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Last sync:2023-01-22 09:45
Jessi shares a training session with Joy the Macaw and Ecuador the Jenday Conure (parakeet). Joy is an intermediate trainee and Ecuador is a newbie. Enjoy!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

Hi everyone.  Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  I'm Jessi and this is Joy the blue and gold macaw.  She's really excited to start our training session and that's what I want to show you today.  Training is such a fun thing to do with your animals and you can do it with any species.


Right now, she's asking to be picked up, so I'm gonna go ahead and pick her up while I talk about her.  The reason that I started formal training sessions with Joy is because we already had a pretty good relationship, but we were kind of running out of things to do and so, training is just a fun activity.  It also improves communication between us and helps her develop more confidence. 

So the first thing that I wanted to teach joy was the clicker, and she sees the clicker and she is ready to work.  See how she wanted to go right back onto that perch there?  So, what I did was I clicked and then I gave her a treat, and I repeated this until she was familiar with the noise meaning a treat is coming.  

Right now, she is offering a behavior of a wave, so she already knows waves.  Let's get you to turn around.  Here you go, and when I go like this, she waves.  Good girl, and the way I trained that was I asked her to step up so I put my arm there.  She put her foot up to step up, and then I clicked and said yes, that's the behavior I want and she went ahead and gave it to me, and it was a really easy transition to move my finger to like that and then she would wave, so that's an already established behavior, so when she wants treats, the first thing she's going to do is she's going to put her foot up and be like, hey, I'm doing the thing.

So I wanna back up just a second because I just made my first training mistake, and it's okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.  I don't want her to stick her foot in there all the time, so I don't want to click unless I asked her to wave first.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

So now that's he's stopped waving at me, I'll ask her to wave.  There she goes.  So anytime that she waves when I'm not asking for it, I'm going to ignore that behavior.  Once we've established that the clicker means a treat is coming, I introduced a target stick and it can be any stick, a chopstick works fine, this is just a willow, a little willow branch, and so you put that close to them so they get curious about it, they touch it, you click and you give them a treat, and you just do that over and over until they know that wherever the target goes, that is where they're going to move.  So you can move it up, good girl, you can move it down, and I'm just looking for a touch, any touch, and I click my clicker the moment that she touches this.  

Alright, I'm going to move it to the side a little bit.  Good girl.  See how I got her to move her body so she turned her body to get to the clicker.  I'm going to see if I can get her to turn her body even farther.  She moved towards that one.  What I'm showing you is how I taught her to do a circle.  Ready, Joy?  Here's this.  She's gonna follow it, good girl, and then come all the way over.  Nicely done.

Alright, now, this time, I'm not going to click a bridge in the middle there and give her a treat.  I'm going to have her complete the entire circle, touch at the end, nicely done.  Good girl.  You did great.  

Alright, so she has those three behaviors.  She has target, circle, and wave.  That's as far as we've gotten.  What I'd like her to be able to do is maybe do a bow.  Bow her head when I say "Take a bow!"  She put her down and so I would just use "Take a bow!" and put the clicker down there.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)

So what I'm gonna try and do this time is move it behind her and see if she'll--nice.  I'm gonna move it a little closer so she's not bending down as far.  Aw, she thought that was a circle.  Back here.  Good.  Alright, let me move right here.  Nope, she thought it was a circle again.  So we're having a little bit of communication difficulties 'cause this is a new behavior and that will happen during a training session.  

I am going to take a break.  She's getting pretty antsy and kind of hyped up with her energy, so I am going to kinda relax the session a little bit.  I'm going to ask an easy behavior, maybe a wave, and then I'm gonna give her a large treat so she can just relax.  Alright, can you wave?  Good girl!  Nicely done.  

So what I felt was happening was she was very, very food motivated and she was getting kinda--her energy was amping up and I felt like I was falling behind, like I had to keep asking her, you know, one after the other and the other, and so I wanted to slow it down, so that's what we just took a little break.   I'm going to put my target stick down so she doesn't think we're still training.  We're just gonna relax.

Alright, I felt like overall, that was a pretty good session with Joy.  I'm gonna go ahead and let her go back and I'm going to bring out a new bird who has never trained before.  And here we have, good job, buddy, Ecuador, the Jenday conure.  Are you so excited?  

