Monday, 5 October 2009

sometimes dogs should stay away from birds

After my last post about the avian fruit-thief, I thought I should even up by putting a link to this story about another Australian bird, a link that a friend emailed to me today.

By the way, I love birds. Especially the ones that are nearly as clever as dogs!

It's one of the loveliest stories I've read, and it's about a member of the cockatoo family, a long-lived bird species that should not be caged, in my opinion.

Don't forget to click on the 'next' links to read the whole story.


Honey the Great Dane said...

OH, that was a wonderful story! I so enjoyed reading it - thank you for sharing it!! Like you, I love parrots and although I'd love to have one for a pet, I always feel that they are too intelligent and I wouldn't be able to give it a worthwhile life in captivity (still, I suppose if I keep it as busy as Honey...!)

Hey - in answer to your questions about Flip: we (sadly!) didn't find him until Honey was 8 months and we were having serious issues with her pulling & lunging at other dogs - he helped us sort that out. So I did all her initial training myself and I use mainly food rewards, as well as praise for the "easier" exercises. I find that I also tend to offer treats out of habit, probably more than I need to (or ought to!)

Flip tries to train without food rewards for the "traditional" obedience exercises - he just relies on praise (however, he also uses leash corrections so this makes just verbal praise more "valuable" in comparison - because I don't usually use corrections so much, I tend to have to use food treats to make my rewards more high value and motivating) - although he will use treats for the more challenging exercises, such as Recall (to imprint on the dog that it's REALLY good to come when called!) and of course, he also uses treats when he does clicker training. He will also use food treats - even during the 'traditional' training - if the dog is very unmotivated and doesn't respond to just praise but I think in general, he likes to try and train the dog first without treats, so that the dog is less reliant on them (Also, some owners don't like to use treats).

I am probably the opposite and I tend to always use treats as a 1st recourse - which is probably not a good thing! I sometimes wonder if I should have done less treat stuff with Honey - although she will perform all the Obedience exercises fine just for praise, she is always "looking" for her food reward at the end of an exercise. But for daily stuff around the house, I just use praise.

Hope that answers your questions!

parlance said...

Thanks, Hsin-Yi,
It does tell me what I wanted to know! I think I also treat too much, perhaps, but, like Honey, Penny will do most things without being rewarded with food.

However, she's not that interested in verbal praise or pats, and I don't know whether that is because of the history of food treats, or whether that is just an aspect of her nature that we have to live with.

Slavenka said...

Thanks Parlance,the story is great and I will put it on my blog.

Honey the Great Dane said...

Hey - following our discussion about treats, I found this great article by a Sydney trainer which talks about using treats in training and the pros & cons (& common mistakes - I just realised I'm guilty of a couple!)
I think my biggest one is always having a treat in sight, coz I like to keep a couple in my hand, rather than having to keep reaching into a pocket...must start trying to ask for things without actually holding a treat yet!


zebjao said...

nice is interesting...

Maggie and Mitch said...

What a sweet story! Cockatoos are such beautiful birds!
Mom and dad have had a moluccan cockatoo before. They're a salmon color and very pretty. Peachy was such a sweet bird!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

parlance said...

I'm going to read it, because I'm really interested in how your trainer in NZ uses treats in such a measured way.

Thanks for the link.

However, I did know about not having treats in sight. I started in the Kintala club in Melbourne, one of the pioneers of gentle reward-based training, and they were very definite that treats were to be out of sight as soon as the dog began offering the new behaviour.

parlance said...

Maggie and Mitch, I'll have a look at some moluccan cockatoos on the internet. They sound lovely.

curator said...

I teared up over this one.

parlance said...

Curator,I loved this story too, but I felt sad that only one survived.