In his lifetime Alex, the African Grey parrot, had become more widely acclaimed than many Hollywood celebrities. To millions of people across the globe he was the icon for animal intelligence. He and his human counterpart, Dr. Irene Pepperberg were among the great partners in the field of animal-behavior science research.
I have heard the story so very often. “I want my dog to stop jumping on people.” “I want dog to stop chewing on my shoe.” “I want my bird to stop screaming.”
Yes, I will be the first to admit I love my little talking companion, Barnaby, who happens to be a Timneh African Grey. He is quite the little chatterbox and I find it endearing. If you click play on the video below, you’ll hear a sample of one of our morning conversations.
What is reinforcement? Simply stated, a reinforcement is a consequence of a behavior that increases the likelihood of a behavior happening again, and even strengthening. But not all reinforcement adds to the animals quality of life.
The other night I was watching television with my birds (Barnaby on his play gym and Dreyfuss on her window perch) and it was that time. Yep, the clock said 9:00 p.m. and that meant they needed to go back to their cages for the night. Really this wasn’t much different than many nights in our household.