There is often much controversy over methods for Training Moluccan Cockatoos and that includes the use of gloves. Until recently I held the opinion that gloves should not be used however I have recently learned I was wrong. In fact, gloves have a very useful purpose in training Moluccan Cockatoos and other birds
I’m a strong advocate of training birds without fear. When birds are afraid they’re unresponsive to training and they begin to associate training with terror and even anger – not a good way to build a relationship with your bird.
To conquer fear in birds, or rather to overcome it, I use the power pause technique. It’s a technique that gradually gets a bird used to an object or person until they’re no longer afraid of it. In fact, they’re downright happy to see that person or object.
It’s basic socialization really. You introduce a new person or object into your Moluccan Cockatoos life very gradually. A fearful bird will become agitated when the person or object gets too close. When it starts to get agitated, you stop and hold your ground until your Cockatoo relaxes, and then you click and reward by stepping back into a safe zone.
Eventually, your Moluccan will learn that they get rewarded by relaxing and you’ll be able to get closer and closer. So where does the glove come in?
The glove is quite often the scariest thing on the planet for a bird. In order to give a bird supreme self-confidence why not start with the one thing that scares the daylights out of him?
Using the power pause technique I trained my bird Tiko to not only let go of his fear of the glove but also became downright affectionate with it. He’d pet it and hop on it so the technique really worked. Tiko gained supreme confidence. Why is confidence so important to a bird?
When birds aren’t afraid they’re nicer. They generally react out of fear and if they’re not afraid of anything they’re just plain easier to deal with.
But the glove has an even better use. Now some birds are one-person birds. They don’t like anyone else to touch them, train them, or even talk to them sometimes. Tiko, my macaw is a one-man bird. So much so that my wife was very uncomfortable around him for quite some time.
Using the power pause technique, I had my wife, Sally don the glove. The glove made her feel more comfortable because she wasn’t as afraid of being bitten and Tiko was familiar with the glove so his fear lessened and would you believe, Sally was able to work with Tiko and train him without him going off on her.
Moluccan Cockatoos can be trained in much the same way. By first eliminating your Cockatoo’s fear of the glove with patience and some excellent training techniques, you can begin to socialize your Moluccan to be able to train with other people wearing the glove. Who knew what a great tool the glove could really be?