Tinkerbell shanlung's Tinkerbell photoset
Some thoughts on Clicker Training

(The photo folders below are part of this letter)

Taiwan - Ghost Festival and whales watching

Taiwan - 2500 years old Confucious Festival


From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Aug 16, 2002 4:15 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Welcome, Shan!

--- iris054 <clicker@...> wrote:
> Shan, I wanted to welcome you and your wife to the
> list. I don't
> believe we've ever had anyone on the list from
> Taiwan before, so
> it's nice to see you here. You certainly speak
> English well. :)
> We had a post here several months back where a
> lovely Blue and Gold
> Macaw died within 24 hours of being scratched by a
> cat --

Thank you. It is nice to be in this list. My mother
tongue is English, courtesy and legacy of the old
British Empire that I was borned into (Singapore). I
am now in Taiwan on contract, working and living here.

I have been lurking in this list for about a week
learning from all my betters here and reading as much
as I can on click training and laughing at myself for
the feeble DIY click training attempts I made on my
ferret and cats in the past.

I do intend to let my Tinkerbell fly freely at a later
stage but that will require a lot more confidence in
her returning that I do not yet have now.

I feel she, and any other parrot/macaws for that
matter, is far too smart. She flies to me at my
command 'fly up'. She also flies to me without
command. She flies to me at command, to circle around
my head screaming at me and back to her cage. She
looks at me when I command and turn her back to look
the other way ignoring me totally. Then she flies to
me and snuggle , lowering her neck to get her neck
rubs, periodically looking at me and squawking away,
scampering to my shoulder to nip my ear and jumping
down to my arms for more snuggles.

In short, she is like ... well, a cat, or a wife , and
only obey commands when it suits her.

I must confess I do not have very high expectations
that bird-click (or any other places) can make her
obediant to my beck and call. I love her very much
the way she is now.

If I am wrong, that will be very nice as I can command
Tink to fly to my wife and request her to get me a
nice cool drink from the fridge. Sorry for indulging
too much into fantasy, a parrot! and a wife! obeying
the commands given to them! ha!

Kitty claws are trimmed, almost to the quick. One of
my local friends here love racing pigeons and he has
his cat. He told me even a tiny scratch can be fatal,
and two of his prize pigeons paid the price. I do not
doubt him and neither do I doubt you. I have kept
cats before, and I know them.

Encounters between them are staged carefully , to
satisfy their natural curiousity but never to
encourage familiarity. Halftail getting close is
allowed, any stalking movements gets him a shot from
the water pistol. Tink will never be out of the cage
without me or my wife to stand guard. The two will
only be allowed to get close if both me and my wife
are together, and we each hold one of them.

I feel so sorry for that B&G. I went back to the shop
where I got Tink last week and there is this GORGEOUS
B&G. My wife and I went and gave that B&G head rubs
which the macaw enjoyed. That shop owner was stunned
and we were told that macaw was fierce. I dared not
go back there again now. I was so tempted to buy her
then and my wife will agree, even though I know we
cannot afford the time to look after all (including
ourselves) and to give the love, care and time they



From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Aug 20, 2002 4:01 pm
Subject: Some thoughts on clicker training (was: Welcome, Shan!) shanlung9
Send Email

--- iris054 <clicker@...> wrote:
> > and laughing at myself for
> > the feeble DIY click training attempts I made on
> my
> > ferret and cats in the past.
> The ability to laugh at ourselves is a very
> important part of
> clicker training. I've done a lot of it! ;)
> > I do intend to let my Tinkerbell fly freely at a
> later
> > stage but that will require a lot more confidence
> in
> > her returning that I do not yet have now.
> Are you on Chris Biro's FreeFlight list? It's an
> excellent resource
> for anyone who wants to fly their bird outdoors. I
> agree with you
> that you want a LOT of recall training and practice
> first.

Dear Melinda,

First of all, I thank you for your encouragement and
Tinkerbell is now into clicker training.

I am also in Freeflight and have been there for some
time. They kindly asked me to be in your group as

My earlier attempts in click training failed largely
because it was DIY and I did not have any treats for
Zorro, and most important, a wrong mindset partly
because of those failed attempts. Since then, I got
treats that Zorro love and 4-5 clickers in the house
that remained unused until yesterday night.

Based on what I perceived on the changes between
Tinkerbell and me now, Zorro and Halftail will get
their click training at a later stage as well.

