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#224271 - 08/10/10 04:30 AM Major setback  
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Winter's mom Offline
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It has seriously taken me nearly 3 years to convince Winter that the shower wasn't a death sentence. I started by rewarding him for just being in the bathroom and each step nearer the tub was a major accomplishment. We have had success in the shower for about a year. Today the suction cups on the shower perch let go and he panicked,flapped and fell right into the tub. I was in the shower with him. I hopped out, calmly picked him up and tried to soothe him. He was freaked out. Later in the day I tried to just walk through the bathroom. <sigh> It was like the 3 years never happened.He was sure he was going to die. Treats were not an option. He wasnt interested. He just wanted to get out of the room. Now what do I do. How am I going to overcome THIS ? His fear seemed nearly insurmountable to start with... how am I going to convince him that it's not the end of the world to get in the shower again?
I know ABA can conquer everything. But how do I start now ?
Cheryl

#224273 - 08/10/10 04:41 AM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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Cheryl, you start at the place where he shows no sign of fear. So you get as close as you can until his body language changes from calm to not calm and you work from there. Favoured treats and the things he finds most reinforcing in the calm spot and you move a bit closer. Soon as his body language changes in a negative manner, move back to the spot where he is calm. This is approximations in a behaviour chain.

Have I made sense?

Bev

Give him a little time too, that may really help.


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#224275 - 08/10/10 04:48 AM Re: Major setback [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Makes perfect sense, Bev. I just may have to start in the kitchen, or go for another form of bathing for awhile. Perhaps I am expecting too much, too soon... Should I skip the whole bathroom/shower activity for awhile? Thanks....

#224277 - 08/10/10 02:02 PM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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Yes, I would give him some time but not too much. You might try a walk by a couple days after the incident and Cheryl you have to really praise calm behaviour. As soon as you sense any negative change in his behaviour, immediately go into the zone where he is calm and stay there for a minute and tell him what a good boy he is.

If he "trusts" you as much as I believe he does, it shouldn't take too long. Just respect his fear and help him work through it.

Does he like being misted?

And I'd get one of those shower perches that can't fall off so it doesn't happen again. I've seen them advertised.

Bev


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#224375 - 08/14/10 05:43 AM Re: Major setback [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Thanks Bev, Haven't tried the shower again, yet. But did a bathroom walk through with big praise for being brave and a few treats,then spent some time in there just sitting and talking about it. No major upset. Gonna keep that up for awhile. Havent turned the water on yet... maybe turn the water on and then another walk through? Repeat sitting with water on?
Gotta find a better shower perch before we even go near the tub enclosure. Nope he doesnt really like misting either.. seems to be afraid of the bottle. Unless I run the vaccuum for awhile and he watches the other birds get into it. Then he sorta starts to play a little from the verrrry farthest point possible.
Just keep swimming
Cheryl

#224376 - 08/14/10 05:48 AM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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Yes, and if you see any signs of discomfort go back to where he was comfortable and take a smaller step forward. Always end on a positive note.

I bought this huge dog bowl and I attach it to the outside of a cage, put one of those cheap vinyl tablecloths underneath and then run a fan and everyone wants a bath. It's the craziest thing. The bowl is 96 ounces.

Keep up the good work, Cheryl!!!

Bev


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#224570 - 08/19/10 10:34 PM Re: Major setback [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Oh there is such power in ABA and peanut butter. We're into the bathroom, sitting on the side of the tub, water on... scrubbing cage grates today. I had to switch up the treat. Went to PB... all time favorite and Pine Nuts are soooo ridiculously expensive even if you can find them.. Thanks Bev... movin' on. We havent actually been IN the tub yet... but it's comin' fast...:-) I am sooo happy he wasnt permanently scarred.

#224589 - 08/20/10 03:16 AM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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With the right birdy currency Cheryl, anything is possible. LOL

Let us know how it goes. I'm thinking he's going to be just fine.

