Monday, December 29, 2008

Why I like Training Parrots

I like what I do for a living. I get paid to play with parrots. Work often entails all sorts of things. answering lots of emails, many nights spent on the road, an endless "to do" list, but one thing I can count on to remind me why I LOVE this work is a great training session with a parrot. And I had one today.

Those who already train parrots may know exactly what I mean. When you are training a parrot a new behavior and you are taking painstakingly tiny approximations in the hopes that the bird "will get it" and HE DOES! WOOOHOOO! What a thrill. I like to call that the "training rush." It is the fabulous rewarding feeling the trainer experiences when the shaping plan was a success. This rush I think is what keeps me coming back for is my positive reinforcer everytime I train a parrot. Even if I am training a behavior I have trained 600 times before with 600 different birds. Each time I still get the little tingle in my belly.

While I was getting my "rush" today, I also paid attention to my parrot's reaction. I know I can never know for sure. But I think he got a bit of a "rush" too. Perhaps he was reacting to my enthusiam, but it seemed the moment he understood what he was to do, he started vigoursly performing the if to say "Yes! Yes! I now understand what you want!"

And was I proud of my parrot? You bet. Did I think he is just the smartest parrot in the world? Of course. And did I spend the rest of the day thinking my parrot is wonderful? Yup : )

And you can too. Positive reinforcement training is not only good for you is good for you too.

Copyright 2008 Good Bird Inc

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I had exactly this reaction recently when I finally worked out how to get my grey into training (she's not interested in food rewards normally).
My Amazon was getting a nut for being quiet after a calling session and he offered a turn around. As this is something new for him, I reached for the pecans and had an informal training session on the playscape (normally I train on a small t-stand) and jealousy took over. My grey Marnie saw Lucha getting treats and decided she wanted in on it. For the first time in the 3 years I've had her she was motivated by food to train! So now I'm working on the turn around with both birds at the same time on the playscape.
I love the breakthrough feeling!