JWN Arts & Hawking 

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High-Level Tidbitting: 2

When hood-training using operant conditioning techniques, focus only on the positive. If a hawk "backslides" (as Proton does in this next video sequence) simply do not reward the misbehavior. Look for the next correct occurrence to reward.

Above: Here, in the middle of training, Proton misbehaves. In real-life hood training, misbehavior will happen over and over again. The falconer must learn to just ignore the mistakes and certainly not reward them.  Keep trying patiently, time and time again, until a correct "behaviorette" (Nelson's term) oocurs. Then, JACK POT that hooding to emphasize in the hawk's mind that this is the behavior which will evoke the high-level tidbit!!! See below video for the correct behaviorette worth reinforcing.

Above: Notice that Proton will eventually calm down and allow the closer approach and even touching of the hood. This is what will be rewarded.


Above: In his upcoming book, Hoods, Hooding and Hoodmaking, Jim Nelson explains his theorey of hooding: H = F + R1 + R2. In this formula, Nelson states that "H" is hood training, "F" is the good fit of the hood, "R1" is restraint, and "R2" is reinforcement. In the following 3 video sequences R1 (restraint) is provided by Nelson's "liquid brail" (complete wetting of the feathers). The wetting hawks has been known to be beneficial in manning and hood training since 1250 AD (Frederick II of Hohenstaufen). Here wetting is used as an option for R1. Other restraint methods can also be employed, such as the brail, guddi, or manacling.

Above: It isn't enough to simply spray the falcon a bit as you might when manning. To actually restrain a raptor for hood training takes a bit of work. Thoroughly water-log the feathers. Work gently and slowly, and try not to upset your hawk.  But be persistent, and in the end make him or her quite thoroughly drenched. Remember, in cold weather it would be a death senstence to leave your raptor outside after wetting in this way.  Allow him or her to completely dry before returning to an outdoor mew or weathering area. Believe it or not, a hair dryer on the gentle/warm setting can solve this problem in less than ten minutes.

Above: Once your aplomado is wet as wet can be, it is time to proceed with actual hooding.