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Training causing aggression?

Discussion in 'The Training Court' started by Parakeet88, 3/5/18.

  1. Parakeet88

    Parakeet88 Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month

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    Recently I've restarted working on training my GCC Ben. I have absolutely no training experience whatsoever, I have done a good deal of research on it. When I first got him (in August) I started target training with a stick. He got really aggressive with the stick so I decided to give it a break and work more on our relationship rather than real training. I got the stick back out today and he's not as bad but he still gets really aggressive with it, and he gets worse and worse as we continue. When he gets really bad I put everything down and sit on the couch until he seems to calm down but it doesn't last very long.

    He has no problem going after the stick even when there's not a treat involved so I don't know if he's "trained" or if he just really wants to bite the stick. I started trying to get him to turn around, he picked it up fairly quickly but the aggressiveness is still an issue. Sometimes he gets so crazy he'll bite my fingers as I'm offering the treat. I feel like I'm not training him, he's not learning, he just wants to bite the stick and then I happen to give him a treat when he does.

    He's not normally very aggressive and doesn't really bite unless I miss a warning sign (and I'm still working on that too). I think having the treats around is what makes him crazy even though I don't reward him for being aggressive or biting. He gets so obsessed with the treats that he just goes crazy.

    I don't know how to get him to stay calm, or how to train him in a way that won't cause this aggression. I want to train him for his mental health and to strengthen our bond, I don't need him to do anything fancy, I don't really care if he learns any tricks at all, I just thought training was supposed to be part of a healthy birds life.

    Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. Tiel Feathers

    Tiel Feathers Cruising the avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Maybe try not using a stick? Does he ever bite you? If not, you can try targeting with your finger, or another object. Are you using a clicker? You want him to associate the sound with the treat, not the object with the treat. Maybe start over with simple clicks and treats. Keeping your training sessions very short so he doesn’t start getting all excited might help.
     
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  3. Parakeet88

    Parakeet88 Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month

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    I haven't tried with my finger yet but I think he'd bite it. What other objects should I try? I have a feeling he'll bite any of them but I'll give some others a shot. Target training seemed like it would be a good base, so that's why I started with it but I could try some other tricks too that don't involve a stick.

    I have a clicker but it's difficult to hold the stick, the clicker, and get the treat to him quickly, I don't know how you guys do it lol I'm not super serious about making him learn tricks I just always read that training was good for them and I was hoping he'd like it.

    So far sessions have been really short, probably around 2 minutes at a time before I have to let him cool down. He does have a lot of energy, maybe that contributes to his aggression? Similar to kids who go crazy in school? I don't know, I'll go back to the clicker/ treat routine and see how that goes. Thanks!
     
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  4. Tiel Feathers

    Tiel Feathers Cruising the avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    You could use just about anything, I just wasn’t sure if the stick was the cause of his biting or not. You could try something else like a metal letter opener or something along those lines. I also think target training is a good place to start. You don’t have to use a clicker. I have said the word “good” before, just make sure you say whatever word you use the same exact way every time. Alternately I have trained a bird by just acting super happy and excited, but I’m not sure that would work with Ben. Hopefully going back to square one will help.
     
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  5. Milo

    Milo Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    If he's biting I would not offer a finger to train with.

    This is a really common issue with target training, if that helps. It sounds like he knows that he should bite or touch the stick in order to get a treat, what you need to do now is shape the behavior into something you want. Only click and reward him when he touches the stick as opposed to full on biting it.

    If you are using clicker training, taking a little longer to get the treat to him is okay, as long as he recognizes the clicker is his YES indicator. Timing is everything with clicker training. You're using the sound to mark the behavior, not the treats.
     
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  6. Monica

    Monica Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    One - a bird does not need to touch a target in order to be target trained

    Two - any object could be used as a target - a long stick is often used as it helps to keep beak away from hands and it's generally not all that interesting. A toy, empty pen case, knitting needle, chopstick - all possible targets. Step up training, when done correctly, is a form of target training.

    Three - you do not need to physically give your bird a treat in order to reward them. You could offer the treat at their feet, just out of reach, in a cup, or on a spoon.


    Can you get a video of a training session by any chance?
     
  7. Parakeet88

    Parakeet88 Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month

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    I've been using a chopstick. I know I don't have to give him the treat from my fingers but normally (when we're not training) he doesn't bite me. That's why I asked the question, I want to know why training bothers him so much. I never see him more angry/ aggressive than when we're training. I'll try some of these suggestions but I'd love to get to the root of the issue.

    I can try getting a video but I live alone so I'd have to find a way to prop my phone up since I don't have anyone to hold it.
     
    Last edited: 3/16/18
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  8. Quaker Carl

    Quaker Carl Meeting neighbors

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    Where do you train him? He could show agression if he is near his cage. It helps taking them to a neutral area, a different room than their cage is in. You could also stop the session if he bites. He will learn that means 0 treats x
     
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  9. Parakeet88

    Parakeet88 Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month

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    I do usually train him near his cage, the only other room I could use is the bathroom and I'd have to "bird proof" it before I'd bring him in there. I do stop the session when he starts getting aggressive as I don't want to reward that behavior. I give him a few minutes to cool off and try again but he only lasts maybe two minutes at most before he gets aggressive again.
     
