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patdbunny
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PostSubject: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:10 pm

Moving it here soes not to hijack Coldtrance's thread-
RogerP wrote:
I'm using the carrier method for Merlin to travel and to get him full sun, at least until I can get him to come within 50 feet of me when I have the harness in my hands.
Roger - Try putting the harness around your arm and up to your shoulder and walk around with the harness as your body jewelry while you do whatever it is you do with Merlin - cage cleaning, feeding, watering, playing with him, just have him watch you with the harness on you as you're just around him doing nothing. He's probably cuing off the way you're holding the harness, like a dog when it sees you holding the leash in an expectant manner before going out. Once he's desensitized to the harness on your shoulder, move it down your arm and do the same thing; then have it at various points on your arm and do the same thing. Get to the point where you have the harness as a bracelet and he doesn't care. Then you can probably get to interacting with Merlin and rubbing him with the harness while it's a "bracelet" - probably would help to give him treats or scritches with the other hand while you're rubbing him with the harness "bracelet". Once he's comfortable with that you take the bracelet off and just hold it against him while you're petting him or treating him. Next try to nonchalantly put the head loop on him- that might be too much and you may need to just get him used to being touched on the head with the loop.
Do you get the idea? It's putting the experience in to micro steps and getting him comfortable with each micro step. Of course this is going to take days, weeks, months depending on how long it takes him to get comfortable with each micro step.

Or Michael does have steps on clicker training a bird into harness:http://theparrotforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1329
I just personally don't have the patience to turn things into formal training sessions when there are ways I can integrate lessons into a part of my day to day interactions with the bird. It's all about what "works" in the human's head - sometimes formalizing things into a training session mentally makes it so the person's not inclined to do it. So we turn the lesson into something that the human can wrap their heads around.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the U.S. Department of Justice.
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RogerP
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:17 pm

I was trying to do something similar to that Roz. I started with just having it lay near the cage and move it closer to where I had it laying on the cage. Then I wore it over my shoulders so he could play with it (which he didn't very much). All was going okay until I tried to put the harness over his head. He let that happen too, though he was not happy about it, he tolerated it. When he became uncomfortable with that I tried to remove it. That's when the fun started, because I couldn't get the damn thing off! Then he really started to freak out. Since then he won't let me near him with it.

I will try again soon and will use your suggestions. Maybe I just went too fast last time.

Thanks for the assistance Roz!
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:46 pm

I'm awful, I guess. I don't have the patience to wait for the bird to get used to the harness. I picked Cheney Bird up, held him in the palm of my hand, and put the harness on him. He was no worse for the wear and was fine with me even once I took it off.
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:26 pm

K - I'm a lot like you. I really really really tried to be patient and take it slow. I did. But I swear, my ADD just gets in the way of things sometimes. People say it doesn't exist but it does, and it's a huge disability to some people. Anyway, JJ still flies off at first when she sees me coming at her w the harness, and turns into a feather frenzy when I'm taking it off, but once it's on she seems to be pretty much OK with it and enjoys our outings. As an update on that - the Aviator harness is TOTALLY worth the extra $$ over the feather tether as far as that goes. She never walked in a circle with her wing hanging down, EVER! It's far more lightweight and she can fly really easily in it. I plan to get one for Bucky at some point, and am tossing the feather tether in the garbage - unless somebody on here wants it enough to pay shipping. If so, they can have it for whatever that costs!

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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:00 pm

The feather tether works fine for us. He seems fine in it once it's on and still likes to hang out with me even if I haven't given him the time to adjust to the harness like other people would. My personal opinion is that unless you have a really crappy relationship with your bird in the first place, putting on a harness is no big deal.
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:57 pm

I started fast too. Like I mentioned in another topic, I practiced on a plush toy, to make it faster. Princess Chico is complaining, when I put that on her, then later she tries to fight it off, but if we walk long time, she is getting tired, and finally settle down on my or my bf's shoulder or hand.
She doesn't like it, but she loves to be outside. Something for something Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:57 pm

KayLayUh wrote:
I'm awful, I guess. I don't have the patience to wait for the bird to get used to the harness. I picked Cheney Bird up, held him in the palm of my hand, and put the harness on him. He was no worse for the wear and was fine with me even once I took it off.

