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2016-July Blog

 July 22, 2016 - Why do I what I do 

So many times I try to explain to people that a bird's behavior can change but you need to understand what causes the 'Undesired Behavior". You need to put in the time, patience and correct plan to redirect or introduce a more positive behavior. Most "Undesired Behavior" can be attributed to frustration or insecurity (not all but some). 
The attached first video (in this paragraph) was J, my foster, one month ago. He was labelled aggressive and attacks (22 year old pinous with huge history of biting). Here is the video I captured a month ago before he went into foster:

I have been working with J almost every day with different goals (small approximation but very successful goals, and I let J move at his pace. I am not spending hours. Honestly about 5 minutes to start and now we might be doing 10 minute session again. I never force or move faster than J's comfort level. When I see a behavior, I work with the behavior and try to add a cue to create communication between myself and the bird.
I ALWAYS REINFORCE (ALWAYS, note the reinforcer may change or get smaller but always reinforce!).

The following video (below) is J one month later(July 22). What you are watching is I am requesting a behavior (i am not forcing myself on the bird, I am asking..requesting, and watching the body language to see if J wants to do the behavior. ) I did not train this behavior, it sort of happened by accident in an earlier event. I created a positive history.
Behavior can change, even for older birds. My job at Heart of Feathers Education is demonstrating to people that a bird's behavior can change. This is why I created this page and share videos. 
Force is for Jedis and tow-trucks.
 I give you 'Super J':
  July 14, 2016 - Capturing Behavior - Shaping J to wave

The following training video of Super 'J' is related to 'Capturing' a behavior. Capturing means the act of reinforcing a behavior that the animal is not being cued to do or has not been previously trained. The behavior serves a purpose to the bird not to the person. I noticed that J moves his foot slightly up.
Now, the purpose could be his foot is sore or maybe the behavior relates balance. I could not find any indications in the environment. What I did hear is my instructor in my head saying could I turn this behavior into a cue behavior.
Yes, I could turn this behavior into a wave (shaping). When J is just sitting on the edge of the cage, I would watch for that foot to slight move up(capture), then I reinforced with super reinforcer treat.

The video is one of the training session. If you watch the video, the behavior is becoming predictable. Now note, I am not spending hours and hours of training this behavior. I probably spend a totally of 10 minutes a day working on this behavior (setting it up, capturing, reinforcing, waiting, capture, bridging and reinforcing)

Training is a simple chore like brushing your teeth, you can find that little time and just do it. It is amazing what can be accomplished.
  July 18, 2016 - Force leads to behavior consequences -  there is always a consequence.

This is for those of you that were told, just stand in front of the cage while the bird charges the cage or flutters around the cage, until your bird gets over it (use to you). "I do it so he gets use to me." Well, there is consequences to this behavior. You are not teaching the bird anything but creating more frustration and stress. (I do not like spiders, moving a spider close to me so I can get over it, does not help me but makes me extremely stressed). 
When a certain person does this behavior of 'getting the bird use to him', guess what happens when this same person comes into the room while the bird is out of the cage.
The bird's behavior (Feathers puffed up. the pace, the wing flip) represents stress or uncomfortable situation. If this person continues this behavior, this bird's behavior will continue (the warning signals will get worse). See the youtube.
Everyone in the family needs to understand the bird's behavior. If the bird is uncomfortable when aversive or force (forcing the bird to get over the stress) is used, creates consequences that no family member is going to like. Step back and put a training plan together for all family members to do together using positive reinforcement to create calm behavior.

  July 7, 2016 - Day and a Life  of Training - J 

Instead of the secret of pets, I give the secret life of bird training. I have gotten comments about my videos being edited (that I edit my video so I must be hiding something. What I am hiding is me watching behavior and determine my next step).. I give you my 10 minute moment with my foster J. We do this just about every day (yes, my husband is always talking in the background whether I am video or not). Now, remember (per early videos) J was noted to be cage aggressive, dominate and vicious. Welcome to my 10 minutes in my household working with birds (the reinforcer is just interaction)