Shaping the step up (back to basics)

Roz

Regular Member
Hey Lauren, I see the problems now. Why don't you start a new thread on suggestions for budgie cages (my suggestion is flat topped so that it acts like a playtop), and also on how to get Bailey out from one cage into the other. That way we can all bounce ideas off each other - it will be educational and fun. :D
 

dianaT

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Do you know any websites that sell horizontal bar cages and where to get the bendable rope perches. All the ones we found are toys that spiral from top to bottom, being attached on one side and hanging the other
Lauren have a look on the front page of the forum under Forum Endorsed Sites.
 

Lauren Smith

Regular Member
Hey, do you think I unknowingly reinforced bailey. Every time he eats out of my hand he or at least attempts to (if my hand is not in the right position) puts one foot on my hand and when on the floor gets fully on my hand, I even lifted him up to his perch after today. I used to put his toes on my hand to get a foot on when feeding him has I reinforced him? Also before I fully withdrew my hand he kissed my thumb! :aplastao: but most importantly...
:dev14:!!!!!!!
 

Roz

Regular Member
Hahahaha - thanks for the birthday wishes, Lauren! If Bailey continues to put his foot on your hand, then it is being reinforced!! :applaudit: Well done!!! Sounds like you are going at the right pace for Bailey. So cute to have kissed your thumb. :thumbsup:
 

Scott199

Regular Member
little help please Roz.

ive been working with Bert trying to train a step up, now I first thought he was scared of the perch, maybe he is ?
if I put it near him, he nibbles the end or pushes it away with his beak, otherwise he moves as far away from it as possible.

he can't or won't fly, so if I target him to the top of his travel cage from the floor, after a while he will instantly step onto it, I don't immediately head for his cage, I normally sit for a bit talking to him or we go and have a look out the window and chat or play a little game, while he's on his perch he will bow and have a proper head tickle (only time he does it, normally he nibbles his leg and I can get a sneak one in).

so I don't think he's scared of it, I believe I have taught him something by mistake, but I just don't know what.
if he's on the floor and I try he will nibble it, but more than likely he will bite the carpet in front of it or coach or anything that's close.

ive tried many times in his cage but ive never managed to even get a foot on it, he's very treat orientated, I can pretty much target him anywhere, I can target him back in his cage from across the room 9/10 times, but he's having none of this perch idea.

we've had the T perch since day one, so its not new, it lives in or next to his cage.

anything else I can tell you to give me some ideas ??
 

Roz

Regular Member
Hi Scott! I'll give you some ideas based on what I am reading in your post. They may be wide of the mark, but at least it's a starting point for discussion. :)

... if I put it near him, he nibbles the end or pushes it away with his beak, otherwise he moves as far away from it as possible.
he will bite the carpet in front of it or coach or anything that's close.
From the above, it sounds like he maybe just doesn't like the perch (he's being nice in the first quote and then it looks like he's showing a bit of displaced aggression about it in the second quote) and maybe not motivated enough to want to step up onto it. A few thoughts:

You could try a different perch. What's that bright pink/red perch in both your pictures? He seems comfortable on that. Maybe unscrew it and see if he will step up on that instead? It will look different to him unattached to his house, so go gently.

More importantly, I'm also wondering if the problem could be a control issue since he is perfectly happy to target from long distances under his own steam. Having control is a primary reinforcer. I'll explain further after another quote:

after a while he will instantly step onto it, I don't immediately head for his cage, I normally sit for a bit talking to him or we go and have a look out the window and chat or play a little game, while he's on his perch he will bow and have a proper head tickle
Perhaps the amount of time he has to stay on the perch is too long? Of course I can't see his body language and you say he will bow his head for a tickle which sounds pretty relaxed. But remember this is a bird who has no choice but to stay on the perch because he can't/won't fly... so in effect, he doesn't have much control about what happens. This could be the aversive associated with the perch - not saying that it definitely is, but that it's a possibility.

I would start again with the training. It may help if you use a different perch. To begin with, keep training to the times where you know he is going to be successful like from the top of his travel cage. But instead of carrying him anywhere on it, ask him to step off again. So step on, treat, step off. Repeat a few times. (Repetition in short bursts throughout the day builds learning.) Get him really fluent at this. When he's fluent, try in other places too.

