“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own
and makes it so much the larger and better in every way."
— John Muir
← Meet Rambo (now Arie) and others who have chosen to change their behavior through my consistent and clear communication using kind strategies.
Enjoy watching Le'a (pronounced lay-ah = Hawaiian word for "bringer of happiness, loved one") who has been my treasured friend for 39 years. →
All behaviors are taught using (only) positive reinforcement.
While not performed by wild parrots, these behaviors add to a repertoire of enriching activities. The learners benefit from the thinking, choices and decisions required as well as from our interaction together.
Besides the innate value of the communication in our relationship, I am reinforcing Le'a's "correct" choices with her Le’a’s regular diet (Roudybush pellets).
Rambo-Arie prefers to work for pieces of nuts. Le’a gets nuts from time to time as well.
Training benefits the mental and physical health of your animal.
The behaviors in these videos are much more than “tricks”, they give the animal an opportunity to think by presenting him/her with valuable choices and decisions.
SIDE EFFECT WARNING: Trust, respect, and cooperation will greatly increase as a result of positive reinforcement training as advocated and taught by Harmony Animal Behavior.
Le’a – Hop, Wings, Roll: Note my use of a secondary reinforcer at times. (A ball rather than food to reinforce Le’a’s behavior.)
Working with Arie (2013) towards nail filing/clipping, feet handling, and staying inside cage when door opens until I tell him it is okay or ask him to step up. A few clumsy moments but a good start – need more work for clarity and, of course, to develop fluency and gain a long positive history of success but we have come a long way! :)
Rambo’s owner contacted me in April 2013 with the following message:
“We have a scarlet macaw, all he does is attack us and take hunks out of us when he gets us. He was loving when we first got him, now can’t do anything with him. We want to give him away but are afraid he’ll kill someone or mess them up real bad! That’s how mean he is! He says a lot of stuff and cusses too. His last attack he almost got my arm artery. We have lots of children and he has to go! We have had him since he was 5 months and now he’s about 9 1/2 years old now. Would you like to test your training abilities to the max?!! You can have him. Or please can you give us some ideas what to do with him? He has to go, we can’t afford training or anything, that’s why we just want to give him away to someone who maybe can handle him. Please help us.”
Thus far, I had always maintained that Le’a, who has been my partner since November 13, 1978, deserves only-bird status in our home. The plea to take Rambo was one of those just the right timing moments. Kevin, my wonderful husband and best friend agreed that we could take Rambo in. Being aware to keep Le’a satiated with attention, this adoption/rescue has worked out extremely well. In fact, at this very moment as I sit at my computer typing, I have a contented bird on either shoulder. :)
Rambo – now Arie – is observably a very bold and gregarious bird. Although Arie is not without challenges, he is an incredible individual who has definitely found his forever home with us! :) Keep checking back for videos of Arie’s progress!
Le’a – Stacking cups: 1 video – 1:04 minutes (Stacking cups behavior also here in “Le’a unedited footage“)
Le’a – Rings on peg: 2 videos – 57 seconds (Rings on peg behavior also here in “Le’a unedited footage“)
Le'a - New cups to stack - smaller and shallower than the cups Le'a is used to.
Just Le’a – No props Playlist: 6 videos – 13 minutes
Note my use of a secondary reinforcer at times. (A ball rather than food to reinforce Le’a’s behavior.)
Le’a – Coins in bank: 2 videos – 1:30 minutes (Coins in bank behavior also here in “Le’a unedited footage“)
Le’a learned with this behavior with this ceramic piggybank made for people... much more difficult because of size of coin slot. Watch how persistent she is because of positive reinforcement.)
Le’a – Color discrimination: 6 videos – 6 minutes, 56 seconds (Color discrimination (spoons) also here in “Le’a unedited footage“)
First time with more than four spoons (one of each color). (Green is “hot”.)
Le’a is supposed to pick out the “hot” spoon and place it in my hand.
