Clicker training is a transformative approach that’s not only effective but also enhances the relationship between a bird and its owner. When you engage in clicker training, you’re not merely imposing instructions. Instead, you and your bird become collaborative partners.

The Magic Behind the Clicker

  1. The Power of Rewards: Whether it’s a food treat, attention, or a toy, rewards can motivate behaviours in powerful ways. For instance, when your bird steps onto a perch and immediately gets a treat, she’s more likely to repeat the action.
  2. Primary vs. Secondary Reinforcers: While a food treat is a primary reinforcer, sometimes we need a ‘bridge’ or signal between the bird’s action and the reward. This bridge, called the secondary reinforcer, could be a simple ‘yes’ or the sound of a clicker.
  3. Timing is Everything: The secondary reinforcer should be used precisely when the bird performs the desired behaviours. Ensure it’s consistent and immediate to avoid confusion.
  4. Start Simple: Set realistic expectations for your bird. Progress is often faster and more robust when the bird makes fewer mistakes.

Laying the Groundwork

  1. Clicker-Food Association: Start by pairing the clicker sound with a treat, ideally about 10-20 times a day. Once your bird realizes that a click means a treat is on the way, you’re on the right track.
  2. Marking the Behaviours: Now, use the clicker to identify behaviours worth reinforcing. It’s crucial to click just as your bird exhibits the behaviours.
  3. Offered vs. Lured Behaviours: There are two primary strategies:
  • Offered Behaviours: Wait for your bird to naturally perform an action and reinforce it when it happens.
  • Lured Behaviours: Use a treat to guide your bird towards the desired behaviours. Remember to remove the lure once your bird begins to exhibit the behaviours reliably.
  1. Cues and Signals: Your luring gestures can become cues. Once your bird responds reliably to these, introduce a verbal cue.

Enhancing and Maintaining the Training

  1. Location Variance: Train in different locations to ensure your bird can perform the desired behaviours in various environments.
  2. Phase Out the Clicker: As your bird becomes more consistent, you can start to decrease your reliance on the clicker.
  3. Intermittent Rewards: Shift from rewarding every correct behaviours to an occasional reward, which can actually enhance motivation.

Remember, training isn’t just about teaching tricks. It’s an ongoing commitment that enriches your bond with your bird and stimulates its intellect. Whether it’s a simple ‘twirl’ or a ‘step up’, the process and the journey can be as rewarding as the results.

Book with us for a deeper dive into the fascinating world of bird training and experience the joy of a well-trained bird!