You recall in my earlier email that I was kind of
lukewarm about this. I liked animals and I never see
myself as a master and 'one that has to be obeyed' or
a trainer. I look at them as companions and sentient
in their own way(I already take it for granted that
they are intelligient too).

While I kept using the word 'command', I was not
comfortable with that as it goes against the grain of
having them as companions and friends. Still, there
are behaviours that I like to modify although I did
not want to impose on them to do tricks to amuse me or
others. Perhaps that is one reason why I never kept a
dog yet or got deep into 'click training'. I thought
cats be cats, ferrets be ferrets, snakes be snakes (I
had a 22 footer reticulated python from small) and
birds be birds. Your 'cueing' of me was rather good.

I was also checking out suitable treats for Tinkerbell
as those she love can be messy. It is difficult to
keep a piece of custard-like durian in the pocket to
treat her. She also loves sunflower seeds. As that
was part of her diet (together with parrot chow, 8
other different seeds and grains, vege, fruits and
stuff she begs from our plates), I did not thought of
using that.

My work and other interests means my hours back home
is not regular. AFter seeing her empty bowl in the
shop and her hunger at that stage, I told myself she
never will have an empty bowl again. She gets to eat
all she can eat. BUT as she flies very very often, I
did not have too much worry that she gets fat and

I decided to use sunflower seeds now only as treats
and I am using the click/treat to condition her to the

Such a simple exercise and yet, I found our bond to be
so much stronger now. The act of observing her, and
the click and the treat made me much more observent of
her then ever before. She too changed towards me,
reciprocating my more intense interest in her.

I now realise the act of training is not so much of
cute little tricks that we can get them to do, for me
it is more the intensification of the bonds between us
to embark on something and to get to know each other
more deeply by doing something together.

I will not be rushing to the next stage of targetting.
I am already enjoying so much of this new found
deeper bond between me and Tinkerbell now on just the
clicker conditioning.

And thank you for nudging me onto this path.

Shanlung &Tinkerbell
& Zorro the ferret
& Halftail (kitty with half a tail)
and Joy (gf and wife who sporadically brings me cool
drinks from time to time)


From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Aug 23, 2002 4:40 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Re: Some thoughts on clicker training shanlung9
Send Email

Dear Melinder

I am touched that you feel that my last letter is
needed for your clicker testimonial files. That
simple letter can hardly do justice to your warm
presence and forthright helpfulness from you and from
others too like Carol and Angela just to mention a

DIY in my last letter was 'Do It Yourself' which was
what I tried to click train Zorro based on half a
paragraph I read from a book.

The reticulated python I mentioned was caught by me in
the wild and about 18 inches. I kept it tame by
constant gentle handling and was never bitten by him.
Neither was my son or others that I introduced to him.
I do not think they can ever be trained by clicker or
by treat as he is fed about once every 6 weeks. It is
more the way you handle them and get them accustomed
to you. It was a sad day when I had to released him
back into the wild.

I guess I was lucky with Tinkerbell from the letters I
have been reading here about the problems that some
have with their parrots. But then, I started to read
of parrots and their behaviour 2-3 months before I
bought her and I can honestly swear that something
click in my head when we saw each other (after I seen
more than 100 greys and Amazons).

I enjoyed the last few days of c/t. The main reason I
did not move to targetting is the thought of with
holding of the click and the treat from Tink if she
does not perform.

As mentioned earlier, she is intelligent, and feisty
and perverse with me and my wife. Two days ago, I
hung one of her toy attached by a long thin chain
temporarily to her stand. I was fascinated by the way
she studied it and then using her beak to pull and her
foot to hold the chain a few times until she got her
toy to play with. That temporary arrangement is now
permanent now.

I do like her 'jokes' on us, her snatching away of
keyboard parts and other stuff from us. With the
closer bond, she gets even more demanding now on me
and my wife and vocalising even more than before.

The only blood she drew came from her very sharp claws
that I have trepidations in cutting since the last
time I caused her to bleed and bleed.

I will not be using chopstick as her target stick. We
use chopsticks all the time to eat our meals. I
cannot imagine what she will do if after being trained
to chopstick as a target and she see us sticking the
chopstick into our meals. She stuck her head into our
food enough as it is without having to give her even
more cues to do so.

When I find something suitable as a target stick, she
will be moving on to that stage, quite likely starting
early next week.

