Building Trust, Creating Cooperation, and Reducing Aggression at Any Age
Even a five year old can teach an animal not to bite. This well documented video shows a very young boy teaching the family parrot how to feel safe around him, which results in the parrot no longer biting him.
What makes this video so amazing (and why reward-based training should be the goal when working with any animal in our home, or in a captive environment) is the safe, slow, and steady progress you see without using force, punishment, or intimidation. Perle, the parrot was asked to participate in every step. She was never forced to participate. Perle was given choices. She was able to decided what she felt comfortable with in every step; this allowed her to have control over her environment, which increased her trust and helped her to feel more secure around Noah.
You’ll also notice a bonus to taking the positive reinforcement training route: the boy and the parrot gained a relationship based on trust and respect. They had finally created a clear, open, and honest dialogue. They were communicating together, in a new language they could both understand! If the boy and the parrot continue this kind of safe interaction and positive training, they will continue to build their relationship together, because they will both learn to trust one another much more deeply.
This video is one of the best examples of what we must ask ourselves: Why force an animal to do something out of fear or intimidation when you can just ask them calmly?
Force-free training is not a fad; it’s based on decades of research and science. These positive methods are what many professional animal trainers have been trying to teach the public (and fellow “old school” trainers) for years. Thankfully, we are now seeing it being used with almost every species, and now in our homes! These training methods work on cats, rats, dogs, horses, pigs, ferrets, and every animal in between!
With the right tools, patience, and determination, we are all capable of making positive impacts and lasting improvements with the animals that we share our homes with. We can do this without fear, force, or intimidation. Our children can, and should, be a part of this process. We can teach children safe boundaries with our pets, while helping them to increase their trust, and to help the animal to learn to trust as well. This is how we build long lasting bonds for life!
If you are interested in learning how to using these methods in your home or at your facility, please check out Steve Martin’s workshops. He was one of my greatest animal training mentors and teachers. His training skills, and compassion for people and parrots are recognized and respected all over the world.
“Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding” ― Jacob Bronowski