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A note on rewards


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let me start off by saying, I've only had Archimedes for a few weeks, but he isn't my first bird, I'm still learning about him every day, and I will probably continue to learn from him for the next few decades. I do however go to school to learn to become a teacher, and essentially, train young minds.


A few weeks ago we had a discussion in class that I could relate, not only to my future career, but my relationship with Archimedes. In the classroom (especially at younger ages) it's important for children to be motivated to learn. In order for these young minds to be motivated, they often times need to see a reward for a job well done. That sounds familiar, doesn't it, just like our greys will suddenly spin in circles when they see the grapes or whatever their motivation is. Anyways, there are two basic types of rewards, the first reward is extrinsic. It's the smiley face sticker on the ditto, the star chart, the treasure box, and for greys, it's that grape, that piece of nut, or seed. It's a great way of getting a grey to do something, because he can see the outcome... "if I can do this weird movement, somehow I'll get that nut" however, when there is no nut... the outcome might only be 50% accurate "pshh, I don't see a nut, why do I have to do that movement?"


which brings me to the second type of motivation. Intrinsic. This is a harder one to teach your grey (yes you have to teach them to be rewarded intrinsically.) Basically, while extrinsic motivation there is an outside reward for a positive behavior. The intrinsic reward is being internally motivated to do something. An example is your grey is in the other room and decides to fly over to you, he is motivated to be part of the flock, and once he's there he is happy that he did it. You didn't hold a nut to make him come to you, however boy does he feel rewarded when he's there.


next time you do something with your grey, see if you can teach him something without a piece of food, you might be surprised that he'll want to do something, just because he wants to do it.

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Hi snoepgoed123

Your post brings up a good point.

I never use food or treats to reward good behavior. I use interaction and affection for good behavior and this has worked for me for over 40 years with my birds.

At this point I have two cockatiels one african grey congo and a blue front amazon. My amazon was a rehome that came to us at 13 years of age with issues. She has been with us for over three years and has turned out to be a very good and social zon.

When we give treats it`s just to give treats and no other reason.

A zon is food motivated and I did not want her to be good just for food. We did use food as a bribe at first. I would sit by her cage and eat a carrot and she would come over and I would share it with her at first and than a head and beak rub and than stop the treat. Now she comes over just for the interaction and affection.

This worked for me.

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Ray you hit the nail on the head (sticker for you) and what you said about the Zon great too, right now my mother is my grey's least favorite person, however with food, he is able to come close to her. That's different than giving an intrinsic reward, I feel. By having my mother give any food, it shows Archimedes that food is good, mom gives food, mom is good (aka association and assimilation)

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a good example of intrinsic motivation/reward is think back in middle school. You're learning multiplication in math, and just having difficulty with it, then all of a sudden it clicks, and you get this rush of excitement that "aha" moment. The teacher didn't need to give you a sticker, because that moment of "getting it" was your reward, and now that you finally get how multiplication works, you're more willing to tackle on more difficult math problems. Another idea is shooting your first basket (in basketball) you don't get a sticker from your coach every time you scored a basket, but that rush of excitement and happiness that you get from doing it is intrinsic motivation/reward.


the reward is that moment of excitement, which motivates you to continue going.... I hope that helps!

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