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

Well-known member
Aug 18, 2017
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New Jersey
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Levi - 5 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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Aug 21, 2010
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San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
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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.
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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Mar 20, 2017
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Everett, WA
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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]


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Inger

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Mar 20, 2017
3,287
444
Everett, WA
Parrots
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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Jul 9, 2020
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Cary NC (hate it), LF Job in Moab UT or elsewhere
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Dusky Conure, Male Ekkie
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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Super Moderator
Aug 21, 2010
32,146
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San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
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
10
6
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.
 

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