K- here's another suggestion. What KayLayUh does can work. Get that harness on fast and as trauma free as possible. Then hold the bird against your chest and cuddle, scritch and baby talk until the bird relaxes. Then let the bird up and see if he's calm. If there's any nervousness/freaking about the harness do the chest hold, cuddle, scritch and baby talk again.

Basically it's about ending the experience on a good note with the harness. Roger - I think that's why Merlin's lost his cookies about it - you tried to decapitate/eat him with the harness (in his mind). Our human natural response after something goes bad like that is to let the bird back on its cage or whatever and say something like "it's ok" and let the situation dissipate. But that's ending the lesson on a bad note in relation with the harness. Hope I'm relaying that so it makes some sense.

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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:06 pm

Good point Roz , end the session on a positive note.
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:08 pm

Now, there's something wrong with that method imo. I think it traumatizes a bird, and you definitely would not use the same technique on a Zon or a Macaw right? Because it'll punish you hard for that! I'd say, take it slow. REALLY slow. Eventually Merlin will come around and be willing without your having to manhandle him.
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:59 am

GlassOnion wrote:
Now, there's something wrong with that method imo. I think it traumatizes a bird, and you definitely would not use the same technique on a Zon or a Macaw right? Because it'll punish you hard for that! I'd say, take it slow. REALLY slow. Eventually Merlin will come around and be willing without your having to manhandle him.
The thing is, Merlin's learned from the prior experience that he barely survived the jaws of death (harness). He really thought he was going to die and barely lived to tell. Now the next time he sees the harness he believes he will die if it comes near him. He thinks it's a lion, tiger or bear, OH MY! How do you desensitize him to what he truly believes is going to kill him if it gets near him again?

What Roger did originally was desensitize Merlin, and Merlin's reward for letting the thing close enough to get around his neck was almost death (again, in his mind). Desensitizing I don't think is going to work for the second time - Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice. . . well ya ain't gunna fool me 'gain. It really didn't have anything to do with Roger going to fast. I don't think he did go to fast. The lesson just ended wrong and now we're dealing with something other than desensitization with Merlin now-we're now dealing with rehabbing him from lesson learned.

There are many therapy theories. I'm not saying any particular one is right or wrong or more effective than another. Sometimes getting over a fear is through it. May or may not work with Merlin. Just putting it out there.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the U.S. Department of Justice.
Do not attempt this at home. I'm a professional.
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Last edited by patdbunny on Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:22 am

KayLayUh wrote:
The feather tether works fine for us. He seems fine in it once it's on and still likes to hang out with me even if I haven't given him the time to adjust to the harness like other people would. My personal opinion is that unless you have a really crappy relationship with your bird in the first place, putting on a harness is no big deal.
Yeah OK i'm gonna hold you to that,i don't think that it's going to be a big hit around my house.We're kind of used to "a natural ".
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:58 am

For those of you whose birds don't enjoy the harnessing part, this is probably going to work better, and this includes for Roger to try:
Sit in a comfy chair or on the bed propped against pillows so you're kinda reclined. Put the harness somewhere the bird can't see it but it's within easy reach with one hand. Make sure the harness is preadjusted to go on easily. Take the bird on your chest and start a big scritchin' cuddle session, get both hands into it. You know - one of those giant scritch sessions where they close their eyes, puff up, let you get under the wings, they'd drool if they could.