Le’a – Tunnel: 1 video – 110 seconds (Tunnel behavior also here in “Le’a unedited footage“)
Le’a – Scooter: 4 videos – 66 seconds (Scooter behavior also here in “Le’a unedited footage“)
Le’a – Puzzles: 3 videos – 8 minutes, 7 seconds
Le’a – Hop, Stick ’em up, Bang
We are ALWAYS learning and updating our behaviors! ;)
Oops. :( Le’a is being very careful with “Bang” since she rolled off the counter a minute ago. That consequence (falling over the edge – I caught her) made her slow and careful the next time. All okay now so the behavior soon returns to normal.
Le’a works through the difficulties of dropping coins into the column
Le’a learning a new game of color discrimination!
Le’a – Hop, Walk, Stroll = “out-take” :D
Le’a is having fun and goofing around here. :)
Always give animals the choice to do a behavior to earn a valued outcome – or not.
Don’t control the animal – control the consequence.
Le’a and I both enjoy our morning session.
This was our (Le’a and my) first attempt at a video – a string of behaviors from start to finish.
0 – :44 Stacking cups
:58- 1:12 Basketball
1:24 – 2:10 Coins into a bank
2:20 – 2:28 Riding a scooter
3:05 – 3:30 Tunnel
4:40 – 5:19 Recycling
5:35 – 7:35 Rings on post
7:52 – 10:48 Discrimination (green = hot)
Rambo / Arie – working on wave and turning around on visual cues. (Rambo's story above)
More of Rambo/Arie: Change of environment to the counter rather than back of a chair. First time at Turn Around (spin) not on chairback! Starting the retrieve.
Rambo (Arie) turn around on visual cue and second session in beginning retrieve.
(Le’a is watching and asks “What’s the matter?”) :)
Warmup on some learned behaviors (Hi, Turn-arounds) then second time with the new big puzzle. It is always Le’a’s choice to participate – I had to make it worth the effort for her. :)
Le’a ~ instead of screaming for attention / Arie ~ Feet handling for vet/medical/husbandry
Arie foot handling while Le’a solicits for attention in the background. This shows how I can interact with Le’a (Yellow Naped Amazon) even while busy (with Arie). Le’a’s acceptable vocalizations are reinforced (by my comments) so that Le’a never needs to escalate to screaming for attention. Le’a knows from consistent past experience that if she waits nicely, she will get attention. She did try screaming years ago but it never worked and, additionally, acceptable vocalizations do get attention. Besides that, I make sure to give her attention for being quiet (so that she does not have to remind me of her existence). Also important is there is no deficit of attention – I give Le’a a lot of attention everyday through training, playing with her, and hanging out together.
Le’a pushing a soccer ball into a “goal”.
Le’a ~ whistle, hi, turns, nods, etc.
Arie ~ Turn around, wave
Le’a ~ Color discrimination with spoons is becoming quite fluent!
Arie is improving in his taking and giving the ball – foundation for the retrieve.
Le’a ~ Color discrimination (spoons) (Notice her beak quivering with anticipation of another chance to earn reinforcement.) :D
Le’a on a friendly scooter ride :D
1 video – 4 minutes, 35 seconds
Working with Arie towards nail filing/clipping, feet handling, and staying inside cage when door opens until I tell him it is okay or ask him to step up. A few clumsy moments but a good start – need more work for clarity and, of course, to develop fluency and gain a long positive history of success but we have come a long way! :)
Le’a is a star! :) Playlist of 9 videos – 17 minutes
Bird Training in Progress (Le’a and Rambo/Arie) 1 videos – 19 minutes
(see also: Rambo/Arie – Clicker training for husbandry behaviors)
14 video Playlist
Le'a – Playing around 6:56
Le'a – Practice 2:44
Le’a – Hop, stick ’em up wings & roll onto back 0:28
Le’a – Hop, Wings, Roll 0:31
Le’a – Hop, Walk, Stroll = “out-take” :D 0:12
Le’a – friendly scooter ride 0:17
Le’a – Stacking cups 1:04
Le’a – Playing basketball 0:19
Le’a – Close up hi and wave 0:12
Le’a – Works through the difficulties of dropping coins into the column 1:48
Rambo / Arie – Initial training to hold object (for retrieve) 1:33
Le’a – Stacking rings 0:39
Le’a – Piggybank 0:29
Rambo / Arie – Early training in different environment 2:32
(See also “Le’a unedited footage“)
Rambo/Arie: Playlist - 7 videos – 9 minutes, 57 seconds