I've decided to start a training journal for Rebel to track her progress even though I have been working with her for almost 2 months now. I think it will be good for me to see how far she has come and possibly get some feed back on good ways to move forward.
But first a little history:
8/4/15 - The day we met!
I work in an office that is attached to a warehouse and I was sitting at my desk in the office when one of my coworkers urged me to come outside to look at this random bird. I didn't think anything of it at first, but she was so pretty! i didn't even know what kind of bird she was! I figured she was hot and wanted some water so I let her into the office and she immediately jumped on my desk! that's when I first bonded with her. I took her to a wildlife rescue that day not knowing what to do with but as soon as I dropped her off I immediately wanted to go back and get her. In hind sight I should have just taken her home, but I needed time to research budgies and to get a cage set up.
8/06/15 - 8/15/15 - New Beginings
Rebel took her time settling in. She was very timid and spent most of her time sitting in the corner. She didn't start to chirp until I started playing budgie sounds for her on youtube. After a few days she would start to chip when i sat next to her to talk with her. I figured that was a good sign!
8/16/15 - The Mirror
After about a week of me sitting by her cage and reading to her, she seemed to have calmed down quite bit, but she wouldn't touch her toys or treats. That's when I decided to get her a mirror. I remembered that there was a reflective surface (almost like a mirror) in my office and she loved it! I put the mirror in her cage and she immediately went to it! but after a couple days I noticed she was spending all her time with it and she would sit on it with her whole body pressed against it for HOURS and she would occasionally be aggressive towards the mirror. That's when I decided the mirror needed to go Bye- Bye. She was a little sad about it:
8/17/15 - 8/31/15
This was a weird period as far as training goes. I would try to be consistent with her and sit by her cage at the same times of day and anytime I would put my hand up to her cage she wold look at it but would mostly go about her business so i thought I would try putting my hand in the cage. The first day i left it in there for about 10 min. and she seemed totally fine. The second day I did it again and she somehow managed to fly out of the cage!
I think this was pretty traumatic for her! she flew into every wall in the room and it took her a while before she settled down. I decided to leave her be for about an hour and took that opportunity to scrub down her cage completely. She sat in my hallway for about an hour. I tried handing her millet and other treats and water but i think she was terrified and wouldn't move. Eventually I have to get her back in the cage which I was dreading. I was able to catch her using a cloth to cover my hand and a clear plastic bowl on top of her. I feel really bad about this and I know it scared the poop out of her, but it was the only way I was able to do it. She attached my hand (in the cloth) and kept biting until she was back in her cage.
9/1/15 - 9/15/15 - Taking a Break
I pretty much left her alone for a week and figured that I had been too anxious to train her. during this period she really started to respond to the sound of my voice!
9/16/15 - 9/19/15 - Let's try this again!
I started reading to her again regularly and she really responded! she would chirp and cock her head at me and even seemed to anticipate when I would come spend time with her again! I tried simply putting my hand up against the cage, but she didn't really seem to react to it at all. I decided not to try to put my hand in her cage until I had earned her trust.
9/20/15 - I think she's ready now!
I had put a string of Millet in her cage, but she hadn't touched it at all for a week. One day I came home from work and there were seed shells everywhere! she had eaten the entire spray! That's when I knew I had a bargaining tool! Since she was already used to me putting my hand up to the cage, I took a small piece of millet in my hand and stuck it between the bars to see if she would come get it. The first couple of times she would just look in my direct. then the next couple of times she would movie in my direction. Finally I had some luck and she ate it! I continued with this for a few days, several times a day. That's when i started using the command "Rebel, Come here" to let her know that something good was coming. From that point on whenever I would use the command she would perk up and look at me.
9/24/15 - Making progress
Since she was doing so well eating from my hand while it was outside the cage I decided to try putting my in the cage with the millet. I held it up to her and she got scared and ran away a couple times. I decided to back off. I figured it would be easier if i placed my hand in her cage, but kept it at the edge of the cage where i had previously been feeding her. we kept this up for a couple days and it seemed. to work.
9/30/15 - getting closer!
Finally it was time to try putting my hand in the cage with millet up to her perch. She likes to hide back in the corner of her cage still, but when she sees the millet and hears the command she comes to my hand and eats!
10/1/15 - 9/6/15 Real Progress
Now that she is sitting on her perch where she is accessible to me and eating from my hand, its time to see if she will perch on my finger. With my middle finger and thumb i hold a long piece of millet and extend my forefinger under her belly. At first i tried pushing gently on her belly, but she didn't like that and would back up from me, but she would always come back for for millet, she just didn't want me touching her haha. but eventually she would just let me rest my finger under her belly and let me gently touch her feet. That's when i knew she was comfortable enough for me to start moving the treat further away. AT first she would only put one foot on me, but the more comfortable she got the more she trusted me. FINALLY she put both feet on my finger!! after she learned to do that we started with the "step up" command and she learned that extremely fast!
now she will fully perch on my finger and come when called! BUT only when I have millet in my hand. The next step is to get her to step up without treats.