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Clicker training CHOMPING

Atomiklan

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So I started clicker training Lada my female Eckie a week or so ago. I click the clicker and give her a treat almost immediately after. She sometimes does something very strange that I don't understand yet from a behavioral standpoint. She knows treats are usually coming (picking up treat box for example) and usually I can tell she is interested in getting one. Here is what she does. I'll click the clicker and then go to give her a treat, and she seems to get either hyper alert/excited, or semi aggressive. Her eyes somewhat pin and she doesn't take the treat like she normally would, ie gently take the treat and then claw it to eat it. Instead she rather rapidly and forcefully chomps through the treat letting it all fall to the ground. Seems more about destroying the treat than eating it. Shes not lunging at me to bite and there is no other obvious body language and afterwards she goes right back to normal. Can anyone explain this behavior? Is she becoming over excited or stimulated? Is she angry because she doesn't want a treat right now? Whats going on? Thanks!
 

saroj12

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interesting! Perhaps she's too excited?
 

Atomiklan

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Yeah she doesnt seem excited before hand though sometimes. Sometimes she is just sitting there like a statue. I ask her if she wants a treat. She perks up a tiny bit and watches me get the treats, but doesnt move or get overly excited. Click the clicker, eyes pin, and CHOMP!
 

WendyN

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The eye pinning is a cue to you that she will bite. (I have learned from experience.)
At that point, could you withhold the clicker and treat? As that is not the behavior sequence you would want to establish.
You are doing a great job with your birds.
 

Atomiklan

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If memory serves correctly, the eyes pin only after the click but before the treat. That to me says over excitement about getting the treat. She really doesn't get "excited" like most parrots in videos online though. She is a very odd and quiet parrot. If I withhold the treat after clicking when I see eye pinning wont that undermine the purpose of the training? Perhaps I just wait a bit longer? Click the clicker, show her the treat, hold it in view for 15 seconds or so and then slowly give it to her? Think that might be a good middle road? That way she still gets the treat and associates the clicker to reward, but it gives her a chance to calm down a bit before actually getting the treat.

I still don't feel its 100% from over excitement though. I feel like she did this behavior long before she ever associated the clicker sound with treat. The behavior feels more like the clicker instigates the CHOMPING minus the excitement. I don't know. Its weird. Let me know what you all think of the middle ground above and I will give it a try.

Other thoughts could she perhaps not want that type of treat? I usually use raw dried organic coconut chips (nothing added) and she generally LOVES these (I think its her favorite), but perhaps sometimes she doesn't want this treat?
 

Tiel Feathers

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In the past, my birds have done something similar when they either are not really into training at that time, or when they are still leary of hands, but want the treat anyway and getting it from me makes them cranky.

How is she with your hands? I would try training her at a different time of day. Also, waiting 15 seconds after the click is way to long.
 

WendyN

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When Joey does what I want him to do, I praise him, give him a treat and clicker as he it taking the treat. Perhaps give that a try.
 

Atomiklan

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I will try doing some dedicated clicker training outside the cage on a perch. I think that's how I should have been doing it from the start anyways. So far I have just been treating wherever and whenever. Perhaps outside the cage on a training stand will have more positive results. Also, maybe I should do a little more in the morning when she is hungry? That's when I like to train the finches as they are the most receptive and build trust the fastest.
 

Shinobi

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It is scientifically proven that in order for the animal to connect their behavior with the reward, the trainer must deliver the reward within 0.8 of a second. that is impossibly fast in most cases. Then as soon as you move to give the reward to the animal, your animal will most likely refocus on you, which will delay or even completely jeopardize the training, because now the animal is being rewarded for focusing on you and not for the original behavior that you were intending to reward.

But.
It is the clicker (or marker) that allows us to “mark” a specific behavior with the animal, and for our animal to take a “snapshot” of what they is doing in that moment. Once the sound of the clicker is emitted, the animal is allowed to break the position and access the reward (or the reward is delivered to him while still performing) It is a straight-forward message to the animal of what he is getting rewarded for.

If your bird is biting or lunging aggressively for the reward, then maybe instead of a food item, just use praise.

To teach targeting, the bird must first be clicker trained, this means that the birds understands that a click equals reward, the reward can be praise or a food item

Then you need to decide what to use for the target, I use a chop stick and it can’t be a hand-held perch that the bird steps up onto. The chop stick must only be used for training sessions and not for play outside the training sessions, otherwise they lose their meaning. Use T-stand to confine the bird to the area which helps it to concentrate on the chop stick. Start by holding the chop stick near the bird and Click and reward for any movement toward the chop stick. Then withhold the reward until the bird touches the chop stick, Click and reward.

Teach him to touch it with a gentle grip of the beak as birds have a tendency to open their beak to touch it. If you have a bird that is very aggressive and wants to grab the chop stick out of your hand, then you will need to hold onto the chop stick and not let him pull it out of your hand. The first time he does a gentle grab Click and reward with extra treats and praise. This is an “recognition moment ". He will should soon get the idea of the gentle grip. Once he understands that, only Click and reward for gentle grip touches.

Once the bird is reliably touching the chop stick from the perch, you can start to have him move up, down, right and left, then move the bird to the table top training area. If the bird seems nervous at first, bring the chop stick close to him to begin with. Then start moving it back a little at a time, and Click and reward for each gentle grip touch. Soon you should have him following the chop stick anywhere on the training area. This usually only takes two or three short sessions to train, but don't be discouraged if it takes longer.The benefits of teaching a bird to target with a gentle grip, is that grabbing something with his beak is natural for him.

If your bird is cage bound, then start target training in the cage. This may have to take more time, but no need to rush things. Empty the food bowl and then when you Click and reward, you simply drop the treats into the food bowl. When you are finished with your training session. refill the food bowl.

Once a cage bound or aggressive bird has learned to target, you can start teaching him to step up using the chop stick. Just don't use your arm first to step up on if there is any chance of being bitten. In training, we ALWAYS aim to avoid bites. Use a hand-held T- perch for the bird to step up on. You can either hold the clicker on the chop stick and the perch with the other hand or use a mouth click. Hold the chop stick where he will have to step onto the perch to reach the chop stick. Take your time and don't worry if you must back up. We don't want to frighten the bird. When the bird becomes better at stepping up, you can then teach behaviours away from the cage.

Targeting is just one of the tools we use in training. The important things to keep in mind about this behaviour are:

The basic idea of targeting is to have the bird follow an object to touch it.

Once he has the idea of the gentle grip only reward him for that.

Always Click and reward for every gentle grip of the chop stick.

Use “recognition moment " to help keep up his interest.

Try and end sessions on a positive note.

Have fun, keep training simple and never train if you are in a bad mood.
 

Atomiklan

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Thanks! I'll be giving a few things a try and will let everyone know how it goes.
 
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