Friday, April 10, 2009

Playing with Parrots. Make it Count

One of the things I do with my parrots is I turn playtime into training time. For example my yellow naped Amazon parrot Delbert loves to play with toys. Woohoo! I am happy to let him have a blast. But when he is out playing I try to arrange the environment so that he also might learn something else that is of value to me. I want him to think towels are the best place on earth. This is to prepare for the day he may need to be restrained in a towel for a veterinary procedure.

You will notice in this video clip that I have placed a baby blanket (my preferred restraint material. It is easy to manipulate) on the counter top where Delbert usually likes to play in the morning. Everyday I provide a few different items to play with in this area. Today it was an empty vitamin bottle and a plastic ball.

Essentially I am pairing positive reinforcers (toys he likes) with the towel. Next thing you know I am incorporating movement of the towel in our play time. It makes me very happy to see him having a great time and also knowing I am working towards reducing the potential stress of the restraint procedure.

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright 2009 Good Bird Inc

1 comment:

Mary Kontrary said...

Love the video of your parrot having fun! Wish my African Gray enjoyed playing as much as yours does. Sometimes I think she thinks she's too dignified to play like that.