Trick Training - Yea or Nay? (All parrot species welcome!)

Lullx

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Prop Training - Yea or Nay? (All parrot species welcome!)

I'm trying to put together a loose game-plan for training my baby CAG after he gets properly used to being home and the like (coming home in late June/July). I know that they love structure and a set schedule, but since he isn't home yet, I'm just trying to draw up a rough draft right now, and will later alter it to fit his individual personality.

I was wondering what other grey owners (TAGs as well!) thought of trick and prop training? Of course I'd love to hear about other species working with props, too!

Do greys seem to thrive with and enjoy prop training? I know it's always up to the individual bird, but I mean in a general sense. I'm aware of how smart they are, but is prop training... Insulting? Tacky? Do they think it's hilarious and fun? I'm worried largely about "advertising" any tricks my grey can do, and making people want one for the wrong reasons.

I don't mean to turn my beloved into a party trick, but I'm trying to figure out the best way to keep him engaged and challenged and having fun! I also know that training is obviously a great way to bond.
I want my baby to be confident and given the opportunity to reach his full potential. I'd imagine that prop training will help with his coordination and reasoning skills.
...And of course it would be a nice bonus to be able to show off my smarty pants to family and friends. But I want to do this strictly for the potential benefit of my little one.

I randomly came across some bird skates while I was searching for something completely unrelated (funny how that works, huh?), and I laughed so hard and thought it would be hilarious to teach my grey to skate (especially because I'm very uncoordinated myself and never really got the hang of roller skates).

So I looked around a bit and found a site that sells a few different trick props.

So what's your opinion on prop training greys? Good idea, or... not so much?
If you personally prop train, what are your greys' favorite prop(s)? Any you'd advise me against?
 
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Puck

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I think trick training is awesomesauce! It teaches the bird good manners, keeps their minds occupied, and sets up a good behavior equals reward system. Target training and flight recall can be super helpful when bratty birds don't wanna come down, and things like big eagle (wing spreading) is great for when you have to put on a harness. It established a time for you guys to bond where your full attention is on the bird but not in a way that's related to neediness like over cuddling. Birds don't know what is or isn't tacky anyway. I really believe that trick training makes for overall better behavior because it sets VERY defined guidelines and expectations, something harder to do when you are just hanging out. Plus it is rewarding for you. I feel so proud when Sammy flies to me when I call or spins in a circle or lifts his little foot when I wave (though we are still working on perfecting that one!). I enjoyed reading The Parrot Wizard's book, though all of the info in his book is pretty much on his blog, too, just not in such an easy step by step form. Also I don't know that you need a big training plan. Just pick times when your bird hasn't eaten for awhile (such as before breakfast, midday, or before dinner) and fit in a quick 5-10 minute session. They shouldn't be longer than that, so it is easy to fit in! Plus it's super fun! :)

Besides, being a party trick is fun! Don't you like to show off what you can do to friends? ;)

Oh, and my favorite prop are basketball hoops, they look so cute "dunking" and it is easy to teach! Though I think the trick that impresses me the most is when birds "roll over."
 
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Lullx

Lullx

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I mean trick training as in using props.

I do basic training (recall, stick and target) with all of my birds and I feel like that should be pretty standard, and definitely will be doing that with my grey. I don't really consider those tricks at all.
 

Boyd75

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Most bird/owner relationships can benefit from any training as long as your not forcing the bird. Its a very good way to cure their boredom, my bird even when hes got food all around him will come do training and not even care about any sort of rewards sometimes. He just wants to do it because hes bored. Lol
 

Puck

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I mean trick training as in using props.

I do basic training (recall, stick and target) with all of my birds and I feel like that should be pretty standard, and definitely will be doing that with my grey. I don't really consider those tricks at all.


I'm not sure why we would have a bird spin in a circle if it wasn't a "trick." There's really no other purpose to them waving or spinning or rolling or anything like that other than our own entertainment. So no, I wouldn't say that trick training with props is any more tacky than having a bird wave it's hand or chase a stick. They're both party tricks, one just builds off the principles of the other, including props. The basis of all the prop tricks are what you call basic training, so I don't see the difference personally. I'd say its kind of splitting hairs to call one dignified and the other tacky.
 