When he's confident about stepping up and down, then shape duration - the amount of time he's on the perch before getting off... ie. withhold the treat for one second, next time two seconds etc. Always let him get off as soon as he wants to - he is in control! If he knows he has total control of the situation, he'll be more willing to step up in the future. Finally, shape his relaxed body language whilst you begin to move the perch with him on it (and always back again). Eventually you'll be able to carry him from place to place.

How does that sound to you?
 

Scott199

Regular Member
First off, Thank you so much, lots to think about and to be honest i think you've pretty much got him down, everything you've said makes complete sense and i fully understand were looking at tiny body language/cues and its so difficult to put these in words.

I'll answer the ones below as best i can, also i'll add a few little vids, they are basic and not intended for public consumption, so excuse me and anything else you see :)

You could try a different perch. What's that bright pink/red perch in both your pictures? He seems comfortable on that. Maybe unscrew it and see if he will step up on that instead? It will look different to him unattached to his house, so go gently.
I have wrapped his t perch in pink vet wrap, to see if that helps, i've tried his wood perches from the top of his cage and same reaction.

More importantly, I'm also wondering if the problem could be a control issue since he is perfectly happy to target from long distances under his own steam. Having control is a primary reinforcer. I'll explain further after another quote:
yes i believe this to be the case, if he's on his travel cage and wants down, you can tell as he kind of hangs around the edge looking at the floor, he will instantly step onto the T perch, sometimes, i return him to his cage instantly, other's i have a little chat, others i keep him for a few minutes, everytime he's on it he gets treats and such, as soon as he steps on he gets a big treat and as soon as he steps into his cage another cashew. (his big treat)

Perhaps the amount of time he has to stay on the perch is too long? Of course I can't see his body language and you say he will bow his head for a tickle which sounds pretty relaxed. But remember this is a bird who has no choice but to stay on the perch because he can't/won't fly... so in effect, he doesn't have much control about what happens. This could be the aversive associated with the perch - not saying that it definitely is, but that it's a possibility.
This does sound a certain possibility, ive tired a few times to do the below, so ill go over, have a chat offer the perch with a treat one end of his travel cage, he normally walks to the other end, i wait a few seconds or so and move away, come back 10/15 minutes later to try again, ive done this for hours and still he didnt want to play.

I would start again with the training. It may help if you use a different perch. To begin with, keep training to the times where you know he is going to be successful like from the top of his travel cage. But instead of carrying him anywhere on it, ask him to step off again. So step on, treat, step off. Repeat a few times. (Repetition in short bursts throughout the day builds learning.) Get him really fluent at this. When he's fluent, try in other places too.
i also tried this, he stepped up first/second time, i left the perch in the same place gave him a treat and let him step down when he was ready, a few minutes later tried again, nope, so left him, tried again later, nope, eventually i had to kind of push the issue a little and offer the perch mid way as he couldn't back off any more and he then stepped up, this was maybe after an hour or so and i needed to get him back to his cage.

little vid of him on it, maybe you can see some body language i'm missing, i have more on my laptop i will post later.

 

Roz

Regular Member
He looks very comfortable with what is going on in the video... from this angle it looked like a game re turning his head. :biggrin: Indeed for duration of the video it looked like it was reinforcing to be on the perch interacting with you.

I don’t know how it ended, but I would have got him to step off whilst everything was going well. If you wait until he’s showing body language that says “I’m feeling uncomfortable now”, that is the feeling he may end up pairing with the perch.

Of course you also have unknown history so it’s not straightforward. I would do all I could to make anything to do with that perch highly reinforcing. For example, you could take training right back to the beginning and shape his walking over to the perch:

1st step: introduce the perch at a distance he is comfortable with. He looks at the perch. Mark the behaviour with a “good” and reinforce with a treat. Then remove the perch. Then try again... gradually work from reinforcing looking, through to the other steps: turning his head towards the perch, then turning his body, then taking half a step towards it, one step, two steps... etc. Highly reinforce each step and between each step remove the perch.

What I am trying to achieve is pairing the presence of the perch with reinforcement only, hence removing it when there is no reinforcement available. Keep training sessions very short and fun.
 

Scott199

Regular Member
a few more videos below on and with the T perch and on the floor, do you see any body language I should take notice of ?




and right at the start of this one his new behaviour, any ideas ? seems playful

 
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Roz

Regular Member
Looks playful to me too! I think you are good at reading his body language. It's wonderful to see him out, mucking about on the floor. His world is getting bigger and bigger!
 
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