Thanks to everyone who has offered advice and information. I actually have another question that is related to the subject. What do you use for a CR? I would like to be able to use something that is hands free and that I can use over longer distances. I would prefer not to use a spoken word for it. In the past, when I was not incorporating clicker training in my training, I have used one blast on a whistle to call the bird to the fist and six quick blasts on the whistle to indicate I'm swinging the lure and the hawk should come over to get it. I would still like to use these cues. Can I use my regular whistle to sound the CR in a different pattern (such as two quick blasts) from those mentioned above or will that confuse the hawk? I bought a shepherd's whistle and am experimenting with that but it does not sound loud enough for use in the field (plus I am having a tough time figuring out how to get it to work right). I thought I could use two different tones, one for my cues and one for my CR, but again, I don't think it will be loud enough to be absolutely reliable in the field.
Originally Posted by goshawkr
Now to go back and re-examine the 3 second...shall we call it a guideline?... a bit. One thing that is very important to remember, especially when working with a well armed animal from the solitary side of the social/non-social spectrum like hawks, is that they have frequently have less than friendly reactions to rivals for their food, and these behaviors typically express themselves when they get impatient about expecting food to appear and not actually having it appear. This means that you need to be very careful about delivering the food after the CR is given, or you have some ugly anti-social behaviors show up, and THOSE will be reinforced. Sometimes instead of the behavior you are trying to reinforce.
The key is to wait out the ugly anti-social behaviors. Preferably until they are gone all together, but sometimes you may need to settle for them being reduced. The hawk will quickly put it together that it only actually gets the reward if it minds its manners.
There are very strong instinctive impulses backing these anti-social behaviors, and they dont take very much reinforcement to become very strongly expressed.
Geoff, those anti-social behaviors are EXACTLY what I want to avoid, and because of my inexperience with clicker training, I am a little apprehensive. If you don't mind, could you elaborate on how you correct or "wait out" anti-social behaviors? What are some of the behaviors I should be looking out for to reenforce or not reenforce? I wanted to do clicker training so that I could hunt with a better mannered hawk, so I don't want to create problems. Again, I really appreciate the information. If anyone else would like to chime in on ways to make sure the hawk retains good manners, I would appreciate that also.