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when training, do you wean off food rewards eventually?

ali_and_birdie

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I've recently started doing some basic target training with my 2.5-year-old caique, and I plan to teach her some tricks, since it seems like training is great enrichment for birds. I've read a few articles by Pamela Clark and others to help guide my initial training. I've been using safflower seeds as her reward. (By the way, I previously posted a thread about potty training, but given the concerns raised by folks, I've backed off that--just wanted to put that out there!).

My question is: does there come a point, when they're really good at doing a specific trick, when you no longer give a food reward? Or do you always give a food reward for a trick? All the articles/videos I've seen only talk about how to teach the trick, and obviously during the teaching period you always give a food reward when they do the desired behavior. But let's say in a month she's a total pro at a given trick -- should I continue to always give her a food reward? Or is "good girl!"/loving attention sufficient?
 

Zara

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I would still give rewards sometimes, even if not every time, just to reinforce it :)
 

dollfish

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You come to a point where you can ask for a trick randomly in the day and not treat and sometimes treat. Also during training, you can start rewarding every 2, 3, 4... tricks. And then you can eventually get into random rewarding. But birds are not like dogs. they don't want to please you so appraisal all by itself is not enough of a reinforcer for birds. Some accept toys and scritches for treats but I doubt you can go a long way without any form of food reinforcement.

In dogs, it comes from the pack instinct and the fact that there is an alpha that you do want the appraisal of. Birds don't have this social hierarchy.
 

ParrotNuts

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:agreed: ,I randomly reward my ysgcc for his waves now. And I'll hopefully do the same for recall (he started recall-training recently :)
 

JLcribber

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The reward is the prize. Not much motivation to do anything without some kind of reward.
 
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