Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Training Update 01/13/2009

I am continuing to work on getting Marnie to pay closer attention to the specific behavior I am asking for as opposed to just offering the first one she thinks of.
Doing two 10 minute sessions a day she is improving greatly, and getting the correct behavior 90% of the time. She seems to be favoring the Wave behavior at the moment, and will occasionally shift her weight as if to start the Wave, before turning.
I plan a few more days of this sharpening of skills before moving on to a new behavior.

Darwin is going through an increase in aggressive behavior around his cage at the moment, although he is still very sweet out of the cage. This increase in aggressive body language and behavior means I am going back to basics with him and working on targeting around the cage. Although I am not sure exactly why he has changed his behavior, I am determined to work through this by using positive reinforcement, at the same time as examining his environment for any differences which could have set him back. I am giving him 3 short sessions a day of targeting around the cage at the moment.

Lucha is still a little on the hormonal lovey side. In an effort to get by this I returned to working on the Taking Liquid from a Syringe behavior, which he already knows fairly well, to see if he would focus better on this than the new behavior (the Turaround).
Lucha is pretty good at this behavior and quickly targets the tip of the syringe when he sees it. However, I had gotten poor results when water was added to the syringe. So this time I thought a little more about setting him up for success. Because Lucha consumes more water than the average bird, I decided to remove water from his play gym a few hours before the planned session. Sure enough as soon as he realised that water was in the syringe he started drinking it from the tip and in essence receiving reinforcement from the water as well as the verbal and pecans. Next time I plan on doing the same, but take the water away an hour before training, with the end view of not needing to remove the water at all in a few more sessions as I will be able reinforce when he takes the water now.
I have also been thinking more about his difficulty with the Turnaround. I am wondering if part of the reason why he's slow in picking up this behavior, is that he really does not want to do it because his balance is poor. He has been a little unsteady since I have had him, and often walks using his beak first or has problems maintaining balance while climbing... and here I am asking him to turn in a circle on a perch. This hardly seems like setting him up for success.
So I think maybe the best option with Lucha is to examine the behavior from his point of view before deciding whether or not to teach it to him, and to work on something that is more focused on improving his daily life.

Lucha takes a well deserved post training session nap

This blog is turning out to be a very useful way of working through my thoughts and making sense out of them for the benefit of my birds:)

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