Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Emotional roller coaster" (positive) update

A little over a month ago (I really can't believe it's been a month already), I posted about the recent "Emotional roller coaster" Léa was putting me through.

This left me with what I thought would be the following end result - initially, that all the work that I had been doing with her since she "flipped" in October was annihilated in one evening, but, after a promising morning "out time" session, that things might have not been as broken as I thought they would be.

I continued to bribe her with pumpkin seeds, one of her favourite treats. If she goes to the ground and steps up nicely on my hand, she gets a seed - and she turned this into a game I'm afraid. If she wants a seed, she'll go on the ground and request to step up. Since my goal right now is to get her back to being comfortable on my hand, I willingly participate in this form of "seed extortion" however, I keep her on my hand for longer and longer everytime I get her to step up, as well as as touch her toes with my fingers. If she attempts to bite, which still occasionally happens, then she doesn't get a reward. Being a very smart girl, she'll go back on the ground, expect to be picked up and when I do, she will abstain from biting - those seeds really have a high value it seems!

This has been going well all month, and, up until the end of this week, picking her up from the ground was the only situation in which I could get her to step up onto my hand.

However, this past Friday something pretty awesome occurred; it was getting close to her time to go back into her cage for the night and she was on the computer desk. I don't think I really thought about it, but rather impulsively decided to offer my hand to her for her to step up. It just happened and I didn't prepare a seed to give her. And as much as I didn't think about offering my hand and just did it, it looked like she didn't put much thought in the stepping up part and just stepped up - like it was back in the "old days". I was thrilled and she got a lot of verbal praising. And what more, she allowed me to gently hold one of her feet down and bring her to her cage without attempting to fly off and she stepped off nicely on one of her perches and just started to preen. No freak out! I think it was one of the nicest moments I had in a long time and was so proud of her!

The following day during her afternoon time out of her cage, we had another "moment", although this time, it might not have been as impulsive. She was on the computer chair and I asked her to step up from there; this time, I thought about it before asking her (but didn't have a seed ready) and you could see that she thought a little before doing anything, but eventually she stepped up nicely. Again, she got a lot of verbal praise.

The difference between these two instances and the "floor game" is that I initiated the request and she followed through. Now, she still attempts to "extort" seeds by going on the floor and waiting for me to offer my hand for her to step onto, but I will continue "playing along" as it seems it made her comfortable with the idea of my hands once again. And I hope things will continue to move forward from here.

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