Guest post by Marit, @marit_wellis.und.mehr
What is clicker training?
In clicker training, a desired behavior of the budgie is confirmed by a click sound and rewarded with treats.
It is therefore a positive method of teaching the bird and is based on the principle of so-called positive reinforcement.
Why clicker training?
- it brings fun – the holder and the bird
- it strengthens the bond with the bird
- the confidence of the bird grows
- the bird is utilized and occupied in an additional way
- easier handling possible when placing in the transport box and administering medication (medical training)
What is needed?
How does it work?
1st step: Condition clicker
In the first step, conditioning the clicker, the bird learns to associate the click sound with the treat.
For this, you offer the bird millet and as soon as he eats a grain, you click. This must be done as simultaneously as possible. The whole thing is repeated several times and also further consolidated on the next days.
So that the clicking sound does not frighten the bird, you should hold the clicker a little further away at the beginning and, if necessary, you can also wrap it with cloth.
And if the bird is not familiar with the hand, either take a longer piece of millet or attach the millet to the end of a thin branch or wooden shish kebab. This keeps the distance between the bird and the hand larger.
2. Step: Get to know Targetstick
Once the clicker is well conditioned, familiarization with the target stick follows.
The goal is for the bird to touch the small ball with its beak, at which time it is clicked and given a treat.
In the first attempts, hold the ball close to the beak, but do not touch it.
Over time, you increase the distance a little, so that the bird has to take one or later several steps towards the ball.
If the bird is initially afraid of the target stick, it is shown at such a distance that the bird remains relaxed at the sight of it. This behavior is rewarded.
Over time, the target stick is slowly moved closer and closer to the bird and rewarded each time. In any case, give the bird as much time as it needs.
In general, you should choose a time for training when the bird is fit and awake and neither too full nor too hungry.
There are many options here.
You can start, for example, by teaching the bird to turn.
For this, the bird sits on a perch, the target stick is slowly moved under it first to its back and when it turns, it continues to circle back to the front.
Also with the target stick you can guide the bird to certain targets or over a course.
You can see videos about this and many other training possibilities on my Instagram account @marit_wellis.und.mehr – check it out!
My experience with clicker training
I have been doing clicker training with our budgies for five years.
All six like to do or did it, each having different preferences as to which workout they like best.
The smaller exercises, like turning, coming to hand, tapping nose or finger with beak, they all like to do.
Following the target stick is especially popular with our boys, while the girls love color and picture card training and have also mastered a little training sequence (Turn – Tip – High Five – Come).
Moreover, our pebble can even bring small rings in a small bowl or our hand. She is always particularly committed to the training.
You need some patience for the training. I don’t usually have that and can reassure you that it can still work out well if you enjoy it.
And if you have to take a longer break, this is not bad either. In fact, the birds do not forget anything from the training.
As a conclusion I can say that the birds and I bring the clicker training totally a lot of fun and our relationship has intensified by it again much more!
Marit – Wellis und mehr
Guest author on the topic of clicker training