Saturday, July 11, 2009

Intro to the barn, and more stuff

This morning I got up reasonably early and took Peepers out to the flight barn for an introduction. It's awfully hot here, but I didn't plan on doing too much aerobic stuff with him, and the mornings are relatively reasonable.

I started out just placing him on his perch and giving him a short time to look around. I want Peepers to think of this area as another one that we go to and do our tricks, so I didn't want to let him just hang out too much. I soon asked him for some simple behaviors on his perch - target, wave and wing lift. He clearly had a lot on his mind while he did the stuff I asked, but I rarely had to ask more than once for a behavior. He did fail to take the almond from me a couple times.

Since Peepers was dealing with the situation pretty well, I decided to ask for a couple step-ups, just to get him off the perch and moving around a little bit. At first, he stepped up ok, but clearly wanted to get back on the perch. I guess that he feels safest there. Soon, though, he was ok with stepping up and going over to the other perch (you can see it further away in the video). We built up to stepping up for me, and then short flights to whatever perch we were going to. I ended shortly after that, because Peeper's feet were getting warm, and I felt he needed some time to think about what we had been doing. He's been pretty quiet in the house since - Not causing quite as much trouble as is his usual habit :).

One of the things that's noteworthy IMO is that Peepers did all of this in the morning - he had eaten any breakfast he wanted, and he is unused to doing any training this early. Training has always been an afternoon/evening thing for us. But he was definitely willing to do his tricks, and stayed engaged in what we were doing, and I think that makes things a lot easier for me.
I set up the grapevine perch I have with a bunch of dixie cups this afternoon and put almonds and pine nuts in them. You can see a pic of Peepers at the top of it. He enjoyed that very much (Sparky was interested in it, but didn't fiddle with it too much). Shortly after he was done, I decided to try and do the table top training with both the birds. Peepers flew right over to the table for his session, and stayed engaged, but we didn't get much done. After just a couple of reps with the harness, I tried the retrieve, and after a couple of reps with that, I just lost patience with Peepers. He was just bopping around regurgitating, and offering wing lifts, and mostly screwing around. So I ended when I got one more rep so we could end on a positive (for me, I think he was having a fine time).
Then I tried to get Sparky. She didn't want to train at all, which is kind of odd. I guess she wanted a day off. So I don't have any video of her for today. Ah, well. We all need the weekend :).

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