They're beautiful, but they're loud.  I'm gonna go ahead and start the clicker training process.  I told you he's never been trained before so all I'm going to do is just, he's going to eat food and we're going to wait for him to finish.   I'm gonna click and give him his treat.  So what I'm doing right now is I'm pairing the clicking noise with receiving a treat, and what I'm looking for is him to respond to the clicker with something, any subtle little clue that he knows the clicker means a treat is coming.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

Ooo, did you see that? He turned his head towards my hand when he heard the clicker. Let's see if he'll do it again.  (?~6:13)  Mm.  Didn't do it that time.  There we go.  We could be getting close.  He's still pretty focused on being away from his safe space and in a new place on a new perch, so we're gonna give him a little bit more time.  I'm going to introduce the target stick and we'll see what he does.  What's that?  I'm not gonna make him do anything.  Just put it near him and see if he wants to investigate it.  You're doing a good job, Ecuador, nice job, yeah.  You're a good bird.  What is that?

Alright, so because he wasn't touching it, I clicked when he looked at it.  Good boy!  Nicely done.  You did great.  What is this in front of you?  Good!  Nice job, buddy.  So I'm giving him not just treats, but he's getting a reward with praise as well.  Training an animal for the first time might be exciting for someone who knows what the potentials are, but it could seem a little bit slow or possibly boring for someone who's never done it before.  Ooh, you almost grabbed it there.  

Good boy!  Nicely done!  Yeah!  Yeah, that was very good!  Good boy!  Did it right away.  Good job, and I almost made a mistake there.  I kept the target stick kind of close to his view and I should take it away each time. 

 (08:00) to (10:00)

Good!  Nicely done!  He's going right after it.  Alright, so, now I want to move it just a little bit so that he has to kind of reach for it.  Turn his head slightly to the side.  Good job!   If I would have done that the first time, he would have completely ignored it, so I had it in front of his face for the first couple times and now, I'm trying to get him to focus on it somewhere else.  Good job!  

Alright, let's go a little bit lower.  Nicely done!  Go even further down.  There you go, buddy, nice!  It's up here, huh?  That's strange.  Oh, that was a good try, okay.  Intention.  Next time, I won't give it to him for just intention.  Next time he has to actually touch it.  Good job!  That wasn't too much time on the same thing over and over again so we're gonna switch it up a little bit.  

Now, after you've had a training session for a while, they will start to become full.  You can call that satiated and so their motivation to do things for a food reward is going to get lower and lower and lower so you don't want your training sessions to last too long.  I just want to see if I could make any progress with a wave, like with what Joy had, and we'll start by just lowering my...let's see, I'm going to toss his little off.  Good!  Nice job!  

Alright, so see, I don't have a clicker right now.  So, I'm gonna start using the word 'good', so I'm gonna push his foot off.  Good!  Nice, look at that.  We're gonna add a cue in here.  So I'm gonna go, wave, and push his foot up.  Good!  Any time he moves his foot off my finger, he's going to get his reward.  I'm gonna wave, push his foot off.  Good!  Alright, this time, I'm going to try and move my finger completely out of the way so he holds his foot up a little bit high--longer.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

Wave. Good!  Ohh, get your foot up there.  Gonna put him closer to the end of my finger so that I can really get his foot off.  Ready?  We're going to wave.  Good boy!  Nicely done.  Look how much progress we made.  Yeah, and your foot's still on there.  You can put it down if you want.  Okay, let's try one more time.  Ready?  Wave.  Good job!  Good job!  Yay!  

Alright, I'm gonna call it quits there because we made so much progress, I don't want him to get bored or frustrating or just, you know, not do it because he's full, so good job, Ecuador.  That was his very first training session and I'm just thrilled at how cooperative he was and willing to do this with me and I'm excited to see how far we can go.  Good job, buddy.  Nicely done.  

So this was one training session with him.  It lasted about 10 minutes and that's actually kind of long for a training session.  It can be one to five minutes, usually up to about ten minutes and I can do this again as soon as he's hungry again, so I could do this again in maybe an hour, I can do it at dinner time, or I could pick it up tomorrow.   You know, you can--training sessions are really flexible.  

I hope you've enjoyed seeing me train the birds today, one that has kind of established behaviors already and a brand new trainings ession with Ecuador who did amazing.  If you have any questions, go ahead and leave them in the comments below.  Share your success stories with training all different kinds of animals, and if you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel, AnimalWondersMontana.  Thanks, and we'll see you next week.


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