Quote Originally Posted by Nimure View Post
Thank you Geoff! That's a fantastically in depth response! I haven't previously done any shaping with this bird, but I am currently working on establishing a clicker as a bridge, which I'm hoping will allow me to mark his silence even if I'm not in his line of sight.
My gut feeling is you will need a bridge with more punch than a clicker to make sure the signal clearly got across. But try it and see. I used a pea whistle, but then I am not in an apartment. The solution I like the best is to have a buzzer sitting close to the hawk that is triggered by a remote you can have in your hand, but I dont know of any examples of where to buy a gadget like that off hand.

Is the silence something that should only be worked on indoors, or could I take advantage of his silence in the field? I'm concerned, since he already recognizes the two separate locations and screams at one but not the other, that rewarding for field silence would have little effect on his indoor noise.
Well, in theory, yes. The real question is how? How are you going to get your little buddy to understand that it is the silence that you are rewarding when it is always silent. Then how are you going to translate that over to at home. I dont see a way to pull that off. Maybe if you put "be silent in the field" on cue, then tried giving that cue at home. But I would expect your falcon will not make the connection that your cue is actually linked to being silent very easily.

There is a lot going on with why he screams at home but not in the field. A lot of complicated psychology involved in that, much of which I have thought about but cant really articulate. Its very common though. The tricky thing is to get them to scream in the field. Let me tell you, that can be really cool. No need to EVER break out the telemetry! Its even cooler when they only scream on cue.

Quote Originally Posted by FredFogg View Post
I was just thinking you might be able to pardon the expression but kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Use high level tid bitting with a CR and hooding and also incorporate the CR with silence while doing that. It might be too much as I am no expert on OC. Geoff knows way more about OC, what do you think Geoff, would that be too much?
Dont sell yourself short Fred. Anyone who can train an animal knows quite a bit about about the underlying mechanics of OC. There is some technical details and technical terminology that OC adds which is tricky to wrap your head around at first, but the underlying mechanics are very well understood by everyone who has been able to train, well, anything. If you have trained a hawk, caught game and came back home with it, you definitely understand the base mechanics that OC operates on.

However, yes, that would be too much. One of the technical details that OC spells out is that it is very important to have one lesson per training session. You can train more than one behavior in parallel efforts, but they should be separated out into individual sessions, and ideally you should give a break before you switch from one to session to the next. The reason for this is that what is really going on with any training session is communication between you and the critter you are training. The critter is communicating with you that it wants you to reward it, and from its point of view it is training you to cough up the treats. You of course, think you are getting the critter to do what you want and thanking it for doing so with a reward. That overall communication gets very confusing if there are two behaviors that are being trained at exactly the same time. And if you want a really messy scenario, try training even more than two.

What I just said would not be the case if they were related to an overall behavior that you are working on, but to my mind, these two examples you used are not that closely related to each other. An example of some related behaviors would be if you are teaching a falcon to fly out and mount up. Both combine to the behavior of waiting on, and you can go at them with the go out, or the mount up because they both will end up at the same place. Your goal is wait on, and that is the one thing you are training in that case.

Its also OK if you are setting about in a training session to train one thing, and notice something else that is going on that you like and shift your focus to that other behavior. This is mildly confusing sometimes, but its something I do all the time if I see something going on that I want to see more of.

But bouncing back and forth in one session creates a lot of confusion. The animal does not know what it should be doing to get you to reward it.

High level tidbitting/hood training would, however be a great project to use to establish the CR (bridge). Training to accept the hood is pretty easy OC project for a hawk, and I cant really think of any "gotchas" where missed timing would make things worse, at least not in a way that wouldn't be easy to overcome.

One thing that makes OC tricky is the timing. One of the things that makes it powerful is the timing. Get your timing right, and you can catch very small slivers of time and teach the animal that is what you want to see more of. Miss your timing, and the animal may think you intend to reward something else. And that behavior may become firmly reinforced.

High level tidbiting is a variation of OC that works very well with hawks, particularly when hood training. The key to high level tidbiting is that it triggers some of the latent instincts that are at play when a parent is feeding a young hawk. Those instincts never completely go away, and if you deliver food in that manner hawks are very unlikely to react with aggression. In fact, my current goshawk has had some ....ahem.... issues with being bully towards me, and if she is on the verge of a relapse I can get her to shift into a soft eyed baby with just a few high level delivery of tidbits. Its also super handy to have the hawk focused up when you are trying to hood them.