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Harness training a Quaker

Discussion in 'Quaker Causeway' started by Fri, 6/6/19.

  1. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    In this thread I will be documenting my training with my Quaker parrot. I've only had her for a little over a month and she was rescued from a neglected home. Her name is Friday. I don't know how old she is, her last owner had her for 6 years, but they didn't buy her, she flew into the house so no one knows exactly how old she is. Anyways, enough with the backstory!
    As I document the training, I would love any and all advice that I can get! This is my very first bird so I want to know if I am doing things right.

    Day 1:
    Got the Leathers4Feathers harness in the mail, let her taste it and play with the buckle and metal parts. I used sunflower seeds to get her to poke her head into the hole of the harness. Almost got her head through it a few times using treats and trying to lay it on her head. I set it next to her, let her play with it a little. She tolerated it being rubbed on her face when I was giving her scritches and she was fine with it being laid on her back. She only bit at it a few times, I think I was just moving my hands too fast. We tried to do a few more sessions but after some time she just wasn't feeling it anymore, no matter if it was a sunflower seed, an almond, or a walnut. So we stopped training for the day and just hung out together, with a lot of scritches before bed. I feel like it was a pretty good start!
     
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  2. Zara

    Zara Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! POSTAHOLIC

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    Maybe this will help you?...
    Best of luck! :)

     
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  3. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    Thank you for the vid! I was only able to watch a little during my lunch break but I'll try to find some free time to watch it!

    Day 2:
    Training was about the same, we played with the harness, she stuck her head in it a few times. Eventually I managed to get the head loop on her through enough cuddling. She panicked a little, just backing up and biting it. She calmed down a little after a few seconds, so I quickly took it off and rewarded her. When I let her near it again, she acted like that never happened and just picked at the metal bits. The second session was better, mainly just because she seemed to know that she had to put her head through to get a treat. She popped her head in for a longer period and further in as well! I'm hoping that by the end of this month I can get her harness trained!
     
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  4. Fuzzy

    Fuzzy Rollerblading along the road Moderator Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    Sounds like you are doing well, Fri! I would just like to add, keep training sessions very short. Lots of short sessions through the day are much better than one long one, as you get more repetition. End the session way before she gets full up and also end on a successful step. That way she will look forward to the next session. Don't be tempted to go too far too fast. Loving all the reinforcers you are using - treats, scritches and cuddles!
     
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  5. Rain Bow

    Rain Bow Rollerblading along the road

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    Welcome! Congrats on your fid!

    I'm really glad to hear you're taking your time getting her used to the harness. I don't have anything to add, I just wanted to say :hi:
     
  6. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    Thank ya'll for the kind words! I gotta say it's hard to keep the training sessions short when it feels like she wants to keep going lol. Any recommened time limit I should set? I'm still finding it hard when she wants to end the session, I haven't quite figured out the right signals yet.

    Day 3:
    Today was more of just a practice to get something in rather than progression. I was busy for most of the day, preparing for a weekend trip. But an hour before bed, we got some training in, she is getting better everyday! She tried to grab the harness and get around it to the treat, probably trying to take the easy way out lol. She would put her head in the hole easily and even leave it in there for a second, I was able to get her head in all the way down to her shoulders at one point! I have to hold the neck hole open so she won't be nervous about it rubbing her face, so I tried it a few times without holding it, she was a little more hesitant but still stuck her head through! She got a little frustrated at the end so I had her stick her head through one more time and ended it. Gave her a couple of extra sunflower seeds and we experimented with a spinach leaf, she used to hate them but it seems like she can tolerate the veggie lol
     
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  7. Rain Bow

    Rain Bow Rollerblading along the road

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    Short to me is 5-10 minutes max. Reading her signals is important in this situation. If it was me the minute I saw frustration I'd shut the session down. You don't want her to get angry @ the harness. Birds are forgiving in my opinion, but getting angry @ an any item, they don't seem to forget & often don't get over.