Bev


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#224642 - 08/22/10 02:31 AM Re: Major setback [Re: ZazuSally]  
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Bev, can you try training 2 behaviors at the same time? I have been working with Winter to get back into the shower and I just bought him a Aviator harness, and Im DYING to get started with that? Can I do that? Should I use different treats?
Cheryl

#224645 - 08/22/10 02:53 AM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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Absolutely and you don't need different treats. You need "a" treat that Winter values above all else. Keep the training sessions separate just so you know what is working and what isn't. And keep them short and always end on a positive note. Animals love to have jobs, Cheryl. They would rather work for food.

Has he seen the harness yet?

Bev


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#224657 - 08/22/10 06:59 AM Re: Major setback [Re: ZazuSally]  
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I showed it to him. He took it out of my hand and threw it on the floor. After that I picked it up and wore it draped around my neck. He messed with it with his beak a little, then threw it on the floor again. After that we just stepped over it and went on to practicing the "Big Eagle".... I watched the DVD that came with it...gonna try to really "start" tomorrow, now that I know it's not confusing or anything to do 2 things at once.
I would like to try with Isaac,too. But we're starting from ground zero with him... Started target training tonight. He has learned some things from watching Winter but I started his own private sessions today. I tried with him once before but he wouldnt take any treats from my hand (no nuts or anything ) sooo I discovered peanut butter works with him ,too. It's our new drug of choice....:-)

#225355 - 09/16/10 04:44 AM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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well, we have made it all the way into the shower with the water on. Now it's getting tricky. He doesnt like water. If I wait until he decides to get wet, he wont. He begs to get off the shower stand. Should I take the hand held shower off of it's holder and put water on him? (how do I do that with clicker and a spoonful of peanut butter ?) I don't want to undo all of this progress but I really don't think he will EVER decide to get into the water.It seems it would never be his choice.
We're making pretty good progress with the harness,too. He will stick his head into the opening and will allow me to lay it accross his back verrrry briefly. But sometimes I think my timing is off and I seem to click as he pulls it off. Am I giving him the wrong cue? Should I click/treat before it actually touches him?

#225361 - 09/16/10 08:01 AM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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Beeps, you're skilled in clicker training! What say you?

Cheryl, if Echo had her choice about when to bath, it would be never. She's come to tolerate them but still avoids them like the plaque. Have you tried using any different bathing techniques instead of back in the shower where the incident happened?


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#225381 - 09/16/10 04:10 PM Re: Major setback [Re: EchosMom]  
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1. As for showering -- if he's on a shower stand, you can hold the clicker in the palm of your right hand, the pb spoon in the right hand and the shower spray in the left hand (or switch the hands, but if you can learn to click while the clicker is in the palm of your hand, that really helps with some of these more complicated things.) If you are able to manage, that might be the best solution as you can control the spray a little more and not have it go directly on him at first.

You may also be trying to move faster than he's willing to go. How long did you click/treat (C/T) him just for being in the shower place without the water running? He may need a few extra weeks of this.

Go slowly and watch his body language! C/T him for being on the shower perch while you hold the nozzle. Slowly move so the nozzle gets closer to him (while C/T). This may take weeks, or it may take days -- let him set the pace.

Finally, give thought to EM's comments about figuring out a different way to bathe him. He may prefer a dish of water or to be sprayed. He may prefer cooler water than you're trying.

2. As for harness training, timing is very important. I know in the clicker training book I have, they recommend going in a room (away from your animals so they don't hear the clicking), and practice bouncing a rubber ball on the ground and try to click when the ball hits the ground -- you definitely get better with practice.

If you are clicking when he's trying to remove the harness, that's what your reinforcing (removing the harness). IMO, it's better to click a little ahead of time than a little late. The good thing is that any "error" you introduce with the clicker, you can fix with the clicker, so try to click a little earlier and see what happens!

Also, remember to be patient -- sticking his head inside is HUGE! Maybe for a few session, you focus just on that: doing what he already knows and is comfortable with, so that you know he's got it down cold, before you progress to the next point. When it seems like he's really having fun with sticking his head through, then you can move on. I always start each training session with some of their favorite, easy, tricks to get them in the right mindset. I find when I don't do this, the entire session goes poorly.

Definitely keep us updated and great job!

