Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week of September 20th - Ask Big Bird?

Post your questions here or if you have an idea of something you want me to write about post it here!


1. How do you train your birds to respond to hand signals?


Anonymous said...

Several posts ago you talked about training your birds to respond to hand signals. Could you explain how you do it?


Linda Hogan said...

I have always like to train birds to respond to hand signals..My methods whether training to fly out and in a cage or moving back and forth in the show cage or to fly up to the multi-holed swing all involve moving my open palm visible to the bird in the direction I want the bird to move and repeating the exercise at least daily till they learn.

If I am training the bird to return to its cage, when I am ready for the bird to fly back, I open the door and put ample of its favorite green inside in plain sight. I stand to the side out of the way (to begin with it must a non-threatening position but as they get use to it you can move closer to the door until you are right next to it when it flies in) and with a downward sweeping arm motion, I tell it to fly back into its cage. If it does not respond, I just keep moving around the room with it and repeating the motion and request. Eventually, it will get tired of being pursued around the room and comply. If I get tired first, I caught it and put it back and try again tomorrow!! A little patience required, yes but challenging!

Moving in the show cage and moving to a perch are somewhat similar as the are moving away from my approaching palm. I also tell them what I want to do.

Animals are smarter than we think. I have two Belgian Malinois dogs. One of them, Tosca, has played bait and switch on each of us several times. If we fix out plate and leave food on the counter for later eating family members, just when we start to eat at the table, he makes a run for the counter food, you run to rescue it and he eats you fixed plate at the table!

The other one, Bella, last week pulled a neat trick on my husband. I had trained her to come in by ringing a heavy leather strap of sleigh bells and using treats given every time till she is trained and then treating some of the time (this makes it more interesting for her than treating with food every time). Well she decided she wanted out at 3:30 am, she barked a time or two but when that did not work, she ran to the door and started ring the bells and kept it up to a frantic level till he got up and let her out! So who is the trained one?