Finger training a Kakariki??

Sjbrown97

Registered
As it says all over the internet that Kakariki’s are scared of hands and fingers yet I’ve seen finger tame Kakariki’s.
our kak is about a year old, had him a month and honestly he’s doing amazing and seems very happy with our companionship bonding with both me and my partner. We just can’t seem to shake this fear of our hands he will take food from our hands etc and yes I know they aren’t ones to be petted but we are wanting to learn him some more tricks including being on the finger but we just seem to get bitten 😊 any tips??
 

DizzyBlue

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
You need our Roz for some help :)
I will tag her and when she has a few minutes am sure she will come on and start you off with training tips. She's great at explaining things and has done heaps of the training courses herself.
@Roz
 

Roz

Regular Member
:welcome: @Sjbrown97 It sounds like you are doing extremely well with your Kak.

If you arrange consequences so that they are reinforcing to a bird, you can pretty much train anything you want. Your Kak will take food from your hands - that is great!! What is his absolute FAVOURITE treat? Remove these from his food bowl and use them as reinforcers in training sessions only. With teaching anything, you may if you are very lucky capture the behaviour you want, but it may mean sitting around for days, weeks or even years! So the best thing to do is break down the final target behaviour into tiny manageable steps and reinforce each step as your Kak achieves them.

So if you want him to step up on your finger, first get him taking treats from one hand, and very gradually introduce your other hand in front of the bird. What you are looking to reinforce/reward is his relaxed body language, with your other hand getting progressively closer. Then reinforce his looking at your hand... treat! Then turning his head towards your hand/fingers. Treat! Turning his body towards your hand/fingers. Treat! You may want to leave it there for that session.

Next session start from the beginning. You'll find you move through the steps quicker. You may be able to add more steps. Kak leans towards your hand/fingers. Treat! Then Kak takes half a step towards your hand/fingers. Treat! Kak takes one step towards your fingers. Treat! Kak leans over your finger to reach the treat you are showing him (bribe - see note below). Treat! Kak lifts one foot towards your finger. Treat! Kak touches your finger with his foot. Treat! See how tiny the steps are? If Kak fails any step, then go back a few steps and break the steps down even smaller.

Note - a bribe is great for kick starting a behaviour. It should be faded out asap so that the bird learns the behaviour and doesn't just mindlessly follow the treat.

You could try a bribe another way which is to show him a handful of food, and see if he will follow it over your fingers. Use any way which is easiest for you and for him.

Keep training sessions extremely short. A few seconds here, a few minutes there throughout the day. This way you get repetition without tiring or boring the bird.

Stepping up is actually a difficult behaviour to teach - there are a chain of separate behaviours that together end in the step up. If you want to get your eye in training using reinforcers, try teaching him to target first. This is a much simpler behaviour to teach. It will teach him that IF he touches the target THEN he will get a treat. The same principle is then used to teach the step up.... or anything else. This is the best video I have see that explains how to teach a bird to target:


Just a note about the biting. Biting is a form of communication. Kak is giving you the human plenty of body language to say "NO!" Maybe Kak's eyes widen, feathers slick down, he leans away etc. If the human ignores all this fabulous body language, then Kak will resort to biting. Trouble is if Kak's body language is consistently ignored, Kak will not bother to give all the body language in the first place. That's when humans say that their bird bites "out of nowhere". So heed his body language - it is there for a reason. Instead think of how you can get him to do what you want in a way that is reinforcing enough for him he will want to repeat it in the future. With a newish bird/untame bird with very few reinforcers, treats are absolutely the way to go. Remember when teaching a new behaviour, the behaviour must be put on a continuous schedule of reinforcement, ie. reinforced/rewarded EVERY time.
 

Sjbrown97

Registered
:welcome: @Sjbrown97 It sounds like you are doing extremely well with your Kak.

If you arrange consequences so that they are reinforcing to a bird, you can pretty much train anything you want. Your Kak will take food from your hands - that is great!! What is his absolute FAVOURITE treat? Remove these from his food bowl and use them as reinforcers in training sessions only. With teaching anything, you may if you are very lucky capture the behaviour you want, but it may mean sitting around for days, weeks or even years! So the best thing to do is break down the final target behaviour into tiny manageable steps and reinforce each step as your Kak achieves them.

So if you want him to step up on your finger, first get him taking treats from one hand, and very gradually introduce your other hand in front of the bird. What you are looking to reinforce/reward is his relaxed body language, with your other hand getting progressively closer. Then reinforce his looking at your hand... treat! Then turning his head towards your hand/fingers. Treat! Turning his body towards your hand/fingers. Treat! You may want to leave it there for that session.

Next session start from the beginning. You'll find you move through the steps quicker. You may be able to add more steps. Kak leans towards your hand/fingers. Treat! Then Kak takes half a step towards your hand/fingers. Treat! Kak takes one step towards your fingers. Treat! Kak leans over your finger to reach the treat you are showing him (bribe - see note below). Treat! Kak lifts one foot towards your finger. Treat! Kak touches your finger with his foot. Treat! See how tiny the steps are? If Kak fails any step, then go back a few steps and break the steps down even smaller.

Note - a bribe is great for kick starting a behaviour. It should be faded out asap so that the bird learns the behaviour and doesn't just mindlessly follow the treat.

You could try a bribe another way which is to show him a handful of food, and see if he will follow it over your fingers. Use any way which is easiest for you and for him.

Keep training sessions extremely short. A few seconds here, a few minutes there throughout the day. This way you get repetition without tiring or boring the bird.

Stepping up is actually a difficult behaviour to teach - there are a chain of separate behaviours that together end in the step up. If you want to get your eye in training using reinforcers, try teaching him to target first. This is a much simpler behaviour to teach. It will teach him that IF he touches the target THEN he will get a treat. The same principle is then used to teach the step up.... or anything else. This is the best video I have see that explains how to teach a bird to target:


Just a note about the biting. Biting is a form of communication. Kak is giving you the human plenty of body language to say "NO!" Maybe Kak's eyes widen, feathers slick down, he leans away etc. If the human ignores all this fabulous body language, then Kak will resort to biting. Trouble is if Kak's body language is consistently ignored, Kak will not bother to give all the body language in the first place. That's when humans say that their bird bites "out of nowhere". So heed his body language - it is there for a reason. Instead think of how you can get him to do what you want in a way that is reinforcing enough for him he will want to repeat it in the future. With a newish bird/untame bird with very few reinforcers, treats are absolutely the way to go. Remember when teaching a new behaviour, the behaviour must be put on a continuous schedule of reinforcement, ie. reinforced/rewarded EVERY time.
Unbelievable advice thank you so much I shall be taking all your advice and applying to my lil man. Can’t thank you enough🙏🙏💕💕💕
 
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