#225383 - 09/16/10 04:24 PM Re: Major setback [Re: Beeps]  
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Thanks so much Beeps and Janet !
Winter is skilled in quite a number of click/treat skills and we have been doing working on various feats for a few years now, starting with target training. He loves it. He can count to four and knows the difference by putting the correct number of rings on a peg.He knows Big Eagle and how to play basketball.So far, my timing has been spot on. He learns quickly and performs appropriately. But I tell ya, with this harness thing he is just faster than a lightning bolt.I must get the timing right. I'll try a slightly premature click. And for now just concentrate on letting him stick his head in.My biggest fear is that we will get it all the way on and he'll freak and then it will be a struggle getting it off, causing the whole experience to go bad.So I have been going verry slowly. I spent weeks just wearing it around my neck and letting him walk on it and toss it around.
As for the shower, I have tried pretty much every form of bathing. He just seems to NOT like water. He did get into it one day outside with the fine mist from the hose and the fan and vaccuum going but those days are quickly coming to an end. I do find he's much more receptive to the shower if Im in there with him. I have put a large container on top of the cage and run the vaccuum during the colder months . The other birds play in it but he won't get in. I saw a photo of Liisa's Simon in the bathtub and wondered how the heck did she ever get him in there!
Anyway... great advice .. thank you I will work on my timing and keep you posted...

#225384 - 09/16/10 07:45 PM Re: Major setback [Re: Winter's mom]  
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Originally Posted By: Winter's mom
I do find he's much more receptive to the shower if Im in there with him.


This might be another tactic. As a flock animal, in the wild he probably would be bathing with others. Daily, I shower with three of my birds on the shower curtain rod and my husband showers with one bird.

I always ask them if they want to shower with me; about half the time my TAG steps up to shower, my CAG steps up to shower about 1-2 times per month, and my caique never, but I still try! My husband's macaw will shower a couple of times a week.

When they do come in with me, I use my hand to shield the hard spray from them, so it lands on them more gently, and always let them back up on the shower curtain when they start their body posturing up there.

If you're able to do that (not quite sure how your bathroom is set up -- can he be on the shower perch but not in the spray directly?) he can see you having a good time in there and choose when he wants to join you, plus he'll get a little residual spray on his feathers, which is better than nothing.

Of course this means you trust him with you in the shower (I never shower with our macaw -- I don't even want to contemplate the bites that might happen!) And probably try to get him to want to do this not with clicker training since everything would get wet, but a big treat after a successful shower, maybe.

Great job on the harness progress, and on all of his other tricks!

#225459 - 09/19/10 03:00 AM Re: Major setback [Re: Beeps]  
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WE MADE IT! Into the shower this morning with water on. I aimed the shower at me and it bounced onto him ! No freaking out ! He wasnt happy for sure... but he didn't panic or flap!!!!!!! WOOOO HOOOOO big ole spoonful of peanut butter !!! and Praise praise praise!!!We'll do it this way for awhile.. til he wants to actually get under the spray with me!! Im soo excited!
Still working on the harness thing. Tonight he let me lay the harness across his back.. while he was eating sunflower seeds of course. But,hey, we're getting there .... slowwllly...

#225476 - 09/19/10 04:58 PM Re: Major setback [Re: Liisa B]  
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Excellent, excellent news Cheryl!!!


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#225993 - 10/06/10 11:26 PM Re: Major setback [Re: EchosMom]  
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Just thought I would post an update on the wonderful progress Winter has made with his harness. I did some reading on exactly HOW to get them to accept it and it seems that rewarding the bird for doing NOTHING is what you aim for. He's supposed to just sit there while you put the harness on, so he gets treats for accepting the feel of the material and it moving accross his body,head and wings. Not an easy thing. BUT we're getting the idea here, so when the harness goes over his head... and he doesnt bite it or try to wiggle out of it or throw it on the floor... TREAT! and when it comes off over his head and it moves his crest forward and he doesnt freak out..... TREAT! It's really kind of a complicated concept for us.. but we're moving forward.
Also the shower is going well, too. I don't think he'll ever LOVE the bathroom shower... but he's accepting it with more and more calm... He will actually take a shower and allow water to touch him.... LOTS OF TREATS.... ABA works...


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