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Lullx

Lullx

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I'm not calling either tacky! I'm just saying that for me personally there is a difference between what I consider essential training and what's extra (spinning in a circle falls under the latter category). I will be doing basic training regardless with my grey and had already planned that. I'm just asking for opinions (mostly from other grey owners) on using props like this, if it's seen as a gimmick or if it's truly beneficial. From my understanding, greys and other old world birds react differently to things than new world parrots do. I have zero experience with greys right now and just want some idea of what I should do, based on recommendations from others who have done what I'm considering; prop training.
 

Puck

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I'm not calling either tacky! I'm just saying that for me personally there is a difference between what I consider essential training and what's extra (spinning in a circle falls under the latter category). I will be doing basic training regardless with my grey and had already planned that. I'm just asking for opinions (mostly from other grey owners) on using props like this, if it's seen as a gimmick or if it's truly beneficial. From my understanding, greys and other old world birds react differently to things than new world parrots do. I have zero experience with greys right now and just want some idea of what I should do, based on recommendations from others who have done what I'm considering; prop training.

Hey I'm sorry, I really didn't mean to offend you. You just said that the thread was meant for all parrot types and were asking if people thought trick training was tacky and would be seen in a bad way as a party trick or was hilarious and fun. I have always heard of target training listed as trick training and assumed it was included when you said "trick or prop training." Then when you said you weren't referring to that I simply stated that I didn't think prop training was tacky either--I was only using that particular word because it was literally what you asked. And I was only replying as a non-grey owner because you said the question was open to everyone. Again, I am sorry if I offended you--I was just trying to answer the question with what I think, as asked in the original post. :)

Edit: And as for trick training on greys, I would consider what Alex does to be a form of prop training. So I expect that they would take to it well if the time is put in! But like you I don't own a grey myself--again, sorry if my posts somehow offended you. I won't post on the thread again since I have a Quaker not a grey.
 
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Lullx

Lullx

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I'm a bit sick today so my head is cloudy and am sorry if I came off as defensive.
I can't edit the title of this thread anymore ):

I'm still new to the terms that most of the parrot community uses and have had a few mix-ups like this as a result.

I do mean to ask for input mostly on prop training. I like to speak to people and hear their anecdotes versus just looking it up online. When I was younger I thought that teaching a bird circus tricks like riding a bicycle (have you seen that?!) was hilarious but a little tacky, but as I've learned more about birds, and then started raising them myself, I started to become more genuinely interested in it, and am curious as to how larger parrot owners view all of that.

I'd rather be told straight up that it's a bad idea before I invest in something useless and possibly upset my new companion, you know?
Or better yet, if someone happens to be able to recommend even better training props.
Galahs in the same size category as greys ;)

Please chalk this up to an unfortunate combination of sick-head and anxiety over bringing such a challenging creature into my life. I reread both of our posts and realize how icky I sounded towards you. I misunderstood what you meant.
 
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Lullx

Lullx

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And I saw you edited your first post after I submitted my previous one! (I'm very out of it, sorry again)

I was looking at the basketball hoops because they just look so cute, and that seems like something I can easily turn into a game for my smaller guys to play together, and for my grey to play a larger version with me.

I constantly get sent videos by well-meaning family and friends of parrots doing cute party tricks, and it makes me a little uneasy. I worry that I'd be contributing to the problem of people wanting parrots because they can talk or do tricks. Then they get in over their heads and the bird ends up in a shelter or rehomed several times because the poor thing wasn't given a proper chance.

I guess that's why I'm asking for opinions on this. I'll have to put disclaimers on any videos I post of my little one using one of his props or doing a fancy trick.
 

