How? And why?
Here are some videos from yesterdays clicker training with Atlas. He's currently learning the clicker and on his first session he just randomly got treats and a click by the same time he grabbed the treat, and this time the click comes slightly before the treat. This eventually is teaching him that a click means treats, and even if there's a delay on the treat, the click is what signifies the treat. In this stage I also add the click to things he already knows, like recall; I call his name and when he flies off I click, and when he lands he gets a treat. Recall is a concept he already understands so it's used to reinforcing the click as a signal for "this is going to get you treats".
So why use clicker? As you may know if you follow me, I'm very interested in training my birds, and a clicker is the absolutely most efficient tool when training. The clicker, when used correctly, always means the same thing and it never changes pitch or sound the way a human voice does. When the bird has learned what the click means it never has to be confused about it. It can also be very precisely timed and used on behaviours that would have been interrupted if you were to try and put a treat in your birds face as quickly as possible! The treat can come afterwards and a correctly clicked bird will still know what the treat was for.
On a more individual reason, Atlas is the first bird I'm planning to always use a clicker on (Ixion possibly too, but we're not really there yet!), because it'll help him as an individual. As you can see in the first video, he'll flinch when my hand closes up on him. Both him and Ixi were extremely scared of hands when they came to me and traits from that are still very present in both of them. So in Atlas' case, I see the clicker as a good way to be able to "warn" him before I approach him with my hand, to help him be calmer about it!
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