A reward can be anything the bird enjoys! From food, nuts, seeds, fresh foods to scritches, verbal praise, toys, etc!
My cherry headed conure (RIP) didn't trust food from my hands about 98% of the time. Ya, sure, he'd take it, but then he'd immediately drop it! That said, he did like kisses! Keeping in mind that I received several bites to my lips, chin and nose prior to him learning to enjoy a kiss on the beak... but when he did, I'd ask him to "gimmie a kiss!" and he'd lean his body over towards my face and I could give him smooches on his beak!
My mitred conure *loves* safflower seeds but will also work for pellets. The downside is that he's missing half his lower beak due to an injury, so it takes him too long to eat safflower seeds or large pellets.. so I typically use small pellets with him. Have yet to find any other nut or seed he'd be willing to work for! He also likes kisses and will make the kissing sound, but his kisses occasionally tend to be painful! Even with half his lower beak, he can still nip! LOL
I had the opportunity to handle a green cheek conure that the owner didn't trust ('she' nibbles and bites a lot!) and it was basically the daughters bird! Don't mind the fact that the daughter bought the bird for her mother! This GC was so food motivated, that I could easily see her being easy to train not to nip or bite. Green cheeks are naturally nippy, but it seemed as if her nipping is due to miscommunication between owner and bird. The bird did favor the daughter, but with the right training, I can easily see this girl willingly going to other people - using clicker training and/or positive reinforcement.
Guess I can say I've seen both sides of the coin when it comes to treats and training! But don't give up hope! Keep looking for perhaps a favorite dry or fresh fruit? Nuts? Seeds? Millet? Bread? Or worse case scenario, and not recommended, but what about his own food? That, along with praise! Hopefully you may be able to find a variety of things he'll be interested in!
Help taming aggressive bird?
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