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Wiki's Tricks: Clicker Training Props & Behaviours

6161 Views 48 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Wiki
Well, it's 5 months into my clicker training and I wanted to share this one:

[nomedia=""]Tricky Wiki 2 - YouTube[/nomedia]

I'm very, very proud of what this clever little fellow has taught me.

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Thank you - but I think Wiki's a better learner :D
Well, Wiki's a year old now, and after his large moult he's been able to fly! So all our training has been focused on flight recall to make him a safe, happy flying machine. Here's his latest exploits..

Flight Recalls & Flighted Basketball:
[nomedia=""]Tricky Wicky 3 - YouTube[/nomedia]

Birdie Bowling:
[nomedia=""]Birdie Bowling - YouTube[/nomedia]
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So, we're right into flight recall now and I've also started doing a bit of toilet training! It's mostly work on my part, but I'm hoping to associate a particular perch or the cage with droppings, so that he will take himself to his toilet perch or cage when he needs to. It's certainly made me aware of what signs he gives when it's time to go..

Colour sorting is improving - we're at about 80% on one colour, 30% on the second colour. When he's really got it down, I'll have to post some more video.
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Glad you enjoyed them! We enjoy making them too :)
Was wondering where did you purchase your props from?
It's always tricky knowing what's budgie sized, isn't it? If anyone wants some of these props, I'm happy to help you get them!

The little basket came from South Australian Bird Company - they've got some great kit. They'll sell & post to anyone in Australia, but they're not ready to sell online or to overseas. They have a large selection of toys and DIY toy parts which are great for budgies (I have tiny cups, maracas all sorts of things!). I grab their parrot foot toys which are about the right size for budgies. They also have the Zoo-Max toys (which are budgie sized) and a few nice play gyms and a "fitness centre: which comes with a barbell and a basketball ring.

The slinky I can get my hands on easily - they're from my local supermarket. The ball I use for fetch is actually one of those perch toys with the small balls that spins - I took the ball out of that, as most cat balls are too big. The bowling set I got from ebay and replaced the ball bearing with a small marble.

If you're interested in a basketball set like mine, I can have a hunt around and source the parts and put a couple together to post? Happy to do that!

Nokota said:
Toilet training!?

I heard that was impossible for budgies!
I think it's maybe just challenging because they go so often and have such fast metabolisms!

He's got the hang of "when I put you on the perch, if you go to the toilet now, I'll pick you up again" :) I started by taking him out of the cage first thing, and putting him onto the perch until he's done it, then we go to having fun. As that's usually the first thing they do when they are uncovered in the morning, so it's easy to get the association happening.

Now we've associated the place with the action, I can keep the "potty perch" close at hand, and watch for the signs / times when he's due to go, then put him on the perch to do it - and with the previous association, he knows that if he goes, I'll pick him up again. So we're actually doing quite well :)

The aim is to get him so closely associating the perch with the action that he chooses to go there, rather than waiting for me to put him there and pick him up again. It's all a bit of an experiment. There's no cue words (so he doesn't hold it in), and he still uses his cage as usual.
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Omg! If that is possible, that will be great. Thank you so much.
Bowling is on ebay - this is the one I bought. It's not cheap, but it is just the right size and there's a lot of detail in it:

You'll need to replace the ball with a glass marble, as the ball bearing is too big for them to push and is a mirrored surface, so it's distracting. You could grab one from there and have it posted straight home to Singapore.

I've got 2 of the little balls spare in my kit, so I can pick up a couple of basketball kits in town next Tuesday, and then post it anywhere you like. PM me an address and I'll work out the postage (should be cheap - they're very light) and we can have a crack at Paypal. The balls are light enough for them to fly with as well.

I'll try and put together a few more kits and organize it on ebay down the track to make it a bit easier :D
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Okay, if anyone else wants a little net and a budgie-sized ball which can be held while flying, PM me. I have a few put together now ready to go :)
Just in time for Christmas it's the next video in the Tricky Wiki series, "Tricky Wiki 4: The Budgie Strikes Back":

I hope you enjoy what we've been up to.. there's a special present at the very end :D

Merry Christmas!
Wiki and I have been working on the "wings" trick, quite diligently and we're finally making headway! Wings is where they lift up their wings for you on cue.

