Author Topic: Positive Reinforcement Training  (Read 5376 times)

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Offline Dartman

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2015, 10:10:50 PM »
I see what you mean, OK, well let's see, we're slowly working on the going to bed at night. I have found that if I sit down in front of his cage he'll  forget to defend his house and then get interested in what I'm up to and usually decide to jump on my knee and hang out, take a treat, and get scratches, then I might be able to get him to go in, no battle, and he ends up happy no matter how it works out and gets some daddy time.
Lately he puts himself in when he's ready and we tell him what a good boy he is when we close his door at night, and if he's receptive give him a scratch through the bars or a treat.
He's a stubborn boy but he loves us in his own way and we love him back no matter what.
I'll have to check your links, I can already say come on to him and he'll fly right to me, but of course its something he wants to do anyways.
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Offline momazon

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2015, 01:00:11 PM »
Momazon- Your recall technique is terrific. All of us should practice this. Glad it got Dobby back. Thanks for sharing

Haha, you are very kind. Our training is mainly to tolerate vet exams and coax them off rooftops!

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2015, 07:38:28 PM »
Ahhhh,  but that is way ahead of me! Vet visits are tough!
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto

Offline momazon

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2015, 12:48:11 PM »
The magic words here are, "Flippy birdy gets cheese, wingy birdy gets cheese, feet feet bird gets cheese".  I say each one and flip, give cheese, stretch wings, give cheese, and play with feet and give cheese.  Really, my so-called training is a pitiful cave in to cheese gluttony! In the beginning I gave the reward every time, then began just saying flip, stretch, and feet feet, and gave cheese less frequently. Oh, and "bitey birds" get NO CHEESE! The amount is about the size of half a raisin, since it adds up and pudgy birds will just add to my problems.  :partytime2:

They do nothing else on command and never stay on their perches, and when outside spend all day tormenting the neighbors if I am busy.   >:D

I really admire people here, Terry for having the patience to teach his babies to trust, and others who do all those fancy moves like The Wave, Turnaround, and all else you see on the internet. My main technique is to shower them and keep them happy if I am able!    :EmoticonCatchHen:

Offline Fuzzy

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2015, 10:18:52 PM »
Go Charlie and Maxsmom!  :banana:

I also use positive reinforcement training with my birds. 

Kobe goes into his travel cage for a piece of almond.  He'll step up to get a ride to see what's out of the window or to come and watch TV with me.  He also finds laughter reinforcing - he'll play harder if I laugh with him.  Any attention is reinforcing for him - I'll reinforce his talking by answering him.

Ollie came to me "cage bound" and terrified of everything.  It's been a long haul with him.  At the beginning me walking away was reinforcing to him, so I included it in his training.  I would give him a palm nut (the only thing he would take from me) and immediately walk away - progress was slow but still progress.  4+ years later, Ollie targets, he'll step up on a hand held perch, he'll turn around, he'll hold his feet still so I can cut his nails, he'll go into his travel cage.  Ollie's reinforcers are usually pieces of cashew, sometimes a palm nut or a head skritch.  I worked for months if not over a year on desensitizing him to head skritching and now he can't get enough of them.  Right now I am teaching him the most difficult thing of all... to step up on my hand.

I've only had time to teach Chico to target - it's a little difficult with him as he can't see very well.  I tap the chopstick on his cage bars and he follows the sound.  He used to chase me when I cleaned out his cage, but I am reinforcing sitting with relaxed body language with head scritches and singing.  I couldn't touch him at first with all the lunging, but slowly desensitized him to the head skritching.  It turns out he loves being skritched so I can now use it as a reinforcer. 

Bobbie will target for goji berries.  She'll turn around.  She'll go back into her cage.  She'll step up on my arm - the reinforcer is head skritching, or running up my arm to park herself into my neck.

I'm betting we all use positive reinforcement to get more of the behaviours we want to see.  :thumbsup:

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2015, 06:06:27 AM »
Fuzzy

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for this very inspiring post. I have so far to go with both of my boys, but especially with Charlie. Charlie has had me for 2 years and I am hopeful that the upcoming years will bring more positive change.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Inspiring
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2015, 06:54:24 PM »
Fuzzy

I would like to ask advice. I trained Charlie to not scream by giving him a treat for saying words....great he doesn't scream but he solicits treats a lot by speaking. I know he should not trigger a treat but it was all I could do after 4 months of almost constant screaming. He has just learned to turnaround for a treat after watching Max do this. He used to allow scritching but stopped a year ago. Should I try target training next? I really want him to step up but I know I have yo work my way to that. I know he is trainable and I have to move slowly toward goals. I appreciate advice in setting goals and next steps
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto

Offline Fuzzy

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2015, 09:58:07 PM »
Thank you Maxsmom!  I've really enjoyed reading what you and everybirdie else have been training using positive reinforcement.  It sounds like you are already doing so great with Charlie!  Getting treats for talking is wonderful - fabulous training there!  :cheerleader:  And you were clever to use Max as a model to teach Charlie turn around.

