A Border Collie's Mistress' Place for News and Musings

Travels, Trials and Tribulations

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Have wings

Ok really I don't intend to write everyday.  This is actually about yesterday.

I had some extra time and the weather was super nice so I took Bacardi outside to work with him in his aviary.
We have been having really great success in the house with our flighted recall.  This is about the 4th or 5th time he has been worked out here.  In the nice weather he spends a lot of time hanging out in the yard. Working with him out there provides him with a lot of things to be distracted by.  I have to say yesterday he did awesome staying focused.

Armed with a clicker and a large amount of dried papaya we worked on some of the more difficult flight skills.  We started out simple of course, on his wooden play gym with me just 18 inches away.  A few easy reps and I moved back farther.  With in moments he was flying the whole 20 feet.  Good, easy stuff out of the way now on the the next thing.  I worked on calling him off his large rope hanging perches.  For this feat he had to fly down at an angle.  This is a very scary and difficult skill for many birds to master confidently.  This is something we have been working the house and he is getting quite good at.  Slowly I increased the angle of the drop, by lowering my hand but not shortening the over all distance.  That we can try some other time.  I worked this skill from as many perches and places possible in the aviary.

The next thing we worked on was launching off an unstable perch.  I used his round swing which swivels and jiggles all over the place.  We just worked some short hops and his confidence grew.  After that I put him on an easy perch and called him for a long flight and we quit with that.

For him it seems constantly mixing up the level of difficulty is important to keep his confidence up. I have to be really cognizant of throwing in the easy stuff or he quits wanting to play with me.  It has made him quite the challenge to work with, it really only gets done on his time.  I do push him but I have to watch carefully that he stays with me  mentally.  Bacardi loves to learn and it is more of a game for him I really have to keep it fun and rewarding.  Working with him has made better with my timing with the dogs.  He has also focused me on capturing and shaping behaviors since he's a hands off kind of guy I pretty much have to wait for him to offer something up and c/t for that.
Please visit theotisacademy.webs.com to learn more about training parrots with R+ methods.

I think through training him I have changed my dog training quite a bit.  I am more apt to reward what I like than correct what I don't like. Absolutely not saying I don't use corrections, but I am seeing good behavior rewarded decreases the need for corrects over all.  That's because stuff that doesn't get a reward tends to extinguish itself soon enough.

This takes me back to Don Helsley's( http://www.helsleyranch.com/) pearl  of wisdom from my last lesson.  He said if you want the dog to stop fast you need to not leave him idling in stop. So stop, flank, stop walk up.....so reward the stop with allowing the dog to go back to work quickly.  Ok, so far I have sucked at applying this, but I see it working.  I know it will work, based on what I know about rewarding behavior I like.  There is more to this equation , but that's for another post.

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