Thursday, January 15, 2009

Training Update 01/15/09

Things have been going well on the training front in my flock :)

Marnie has had two sessions learning "Shake" and had gotten the hang of it quickly.
I started off by offering my right index finger pointed at her left leg at a 45 degree angle and gave the cue "Shake". I bridged and rewarded her first for lifting the leg
Then for touching her foot to my finger
Then for touching the base of her foot on top of my finger
Then for touching it a little longer
Then wrapping her toes around it slightly
Then for wrapping them all the way around.
The last approximation we worked on today was holding onto my finger for 10 seconds.
Tomorrow I plan to work on holding on to my finger while I move it up and down.

Lucha is now willing to drink almost a whole 1 cc of water before looking for his reinforcer. Tomorrow I plan to start on training him to crate up. While he is okay with me putting him into the crate. It would be great to be able to train him to walk in on his own.

Darwin was in a very friendly mood today and stepped up from his door perch quickly so I decided to start recall training with huge success. I put him on the training T-stand and used chopped pecans as his reinforcer (my birds are really into pecans at the moment). The closest approximation he already new was step up.
I first held my finger a few inches from him, about an inch above his feet, held the pecan behind my hand and gave the cue "come here". He stepped up immediately and I bridged and reinforced him. I repeated the same distance and cue, and again immediately bridged and reinforced him.
I then moved my finger another inch away and each time he stretched out on the cue "come here". I increased the distance slowly till I was 6 inches away and then the big test came. He could no longer reach out with a foot or beak to get to me. He would have to fly. For extra encouragement I showed him the whole pecan and he ran up and down the T-stand a few times, squeeking as he does when he wants something, he also bobbed up and down and opened his wings slightly. After a minute of trying to work it out he flew to my wrist, I bridged and gave him a jackpot of a big bite out of the pecan and returned him to the T-stand. Again I offered my finger and the cue "Come here", this time there was less hesitation and again he landed on my wrist. From this I deduced that he preferred my arm as a landing spot, maybe because it's a broader platform? So I stopped offering the finger and offered my arm again.
I continued approximations of moving my arm slightly further away from the T-stand each repetition. The final repetition was made with my arm two feet away from the perch.
On the whole I am very happy with his progress today both in his behavior around the cage and in his recall training. Tomorrow I hope to continue the recall training with further approximations regarding distance. I also hope to continue to work on his aggression around the cage.
It occurs to me that the recall training may be of aid to this as I can give him the recal cue "Come here" when he is being aggressive around his cage and I need to get in it for house keeping purposes, to remove him from the cage, without triggering an aggressive act.

Darwin hanging around

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like Darwin is doing really well with recall training! That is one of my favorite things to teach, if only because it gets everyone flying and works off plenty of steam! Plus, like you said it is useful for getting them away from the cage, or to come to you when they need to. For instance, one of my cats got in by accident and was chasing my panicking little Yo-yo, a tiel, around the room. The recall was certainly useful then, and I am glad it worked!