Getting my confession out was exactly what I needed to get back into the groove!
My main focus has been Max. I really want her to learn to retrieve, plus she is the parrot that most loves training. I'm hoping to get the others to that point, but in the meantime, their training sessions are shorter since I want this to be fun for everyone!
I'm starting by having Max put a large bead into an empty yogurt container. When we started last Thursday, she flung the bead on the floor well over 80% of the time; by yesterday, she was placing the bead in the container well over 90% of the time. Next I have to move the container further away to see if this continues, but I don't think we're to that point yet!
UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, after 15 perfect repetitions where she placed the bead in the cup, I moved the cup so that she'd have to slightly stretch to place the bead and she did 5 reps. She gets it! Next step is making her walk with the bead in her beak to place it in the container.
I've been training Max twice a day -- in the morning before I leave for work and in the afternoon when I get home. My running friends would call this two a days.
I usually beat Thomas home. I'd noticed the parrots' behavior towards his return before. As soon as they hear the garage door open, they get so excited! The greys and Beeps fly into the kitchen and Rocky runs in as fast as he can. Max dances, Stella gets as close to the door as she can, Rocky makes vomit sounds, and Beeps greatly increases the intensity of his beeping.
What I hadn't noticed, until Max and I were spending more time training when he's on his way home, is her behavior a couple of minutes before he gets home. She stops everything and cocks her head a few different ways, as though she hears something. Then she starts dancing a bit and refuses to do any further training. The first time she did this, I was baffled, but after a couple of days in a row, I realized she did this a few minutes before Thomas gets home.
I'm assuming she must hear his car. Does she get like that every time the same model car is in the area, or does something identify his car in particular? Occasionally he does errands in what must be her hearing radius. Is she sitting at home, all excited because she thinks he's coming home, but he's only grocery shopping?