So who is Barbara Heidenreich? She is just the coolest bird trainer EVER!!!! She travels all over the world working and consulting with zoo's and developing free flight bird programs. She also is the author of 2 books and 2 DVD's on the training of Parrots. She conducts workshops where people can go and learn her training techniques. Or, you can download information off of the Good Bird Website.
You may also visit these sites to get more information:
She uses positive reinforcement training. What does that mean? Well... you ask your parrot to do something, when he does what you ask... he gets a YUMMY TREAT!!!!, or a head scratch, or some praise "GOOD BIRD!" or whatever favorite thing his heart desires!!!! No more yelling at me, telling me I'm a bad bird! It's all very positive! I LOVE IT! Marcia is going to start teaching me new stuff using this new way. She and Jeff has always used verbal positive reinforcement, but now they are going to start giving me special TREAT!!!!! OH! BOY!
Marcia started the other day using this technique. Sure, I'll play along! She set me on the kitchen table with a perch and a food cup. No food in the cup? What gives? She gets out 3 little toys. Mmmmm... I noticed.... little pieces of peanut in her hand? Yummy! I want a peanut! You never give me peanuts! I LOVE PEANUTS!!!!
She picks up a toy and drops it in the food cup.
What! You want me to do that and I'll get a peanut! SURE! So I go in, I PICK UP THE TOY! I tap it on the table a few times! I walk over to the food cup! KERPLUNK! I'm in for 2 points! Errr.... I mean a peanut!!! Yay!!!! Hey! This is fun!
I do it a couple of more times! This is easy! But, after a while I got tired and I started dropping the toys off of the side of the table. (They fall farther and it's fun to watch Marcia bend over and pick them up.) Well, I didn't get a peanut that time! Did it again, no peanut! Hey! Got anything better than a PEANUT? Marcia told me we will do this again later and that for a first try I did VERY Good!
This is just a very simple example, (and admittedly from my bird-brained point of view). Marcia and Jeff tell me there is still a lot more they need to learn! They have a whole list of things they want to teach me. Like how to trim my nails without being restrained. Being toweled and liking it. Talking on cue. All these things require special instruction, so if you want to learn more... be sure and subscribe to Good Bird Magazine. (I know you want to get the issue I'm in!)