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2016-June Blog

  June 23, 2016 - Day 4 - J - Target Training.

The youtube attached is compilation of yesterday and today training sessions with J. (Yeah, there is a grammar mistake in the video, I am not a movie maker.) 
My point of this video is to show I have had this bird for 4 days and watch how quickly positive training/clicker training works. 
The first clip of the video shows the first day I met J. The rest is my work with J. I will continue to show these videos because i practice what I preach and the proof is there. I am no bird whisper, there is no force, this is pure communication and watching behavior (and having a good training plan).
Again, I have a ways to go, but this is a great step forward.

 June 20, 2016 - Day 2 - J -  Start with Target Training.

To start my first training session, I prepare for by having sunflower seeds in my back pocket.
J has not had sunflowers all day today (I pulled the sunflowers out of the bowl yesterday to 
see if the sunflower seeds could be used as a reinforcer). I have my home-made target stick.
Where do I start:
I am standing at a distance that J feels comfortable. (I would say I am about 3 feet away).
In the youtube, I am about three feet away from the cage. I show the target stick at 3 feet (
I move the stick slowly up).  When I see that J notices the stick and he stays calm.
When he is calm, I say 'Good' (a bridge) and I put a sunflower in the food bowl.
A: I Show J the Target Stick
B: J Calm behavior
C: I give J a sunflower seed

(Note: there is a possible aversive in the video. I will need to change the environment to make J more successful.)

 May 19, 2016 - Day 1 - J -  Start with Target Training.

I will say it again, when adding a bird to your family.  Everyone is always in a rush to hug or scratch the bird, but
the bird may not be ready.  You are going to have this bird hopefully for a very long time. You really need to step back and start learning your bird's behavior.  Your bird is watching your enviroment every day and is learning from it.  Without you realizing it or not, every interaction you do near, around or close approximation to your bird, you are training a behavior.  Instead of hoping for the best when having a bird, put a plan together. 

 I am currently assisting with a 22 year old Pionus with 20 plus years of un-desired behaviors. This bird has been labeled as Nuts, Aggressive, Dominate, Attacks, Terrorizes and Scary.

Now, when I hear those words, they are labels to me. They do not tell me what is the behavior.  Nuts..I think of a bowl of nuts which I doubt that is the issue with the bird.  Scary...I am thinking clowns...I do not believe the bird is wearing a clown suit.  What I need is the ABC...Antecedent - what event is happening before the behavior,  Behavior - a description of the behavior and Consequence - the event that happens after the behavior.

Videos assist in seeing the ABC:
This bird's Antecedent is people too close to the cage ( about 2 feet from the cage) -  starts the behavior
The bird's Behavior is eye's pinned (when I approach), feathers fluff (when I do not move), Wings out (Hand near the cage), beak out (touching the cage), and charge (moving my hand on the cage).
The bird's Consequence is the human leaves.

Where do I start with this bird behavior...Target training.
First step, figuring out those five favorite food.  I have placed in this bird's food bowl: Millet, Sunflower seeds,
regular bird food, pellets and blue berries.   
I step away to where the bird is comfortable with me in the room and watch.

For today. the first five items are: sunflower seeds, millet, blueberries, safflower and pellets.
The list could change tomorrow. I will keep doing this for the next couple of days(keeping a journal), and once i got those 5 items listed, I will pull those items from the daily food. These foods will go into my training tool case to be used for Target Training. (Now, if the bird is the parrot food, will start to dissect what is in the parrot).  

Remember this bird has 22 years of history of this behavior. I will not be able change the behavior over night. I need start communication and trust.  I cannot use any aversives when assisting this bird.  Aversives
could work but that process will come with negative consequences. I want me and my training to be positive for the bird. I wanted to be paired with good things.

Day 1 - Watching food items and keeping distance from the bird (to allow the bird to have calm moments).