Saturday, January 31, 2009

Training Update 01/31/2009

Well daily life has been interfering with daily training recently. I got called back to my seasonal position with the IRS (yay money), but I work nights there, so getting back into a night schedule has been hard... that said, I have still been getting some training done with the cutest little greencheek conure in South Austin!

Darwin's recall training has come on leaps and bounds. The past week I have been concentrating on our training sessions being different distances and directions to expose him to all sorts of potential problems. Though he still does hesitate on occasion, he always comes eventually for that smooch and taste of pecan.
Today I decided to introduce new starting locations. Up until today his take off point was always the training T-stand, so today I walked around the house, putting him down on various things (spare play gym, my bed etc) and recalled him before putting him back down on yet another object. The final recall was done from Marnie's cage (Darwin loves to hang out on top of it) to my arm across the bird room and the living room with only one cue of "Darwin come here!". Needless to say he received a jackpot reinforcement of a whole pecan to take back to the cage with him.... But what happened later was even more impressive.
I have posted a picture of my birds playscape a couple of weeks ago. The chain across the top of it is well out of reach for me and Darwin likes to hang out up there... the only problem is when I need him down to put him away to open the door safely. Now since recall training started, I have always at least tried to recall him before going for the step ladder, but despite a lot of posturing and squeaking he's never taken flight... until today. I grabbed a pecan and gave the cue "Darwin come here!" only twice before down he flew! Another jackpot of a whole pecan was welcomed as he went back into his cage... I think the Jackpot from the earlier behavior was well remembered... although I'll have to be careful that he won't expect a whole pecan for every recall!

Interestingly it seems like his aggression problems in and near the cage have calmed a little since starting the recall training. Could it be that by stretching his mind and body with training, it is taking away the angry possessiveness? I'm not sure, but it is certainly positive reinforcement for me to have him a little sweeter around the cage!

Another of Darwin's favorite spots is the curtain rod... and the next place he'll need to recall from

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