Puck

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I understand--my allergies have my head in the clouds too! That is a very interesting point about people buying parrots because they think they can do tricks, and I agree that having such awesome looking birds out there can contribute to bad buying choices--I had just never thought about it in relation to tricks! I know many people aren't a fan of Jamieleigh and Dave Womach, but I did read all of Jamieleigh's posts on galahs when deciding if I wanted one and was happy that she pointed out birds do not come like Bandit and Bondi (their galahs) and that it takes tons of training and work so if you just want a Bondi, don't bother getting a bird--they don't come totally trusting and eager to do tricks! I think that was a great thing to put on her post and would definitely be a good disclaimer on any videos of trick training. I am interested in hearing what other people think about prop training, too!
 
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Lullx

Lullx

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I'm going to make a habit of writing up rough drafts of my big posts like this so I don't leave anything out. The "advertising" of bird abilities is a very important aspect for me, and I'm kicking myself for not including that in my original post. Would have saved us both a lot of headache I bet. It just totally slipped my mind while I was typing this all up.

I'm thinking that I will get some props for the grey, and hopefully some that my conures can maybe use as well. I really like the shape puzzles, and did buy a little chime baby piano that the conures have been using a little (which was originally purchased for the grey).

I'm active on Instagram, and follow a woman who has three macaws (two are hyacinths!) and a CAG. She uses a few props with her babies (one hyacinth and her harlequin macaw were recently weaned and just came home with her several weeks ago). She posted a few videos of them on a poly skateboard, and one of those cute parrot basketball sets, and that got me really thinking about prop training. I didn't even realize the piano I bought would be considered a prop!

I guess I'm just a little paranoid about being seen as using my birds for attention, or as I stated previously, contributing to that unfortunate "advertising". I really am too anxious about all of this. I know everything will be fine once little one is home with me, but this uncertainty is weighing heavily on me.

I post about my flock on Facebook and IG, and am sure to mention frequently how difficult they are to raise properly. I try to give everyone a realistic look at what it's like to live with birds. I'm actually friends on FB with the woman I rescued Phaedrus from, and she comments sometimes on how amazed she is with his progress and how happy she is that I took him.

I need to do what's best for my birds, and I think prop and trick training will be included in that.
 

Doublete

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I'm going to say this as my head just said it (don't get offended)

Dude. They're your birds. Spend the time with them and love them. If that means you do tricks and teach them to play a violin then fine. You aren't harming them and they are happy as are you.

We wouldn't spend so much darn money on these silly feathered creatures if we didn't want companionship and entertainment too!

Just like some people have farm dogs that are simply well behaved and companions, while others that are completely trained to herd the sheep. To each their own.
Do what makes YOU happy. In this case it is only enrichment for them not harmful.
 

Hawk

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Re: Prop Training - Yea or Nay? (All parrot species welcome!)

I'm trying to put together a loose game-plan for training my baby CAG after he gets properly used to being home and the like (coming home in late June/July). I know that they love structure and a set schedule, but since he isn't home yet, I'm just trying to draw up a rough draft right now, and will later alter it to fit his individual personality.

I was wondering what other grey owners (TAGs as well!) thought of trick and prop training? Of course I'd love to hear about other species working with props, too!

Do greys seem to thrive with and enjoy prop training? I know it's always up to the individual bird, but I mean in a general sense. I'm aware of how smart they are, but is prop training... Insulting? Tacky? Do they think it's hilarious and fun? I'm worried largely about "advertising" any tricks my grey can do, and making people want one for the wrong reasons.

I don't mean to turn my beloved into a party trick, but I'm trying to figure out the best way to keep him engaged and challenged and having fun! I also know that training is obviously a great way to bond.
I want my baby to be confident and given the opportunity to reach his full potential. I'd imagine that prop training will help with his coordination and reasoning skills.
...And of course it would be a nice bonus to be able to show off my smarty pants to family and friends. But I want to do this strictly for the potential benefit of my little one.

I randomly came across some bird skates while I was searching for something completely unrelated (funny how that works, huh?), and I laughed so hard and thought it would be hilarious to teach my grey to skate (especially because I'm very uncoordinated myself and never really got the hang of roller skates).

So I looked around a bit and found a site that sells a few different trick props.

