When researching about parrots, its always been said that when they mature, they may switch their favorite person. I have never experienced this until now. Rasta, our green-naped lorikeet has switched on me. He no longer cares for or desires my companionship. He has decided that my son is more his type of person. Which is great for my son, they run up and down together, laugh and play, whisper to one another. It’s a great relationship but what happened to our bond? Why can’t he like both of us? I don’t want to take away my son’s bond at all but I still want Rasta to interact with the whole family. I’m assuming I did something that he didn’t like and I’m being punished. It just sucks because I have no idea what I did wrong. Anyhow, I still try to interact with him although he will call my son’s name for most of the day, my son doesn’t get him until after 5pm and it would suck for him to have to wait until my son gets back in for him to come out and enjoy life. I love Rasta and will continue to attempt to work on his bond with the rest of the family when Junior Jay is not around because if he is around, Rasta only sees him.
Sunday, November 26th, 2017 I went to my very first in-person class for positive reinforcement. Overall, I would say it was a good experience. Everything that was taught wasn’t new to me as I just recently graduated from Susan Friedman’s LLA class but it was nice to do a personal, face to face session with a professional trainer as a refresher. What I learnt was so many people are working on delivering the same concept in their own way. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT is becoming more and more well-known amongst animal trainers which is absolutely GREAT!
This is definitely something I would want to conduct in the future for parrot owners so I spoke to Kristi Fleming, avian behaviorist about what I needed to do to get properly qualified to become a parrot trainer/behaviorist/consultant. I also have another trainer I work with via email who has been EXCELLENT! I feel like I’m walking in the right direction.
If you know NOTHING about positive reinforcement than I definitely recommend attending a class like this. You get a brief insight into positive/negative reinforcement, positive/negative punishment, bridging, target training, luring, shaping and a chance to hear other parrot owners’ thoughts and issues along with a professional’s opinion. There is A LOT of information out here, on the internet via blogs, Facebook groups, avian forums, YouTube etc… I am a big advocator for using them all to your advantage BUT I am also aware of all the wrong information that is being put out there. I am a part of so many of the above mentioned and honestly I hear wrong information being spit to people who ask for advice all the time. I use to try to give my two cents and correct the information but then I would get “Dogged” on so I have learned to keep my mouth shut which is SO unfortunate because the whole reason I started this blog and YouTube was to help others empower their parrots but instead I’m being silenced by “Caesar Milan” type people.
The point I’m trying to make is very little people look into taking classes like this and honestly it can only help you better your relationship with your parrot. When interacting with your parrot or when hearing advice from someone about what to do with your parrot ask yourself these two things:
“Is this trust-building or trust-destroying for our relationship?” – taken from Kristi Fleming.
Is this empowering the parrot? Am I giving the parrot a choice here or am I forcing the parrot? If the answer is yes then continue but if it is no or you have to really think about it then I would say PAUSE! Take a second and re-analyze the situation and see if there is another way to get the desire response out of your parrot which would make your answer be a yes!
I totally enjoyed doing the class, it would have been more informative for me if I didn’t already have the education behind my belt but nevertheless I know if I was clueless this would definitely give me a lot to think about. It opened my eyes to realizing I still have a lot to learn regardless of my graduation of the LLA program.
I love my grey parrot.
He is BY FAR NOT perfect! However, he is mine. I have had him since he was 4 months old and he has been through so much. Other pets, more kids, different jobs, lifestyle changes but one thing remains the same: My grey… Is always my grey.
Grayson is like any other grey who talks, dances (bops his head up and down to music), will show signs of aggression, doesn’t like to share, only cuddles when he wants to but I could never imagine my life without him in it. I couldn’t even imagine having a different grey because just like my kids he is forever my baby.
I’m focusing the month of November 2017 all to my grey – GRAYSON! (was suppose to be March)
I hope you find these posts entertaining, educational and above all helpful!
The month of March has been hectic – I have only been home to sleep and have to be up and out again except on weekends. Grayson is my bird, he only responds to me and with the lack of attention he has been getting – I was afraid of the outcome however as always he has shown me that I need not worry.
I want to touch on this point for a minute, “The lack of attention”. Even with him not getting as much attention as he was used to, he has not started to pluck or anything negative. I can take him out and still train with him. Sometimes we can’t give them their required amount of time but as long as you give them some time and talk to them and still show love, I am a strong believer that this is what keeps the bond from being broken completely and helps to nourish his need for attention, therefore, stopping him from even thinking of self-mutation.
Anyhow, although I’ve had Grayson for years, I still do trust-building exercises with him and I urge you to do the same with your parrots. It doesn’t have to be every day but a few times during the month would be good. I tend to read a lot by his cage with the cage door closed and then open it when I am ready to be more physical with him. One game I always enjoyed playing with Grayson was peek-a-boo, so I do try to do that for a good 3 mins once a week.
