Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Burnaby, BC
Thanked 20 Times in 15 Posts
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Target training is not hard, its basically the same as clicker training, but with a small stick "target" (mine was a chopstick with bright coloured electrical tape on the end) the premise is first you get to know what your bird REALLY likes. Duke, my hybrid when I got him was 6, and cage possessive as all get out. Duke LOVES a sunflower seed. Now what you have to do first, is get the bird used to touching/looking at the target. Put the stick by the bird, or by the bars of the cage. If she even looks at it without attacking it, give her a treat. Repeat the process, and tell her to touch, moving it closer. When she touches it with her beak WITHOUT aggression, give her a treat and tell her good girl. She has to learn the target is a friendly object, and that it means good things.
Once you have her touching it with her beak, try moving it. Like above her head, or lower than her feet. Again, make small changes, nothing too big at once. Ask her again, with TOUCH or TARGET ("cue" words) the bridge will be the click sound, and the reward is the treat/praise. Remember, repeat the request until you get what you want. Calmly, and in a not forceful, but not cajoling way. Make it clear to her what you want without frightening her. If she refuses to do what you ask, leave after three tries and do it again later. She has to learn she has limited tries to behave herself for the treat reward.
So remember, when training, CUE her, (TOUCH, and move the target to her, or where you want her to go) BRIDGE her ONLY for the correct behaviour, (the click sound from the clicker or snap lid works well) and REWARD her, (only if she's done it right). Some of these big guys I find also do really well on this because its a cognitive test, and also gives them a bit of structure to their lives.
A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
- Lou Holtz