Shaping the step up (back to basics)

Fartin Martin

Regular Member
So tonight I tried an idea I seen ages ago of wrapping my arm I newspaper under a hoody. He took a seed from it first time. Then tried to bite it [emoji17]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Roz

Regular Member
So tonight I tried an idea I seen ages ago of wrapping my arm I newspaper under a hoody. He took a seed from it first time. Then tried to bite it



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Lol Martin, the newspaper was probably crackling under the hoodie.  Joking aside, I am guessing you lured him over your newspaper arm with the seed?  We certainly don't want that reaction.  Methinks you were going too fast.  Practice just giving him the seed with one hand, then bring your other arm up from your side a little making sure his body language remains relaxed.  Give him another seed as reinforcement for calm body language.  Also take your arm away immediately (this is extra reinforcement).  Repeat, this time bringing your arm a little higher.  Relaxed body language = reinforcement (seed) and remove your arm again.  You may want to call it a day there as you always want to end a session on a good note.


Later in the day, or the next day, repeat the process again, seeing if you can bring your arm slightly closer to him in the same teeny tiny steps always removing your arm again.  Much later you can start leaving your arm in place for slightly longer before taking it away again.  This is just desensitising him to your arm.


Another way would be to keep feeding him seed after seed in quick succession over your other hand which is acting an extension of the perch he's sitting on (this would work if he is sitting on a door perch) so that he follows your food hand and just steps on your extension hand.  I know from Ollie (my OW) that at the beginning he used to almost have a melt down at my hand being so close which is why I first suggest the desensitisation process above.


Also when you offer the seed as your arm gets closer, hold the seed higher so that he reaches up for it... head up means he cannot bite the arm below.  


Go slowly - you have all the time in the world.  You can do exactly the same with a hand held perch.
 

Fartin Martin

Regular Member
I thought it might have been crackly, but it actually wasn't. [emoji23] I'll try what you say for the next wee while and see how I get on! Might just send Billy down to you for a few weeks, you sound like you've got this sussed [emoji23]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
  • Like
Reactions: Roz

Lauren Smith

Regular Member
Hey roz, because my little boy is not very good with new things, I cant really find a reinforcement.
He will only eat his seed (but he won't take it from me because he knows he gets it after, I can't starve him so there is no way around it), I have tried him with an Array of fruits, veg,edible plants and even sunflower seeds and millet spray in many different ways and he shows no interest, he doesn't do well witu toys (another thing I have to fix with play times once tame), the only one he is good with is a mirror (but how can I use that)
What should I do, I can't keep buying everything all the time if it has no result but I don't want to give up,

Would verbal praise be enough I have no idea what to do

Also you said I could use my hand didn't you?
 

Roz

Regular Member
Hi Lauren, and thanks for the tag, DizzyBlue. :)

It will take time for him to gain new reinforcers. We know seed from his food bowl is a reinforcer - it tastes/feels etc nice. It is reinforcing his behaviour of climbing down to the food bowl or even perching in front of it. Because the seed always comes in the same bowl the sight of the bowl itself is probably becoming reinforcing too. There's an example of a new reinforcer (the bowl) that has been learned by pairing it with an existing reinforcer (seed). So you see how you can build new reinforcers with time.

You've also identified his mirror as a reinforcer. :applaudit: It is probably reinforcing his sitting in a certain place in his cage. As he gets to know you, your presence will become reinforcing too if you keep pairing yourself with good experiences. Praise might work if he finds your attention reinforcing... it is the animal that chooses the reinforcer. More on praise in a minute.

For now I would just see if you can unhook the bowl and offer it slowly through his cage door - would he eat from it? This would be to slowly desensitise him to the presence of your hand/fingers. It sounds like introducing a finger for the step up at this stage is too much for him. Ditto with the mirror... try unhooking it and hold it up for him first, outside a different part of the cage and see if he approaches it. When he's fine with that, try slowly slipping it through the cage door and see if he will approach it with you holding it.

With both of the above, it's important not to frighten him, i.e. not to go too far too fast. Watch his body language carefully. Any discomfort... eyes widening, feathers perhaps slicking down, leaning away... back off a little until you find a distance that he is ok with. Then come forward again a few millimetres... reinforce his calm body language each time with backing off again. Slowly slowly over days or weeks you will be able to get close enough for him to eat/touch the mirror. Keep these sessions really short... 10 - 30 seconds here and there through the day, and be sure always to end a session on a successful step.

When he shows the calm body language through the desensitisation process, as well as backing off slightly each time, you can also use your voice to praise him... you are pairing your voice with something desirable so that your voice/the words you use will also become reinforcing in time. (Just like the food bowl being paired with the seed.)