What you could try is not to give Charlie a treat every time he talks.  A continuous schedule of reinforcement (reinforcing every instance of the desired behaviour) is a must for teaching a new behaviour.  What you can do now since the behaviour is strong, is try gradually changing to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement.  Maybe work to reinforce his talking every second, then every third time, but all the time being aware of the effect it is having on him - we don't want him to become frustrated and start screaming again.   

If you still want to work with a continuous schedule of reinforcement, you could try mixing the reinforcers up.  Maybe a piece of cashew one time, a piece of almond or whatever the next, a present of a foot toy, or a verbal interaction etc.  Notice what is reinforcing to Charlie and pick out maybe three different reinforcers.  (If something is reinforcing the behaviour will continue or increase.)  It is exciting as he never knows what he's going to get next, just like a box of chocolates!  :icon_mrgreen: This will also keep a behaviour strong as he's hoping for his very favourite treat perhaps next time.  There is certainly nothing wrong with keeping to a continuous schedule of reinforcement even if it is the same treat each time. 

An intermittent schedule of reinforcement can make the desired behaviour even stronger.  Imagine someone trying to ignore an unwanted behaviour, like screaming, then fed up rushes over to the cage and shouts and waves her hands about.  If the bird finds that kind of attention reinforcing then next time he'll try even harder, longer and louder to get his mom to rush over to him.  This is why unwanted behaviours are so hard to get rid of... they are usually on a lean schedule of reinforcement.  So the intermittent schedule is definitely something to think about and introduce gradually.

Target training is usually one of the easiest behaviours to start with.  Usually a bird is curious enough to bite the end of a chopstick or some other stick when presented to him.  If the bird is frightened of it, it is easy to first desensitize him to its presence and then shape the behaviour using teeny tiny steps. 

Stepping up is actually one of the most difficult behaviours to teach.  If you start with an easier behaviour like target training you can practice getting your timing really spot on and he gets to have fun working with you.  It's is so cool to see the penny finally drop - "oh all I have to do is touch the end of that stick and a treat appears?"  When starting out target training keep the chopstick absolutely still.  Later try holding it still a few inches away so he has to take a step towards it.  Then hold it further away but again still.  Much later when the behaviour is fluent you can start moving it so that he follows.  If you start moving it too soon then the bird can give up as the target is always out of his reach which = no treat.  :(

I went to one of Barbara Heidenreich's workshops a few months ago.  There were two Greys who were totally uninterested in food.  Barbara worked with some of the other birds but all the time noticing what one of the Greys was doing.  He had flown over to a group of people behind me and was having a wonderful time chewing the top of a plastic coke bottle.  So Barbara came over and in a few minutes taught him to target.  The reinforcer was that he got to have a quick chew of the coke bottle for each successful approximation towards touching the target.  I was close enough to be able to experience his ah ha moment - "all I have to do is touch that thing and I get to have a chew of the coke bottle."  It was awesome!




Offline maxsmom

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2015, 03:49:39 AM »
Fuzzy

I am very appreciative of the advice. Targeting was easy with Max and previously Charlie was not interested. I will try again now that quite a bit of time has passed.  Teaching step up is daunting with him. Targeting is a good next step to build our bond.

Barbara's class sounds.like it was an amazing experience.

Your birds are lucky to have you.

My eyes are so open to the changes in life. If one day my two boys ever had to adjust to a new home I want them as well adjusted as possible.  I can see Charlie was very comfortable with someone at some point but all of the change he experienced 2 years ago before he got to me and including coming to me was a lot for him. I hope my boys will be with me for the rest of their lives but one never knows what can happen ...death, illness, etc....one never thinks it can happen to them. Plus it would just be plain wonderful for easier vet visits or just getting him to his cage in my home.

Again thank you
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto

Offline Fuzzy

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2015, 09:38:58 PM »
LOL - I know what you mean - I have avoided teaching Ollie to step up on my hand as it's a big thing for him (he doesn't like hands).  And yep, targeting would be an excellent way to build your bond.

You are such a great bird mom to be worrying about their life with or without you.  Does Charlie play with you?  Would he come to mouth a foot toy if you held it near him?  That would be another way to form a bond... just have fun with him.  With Ollie that's how I got to eventually skritch him.  I started by slowly building up to skritching him with a toy whilst we played.  Then one day he put his head down when I had no toy in my hand.  It was the most amazing moment as I never thought I would be able to touch him.  Now he can't get enough skritches.

