


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cneuhauser

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I can only add to this "permission based" interaction...

Whenever I want to hang out with my birds (which is right when I get home from working out at the gym after work)...I first walk over and open the cage door, then I start pulling out my dinner and doing chores. Usually by the time I'm in the bathroom getting ready for a shower my Conure has already found me to say hello and jumps in the shower with me. Just our daily routine I guess, then it's meal time, then we watch a few minutes of NetFlix, then he flys off to his cage to go to bed and I head off to bed myself.

PERFECT ROOMIES!
 

BirdLover97

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Sep 6, 2020
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I just got a green cheek conure as my first bird and would love to have it start trusting me so I can have a nice bond. I will try your suggestions, but if you guys have anything else to add that'll help me bond with my first bird, that'll help out a lot!
 

Scott

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Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
I just got a green cheek conure as my first bird and would love to have it start trusting me so I can have a nice bond. I will try your suggestions, but if you guys have anything else to add that'll help me bond with my first bird, that'll help out a lot!

This is the best single thread in the forum for bonding and building trust. You are welcome to post a specific thread in the conure forum or wherever desired. You'll received far more specialized responses.
 

ETinSC

New member
Jul 29, 2021
11
22
SC
Parrots rarely bite each other, because they convey their feelings beforehand or fly off to avoid physical contact. If it's feels cornered and frighten then need to bite will be from the natural instinct of self -preservation.

The cage is the Parrot safe haven and any attempt to enter, add or remove items and this includes forcefully removing the bird, will most likely trigger a bite response. This why you first build trust with the bird in the cage (safe haven). Trying hanging a chew toy on the outside of the cage.

No putting hands inside the cage. No chasing the bird around the cage or room. (forcing the bird) instead Conducted lots of trust building and bonding sessions (training). I have had great success with the following method to bond and build trust. I would use a T-perch to handle him.

This how I bonded and built trust with an aviary bred bird and have used it on other birds. I obtained a aviary bred IRN a few years ago who we named Bluey. When people approached Bluey he would thrash around the cage in fear. So I needed some tools to address this problem 1 was a clicker 2 was training treats 3 was T-perch.

Clickers are the best for training. Do some research? B F Skinner is a good start. Clicks won't confuse the bird. Where has words can. Without realising, words can be changed. It doesn't seem much, but it is to a bird. Has an example you might be saying "good boy". Then you say "that's a good boy" or you’re a good bird. Clickers are a bridge to identify wanted behaviour between you and your bird.

Second By putting five different foods on a plate and watch which one Bluey ate first I worked out what Bluey favorite food. I used sunflower seeds, corn kernels, pine nuts, grapes and balls of millet. This became Bluey's training treat and I removed this food from Bluey diet. Whatever your bird picks, it must not be part of the bird’s diet otherwise it defeats the purpose of being a training treat. It was sunflower seeds.

These are the procedures I used to calm and interact with him.
Bluey was in a cage in the lounge room. With the clicker in my hand, I entered the lounge room and went to the furthest point away from the cage. Then I would slowly approach the cage until Bluey showed signs of fear. When your bird becomes small and "skinny," and the bird's crop often looks sucked in, and all the feathers lie flat on the body. It usually means the bird is scared.

I would stop and stand there until Bluey relaxed.
Relaxed feathers and wings, standing on one foot, preening and /or grinding his upper and lower mandible together to produce a scratchy or "zippy" noise. This bird is probably content and relaxed. The bird might not display all these signs but relaxed feathers and wings, standing on one foot are a sure sign.

When Bluey relaxed, I click the clicker and took 3 slow steps back waited 20 to 30 seconds. Then, again I would slowly approach the cage until Bluey showed signs of fear. But this time I got a bit closer to the cage. Then I would stop and stand there until Bluey relaxed.

When Bluey relaxed I click the clicker and took 3 slow steps back waited 20 to 30 seconds. I repeated this procedure and with each approach, I would get a bit closer to the cage until I was standing next to the cage and Bluey was relaxed.

When this was achieved I would leave the room for 20 to 30 minutes. Then I would repeat this procedure for 5 to 7 times that day. By the end of the day you should be able to slowly walk up to the cage and the bird should stay relaxed.

I then used a spray of millet first has it was a larger food treat and it allowed Bluey to get use to my hand. Once Bluey became use to my hand I started to reduce the size of the millet until I could use sunflower seeds.

Note: This is important and that is, not to force the bird to do something it doesn't want to do. Let it approach the millet.

Once I was able to walk up to the cage without Bluey being scared, I then started to train Bluey to come out of the cage.
The first stage is with the clicker in one hand and a spray of millet in the other.

I would offer the millet to Bluey through the cage where the perch is attached. If he didn't take a bite of the millet within 15 seconds, I would remove the millet from his sight for 20 to 30 seconds.