He may be totally fine about eating from the bowl with you holding it or embracing his reflection in the mirror again with you holding it so I'll wait from some feedback from you before continuing.

I would continue clipping millet spray inside his cage because he might try it eventually... he's probably never seen such a thing before. You could try cutting one in half and clipping it to the side of his cage... that way it won't move around so much which might be a little frightening. Keep trying with the veggies and fruit because again, one day he will try them. It took my Kobe almost 2 years before he would try raw carrot.... that was a lot of wasted carrot, but we got there in the end. Likewise keep trying with toys. Even if he doesn't touch them to start with. Have a few different ones that you can rotate in to keep up the novelty. You want to try enriching his life as much as possible... and yes, it will take time with a bird that doesn't know how to play. My Ollie didn't know how to play so I started mainly with tiny toys tied to the side of the cage so they didn't move around to much. Nowadays he doesn't stop playing... so playing can be learned in time. We know your little boy likes mirrors... perhaps build on that... get a toy that has a mirror but also other stuff on it. My budgie Boo's favourite toy was a plastic "wicker" ball that had a bell inside and I attached another bell on the bottom and hung it off a small chain.
 
Last edited:

Lauren Smith

Regular Member
My mirror, is a mirror, has beads on it that he is attempting to investigate and a bell, I have messed with the beads in front of him gently and now when on it he he checks them out.
I am trying to show what the bell does by using the bell from a removed toy and ringing it(it got in his way.. I need either a bigger cage or to use it once he is out) .

Thank you with the reinforcers I will definitely try it...

The millet spray will not be used however as my parents are upset about the mess, so it can only be a treat outside the cage, if at all.
Now I know about the veg I will keep trying.

Thanks you so much.... I now know how to get past the not knowing how to reinforce without a treat.
I will tell you more when I get results
 

Lauren Smith

Regular Member
Hey roz in the mean time of desensitising with seed bowl I am trying the desenditising my hand again, he doesn't mind this and likes the interactment.

I did it and he at first tryed bending down, then after a while he hoped perches twice and then played with mirror.
Do you think he will be less scared of my hand when trying shaping step up.
I do want to continue interacting as he has been doing something I only saw at the beggining, being on the floor peeking... In a playful way.
I don't want to lose this again
 

Roz

Regular Member
YAAAAY!!!! :tmnt::tmnt::tmnt: Great progress, Lauren!! :applaudit: Take it slowly... get him used to your hands being in his cage like that. As soon as he's really laid back about it, then you can try taking it further. Maybe by beginning to move the seed bowl up your finger, then hand in teeeeeeny tiny steps whilst he's eating. First day maybe just move it a centimeter... watch his body language all the time. If it changes, then move the bowl gently back towards him. It's like a dance... forwards a little, then backwards again. Better to go slower than go too fast. The aim to go go forwards in distance a little more than you go backwards each time... depending on his body language. Sometimes you may have to go back to the beginning and start again which is no problem. In the end, hopefully he might just perch on your finger to continue eating.
 

Lauren Smith

Regular Member
sounds like a great idea roz, i don't think it will take too long either, he looked at my fingers and i closed the gap but he still wanted to eat from the bowl.
he's such a sweet boy- i thought he wouldn't do it at all.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Roz

Lauren Smith

Regular Member
oh i have encountered a problem.... the bowl is not a small bowl and fits in the palm of my hand so i can not move it up my hand and not enough room to put it up my arm.
is there any other thing i can do to help with step up using it. when will i know that the paired reinforcer has worked and his reinforcer has become my voice, i dont know what to look out for.
 

Roz

Regular Member
Try holding the bowl with one hand (1) and put it over the other hand (2) and get him used to eating like that. Try to arrange hand (2) as an extension of the perch he's on so that it is easy for him to start stepping from the perch onto hand (2). Then using hand (1) slowly move the bowl up hand (2). Ha - that's assuming you can get two arms through his cage door!

Or you could use a similar bowl (maybe in colour and material) but smaller and get him used to also eating from that before doing the above.

A reinforcer maintains or increases a behaviour. So if you can get him to repeat a behaviour using your voice then it has become a reinforcer. If for example you can get him to come to you or bob up and down or raise his head feathers just by using your voice then you know your voice is reinforcing to him. With my parrots I reinforce English words by excitedly repeating them which gets them to repeat the words back to me. This tells me my voice is reinforcing at that particular moment... I know because the behaviour (talking English) maintains or increases. My voice may not be reinforcing in other circumstances, for example if Ollie puts his head down for a head scratch and I talk to him rather than scratching him, that is not going to be reinforcing.
 
Top Bottom