To teach the step up, one way is to use shaping by working towards the goal behaviour in tiny steps.  You might start from something as simple as reinforcing his looking at your hand (Charlie has to look at your hand first before he thinks of traveling towards it), then maybe reinforcing stretching his head a little towards your hand, then reinforcing his leaning his body toward your hand, then reinforcing taking one step toward your hand, then two steps, then lifting one foot toward your hand, then resting that foot on your hand, then putting his weight on that foot, then bringing up the second foot so that he is eventually standing on your hand.

Another way is to pair something good with your hand eg. by having him eat his favourite treats out of one hand which is placed over the top of your other hand.  Gradually bring your treat hand further up your arm and the theory is that he will follow until he puts one foot on your hand to reach the treats... then two feet.

I taught Ollie to step up on a hand held perch using the first method.  I am trying a mixture of things to get him to step up on my hand including the second method and also having him target over my hand, but sometimes asking him to really stretch to touch it.  He will sometimes put a foot on my hand by accident which is great.  It's just going to take a long time with him and that's fine.

Training needn't take much time.  I ask for a few seconds here or a few seconds there.  I'm passing your cage to collect your water bowl - hey wanna target this?

If you can see Barbara work, she is amazing.  She now does webinars online which you can book through her website.  The next one coming up is "Creating Motivation and Identifying Reinforcers in Animal Training."  Here's a link to her calendar:

http://www.goodbirdinc.com/calendar.html



Offline maxsmom

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2015, 04:17:27 AM »
I had 2 cockatiels for 17 years and 10 years respectively. As much as I doted on them and cared for them and as much as my vet's office praised my diligence, I learned as I got my pionus how much I didn't know. It is embarrassing how much I didn't know.  Their cages were too small, they should have had more veggies, etc.

So I believe as a keeper of animals that do not always find new homes easily and that are much misunderstood, I owe it to my birds to ensure their well being for now and beyond. I will do all I can to continue their stability. I luckily can provide a lot for them in resources and care but seeing how maladjusted Charlie was at losing his home shows me the work I owe him. I am sure someone who loved him for 8 years never contemplated how maladjusted he could end up. He eats organic kale, chard and squash, he chews lots of toys, he sees the vet for an annual visit with full tests plus for grooming quarterly, he has a large cage, he has ladders to help him get to each play station, he can chose which window from which to watch outside,  he has run of my home and a buddy in Max, but he needs more training. I say this not to show off how I spoil him but to say despite that I know I can do so much better by him.

I took classes with Phoenix Landing and bird behavior coaches a bit 2 years ago. I am not the best trainer nor am I consistent. However I will continue to work at training. I can improve.

Charlie is extremely independent and doesn't want much one on one interaction. Occasionally he seeks it out. I need to grow that. Steps are small. Very small. But he has progressed since day one 27 months ago.

Anyway your posts are huge reminders of lessons I have not applied or are new lessons for me. So I thank you. One day Charlie will thank you too. I know he has so much capacity for more.
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto

Offline Fuzzy

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2015, 09:36:06 AM »
Charlie and Max are very lucky birds! 

I love the fact that you embrace learning.  The challenge of rehomes and the progress you can help them make is somehow ultra special.   :icon_mrgreen: 

Absolutely - keep comparing where Charlie is now compared to Day 1.  Isn't it wonderful that each bird is so individual?  It's keeps you thinking outside the box.  I am jealous of you taking classes with Phoenix Landing.  A friend of mine goes to their seminars as often as she can.  I wish we had more such classes in the UK but I go see Barbara H whenever she comes over.  I was lucky enough to attend a 2 day seminar by Dr Susan Friedman about 3 years ago - it was so good to meet her in person.

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2015, 10:29:05 AM »
Wow, you are lucky to go to Susan Freidman's class!  I have been meaning to go to one of Barbara's classes or take advantage of her conference calls. PL is great.....very instructive and affordable.  They are serious about creating better parrot owners.  They are part of reason I feel such a responsibility to my birds to improve as their owner.
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto

Offline Fuzzy

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2015, 08:26:26 PM »
Phoenix Landing sounds great! :cheerleader: :cheerleader: :cheerleader:


Offline maxsmom

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Re: Positive Reinforcement Training
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2015, 12:02:56 AM »
Yes, I feel this is a superb resource. They truly are dedicated to helping birds adjust to having more than one home and helping people know what they are getting into and preparing them to be better owners. Lots of content. I highly recommend to those in Maryland, Virginia, DC, North Carolina. 3 day class on positive reinforcement and training in NC is very much less expensive than other organizations who offer training techniques. Worth travel.
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto