Why Gloves Should be used to
Train Your Blue and Gold Macaw!
I know, I know, everyone and their dog has told you that you should never use gloves to train your parrot. But I think they’re wrong… DEAD wrong! For the last 4 years I’ve NEVER used a glove on my parrot. Until this last month that is.
Instead I believe that all that REALLY matters is that you train the bird in it’s ‘No Fear’ zone, or on the fringes of it’s ‘No Fear’ zone, so that it is at least fairly comfortable with the object you’re trying to present to it. Maybe this is a glove, maybe it’s a vaccum.
It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you don’t rush the object into your Blue and Gold Macaw’s environment so quickly that you scare it. Fear is to be avoided during ANY training process… especially a training process designed to eliminate fear.
Here’s an example of a recent success I had with my Blue and Gold Macaw Tiko:
I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again… my wife Sally is pretty afraid of Tiko. Enough so, that until a few months ago, she had never even fed him a piece of food with her bare hands before.
Tiko’s not some psycho bird or anything, HECK he’s never even bitten her. But something about that large beak really scares my wife. And it was starting to get on my nerves.
In fact Tiko’s behavior towards all strangers was starting to get on my nerves. So I started trying to think of ways to overcome Tiko’s fear, or anxiety towards complete strangers. Because let’s face it. I can work with Tiko 24 hours a day, get him to perform 101 tricks, and treat him like Gold, but unless I let other people train him too, he’ll ALWAYS remain a one person bird.
But the problem was that Tiko isn’t nice enough to strangers, where they would feel comfortable training him too. So that’s when I decided a few months back to have my wife use the Power Pause technique to get Tiko to tolerate Sally coming closer to him. For a free video on the Power Pause technique sign up for my free newsletter and I’ll shoot it to you via e-mail!
But this email is NOT about that Power Pause technique. It’s a GREAT technique, it worked on Tiko, and you should use it in your training. But the greatest thing I took away from letting Sally train Tiko with the Power Pause technique, was the realization of how powerful overcoming fear was for a bird.
And when I thought about it, I realized that every time I teach Tiko to NOT be afraid of something, he gets nicer and nicer and nicer. So here’s my theory…I’m beginning to think parrot training is really mostly about ONE thing: Giving a Bird Self Confidence!
And what does a self confident bird look & act like? Like he’s not really afraid of anything. They’re more trustful, because they’ve experiences so many situations in their lives that ALL had a positive ending.
So then what I decided to do was start exposing Tiko to the ‘Scariest’ things I could think of, and startbuilding his confidence up about dealing with those things.
And the GLOVE was the first thing I started with. At first Tiko tried to maul the glove (I’m glad it wasn’t some strangers hand), but through lots of cool techniques that I’ll show you in some later videos, I was eventually able to train Tiko to pet the glove with his beak or “treat it nicely”.
I was then able to use what I’m constantly teaching in my Taming, Training & Tricks course to Target Tiko onto this ‘Scary’ glove.
In less than one week Tiko steps up onto the glove, let’s me pet him with the glove and has no ill feelings towards it at all. Its as if it were my own hand.
But this is where it gets cool! I’ve trained Tiko to realize that when I put on the glove he gets LOTS of treats. So how do you think Tiko is going to react if I let my wife come over with the glove on?
Tiko will be DRASTICALLY nicer than normal, because he realizes that the glove means good things are about to happen.
And what if I make sure my wife Sally does the same training process that I used with Tiko so we’re only asking him to do things he’s already familiar doing?
Sure, Tiko will realize it’s my wife in that glove…he’s not stupid. But I can tell you from experience that theirs is a VERY noticeable difference between the way he behaved towards her before the glove, and how he behaves now with it on.
The eventual goal will then be to have another person come over to our home every day for three days, and work with Tiko until he’ll step up form them onto the glove, and then a fourth person, fifth, etc.
At this point this is just a theory, but so far it’s working. And because my ‘helper’ trainers get to wear a glove, they are not afraid of Tiko biting them, I’m able to work past their fear, and just focus on the bird becoming more comfortable around new people.
I fully expect that at some point, Tiko will realize that people are NOT bad. And will probably learn to expect that all people wearing a glove will treat him with the utmost respect, and give him LOTS of peanuts.
And once I get to that point, I’m guessing that the glove is probably just for show, as Tiko would have probably overcome his real fear by then, and have no problem stepping up onto a regular hand. Hopefully I’ll have some videos to prove this theory to you soon, but just wanted to share it with you.