My Sun Conure Wont Take Treats
From My Hand?!?
Struggling to train your Sun Conure because they don’t want the treats you’re offering? The problem is actually fairly common. There are generally three reasons for your Sun Conure to behave this way, and fortunately there are solutions for each reason. Let’s take a look at them individually.
Fear. Many birds, depending on their situation, are either prone to skittish behavior or they’ve had a rough start in life. Regardless of the reason behind their fear it is your job as their owner to make them feel safe.
If taking treats from you is traumatizing then your first step is to stop requiring them to take treats from you. If your Sun Conure is afraid to take treats from you then the treat isn’t a reward in their eyes, it’s a negative thing – a punishment. Certainly not a good way to train your Conure.
Instead, reward your Sun Conure with what they want most – to be left alone. Effective training operates on the theory that positive rewards and positive reinforcement are the key to successful training. To learn how to train your bird to love to spend time with you check out our free newsletter.
Instead, use what is called the “Power Pause Technique.” The power pause technique uses clicker training techniques and your presence to train your bird to slowly get used to, and eventually enjoy, your presence. For example, paying attention to your bird’s body language, begin slowly approaching your bird.
As soon as they show signs of discomfort or aggression stop moving and stand there until your bird relaxes just a touch. As soon as they relax, click and walk away. The walking away is your Sun Conure’s reward. It will take some time but eventually your Sun Conure will realize that relaxing makes you go away.
As your bird becomes more and more accustomed to your presence and less fearful, you’ll be able to move closer and closer. Eventually you’ll be able to touch your bird without fear or aggression. When your bird welcomes your touch, you know you’ve successfully trained them and can move forward with other tricks.
Overtraining. The second reason your Sun Conure may be reluctant to take a treat from your hand is because they sick and tired of training. Obviously if this is the reason your Sun Conure is not taking treats from you, it’s time to step back on the training.
One great way to accomplish this is to reward your Sun Conure for behaviors they enjoy performing already. If your conure loves to flap their wings you can click and reward for that behavior. If they love to bob their head or they have a favorite phrase they like to repeat you can reward for those behaviors.
By rewarding for behaviors that your Conure already exhibits and enjoys you’re teaching them to enjoy training again. Give them some time with this low key training and then you can slowly begin introducing a new trick. If they start displaying overtraining signs again, step it back. Learning to read your Sun Conures behavior is imperative to making sure you’re not overtraining.
Motivation. The last reason your Sun Conure may not be taking treats from your hand is because they’re simply not motivated by treats. This is the most difficult to work with because treats are so much easier as rewards than petting or cuddling.
However if this is the reason your Sun Conure isn’t taking treats, you’re going to have to work with them the way they prefer. Pay attention to what your Conure does like. Do they like to be petted on their head? Do they like a little pat on the back or a nuzzle? Pay attention to what your Sun Conure likes and use that as their reward. The training may move a little more slowly but it’s much better than no training at all!
Not taking treats from your hand isn’t the end of the line for your Sun Conure. There are solutions to each and every problem. Take the time to determine your Sun Conure’s issue and then take the necessary steps to resolve it. It may take patience on your part however training is a vital part of owning a Sun Conure – both you and your bird benefit. Don’t give up!