Random Rant #9 – “Stay With Me” Training

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I work with my gliders to get them to stay on my shoulders or back when walking through my home. I do this in the hope that if they are out in an unfamiliar area, there is a better chance they will stay with me than run off and cause trouble.

Precautions

This training routine is for bonded gliders and reasonably comfortable owners, as it often entails having to recover an escaping glider.

Be sure all other house pets are inaccessible, especially birds since gliders will go right for those feathers. Cover the tops of fish tanks so they don’t land a leap into the water.

Close all doors and windows, cover obvious routes into the walls or outside.

Have treats, feathers, and pouches readily available.

Fast Walking

For stay with me training, I get one glider out at a time and then let them run my shoulders while I fast walk through the house. Whenever they attempt to jump off me, I break their jump by turning or spinning. The faster you walk, the harder it is for them to jump off. Sometimes I just spin in a circle as they run back and forth across my shoulders trying to reorient to a landing pad. If they head down to my pants, then I use my hand to scoop them back toward my shirt, which usually just changes their climbing direction, but sometimes I do get them onto my hand to redeposit on my shoulder.

In the beginning, I find a hallway to work the best for this as there isn’t as much interesting stuff to explore and gives some space to walk back and forth. I wear a long-sleeve hoodie and jeans with an open pouch around my neck. I keep the lights on but dim, carry treats with me, and have feathers nearby.

Arm Treadmill

If they are trying to get to somewhere specific, I employ the never-ending “arm treadmill.” Position your hand or forearm between them and their goal so they walk onto you to get there, then pull that arm back and put your other arm between them and their goal, repeat ad nauseum. The arm treadmill technique exploits their desire to get away to encourage them to practice trust as they repeatedly use my arm as a bridge. It is best to end with giving in, but not at all required to benefit from it.

Recovery

Usually I can get my gliders to come right back to me after they escape just by offering them my arm or leg to climb up, or by scooping them up in two open palms slid under them from the sides. Some people use butterfly nets or small fleece blankies to toss over them. For some tips on how to lure an escaping glider using treats, feathers, and pouches see the previous random rant on lures.

If you run after them in a chase, then they will be more likely to run and hide, but if they are heading somewhere dangerous do what you gotta do. If you can stay calm, keep your motions even, and seem unconcerned with their antics, then they will be more trusting of your intentions and more likely to return of their own will. (idk about you, but when my mom would scream for me to get over here, I would run in the opposite direction lol)

After the very first time the glider succeeds in leaving my body without my permission, then they go back in the cage asap. Their fun exploring time is over because they didn’t stay on me, but they get lots of treats if I felt they stayed long enough to deserve it.

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