    I would love to do this w/ Buddy, but there are a ton of Hawks & eagles around where I live. I'm too afraid he'd get hurt or worse.
     
  8. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    I think most of our sessions are close to five minutes, more or less. She still seems to be interested in training, for the treats of course lol

    Day 4:
    Just did 2 small sessions today, I'll be going out of town and coming back tomorrow night, so I wanted to get a little bit in. She did really good this time, stuck her head all the way through and held it there while she tried to pry the treat from my fingers lol. I had to then take a small break to help my dad and when I came back she had mostly lost interest. Backing away a little and just going to get a drink of water. So we stopped there. Later on I tried doing another session with almonds, teaching her to keep her head inside the loop for a longer period of time. She was only half interested so we didn't do much. If I come back early enough tomorrow then I can do some more training with her, trying to keep it going every day.
     
    Last edited: 6/8/19
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  9. Rain Bow

    Rain Bow Rollerblading along the road

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    It sounds like your doing great! Remember our fids get full quick. Maybe do a little in the morning before breakfast & a little before dinner @ evening/night. You may find you'll get a little further. Have a nice trip!
     
  10. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    Sadly I work in the mornings, but I do get home around 3:30-4pm, so that gives me a bit of time before dinner, around 7-8pm, to train with her. I wasn't able to get any in on Sunday, went diving over the weekend so I was too pooped! But I got a little in today!

    Day 5:
    The first session was okay, she didn't seem too energetic so we finished quick. I watched a few harness training videos later on in the day and went out shopping for half an hour. Came back and swapped fish tanks around, drained tanks, etc. So after a looong break, we tried again. This time, instead of on top of her cage, I brought out her little PVC perch. It seemed to work better! The second session went by smoother and I kinda felt like I was starting fresh on a new perch. Going to use that from now on!
     
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  11. Rain Bow

    Rain Bow Rollerblading along the road

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    Be as consistent as possible w/ the time to train. Our fids do better when things are on a schedule. Buddy & I do something together every night too. Yes, there is an occasional hiccup where 1 of the 2 of us don't always feel like training. I :heart: 'd hearing that she wasn't in the mood so you stopped & went back to it later! It's just my opinion but if they're not feeling it & they're body language is saying ehh! To not push. But w/ anything I try to teach Buddy if I don't respect this language,
    :backout:
    he'd eat me! He's a zon & his bites hurt!

    It sounds as though you two are doing great!

    Oh my vet mentioned to not train on the cage. If you can come up w/ a better option. Since then I've learned when possible to do the recommendation. He learns better. She even suggested not in the same room as, & even in eye site of. I can't always do that, but initially it did hlp. Now I believe I've earned his respect & can do it on or off. This did take a couple of years.
     
  12. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    Day 6:
    Only did a small session today, right before she ate dinner. She seems more apt to learn before her meal lol. Using the stand has really helped I think and I try to back off when she starts preening or stretching instead of training. It lasted a few minutes before we went to watch TV together.
     
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  13. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    Day 7:
    Getting into the habit of training her before she eats dinner, works pretty well. She has improved a lot since she's been on the perch, second day on it and she is sticking her head all the way through to get to the sunflower seed. She got her beak caught a few times pulling her head back out but I just held it there and let her get herself out, she didn't panic or anything, I'm hoping it'll make her realize that the harness isn't going to strangle her or anything lol
     
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  14. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    Day 8:
    Super short session, she was a little moody today. But she still trained good! Her head slips right into the loop so now it's just keeping her head there lol
     
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  15. Rain Bow

    Rain Bow Rollerblading along the road

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    I'm sorry she had an off day & I haven't been on. I think it's always best to train when they're hungry. I'm glad that is working out well for you. @Zara may have better advise on harness training when your fid is having an off day. I'm pretty sure Adelie is harness trained.

