Positive reinforcement is a reward-based education process following the appearance of proper bird behavior. The goal is to reinforce this behavior and increase the likelihood of its recurrence through rewards and encouragement.
Positive reinforcement is divided into two categories, positive primary reinforcements, and positive secondary reinforcements.
→ Primary positive reinforcements
Consist of associating a reward with good behavior. This type of positive reinforcement is very easy to implement, you just need to know your bird’s favorite treat to reward them after every good deed.
The reward is not just a treat that can be eaten, it can also be a scratch, a toy, a word of encouragement, or even a gentle look at your bird. Parakeets and parrots are very intelligent, sensitive, and sense our emotions and moods, so it is very important to show your enthusiasm and to congratulate him (well done; very good;…).
→ Secondary positive reinforcements
Consist of reproducing a sound effect or sound ( clicker, whistle, bell, kiss…) to encourage the bird to redo its positive gesture. For this to work, you must first associate the positive secondary reinforcements with the primary positive reinforcements so that the bird in turn associates them.
My feedback on positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is simply to associate a reward with good behaviors in the bird’s mind and therefore it will want to repeat them.
I often start the positive reinforcement with my bird’s favorite treat, of course, I take care that this reward does not harm his health. And little by little I alternate the candy and the words of encouragement.
I reward my bird when:
- I handle it and let it go;
- He plays quietly;
- He is calm;
- He doesn’t shout;
- He doesn’t bite;
- And any other behavior that I want to keep …
Here is an excerpt from a recent video of my Pyrrhula conure listening to me and agreeing to order no treat, just cheering him on is enough for him.
I also use this method to perform dressage exercises. To know more…
- Positive reinforcement is a gentle method, without punishment and without conflict with the bird.
- Any behaviors that you find to be positive should be reinforced, so the rewards should be justified.
- At the start of positive reinforcements, the reward should be systematic.
- Subsequently, and depending on the individual, the frequency of the reward may decrease at random in order to maintain the acquired behavior.
- It is better to vary the rewards, so as not to make this exercise boring.