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#194150 - 02/26/09 04:13 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: ParrotPerson]  
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Mythree2s Offline
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I really must disagree with your statements. The basis of clicker training and Dr. Pepperberg's training are both based on applied behavior analysis. The difference is in the consequence being a treat or praise.

Primary and secondary reinforcers:a primary reinforcer is one that satisfies a biological need (i.e., food). A secondary reinforcer is also known as a conditioned reinforcer, it is a previously neutral stimulus that has become reinforcing to an organism through association with another reinforcer. Examples of secondary reinforcers are praise, grades, money, and feelings of success. Source

Being skeptical of your assertion that Dr. Pepperberg does not use food reinforcers, and thinking I had seen food given as reinforcement in videos with her, I did a little digging. Here is an excerpt from her article Development of Piagetian Object Permanence in a Grey Parrot published in The Journal of Comparative Psychology:

Quote:
The repetition tested Griffin's willingness to work: Failure to repeat an earlier task usually indicated motivational problems and separated such problems from an inability to perform a task. To maintain his motivation, we varied objects or foods between trials (except for task 5) and allowed him to eat the food or play with the toy he had
found (DonS & Dumas, 1987).


How do you know what the animal thinks is degrading and insulting? When I see animals being trained with positive reinforcement, they are eager to work for that reinforcer - praise, treat, or something else. You must agree that dolphins are incredibly intelligent animals, yes? Is the training used with dolphins then also degrading and insulting? The use a whistle that serves exactly the same function as a clicker, and they use food-based reinforcers.

I have yet to see a published article stating that the use of food or other primary reinforcer somehow debases an animal’s intelligence. However, there are plenty of articles, scientists, professional trainers, associations, etc. that advocate the use of food reinforcers. If there were ethical problems, I would think any number of professional organizations would have come out with statements against the use of food.

Here’s a great article on motivation:

What’s In It For Me?

One on behavior by Dr. Susan Friedman:

The ABCs of Behavior

There are also a number of great articles on ABA in the Applied Behavior - Case Studies forum.

I’m guessing others have responded to this at the same time, so I apologize for anything that may be repetitive.

And finally, and at the risk of causing a stir, tapping a beak with an object is not an example of positive reinforcement, and some may argue that action as one that disrespects and degrades the animal…


The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.
Theodore Roosevelt
#194160 - 02/26/09 04:53 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Mythree2s]  
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Well said Bev and JJ!!! I couldn't agree more.


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
#194170 - 02/26/09 05:56 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: ParrotPerson]  
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Quote:

I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea of rewarding with treats and I usually don't suggest it to others either. When you're dealing with an animal who has been domesticated for generations over thousands of years, and who's IQ is the size of a peanut, then clicker training is a great method to use. People who respect birds, though, respect their intelligence. To use this same method on a bird can be considered degrading and insulting.


Oh trust me, if Fergus didn't like the way I trained him, he would have simply jumped on me and bitten my face.

No other training method worked with Fergus, and he had gone through many, many homes due to his aggression. Clicker training him reduced the aggression and he learned to trust people and could have much more freedom.

Also, no one who has ever met me thinks that I have anything but respect for animals.

And, domestic animals like dogs and horses can be very intelligent. They don't have the IQ of peanuts. Why else can dogs be trained to do complicated search and rescue work? I've also worked with horses smart enough to untie knots and open gates. Domestic pigs are smarter than they are ever given credit for.

Quote:

Dr. Irene Pepperberg has proven time and again in her studies with Alex, how intelligent a bird can be. Her reward while teaching Alex wasn't in the form of snacks, but in the mental stimulation that was provided by performing those actions.


No, he was rewarded with the objects he was being asked about. Often, when he was given the object, he would drop it and ask for a nut. He asked for nuts a lot, actually. In a lot of videos I saw of him, he'd toss an object he was given and ask for a nut. In this case, the bird could tell people what he wanted. He often wanted a nut.

Quote:

Dr. Jan Hooimeijer is also a large supporter of rewarding their intelligence rather than their stomaches. He doesn't give a bird treats if they do something good, he simply praises them and continues offering more challenges. He also sets them up for success - takes a behavior already offered by the bird and converts it into a wanted behavior.