Then I would re-offer the millet. When Bluey took a bite I click the clicker and withdraw the millet but kept it in Bluey sight. When Bluey finished eating the millet. I repeated the procedure and did this for 15 minutes then took a 30 minute break and repeated this 3 more times.

Note: By removing the Millet from the Bird's sight you encourage the "what have I just missed out on. Was that food? Where did it go? Then when you re-offer the millet. The bird thinks I'm not going to miss out again.

The next stage. With the clicker in one hand and a spray of millet in the other. Open the cage door and offer the millet at the entrance of the cage.
Note: Don't put your hand inside the cage has the bird could see this has invasion of their territory.

If Bluey didn't approach the millet within 15 seconds, I would remove it from his sight for 20 to 30 seconds. Then re-offer the millet. When the Bluey came to the cage entrance and took a bite I click the clicker and withdraw the millet but kept it in Bluey sight. I did this for 15 minutes then took a 30 minute break and repeated this 3 more times.

The next stage is to place a T-perch just outside the cage. When Bluey flew to the T-perch and took a bite I click the clicker and withdraw the millet but I kept it in Bluey sight. I did this for 15 minutes then took a 30 minute break and repeated this daily.

You can use the T-perch to return the Bird to the cage. I found that a T-perch is better than a piece of dowel. The bird can run down a piece of dowel and bite the hand. But with the T-perch the bird can run from end to end but the hand is out of reach.

This is more towards interacting with your bird to build trust/bonding. Once you have establish a bond of trust with your bird you can start to train basic tricks. Then advance to more tricks if you desire.
Use the clicker to identify the desired behaviour and the training treats and praise to reinforce that desired behaviour.

My Alexandrine Delfin is fine with the family, has we all take turns in the training. Delfin will fly to us, turn around, shake hands and pick up items and put them into a bin. It's no secret, you just need to spend time interacting and training with your bird.

The clicker is the bridge between you and your bird and you use that bridge to highlight the bird’s desired behaviour to your bird. That how I have gotten Delfin to fly to me, turn around, shake hands and put things into a bin.

I put Delfin on his T-stand and gave him a sunflower seed and click the clicker. This indicates that training has started.
Then in my right hand I held the clicker and the sunflower seed. The set up was the clicker in the palm with my middle finger on the button and the sunflower seed held between my thumb and index finger.

With my left hand I made a pistol so my finger was parallel to the perch and about 3 cm away. Then I would bring my right hand up behind my left hand and show Delfin the sunflower seed and say "come Delfin". if after 15 to 20 seconds Delfin hadn't stepped up onto my left hand I would remove the sunflower seed from his sight.

Wait 20 seconds and reshow the treat. When Delfin stepped up onto my left hand and took the sunflower seed I would click the clicker at the same time. Then I return Delfin back to the T-perch and repeat. I would slowly increase the distance from the T-perch to my hands.
After three days, Delfin was flying 4 metres to my left hand take the sunflower seed and fly back to the T-perch.

The advice I can give is
1 move slowly around the bird
2 let the bird come to you.
3 Don't force the bird to do anything that it doesn't want to do.
4 make the trust building and bonding sessions (training) fun
5 end all training sessions on a positive.
6 patience.

Remember food is a great motivator.
Thanks for the great tips! I've had my little guy for a little over 4 months now (pet shop baby). The training has been slow going, but he is no longer paralyzed in fear. I just can't get him out of the cage any further than a foot or 2. I'm still being patient, but it sure is frustrating! At least he's no longer afraid of me. Little baby steps.
 

aussie_wings

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𝐸𝑔𝑔𝒷𝑒𝓇𝓉𝒽𝒶〘 F Albino Budgie〙
𝔊𝔯𝔢𝔪𝔩𝔦𝔫〘M Cinnamon Kakariki Parakeet〙
Hmm, wonder why Delfin got banned. :\
 

Terry57

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HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Willow has been dithering recently when I ask him to come out of his cage. He stays out on his door until I come closer and then puffs up to look scary and protects his cage.

I don’t get it. He yells to come out but then runs back in. Or stands inside and aggressively preens his toy, not coming out on his door so I can pick him up.

So a few days ago I just covered my hand with a wash cloth and put my hand inside his cage, in front of his feet. He stepped right up. He didn’t seem angry. I did that yesterday, too. He was ok with that and came out and licked me and ate his pellets, etc. we had a long visit.

But I thought I was supposed to respect his cage, not put my hands inside, and I have been until this yes/no/yes/no thing started?

(My last Quaker Lucy liked me to pick her up from inside her cage. She passed of old age. Willow protects his cage from me even though he loves me. It’s quite confusing!).

I want to do the right thing but it seems like he’s now ok with me stepping him up from inside of my hand is covered. Otherwise we both get frustrated.
 