I, unfortunately, do not trust Grayson to play with the kiddies but I will set up a section on the floor and have us all sit in a circle where the kids can roll the ball to him and have him fetch it and throw it back. I look forward to this time of ball playing because it is a bonding time for me with all my kids and Grayson.
To learn more about Grayson please check out his profile page.
Grayson’s month of March (November) has officially started lol.
Week one was pretty straight forward, I just made sure my “parrids” ( get it??! Parrot kids – PARR from parrots and IDS from kids lol… My new word – I’m going to have to start an index if I keep this up.) knew everything they needed to and were ready to start the The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots
Chapter 4 is called “Taming and Training”. He covers the different type of punishment and reinforcement terms he will be using. He has sections on Motivation, Food Management, Clicker Conditioning, Target Training, Step up, Touch/Grab, Towelling and Turning on Back. I refused to look at Chapter 5 until I spent at least 2 weeks in Chapter four. I also want to say before doing all of this it is important to have done some trust building exercises because I feel that makes or breaks your relationship with your parrots.
Day one (Saturday November 5):
Today, I weighed and monitored my parrids making sure I watched how much they ate in a serving, how much they didn’t eat etc. I implemented the first two sections: Motivation and food management. I did absolutely no training with them as I wanted to follow the book as close as possible and not fall back into my old habits of training. So a pretty boring day.
Day Two (Sunday November 6):
Today was clicker conditioning day, making sure all my parrids especially my focus subjects knew what a clicker was. I took them out in the morning, did 10 minutes of clicker training and then put them back in their cages for them to enjoy their breakfast. I did a second training session in the evening before bed. All the parrids already knew the clicker but some became stronger trainees after this. Maybe it is just my mind playing tricks on me but I think by spending the time to really make them understand what a clicker’s purpose is, did in fact help me with training Marlee. Everyone else I didn’t see a difference as they were properly introduced to the clicker. I think with Marlee, I must have missed a step because I believe she never truly understood the sound of the clicker. Also with Ringo, (Even though he isn’t part of the focus subjects) I was still using the clicker far away from him as he was afraid of the sound, I now can use the clicker right by him. So call me crazy but I think by really taking the time to introduce the clicker versus just starting to train with it, makes a difference. Check out the video below of how to properly clicker train your parrot which can technically work for any animal that can be trained.
Day Three and day four (Monday November 7 & Tuesday November 8):
Today was target training day, my parrids also already know target training so it was another easy task for me to do. I did two 10 minute sessions a day. Day three I focused on doing target training inside of the cage. Day four was target training outside the cage. All parrots were very successful as expected. For those who don’t know what target training is. It is a “Chopstick”, clicker and a treat. You put the stick some where, the parrot moves towards it and touches it, you click and give the treat. If your parrot doesn’t know target training, you put the stick right in front of them and wait until they touch it. Do that a few times and slowly move the stick further and further out of their reach until they have to actually move to touch it.
Day Five and day six (Wednesday November 9 and Thursday November 10):
“Step up”, “Step up”, “Step up”. I tried to follow all his instructions but I have to admit for the parrots that already knew step up, I had to kind of just go over my previous step up sessions. What he says in the book makes sense though because there are times that I go to step up a parrot and it moves away from me. He recommends to teach your parrots to step up by targeting – I think that’s a great idea however I was having a difficult time with it. I did what worked for me and all my parrots were successful except… I found that Marlee is actually afraid of hands so I had to revert back to trust building exercises and target training her inside of her cage. Piper is afraid of perches, so I slowly been introducing him to different perches. I couldn’t do step up by targeting so I taught step up the only way I know how by simply asking the parrot to step up on different perches.
Day 7 (Friday November 11):
I read over the sections of touch/grab, towelling and turning on back. I was already familiar with towelling as it is something I do every now and then with Grayson, my african grey. The touch/grab method is going to need more time for me to grasp the concept and the turning on back, some of my parrids already do however it wasn’t taught to them as he describes it so I will also have to work with them on this. Basically my training session on Friday was simply just going over target training and stepping up. This concluded my 1st week of trying to train my parrids off of The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots
Conclusion: So far, so good. He covers the basics which is important to be successful in the training process and he is teaching things that will help with the basics that parrots are exposed to such as vet visits, grooming etc… If you teach your parrot towelling that eliminates the fear of when the vet wraps them in a towel. If you teach touch/grab that eliminates the fear of when they have to be grabbed out of their carrier and held for the vet. If you teach turning on back, that eliminates the stress of when the vet is checking them out and grooming them. Step up helps you be able to transport your parrot whenever you want. Target training is just a basic method needed to continue the training process in my eyes anyways. Clicker training is the perfect “bridge” to let a parrot know they did an excellent job and will be rewarded for it.