Once you get the bird good and relaxed like that, keep one hand scritchin' around the eyes so the eyes stay closed, the other hand SLOWLY gets the harness. Bring the harness up with the second hand and harness hand joins in on the scritches as you slowly put the head loop on while scritching. Key is to not stop scritching. The scritching feels super good and is the distraction. If at anytime the bird realizes what you're doing and struggles or is even focusing on the harness DO NOT put the harness out of sight, keep it where it is (including on the neck if you've gotten that far) and get the two handed scritches going until the bird's back to puffy relaxation and will let you slowly continue. Do this until you've gotten the harness on and then keep the scritch session going for another 5 minutes after you've gotten the harness on. Then get the bird to step up, let it look around for about 3 seconds, put it back on your chest and scritch up again for another minute; step up, look around, back on chest for scritches. If at any time there seems to be any panic, any distress during any portion of this, get the scritching session going.

Getting the harness off - same thing in reverse. Don't let the bird get scared and panic-y. At any time the bird's "uncomfortable" about the harness, get the scritchies going until there's puffiness. Getting the harness off while the bird's scared gives the opposite association from what you want. At the very end, don't let the bird "pop" his head out of the head loop. Get him calm and puffy so you get the head loop off.

If you go slow and it's a really good scritch session, the most distress the bird should exhibit would be darting the head around. You don't want it to get more distressed than darting the head around. When they go into fear and panic, that's when the trauma and bad associations happen.

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Last edited by patdbunny on Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:06 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : getting off instructions)
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:17 pm

I've never tried to put a harness on our macaws, I've never had a reason to. Bryan takes Merlyn out all the time, he looks forward to it and he was fat for so much of his life that aside from coasting 5 ft to the floor, I doubt he knows what flying is. Sebastian has been outside a few times and he is in a similar athletic condition. I've actually tried to fly him in the house and he can barely manage the few feet from the doorway of my bedroom to the bed without crash landing. Roz

Last weekend I seriously wanted to bring him outside with me to hang out while I repotted plants, but it didn't work. Once outside he gets realllly excited and awed but the vast openness and starts to call loudly while he clenches onto my arm for dear life to the point of non-circulation in my arm. I allowed him to move to my shoulder so I could use my hands to repot my plants and he clung to me so much that I couldn't do anything without him being in the way. So I doubt I have a reason to fear him flying off someplace.

Again, the little guys I would be afraid to bring outside without some kind of harness and Arthur, my Jardines, shouldn't have an issue with it since I can practically stick him in my pocket without fuss. The Hahn's I could see being a little harder, though we do put a sock buddy on Ecko and it really doesn't take too much to do that.

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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:51 pm

The way I do it:
Let's say we're going outside: me, bf, dog and princess Chico.
I do everything and leave harness in the very last moment. I can do it fast after practice with stuff toy, so Chico is suffering shorter. After that, we immediately leave. I don't search for a keys, put the shoes on or find umbrella. After Chico is in harness I simply leave, to save her time to get crappy.
When she realizes she's outside, she is a little crappy, but slowly she start to pay more attention, what's going around, than fight her harness.
The same, after we come back home, first thing, take harness off.
I know there is no perfect method, but there is only one I know so far Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:39 am

GlassOnion wrote:
Now, there's something wrong with that method imo. I think it traumatizes a bird, and you definitely would not use the same technique on a Zon or a Macaw right? Because it'll punish you hard for that! I'd say, take it slow. REALLY slow. Eventually Merlin will come around and be willing without your having to manhandle him.

I would definitely not try my method with a larger bird unless you want to lose a few fingers.
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PostSubject: Re: Roger-Harnessing Merlin   Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:43 pm

KayLayUh wrote:
I'm awful, I guess. I don't have the patience to wait for the bird to get used to the harness. I picked Cheney Bird up, held him in the palm of my hand, and put the harness on him. He was no worse for the wear and was fine with me even once I took it off.

I have to say I did the same thing, i tried the gental approach with Mr Darcy and he got kinda skiddish so next time i just grabbed him and put it on him, that was kinda a disaster cause I could not get it off of his head, so the next time he freaked, but I just thought to hell with it he will love the outdoor freedom once he wears it and the second time i just put it on no questions asked!!

tough love!! lol I have four sons not much patience!! Yes
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