SailBoat

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Hmm, seems that your Parrot is doing a remarkable job of training you.

As you know, Step-up is a founding request as part of building a Trust Bond with your Parrot. Someplace along the way, there has been a step-back regarding comfort with your hand. You are likely going to have to start over from zero, redeveloping Step-up onto your hand.

There is no problem with having a cloth over your hand as a way of at least assuring that you can make Step-up occur. Please remember that you are announcing your request from early-on. There is a clear need to Step-up. And, that there is always tons of praise that comes with the completion.
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Thank you for your answer. It seemed to me that as time goes on Willow is more ok with me being near or in his cage. I don’t take anything away and I just give him new food or treats or toys.

It was taking forever to get him to come out! It almost seemed like he was flirting or playing with me—no, you’ve got to pick me up, I’m not coming out—but I didn’t want to mistreat him either.

I just want my birds to be happy and so if expectations change that’s all right, I just want to treat them well.

We got toys from bonka bird toys and I fixed Jasper’s hanging chew toy by adding coconut shell discs in place of the wooden blocks he chewed off. Jasper has a beak like a buzz saw!
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Hmm, seems that your Parrot is doing a remarkable job of training you.

As you know, Step-up is a founding request as part of building a Trust Bond with your Parrot. Someplace along the way, there has been a step-back regarding comfort with your hand. You are likely going to have to start over from zero, redeveloping Step-up onto your hand.

There is no problem with having a cloth over your hand as a way of at least assuring that you can make Step-up occur. Please remember that you are announcing your request from early-on. There is a clear need to Step-up. And, that there is always tons of praise that comes with the completion.
I have had a bad cold for over a week and I think Willow is just mad at me for not paying attention to him. It’s tested covid-negative but I am very tired and have slept much of the week. He’s annoyed with me.
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Interesting, as most Parrots tend to be very caring when their Human is ill.
I think the problem is that he hasn’t SEEN me because I’ve been sleeping a lot. So he acts conflicted when I come to get him. Like he’s excited but he doesn’t know what to do, does the cage protection dance but it seems to conflict with being happy.

Once he’s out he is cuddly and preens my face. Gotta keep him from cleaning the nose area, but…. Poor guys. I keep getting sick over and over. It’s boring and I don’t see my birds or get anything done.

Or, maybe he is just sick of me and that’s it☹️. But he is important to me and I have to make sure he knows that. My birds make my world.

**p.s. i do need to remember that I have two birds who like to be pet! This morning, Willow was not coming out. So I asked Jasper to step up and he came out for 15 minutes, until he started getting beaky. Willow contributed some kissy noises so he must have felt good about it. I am reluctant to take Jasper out sometimes because his mood changes so quickly and he can bite really hard. I think I need to be conservative with jasper and not do anything remotely exciting, like not give him a big treat if he’s on my hand.
 
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Tom S

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Aug 16, 2022
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It was rhetoric. I'm not sitting there poking a bird over and over again; that even contradicts my statements that I am unable to have contact with him without scaring him because that would scare him. I just mean it'll be basically staring him in the face and he still gets nervous to move and bite it.

My comment about me needing to train myself paitence was also a partial joke hence my "hehe"ing. I'm pointing out that it can be a frustrating process because it is timely with slow results.

My patience is not the "primary" factor causing my bird to avoid me. It was the fact that he was over a year old and never handled before in his life and the fact that he is typically an aviary bird and not the pet type. I use clicker training successfully, I don't get angry or flustered or "flood" any of my birds. I wouldnt want to encourage anyone to do that, it really does nothing but worsen the situation :( I've had birds for 10 years I would never force a bird to do anything, they just feel more disconnect than trust that way :(. If I am feeling any frustration I never show it to them either because it will make a bird anxious. I can stay calm with my hand in a cage for over an hour just to get them adjusted to it even though it hurts and can be frustrating afterwards if the bird only makes one step. But its still a step so it's progress even if a tiny amount. My overall point is that in doing these things the bird will build trust, but it takes time. Frustration and impatience are a normal response to have when things feel slow, (I am only human after all,) but it is important to keep those feelings under wraps during the actual training sessions.

2 months is also a short amount of time to move to a new home with a different cage mate and be having your cage entered by a human wanting to be near you. It's overwhelming. 2 months in this case is very realistic for never handled adult birds. It's going to take him months and I knew that from the getgo when I acquired him from the breeder. He's come a long way since I got him but it may not seem like much. I wouldn't want anyone to have unrealistic time expectations about training a wild bird. Nor would I want people to flood their birds or make them stressed as they feel your emotions. I would like to be clear that is not what I am doing with any bird. It's just how I sometimes feel after training sessions. It is most certainly worth the waiting though. There is nothing more rewarding when you've put lots of time and effort into training and a bird makes another milestone step no matter how small it might seem to others. Progress is progress! :)
He he
 

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