How to Ask a Bird To Step OFF Of Your Hand (And How NOT To!)

Everyone involved needed this session to fill their souls. Morgan included.

Sometimes the shorter sessions make it easier to squeeze more positivity into them, and leave the bird and person wanting more next time. 

Patty's lessons: 

1. Hold foot immediately when Morgan steps up (thumb immediately down on foot.) this makes Morgan feel more secure and stable when she makes that initial step. It's the equivalent to "I got you." 

2. Not making it uncomfortable for Morgan on the step off. When Patty wants Morgan to get off of her, she holds her hand at a diagonal slant which makes Morgan uncomfortable so she steps off. But there is a big difference in making it EASY to her to step off and encouraging it to be her decision to step off to earn a reward (not luring, pure TEACHING.) 

Make it easy to step off = the bird steps off nicely = click = reward. This behavior then gets repeated so much that it does it automatically because it knows it's a "trick". 

When the bird refuses from this, you can re-analyze the situation to make it more likely the bird will want to go OR see if something in the environment is keeping the bird from doing it. 

Making it uncomfortable = forcing the bird to make a decision YOU want. Works in the short-term, until it doesn't. Then the bird finds it so uncomfortable that it either hangs on, or starts trying to climb UP the arm to the shoulder. This can often lead to having to force the bird off the shoulder, block the bird in ways that can potentially knock the bird off balance leading to accidental biting or intentional aggression. This all leads to a bird NOT responding to the step off cue at all. 

Special Note: Never, ever, ever PULL FOOD AWAY from your bird. If you offer a treat, even accidentally, give it. If you click at the wrong time, still give the treat. If you hold the touch training stick too close and the bird gets it when it isn't suppose to, give a treat. Those are YOUR MISTAKES, not the bird's. 

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