    I've read to read your birds body language. If they're telling you they're not up to training you should respect that. Now I must admit, that there are times that Buddy will tell me he's not up to something & I push him a bit. I never ever do it w/ training. If I think he's a little off, I don't even push to train. We take the time together still but... I consider this his free day, (a call in to work). I still will spend that time together doing something he likes, singing (whistling), Mom reading to him, or we just play. He chews wood, on top of my lap, I pull the toy once in awhile. Enough to remind him I'm there & paying attention, but not enough to annoy him.

    I do know that what you're saying sounds reasonable for normal training, just not sure if there's anything different w/ harness training. I reached out to Zara by putting the @ sign in front of her name. She should be able to assust. Just so gou kniw, I may be on every day, or they're may be times when I'm MIA. I'm disabled & go thru periods when I don't feel well. I'm sorry I missed a few days.

    :gbh:
     
  16. Zara

    Zara Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! POSTAHOLIC

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    I was lucky, I introduced the harness to Sydney and he was fine with it. The process went unrealistically smooth for us.
    I did try training Adelie but she wasn´t as open as Sydney and I decided to stop until she´s older.

    So I don´t have much to contribute. Be very patient, but also, if your bird is having an off day or she´s in a bad mood, don´t try putting the harness on her.
    You are doing vey well, I´m sure you will get there in the end :)
     
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  17. Fri

    Fri Meeting neighbors

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    Day 10:
    I trained a little yesterday but it was still kinda meh so I didn't post about it. But I had a breakthrough today. I got the harness on her...Now bear with me, she did panic quite a bit. Mainly flew around and tried to get it off by biting it, but she didn't scream or get too out of control. I hadn't gotten a chance to get it clipped on her so it was just hanging around her neck. She crash landed a couple of times but I kept calming her down and making sure she wasn't getting hurt. I was able to clip it around her body and it was a little tight, but you have to cut it and glue to fit your bird. She was still on edge but I got the leash on her and went to join my mom in the family room, talking to her and acting natural so Friday would calm down. She stopped breathing as hard but you could tell she didn't really like it lol. After a few minutes I took her outside and she was suddenly distracted with the noise and wind and everything. I let her taste test a few leaves and branches, helping her stay distracted. She eventually started chirping and making her little purrs that she does when she's content. She was still snuggled close to my face while we were outside and she tried taking it off a couple of times but she seemed OK. Tried flying once but I caught her and she didn't try again lol. Took her all around the backyard, frontyard, and just some grassy areas we have around the house. Eventually I sat down in one of the backyard chairs and put her on my knee. She got distracted by a red bird on the bird feeder and a crow up in a tree. She fluffed up a few times and I scritched her for a while. We were outside for about thirty minutes I think, her panic session before that lasted maybe half that time. So I figured the more good stuff vs. bad stuff the better. When I brought her back in she went right back to trying to take it off. I was able to get a couple of pics before she undid the snap on the front and walked away from me. I put her in her cage so she could eat and drink while I adjusted the harness to better fit her. I even dangled it near her and she didn't run or snap at it or anything, she just looked at it. She took a little nap and I made breakfast for me, giving her a few sunflower seeds, pieces of almond, and walnut as a reward for today and to make her feel even better. I feel like I probably rushed it a bit today, I just wanted to get it over her head and lay it on her without he freaking out, that was my goal. Ended up getting it on her and taking her outside, so it was a big jump. My biggest fear is that I have lost some trust or the next time I try it's going to be a lot harder cause now she might be expecting the panic again.
     
    Last edited: 6/15/19 at 9:09 AM
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  18. Rain Bow

    Rain Bow Rollerblading along the road

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    I'm mentioning this in case you're not aware. If it's not fitting her properly it could've been hurting her chest area. A birds air sacks are there (cest) compared to our lungs. If this area was getting pressure on it, could've made it harder for her to breathe. If she went outside & settled down my guess she was Ok. Birds can be forgiving when we push things, just go real slow next time. Follow her lead.

    It sounded like a great mini adventure!
     

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