So what's your opinion on prop training greys? Good idea, or... not so much?
If you personally prop train, what are your greys' favorite prop(s)? Any you'd advise me against?

I don't see why not....My Grey has his own scooter....a skate board I found in a thrift store and put a small perch on it with a small rope loop e can hang onto with his beak. put a rope on front and pull him around the house on his scooter....he now likes it after quite a few trys... and now even goes "beep beep" when riding around on it. My wife and I laugh our heads off and gets him laughing as well.....I get some time I got to get this on video. Hilarious as heck.

Greys like to figure things out, to be challenged. Like I place a peanut in this little box where he has to turn the handle jus right to get it lined up before it will open and he can get the peanut. Greys are very smart and love challenging toys and tasks....they love to please you...but most of all they think...what's in it for me....If your creative, there is no limit to what you can each a grey or any bird for that matter.

I taught a major Mitchell ( leadbeater cockatoo) how to open the cupboard get the peanut butter, then get the loaf of bread to make her a treat. I used to say let's watch TV and she'd go get the remote and bring it back to me.
 
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Lullx

Lullx

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Re: Prop Training - Yea or Nay? (All parrot species welcome!)

That makes me feel a lot better, thank you both.

I know I worry too much, but I do have a lot of people without parrot experience who follow everything I post and share. I want to use my powers for good!

I saw a little kid skateboard at this shop called "Five Below", where everything is $5 or less. I They have a lot of toys and gamed there and it's pretty neat. I'm not sure if it's just regional or a national thing, but if you have one in your area, I recommend checking it out!
I was thinking of getting the skateboard and somehow attaching a perch, or just letting him learn to push it himself because it's very low to the ground.

I don't know why I'm worried about my loves becoming a gimmick. It's the same as teaching a kid to ride a bike and solve puzzles... I need to drink more tea and relax some.
I really am just so excited and nervous about my little one coming home. The anticipation has been building quickly and I feel like I'm going to explode. I'm so overwhelmed haha
 
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Lullx

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Re: Prop Training - Yea or Nay? (All parrot species welcome!)

Seriously go check it out! I'm sad I didn't get anything last time I went, but there were a ton of people and my anxiety got the best of me and I didn't want to go to the register, so I put the few things I grabbed back ):

I raise birds because they help with my anxiety and depression, but this in-between time is really hard on me.

The trick and prop training will be for my benefit as well as for the birds. Keeping busy with something fun and interesting like that is really great for my health.

I'm actually planning a trip to the shopping district here to pick up toy supplies and whatnot. Definitely going back to Five Below and some craft stores, as well as the dollar store.
I should be able to get a bunch of fun stuff this coming week for cheap since Easter will have just ended.
 

Kyoto

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I find the days I don't do a lot of trick training, Kyo is way less happy (aka more prone to bite). She really enjoys the mental stimulation!
 

Hawk

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Re: Prop Training - Yea or Nay? (All parrot species welcome!)

That makes me feel a lot better, thank you both.

I know I worry too much, but I do have a lot of people without parrot experience who follow everything I post and share. I want to use my powers for good!

I saw a little kid skateboard at this shop called "Five Below", where everything is $5 or less. I They have a lot of toys and gamed there and it's pretty neat. I'm not sure if it's just regional or a national thing, but if you have one in your area, I recommend checking it out!
I was thinking of getting the skateboard and somehow attaching a perch, or just letting him learn to push it himself because it's very low to the ground.

I don't know why I'm worried about my loves becoming a gimmick. It's the same as teaching a kid to ride a bike and solve puzzles... I need to drink more tea and relax some.
I really am just so excited and nervous about my little one coming home. The anticipation has been building quickly and I feel like I'm going to explode. I'm so overwhelmed haha

ha ha ha....Are we Excited???? More tea please !
 

Delfin

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I do trick training because it's a really awesome way to interact with my birds. And I teach other tricks to stop my birds being bored. It's not about the tricks, it's all about the interactions.
I thinks Pucks first post said it all
 

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