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  10. Quaker Carl

    Quaker Carl Meeting neighbors

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    Id recomend making a little training area for him in the bathroom. Its best to train away from their cage, comfort zone. You will see a difference x
     
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  11. Eloy

    Eloy Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    My advice is to only use tools that he is comfortable with. Training should be fun, not demanding or making them aggressive.
    I never do target training, I often just teach them the things I first thinks are important and then also some fun things.
    So if you want to use tools, train him to like the tools first. I can have both one or two sessions just to make my girl to accept a new tool.
    I will say that the stick you are using is from now on forbidden to train with. Just get some new tools and this time take it really slowly so he likes it/accept it/don't react to it before you train him with it.
    Some birds are sensitive, and often when they get aggressive that means that they from the beginning was afraid of it. And then you continue to train him, and give him rewards for being angry.
    So if you take one step back you will realize why this did go wrong. Only reward the behavior you want. Good Luck! :)
     
    Last edited: 3/16/18
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  12. Macawnutz

    Macawnutz Seriously Nutz! Super Administrator AA Advertising Exec Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Most often I see aggressive behavior when the bird understands and the trainer is not fast/consistent enough in reward. There is no grey area in teaching. You got it or you dont. You have to teach in a manner that allows for more perfection.

    Example

    I want my bird to put a ball in a cup. My bird does not understand "pick it up" yet.

    I ask the bird to pick it up and he touches it. I say "good" and reward. We practice and he thinks touching it is enough but I want more. Now I ask to "pick it up" and he touches it and I say "good" "pick it up". Now they are thinking, I got the "good" but where is the treat? Every time he touches it I still say "good" but repeat the cue. He knows he is right BUT something more needs to be done.

    First, get rid of the target stick and find something fun. If it is boring you get little reward. ;) Second, do you teach in a manner that allows him room to improve? Third, if they bite when receiving the reward you can A. Go backwards and teach him how to take them nice. B. Quit training and try again later. C. Try an open palm or D. Set them on the table. :)
     
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  13. Eloy

    Eloy Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    That is the best reward ever. The treat is just a bonus. I'm sure of that both mine loves to train just because of my happy reaction.
     
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  14. Eloy

    Eloy Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    That is why I don't use a clicker. And I train two birds at the same time, so I often wish that I got more hands.
     
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  15. Parakeet88

    Parakeet88 Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month

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    I try to make the training fun, I want it to be fun for both of us, I was hoping it would help strengthen our bond so it's really discouraging to have him react the way he does. Early on when I realized he didn't like the stick I put it on his play gym to let him explore it and get comfortable with it. He really couldn't have cared less about it while it was on his gym but once I pick it up he hates it. Thanks for the tips!
     
  16. Parakeet88

    Parakeet88 Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month

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    I will definitely try this. That's why I started trying to have him turn around instead of just the basic touch. I thought maybe I was going too slow for him. What I would have been missing is the "good". I'm still not positive that this is the case but now I can try it out to see if it helps.
     
  17. Monica

    Monica Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    You could also try training with him in the cage. If he attempts to attack the target through the cage bars, then stand say 10' away. Have target in one hand, treats in the other. Keep both behind you. Then slowly unhide the target and if he doesn't react, then "click" or "good", hide target, walk up and reward. Repeat. Keep doing this and get closer and closer to him. As long as he doesn't react to the target, he gets a reward.

    Once you've shaped ignoring the target, then you can try re-training him to touch the target - or at least reach for it but not touch.
     
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  18. Parakeet88

    Parakeet88 Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month

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    A lot of you are saying to get rid of the stick and I understand why but what should I do next? Should I find something else to use as a stick? Should I stop the target training completely (at least for now) and try something else? What are some good beginner tricks to work on?

    Again I'm not training to make him do a trick I just thought it was supposed to be good for his mental stimulation and to build our bond. Thanks for all the suggestions!
     
  19. Quaker Carl

    Quaker Carl Meeting neighbors

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    It is good for bonding and stimulation and a well behaved bird. Try a few days just putting the stick in the cage. When he touches it remove the stick and reward him. He might just need to learn the stick is safe and touching it means treats, a good thing. Do 2 short sessions every day for a few days and he will pick it up. Its just repetition. Make him earn the treats and dont spoil him when your not training so he learns he has to earn them. The next step would be him touching the stick outside the cage. Once he is getting good at this you can lure him further out the cage with the stick. Try a little further every day if he is progressing. Target training is a powerful tool. Once a bird learns this it opens the door to all kinds of things including flight recall. Be patient training him. The smallest thing is progress x
     
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  20. Quaker Carl

    Quaker Carl Meeting neighbors

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    Another helpful tip is remove his food on a night time. Leave his water ofcourse then do a quick session in the morning when he is hungry. You may get a more positive response from him because he will want food. Then after training put his food back in and he can enjoy his breakfast x
     
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