Friday, July 30, 2010

Clicker Training - Finally Making Progress!

I started experimenting with Clicker training both Lucy and Jessie about 2 months ago and wasn't having much luck in the beginning. At first, Lucy didn't really seem interested in training. I haven't found a treat that she loves enough to work for yet. Whenever I brought her out to do clicker training, she was more interested in just hanging out to do her own thing. Well tonight, I went back to basics with her and got her to consistently target to a stick. She wouldn't take any treats. It seems like the attention and praise is enough for her.

With Jessie, I don't have a problem getting his attention at all and he'll take just about anything for a treat ... so finding motivation wasn't struggle. The struggle I've had with him is he is a very typical Senegal parrot and he is very phobic of anything new. I tried for weeks to desensitize him to a stick so we could start targeting and time after time he would become phobic and start biting. Not easy to clicker train with a phobic bird showing aggression. Again, I took a few steps back tonight and started by simply showing him the stick. For the first few minutes he would just puff up, which is his sign that he's not happy. After showing it to him a few times he didn't react, so I clicked and rewarded him with a treat. After we had success with that, I started moving it closer. When he didn't react, I clicked and he got a treat. After about 10 minutes, I had him touching the stick without showing fear or aggression.

Sometimes we want something to work that we try to push our feathered friends too far too fast. I'm happy with tonight's progress. I'm home with the birds all day tomorrow by myself, so I'll be sure to do several more training sessions with them tomorrow. Hopefully this is the beginning of something fun for all three of us :)

Time to put Lucy and Jessie to bed. They're both grinding their beaks and making their 'night night' noises.

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