Pet parents clicker-train to teach their pets to enhance communication with them. Clicker training can be done with birds as well as whales, horses, and dogs.
Clicker training tools
All you need to click-train your bird is a clicker – the device that makes a click sound when the button is pressed, and your bird’s favorite treat. Clicker training is used on your bird to elicit a response like getting to wave, step up, or to teach it tricks and perform other unique acts.
Clickers come in different shapes and colors and can be found at pet supply shops online. When choosing a clicker, try it by clicking it a few times to ensure that it’s loose enough for comfortable use. Some clickers have more resistivity than others and can be discomforting when you apply too much thumb pressure to generate the sound. You want to generate the “click” tone more quickly as the whole point of the device is to tell the bird the exact moment that it has to do something. So, ensure that you don’t have to slip-up with the clicker when getting the click out.
Now that your clicker is all set you need some healthy, tasty bird treats to reward your winged friend for a well-done job. Keep the following tips in mind when picking training treats for your pet.
Choose a healthy combo
Expect to repeat your training routine with your pet several times daily, so you want to makes sure that the reward you bestow on your bird is not only delicious but is nutritionally enriching and low in fat. Tasty treats for training birds include fresh foods like veggies and fruits, with seeds and nuts thrown up occasionally for variety.
Cut treat into digestible chunks
If your pet gets full quickly, it may not be eager to put more effort into winning more treats. To get the most out of your training routines, use tiny pieces of the treat so that your bird is rewarded without getting bloated within the first few minutes. Tiny bits of diced apple or grape are great training treats that will delight and satisfy your pet without overfeeding it.
How to click-train your bird
Now that you have your clicker and the tasty bird treats, it’s time to move onto the next phase – conditioning the bird to recognize the clicker and what the click indicates. Make sure your bird identifies the device as a positive object.
Simply click the clicker and hand your bird it’s a treat. These two steps reenact B.F. Skinner’s landmark experiment every time – click and reward, click and reward, over and over.
Once you notice your pet anticipating the incoming reward, you know it is going to grab it. He now understands what comes next after the click – the reward. This association exercise may be done in a one-off training, or after several rounds. You need to train your bird for a few minutes when it’s a bit hungry to increase the chances of accepting the reward.
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