In our seminar DVD set, I talk about the Gypsy Experience as a means to training your bird. It refers to my lifestyle – everyday a hundred new mile markers roll by, every night my birds are in front of more than 5,000 people. Every day they experience different people, places, and things. For a species that spends 80% of its day foraging for food and having to figure out new things, this is the next best thing to a magic potion for success with your psittacines.
Whether I’m traveling by land or by sea, I always try to “add value” for my clients by offering to do a free animal training seminar. To my clients, I’m going above and beyond by doing more than they hired me for, and secretly I’m doing wonders for my flock! They get to meet people of all ages and races. The more you can expose your parrots to these new experiences everyday, the more confident they’ll be throughout their lives. Additionally, it adds invaluable training time for them.
Inevitably, birds seem to think that a trick is completely different when you add a dozen (or 5,000) people into the equation. It’s as if they do the trick perfectly on stage with full lights, sound, and pyro… but when you add applause into the equation it’s no longer the “pick-up-your-foot-and-wiggle-it-back-and-forth” command. Similar… but now it’s the “pick-up-your-foot-and-wiggle-it-back-and-forth-with-applause” command… totally different! ;o)
If you can find yourself in a position to be able to get your birds in front of more than a couple people, do it! It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s the beauty about doing an animal seminar. You can educate people about your parrots, talk to them about training, and the audience can see them during the learning process.
I wanted to get Rocko in front of an audience, to test how he would respond. The following video showcases that beautifully. The angle isn’t the best, but due to laws we couldn’t include kids in the video without written consent from each parent. Clearly that wasn’t an option, so we shot it from the side. In this video you’ll get to see what it looks like when we’re training our birds a new behavior. Sometimes it requires a lot of patience… I use these opportunities to get my birds ready for the big stage, socialize them, build confidence, and entertain/educate my audiences.
Enjoy Rocko’s first animal training seminar, and a sneak peak behind the scenes of my training.
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- Tags: African Greys, Circus, Cockatoos, Parrot Behavior, Rose Breasted Cockatoos, Socializing and Interaction, Toucans, Trick Training