For the past 2 months we have been fostering a 13-year-old Black-Headed Caique named Jazz. We’re his 4th home in a 6-month period and he had a hard time transitioning when he first arrived. I wish I had started this blog back then because documenting his progress would have been really useful. The good news is we still have plenty to work on and blog about. In the interest of keeping myself on track here is a list of my goals:
- Introduce him to our 7-year-old White-Bellied Caique Rueben so the two can spend time out of their cages together.
- Encourage him to forage and self-entertain on various play stands instead of always wanting to be on me or near me.
- Improve his flying abilities. Right now he isn’t very confident moving around on perches, etc. that are up high. He prefers walking around the floor or shuffling around counters.
- Improve his confidence around new objects. This will help him feel more comfortable during our training sessions and in general.
- Teach him tricks like retrieve, target, push a cart, wave and spin. I’ve been told he’s had previous training and I think someone taught him to wave because he seems to offer a foot lift a lot. However, we need to work on improving his focus and enjoyment of the process itself.
- Teach him husbandry behaviors like taking liquid from a syringe, being wrapped in a towel, stepping onto a scale, having his feet handled and his nails trimmed if necessary.
Phew! That’s quite a list. Time to stop writing and start training. Here’s a video of our retrieve session from yesterday. I worked on teaching Jazz to pick the ball up with his beak. This is really hard for him because he has to move away from me (the treat source) to earn his reward. I love this video because you can really see when he has an internal struggle about which way to go (keep in mind you never want to make this too hard). I’m using a clicker to mark when he makes the right choice. To learn more about clicker training visit ClickerTraining.com.