Praise doesn't work with all birds and it often does not work with birds that have been mistreated and that are terrified of people. Why would a bird that panics at the site of a person want to work for praise? I've worked with birds that are frightened by praise and in that case, yes, food works. After the bird has learned to associate people with positive things (food) then he may learn to like praise.

As I wrote, different birds enjoy different reinforcers. Some do like praise or toys. For some, food is best. And the best part of training with positive reinforcement is that the bird does not have to participate. In the way I train, the bird is *always* free to ignore me. Somehow, they rarely do. If they somehow thought the way I train is degrading, they could not participate and I always give them that option. They are not forced to work for food because they always have food in a dish available.

In face, some studies show that animals often prefer to work for food and will work for food that's freely available in a dish. This is called "counter free-loading."

Clicker training a bird does not mean that he never gets to be challenged. All my birds enjoy their training sessions, but they also get a huge assortment of toys and opportunities to forage. They get lots of social interaction as well.

Last edited by Garnet; 02/26/09 05:57 PM.
#194171 - 02/26/09 06:00 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Mythree2s]  
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Originally Posted By: Mythree2s

And finally, and at the risk of causing a stir, tapping a beak with an object is not an example of positive reinforcement, and some may argue that action as one that disrespects and degrades the animal…


I've always wondered if there was a bit of negative reinforcement going on there. Name the object, and it won't bump you on the beak anymore...

(Good post, by the way)

#194587 - 03/02/09 11:09 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Garnet]  
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One thing that suprised me in reading about Irene Pepperberg's work was that occassionally she not only used food as a reinforcer, but candy! She said that a piece of candy now and then wouldn't hurt Alex, and that he loved it. I remember her suggesting to a student that she offer him "a bean", and she meant a jelly bean! She actually sometimes gave Alex a jelly bean.

I have had a blue and gold macaw for a quarter century and it would never have occurred to me to give her candy because I thought it would be dangerous. I still don't think I would do that very often. But when Easter comes around, if I have any jelly beans maybe I'll offer one to her and see if she likes it.

(I have heard, however, that chocolate is toxic to birds!)

#194642 - 03/03/09 03:43 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Jurate]  
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Refined sugar is also terrible for them. I would avoid the jellybean! Cassie got into the sugar bowl once and took a good bite of pure sugar. She was very hyper for awhile after wards. I now have one of the old fashion sugar pourers that you see in the diners.
Nancy


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#196062 - 03/17/09 09:53 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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Very interesting article. I have never tried clicker training but maybe it would help with aggression behaviors this time of year and maybe not. My BFA is the challenge as my M2 always seems to be the steadfast friend even though he loves his flower pot. I do have to take it from him so he doesn't go totally crazy filling it up with everything.


Once was, Once is, Happy Once Again!

Phyllis

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#225175 - 09/10/10 02:42 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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Great guide, Garnet! Thanks for posting that here, it discusses clicker training. I know it will be helpful to anyone who are interested in clicker training.

#237606 - 09/03/11 06:07 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parrots. [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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I have a peir of toy castanets that work pretty well. . .and also found a clicker at a "Dollar store". It's not the "professional model" of course, but it makes a nice firm loud "click".


Jody
#244855 - 05/18/12 03:12 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parrots. [Re: Garnet]  
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I have a Moluccan Cockatoo approx. 15 yrs. old and am using the clicker training but once he sees even a small cockatiel size perch only about 4 inches long he ruffles up and scared so I stop until he settles down but doesn't until I put down. Taking small steps at a time. Will not give up. Hope I'm moving in right direction. Thank you.

#244865 - 05/20/12 05:30 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parrots. [Re: Garnet]  
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P&C, try a smaller target, moybe, or a different shape. I've used a little bamboo skewer for my cockatiel; he finds anything much larger intimidating. And I keep it in my hand while "loading" the clicker, so he gets the idea that it's connected to the oats and cashews. He still thinks I ought to start from the very beginning each time, though. (rolling my eyes)


Jody
#250042 - 01/01/13 08:10 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parrots. [Re: Garnet]  
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I just ordered Cliker Training for Parrots and a set of clickers from Amazon. Can't wait to get started! I am really hoping this is a great thing for Chico since so far he only allows me to handle him and we still have about a 50% sucess rate on not getting bit on the step up.