With warmest regards and a great weekend to all

Shanlung & Tinkerbell


From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Aug 27, 2002 5:36 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Re: Some thoughts on clicker training - target


I try my best to write regularly on this list.
However, do remember I am living in a new, stunningly
beautiful country of Taiwan with some of the warmest
people here with interesting customs that I like to
join in.

Last Thursday, I went to their 'Ghost Festival' where
lanterns are lighted and send floating down rivers to
bring solace to ghosts. That was followed by the
weekend where I went to watch whales and dolphins off
the Eastern city of Hualien.

Taiwan - Ghost Festival and whales watching

Confucious birthday will be coming soon where a temple
will be opened only on that day for that purpose and
ancient rites and music dating 3000 years old will be

Some of the most beautiful mountains and forests with
crystal clear streams are here as well.

Taiwan - 2500 years old Confucious Festival

But back to clicking and treating.

To get around the problem of Tink dive bombing on us
should we eat with chopsticks at home, I used a
cocktail stirrer.

AFter trying to wrest it from me for the first minute,
he got the idea to touch it for his c/t. I made her
go up and down, left and right.

I then introduced that she is to do it at vocal cue
'touch'. She did it all.

Standing 5 feet away from her, I asked her to 'touch
target' and she flew to me to 'touch target' earning
herself lots of hugs and treats.

She did not turn into an automaton as I feared. After
classes, she remains as feisty as ever and giving her
opinions as freely as before.

If any of you should be in Taiwan, you are welcomed to
my apartment where you know your Chinese meals can be
eaten safely without fear of losing your chopsticks.

Your drinks best be taken 'shaken and not stirred'.
Unpredictable results may occur should you persist on
stirring your drinks.

With warmest regards

Shanlung and Tinkerbell


From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Sep 11, 2002  5:18 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Re: Some thoughts on clicker training - target 

Dear Liz,

After deleting and deleting over a thousand mail sight
unread, I finally got to where I last left off.

After some time of twiddling thumbs in the office
(which allowed me to read mails from mailing lists), I
was hit by a load of work that buried me beyond my

When that load cleared and I thought I can get back to
mailing list again, typhoon Sinlaku dropped by in my
region for a visit. The satellite images promised
senarios of flood and general mayhem in Taiwan but
Sinlaku left with a whimper after forcing an enforced
holiday with everyone here.

I have thought of a good solution if you or anyone
decide to drop in to Taipei for a drink with me and
you want your drinks stirred.

I will be happy to serve your drink with a pair of
chopsticks. It may not be elegant.

But you can cheer yourself that TInkerbell will not
swoop down on your cocktail. You can even use the
pair of chopsticks to take out the olive for a nibble
or two between the sips.

With warmest regards


--- NATUREWO@... wrote:
> > If any of you should be in Taiwan, you are
> welcomed to
> > my apartment where you know your Chinese meals can
> be
> > eaten safely without fear of losing your
> chopsticks.
> >
> > Your drinks best be taken 'shaken and not
> stirred'.
> > Unpredictable results may occur should you persist
> on
> > stirring your drinks.
> >
> shan...
> you are too funny! i can just picture an
> unsuspecting guest at your home
> having a cocktail with you and getting dive-bombed
> by your bird and watching
> it fly off with the stir-stick! LOL
> liz w and kallee b&g


From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu Aug 15, 2002  11:17 am
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Tracie and parrots and ferrets and kitty


I am amazed that you have quite a few ferrets.
Cleaning the litter tray of my kitty and ferret is
already as much as I can handle with my wife taking
care of Tinkerbell's mess.

I am touched by your concern for Tinkerbell and Zorro.

I am extremely wary and they are only out at together
the same time under watchful eyes. Tinkerbell will
likely be on my shoulders while Zorro and Halftail
have their mock fights at my ankles.

Tink is fully flighted with very good flight controls
including hovering and making aerial acrobatic turns
in the air. Her initial clumsy attempts at flying is
way behind her now. She never ventured onto the floor
which is a big relief for me.

I tried clicker training with Zorro on my own before I
knew of existence of groups on the web. That training
did not last long but lurking here make me want to
restart that with Zorro as well as with Tinkerbell.

I am actually more wary of Halftail and Tinkerbell.
Zorro cannot jump but the kitty can go where
Tinkerbell goes. Early stalking movements from
Halftail towards Tink were immediately arrested by a
water pistol never far from me. We constantly pet and
stroke each of them in clear sight of others to let
them know we are all family. Relationships are a lot
more amicable between all now but me and my wife will
always remain watchful whenever Tinkerbell is out of
the cage.