Day 8 ( Saturday November 12) – Day 14 (Friday November 18):
This week I continued doing target training in and out of the cage. I continued teaching step up however not by the book standards but by my way of teaching it, getting them used to hands and different perches. I really focused on trying to teach touch/grab, towelling and turning on back however I only got to do touch/grab and even that I didn’t finish. Hovering your hand over a parrot’s head is something that we are taught from the very beginning not to do, as it is like a predator for them but this is exactly what touch/grab is telling you to do. I was able to touch some of the parrids but Piper and Marlee are not that strong in stepping up with different perches and especially Marlee who doesn’t like hands – I didn’t even bother to attempt this with them. So the only test subject that was exposed to this was Grayson and I’m now really close with my hand over him however I started off really far away but I’m still not touching him. I also did this with Nyx, my black-capped conure who I can touch on her head and back with my hand hovering over her. He does tell you in the book that these methods are taming methods and may take a while before you are able to reap the benefits so as of Saturday November 19, I will be reading chapter 5 and moving on while continuing to work on “taming” my parrids more.
Update (Thursday November 30th, 2017: This was started November of 2016 and then I had stopped implementing it well I started this process all over and I can hover my hand over Piper and Purrain (irn) but did a good distance away. Towelling, I might try teaching it the way I taught it to Grayson as The Wizard’s way seems as though it would take longer. Turning on back – I am only able to do with Nyx (even though she is not one of the test subjects.)
So I found the Parrot Wizard on YouTube and absolutely fell in LOVE with his two parrots, mostly his Senegal as he was displayed more often. Anyhow he apparently tamed a re-home macaw in 6 months, that’s what really caught my attention. I decided to buy his book – The Parrot Wizard’s Guide to Well-Behaved Parrots. I haven’t finished reading it completely however I have decided to put him to the test. There are things in there that I don’t agree with however just like parents of kids have different views and opinions on raising kids, I feel the same thing applies when raising parrots.
Whether I agree with him or not the end results still speak for themselves, he has two very well-trained (behaved) parrots that all of us dream of having. I consider most of my parrots to be well-behaved however let me be honest there are times that they make me want to jump off a cliff hahaha or at least make me question if they have a split personality. So what I decided to do is take 3 out of 7 of my parrots to follow his book instructions to the tee.
In the first chapter he talks about getting a parrot, I feel he spends a lot of time trying to tell people not to get a parrot although he claims otherwise. If I wasn’t already a parrot owner, I would have been turned off of owning one. With that being said though, he isn’t wrong in his description of how much work owning a parrot is. He also talks about getting as much information as you can on that specific species – I’m TOTALLY an advocate for getting a book on the bird you have or want. I so agree! Number One recommendation!!!! So there is nothing I need to implement from chapter one as I already have a parrot, I have a book on the parrot and I have brought my parrot to the vet, so health check – DONE!
Let’s move on to chapter two. In this chapter he talks about your living arrangements. All hazardous items have already been removed from my household, each parrot has its own cage with the correct bar spacing. I have the list of things he requires and all my parrots have perches and toys. The transition from carrier to cage was different for all my parrots however it’s already been done so moving on…. Chapter two – DONE!!
Chapter 3 is called early interactions, he briefly covers trust building (which I do agree is the Number one thing needed in order to have a great relationship with your parrot – this is what my e-book will be about). This chapter also includes desensitization methods, nutrition, treats and sleep. Okay, so I already have my parrots on a healthy diet, I know their treats and although he recommends 12 -14 hours of sleep – my parrots are getting 10 – 12 hours so I still think that is good. As for desensitization – I believe this area is an ongoing section, as you will always be trying to desensitize your parrots to things. In regards to not being afraid of you, yes I got that down so chapter three – DONE!!
Chapter 4 is where I am going to start putting his methods to the test. This is his taming and training chapter. He discusses positive reinforcement, motivation, food management, clicker conditioning, target training, step up, touch/grab, towelling and turning on back.
So I have elected 3 parrots to do his methods: Grayson, piper and Marlee. I choose these 3 because they are the most different in behavior right now.
Grayson has already been trained but I will be going back to the basics and seeing how he reacts to each of the Parrot Wizard’s methods. Maybe I can improve his training, who knows. **UPDATE** Grayson will be trained using Birdtricks methods!!
Piper loves to train but likes to be in control so we’ll see if he will change under these circumstances.
Marlee is the newest one to the flock. She has learned to step up and started showing that she gets potty training but I haven’t done much more with her than that. **UPDATE** Marlee has been rehomed and is doing great in her new home
I will do reviews on their weekly progress. Today, Saturday November 5th, 2016 is our first day….
**UPDATE** This training will still be done on Piper and I will be using one of our newest members a Black Lory