Chico's new mommy ♥
#250488 - 02/03/13 08:28 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Garnet]  
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Ok this may be removed but here goes. I have a beautiful U2 intelligent too. I also own a German Rottweiler. He does NOT have the IQ of a peanut. He is highly skilled and trained. I know this is a bird sight and I adore my Mina. I think just should be said some of these animals with peanut sized IQ's save our lives and hunt for our lost children everyday. Sorry if I stepped on toes. Great article Garnet. I have one question I hope someone can help with. Mina attacked my hands with the clicker. Tried to hide it but she crawled all over my arms and hand biting till I proved I didn't have it. This has happened several times now. She would do the same to a pen as well. Any words of advise please

Last edited by Mina'smom; 02/03/13 08:51 AM. Reason: Add question

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together,keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever.
#250558 - 02/07/13 01:52 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Garnet]  
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Reminds me of part of the thing about, "it's mine". "If it's yours, and I have any interest in it at all, it's mine"! That's evidently her attitude! Is it safe for her to have? That is, could she hurt herself with it, by breaking off and perhaps ingesting a piece? If not, can you find a substitute toy that makes a similar sound? A small rock inside a plastic egg, perhaps?

I use my mouth to make the click sound when I'm training, so they will NOT have the distraction of a noisy toy.


Jody
#250573 - 02/07/13 06:31 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Garnet]  
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I have started clicking with my tongue. Thanks JM47. It's working!! That and pine nuts and we are now training.


If there ever comes a day when we can't be together,keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever.
#250591 - 02/08/13 05:35 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Garnet]  
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GOOD for you!


Jody
#255853 - 06/25/14 04:25 AM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Garnet]  
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Does anyone have any recommendation on what kind of snacks I can try if my u2 doesn't actually eat the treat? I have tried almonds which she goes for but drops all the time. I was thinking of using cookie crumbs because she loves those but I'd prefer something a little healthier if possible.. I'm really looking forward to clicker training with Einstein but I need to find a reward that's effective!

#255863 - 06/25/14 04:04 PM Re: Clicker Training to help calm Aggressive Parro [Re: Garnet]  
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The treat should be relatively small and quick to eat. I won't base Scooter's diet on things that aren't too healthy, but the reward MUST be something that the animal REALLY wants or it loses value. I use treats that I don't normally include in hit diet.
My list sounds awful, but keep in mind that it is only a tiny portion of his daily intake. My vet knows about it and approves, she told me that Scooter is one of the friendliest and best behaved Cockatoos she see's. In fact, I'm still trying to get Scooter to forage (rather than dismantle all the screws in the toy and toss the treat inside at me in disgust) and she told me to use something he just can't refuse, like a gummi bear, a frosted cookie, or a cool ranch Dorito. (She also tells me that dismantling the toy IS foraging, it's just doing it the hard way, he's probably bored.) I was trying to use healthier treats like nuts and dried fruit.

Keep portion size in mind - Scooter is almost a kg. Use smaller pieces for smaller birds. Bird Brain has a sweet tooth:
grapes
berries
almonds - in shell (he LIKES taking them apart)
mini-jelly beans
mini-gummi bears
a portion of a starburst
small slice of hot dog
corner of a cool ranch Dorito
small chunk of steak
small piece of graham cracker
small piece of a cookie
corner of a frosted fruit pop tart
large sunflower seeds - in shell

Once again, these items are NOT a regular part of his diet, but rewards when he's being particularly good.
We've had a particularly challenging week, and his weight is down, so I've been giving him a mini-lollipop when he let's me examine him and administer his antibiotic. I have to talk to him and slowly start preening his head after the ordeal, if he's too wound up he'll toss anything I give him back at me in disgust.


Nothing is so strong as gentleness,
Nothing so gentle as real strength.

Saint Francis de Sales
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