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Animals – Conducting Welli and Parrot with Click and Stick – Society – Insurance for Pets

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Frankfurt / Main (dpa / tmn) – Clicker training has been around for dogs and cats for a long time. But parrots and parakeets can also learn through the method, for example, to come to the hand on command or to stop biting.

« Clicker training is suitable for building trust between animals and humans, » says Astrid Behr, press spokeswoman for the Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians in Frankfurt. « There are no penalties, only rewards. »

The idea is that animals exhibit behaviors more often when it is worthwhile for them. « The bird is rewarded the moment it has done something right, » says Miriam Willasch, veterinarian and specialist for pets at the German Animal Welfare Association in Bonn.

For the training you need a clicker and a target stick. The clicker is a small device that produces a clicking sound at the push of a button. The target stick is used to guide the birds. It should be made of a firm and harmless material.

For Vogel, noise means: a reward is coming soon

« After a certain training period, the click sound forms a bridge between the desired behavior and the reward, » says the expert. « The accuracy with which you can tell the bird which behavior is rewarded usually leads to quick learning success. »

First of all, it is important to condition the bird on the clicker. « To do this, it has to be linked to a reward, » says Willasch. To do this, you press the clicker immediately before you offer the bird a treat. After a few repetitions, the animal understands that this sound is associated with a reward.

Practice sessions should only last a few minutes

« In order to maintain this connection, the bird should only hear the clicker during training and always in connection with a reward, » says the expert. In addition, the bird should learn to follow the target stick. Then the training can begin – with two short sessions of a few minutes per day.

« Clicker training can be used for all sorts of situations, » says bird coach Ann Castro, who lives in Tenerife. The method is suitable, for example, to tame a bird and can also help if, for example, you have to cut its claws or if you want to stop a bird from biting. In a training plan, you first split the desired behavior into several exercise steps.

Lots of mini-steps until Vogel climbs onto the hand

« First you move your free hand in mini-steps towards the bird, » says author Castro (« The bird school – clicker training for parrots, parakeets and other birds »). After each mini-step, the bird should bite the tip of the target stick and be rewarded for it. « You practice each of these steps until the bird is completely relaxed. Only then do you move on to the next mini-step. »

The exercise steps should be so small that the bird does not notice that the exercise is becoming more difficult. The bird should always be relaxed. Otherwise it is better to take a mini-step back and continue practicing from there.

In the course of the training, the sitting hand will eventually be in front of the bird. He should then have to stretch a little to get to the stick that is held over the sitting hand. Instead of getting closer to the bird with your hand, you now remove the target stick from the animal bit by bit.

Practice the « Open » command in different places

The bird will finally step onto the hand, which in turn also consists of a few individual steps: Gradually the bird will shift its weight onto the hand and finally stand on it with both feet.

Then the command « Open » is linked to it. In the last step, the target stick is tapered. « It is important to then practice in very different places so that the bird learns to get on the hand everywhere, » says Castro. If that works, you can eventually sneak out the clicker for the exercise.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220106-99-613934 / 2

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