I've stayed away from the "direct" approach which Michael at uses for this one, instead working on putting his natural behaviour on cue. It means that it's taken a lot longer, but I think it works better for the little guys who don't really like to be poked in the armpits (wingpits?).

So for the last few weeks, I've stashed the clicker and rewards near his favourite "nap" perches, and then when I come see him and he stretches his wings back, I've been marking that with the clicker, the command "wings" and a reward.

The breakthrough for me came when I increased the frequency of these sessions over the last week, during which I realised that he's paying more attention to my hand signals, and that my words were confusing him more! So I've just gone to hand signals only, or using a verbal only on the "wings" trick.

Stay tuned - now that we're into the stage of getting the frequency of performing the trick up with his wave and turn, and trying to keep those three separate. That is tricky, since being a typical hyperspeedy budgie, he's so quick and ready for his reward that he'll start dishing up everything in his behavioural trick repertoire to hurry me along.
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We've been comparing parrots over at, so I wanted to share with you a short little "quick trick" using the Zoo Max Psitta Puzzle Teach Box, so you can see the difference between the way it looks when our birds do it, compared to larger species.

First, here's Bubba's go:

Here's Wiki doing the same thing:

Budgie enthusiasm is just beautiful!

(Yes, Wiki got a bit put off by a sulphur crested cockatoo screeching on a fly by.. :D)
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The rings colour sorter and the teach box are zoo max toys, and many other training things, food, toys, foraging things etc. can be bought here:
(supporting the PRC at the same time!) Budgies need the small size.

Lyn: I think Indi would respond very well to clicker training, as he loves to do things and is quite tame. Maybe we can do a clicker Skype meeting one day and I can show you how to start!

Lynda: thanks :) I think he's pretty smart, and I believe all our little ones are just as clever as the big guys. It's our mission to prove it!
There's nothing magic about the clicker, it's just an extra clear message that allows precision of reinforcement. You're probably using another reinforcer - for example, ringing the bell to come out, each time you take him out for ringing the bell, you reinforce the behaviour with the reward. Or if each time you recall, you give him something he wants - interaction, treats, special praise, company, then you're reinforcing that.

The other way of looking at it is that your bird is training you :). Birds are excellent at using negative reinforcement (where we do things to avoid a negative consequence) on us - and punishment (where things we do produce a negative consequence). Screaming is a very strong negative reinforcer for us, and works very effectively for both those situations. If you take Freki out to stop him incessantly ringing the bell, then he is training you with negative reinforcement :)
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Trick Medley

Just keeping this thread up to date, as other threads get closed off:

Here's the full length version of our entry for the TB 2013 Bird Show:

[nomedia=""]Wiki's Trick Medley (Extended Remix) - YouTube[/nomedia]

Why the full thing?

Well, the interesting thing is that this was done in one take, and on the first take. I just kept going and trying to keep Wiki focused on the task. It's also a demonstration of the use of variable rewarding (which I'm not very good at - I have a lot to learn about keeping the focus on task better!).

It's actually edited down from 6-7 minutes of playing - he just kept doing whatever he wanted, rather than what I asked, to see if he could get me to give him a reward :D Based on that, I just started giving him random things to do based on what props he chose. I think it's fair play!

My husband (who was filming) said some people wouldn't believe it if they didn't see it - the way that Wiki and I communicate with each other. Wiki understands what I am asking him to do, and I understand what he wants. If he asks Wiki to do things in the same way, Wiki will do it for him, too - I think I'll have to film that, next.

Tricks in this medley:
Recall / Targeted flying
Turn Around
Slinky spring run
Basketball, 2 hoops
Teach box shapes
Flighted Basketball - from bench and floor
Coin in pot
Colour sorter

(Yes, it's almost his entire repertoire - the only tricks missing are bell ringing, picking up odd props (screwdrivers, cups, maracas) and targeting stick.)
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Thanks Rick & Ollie! I'm glad you enjoyed it :). He's such a good bird!
I really want to encourage anyone who wants to try this to go for it - our birds are very bright, and I'd love to see more trained budgies out there! It doesn't take a lot of time, it's a stack of fun, and it really does work!
Well, I bought something to use, so we can now add the slide (or a slippery dip we would call it over here..) to Wiki's list of tricks :D

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