Me and Rasta the alexandrine parakeet
As most of you have followed, I had been working on crate training Rasta so that when it came time to ship him home to his owners in Florida, I would be able to do so! Also, so that they can continue to use the crate as a means of transporting him from his indoor cage to his outdoor aviary.
Rasta wasn’t intended to head back to his owners until just before September arrived, but due to conflicting travel schedules I had to schedule him earlier than planned so he is sadly leaving me on this coming Thursday.
In the time that he has been with me he’s learned:
- Touch training and targeting on cue
- Flight training to a place I point to on cue
- Flight training to my arm on cue
- Crate trained to go inside his crate and eat his meals on cue
- Station into his cage and sit on a designated perch on cue
- Knows how to ‘wave’ on cue
- Knows how to ‘spin’ on cue
- Steps up on cue (with the presence of an arm, no verbal cue)
- Be ‘gentle’ when touching or taking something on cue
- Learn to love bathing via spray bottle
- Added variety to his picky diet
- Build self confidence and have less fear
Let’s talk about how I accomplished the finalizing of the crate training…
I had to eventually make it so that the door could close on its own which I did by unattaching it from the chair so it was free to swing. This taught Rasta how to control it and get in and out himself, which you can see he learned quite fast:
The door of the cage free to swing open or closed
The crate not just being used for the inside, but all around as well
Rasta exploring the cage door in its new way
More exploring with the swinging door
Learning to let himself in and out of the cage with his own weight shutting the door
Learning to be OK eating his meals with the door shut
Comfortable enough to eat on the perch with the door shut
Only rewarding with treats now through the cage when he is eating on the perch of the carrier
Teaching Rasta to be OK with people around his carrier while he goes in
Then there was re-earning his trust with the step up training. I had to go back to where it was working, which was at the table. It only took one session, one day and he was back to good with it. This kind of training takes so much emotional energy on Rasta’s part to overcome his fear and really trust me, that it’s not something I want to be working on every day. Otherwise I would make it so that he would burn out and stop wanting to train. This hand/step up training could be worked on probably once a week for Rasta to be good about it and make slow, but STEADY progress and still enjoy training.
Here’s how happy we both are after regaining our trusting relationship back!
Crate Training (notice how hesitant he is to go in with me watching)
Notice in this video how he doesn’t LEAVE the crate to eat anymore, but eats on the edge.
He’s now exploring and way more at ease on and around his crate, letting himself in and out of it on his own with the door shutting.
Skip to 4:06 in this video to see just the crate training in its final stage!
Onto my bond building and flight training with Rasta, which happened on accident. I pointed one day and he over shot his flight, and landed on my arm. Then we just stuck with it;
And then my step up training…
I left notes on YouTube for Rasta’s owners on these videos if you want a sneak peek at those. Maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t see before!
More step up training.
In this video Rasta learns that stepping up is a trick and not a command where he is going to be forced to do it. This way he looks at performing the behavior totally differently and is more excited to do it.
What the end of my session with Rasta looked like this time. Always ending when he is still excited about training, wanting more and on a high note and SUCCESS. Flight is fun for him so I give him a fun way out 😉
I’m very pleased and proud with all the progress Rasta and I made together during his stay with me and I hope that I’ve done a good enough job of arming his owners with the same tools to continue on with him. Hopefully I can come visit him to catch up on his progress and update you all as well. I know he is in good hands! Happy training, Karen and Liam! Will miss you keeping me on my toes, Rasta!