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Wont step up, bites instead

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

Wont step up, bites instead

Postby Emmadee » Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:51 pm

This one is probably posted a lot but I couldn’t find one like this easily so I decided to make one. Basically I got a severe macaw and she is affectionate and likes pets, but won’t step up. She is so-so on food motivation and it’s just the way she is. I tried target training and she’s ok at it but I found it easier in this situation to lure her with food instead. She is terrible with handheld perches and will attack them very aggressively. If you put your arm out to step up she won’t do it and if you keep trying she will attack. She’s better with skin (no sleeves on) but still aggressive and the bites on jackets don’t hurt as much an on skin. She would rather bite than try to get food/ go for the target stick. It’s like she’ll lean forward to grab the food but the look down and bite you. Any methods or tips I’m open to and would probably try. :macaw3:
Emmadee
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 5
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
Severe Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Wont step up, bites instead

Postby Pajarita » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:16 pm

Welcome to the forum! But we need a bit more info in order to give you specific pointers. How old is the bird? How long have you had it? If it came from somebody else, what was the background?
Light schedule? Diet? The answers to these questions will give us an idea of the cause for aggression and what to do to solve it. But even before getting the answers to these questions, I can tell you that insisting never works with parrots because, as you have seen, all you do is get the parrot frustrated with you and punishing you with a bite for it. Also, ALL parrots are food-motivated, the trick is for the reward to be a high-value item.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13331
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Wont step up, bites instead

Postby Emmadee » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:53 am

I’ve had her for a little over a week she’s around 20 and I got her from a rescue. I try to give her 12 hours of sleep so she goes to bed according to what time I wake up. I leave pellets in her food bowl to eat and give her seeds as treats. The only vegetables she’ll eat so far are carrots and peas. She doesn’t really eat any food unless she sees me eat.
Emmadee
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 5
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal
Severe Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Wont step up, bites instead

Postby Pajarita » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:55 am

Well, there is the root of your problem, my dear. The 12L/12D [twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark] doesn't work in terms of keeping their endocrine system in tune with the seasons so they produce sexual hormones all year round which makes them not only terribly frustrated but also physically uncomfortable and even in chronic pain. And the free-feeding protein food is the icing on the cake of aggression... Plus, you've had her only a few days so of course she is not going to trust you! It takes months to achieve trust in a rehomed bird.

Macaws need a fresh food diet with lots and lots of fruits so you cannot free-feed her pellets because, if you do, she will not eat enough produce. I don't feed pellets because after over 20 years of researching their natural diets, I have long ago reached the conclusion that pellets were not and never will be the best dietary option for them [they are too dry, too processed, made with inferior ingredients, most of them contain soy, and all of them are 'dead' food -no phytonutrients- that was 'built up' with man-made vitamins and minerals -which we now know are not absorbed and utilized by the body the same as natural, food-derived ones]. I feed gloop with raw produce for breakfast and a measured, small portion of seeds/nuts for dinner. But, if you have your heart set on feeding pellets, I recommend you use only Tops and then only for dinner with plenty of water [not in a bottle] available.

You got bit because you were asking for a familiarity that you did not deserve. She did not know you from Adam and asking her to trust you enough to perch on you was too much, too soon. Parrots are not like dogs, they don't like all people, are not people-oriented and have not been bred for thousands of generations for the pet trade. They are undomesticated animals just a few generations removed from the wild and still genetically identical [if hugely inferior] to their wild counterparts so you need to win them over, on their terms, and not take anything for granted. So don't ask her to step up and, most of all, do NOT insist! Even parrots that have been with us for years and years and love us to pieces will not take kindly to our insisting they obey us. Parrots do not understand the concept of obedience of subservience because nature evolved them to live in social groups made out of individuals that are all equal - no leader, no alpha role, no boss. Put her at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk and feed her something like gloop, chop or mash for breakfast and the pellets [if you decide to continue feeding them] for dinner. Let her out of her cage for, at least, four hours a day, always at the same time [strict daily schedule of routines are essential to keep them happy], spend as much time with her as you can talking, singing, whistling to her and, every now and then, offer her a treat but don't expect her to 'perform' for it, just give it to her as a token of friendship to show her that you want to be closer to her - and, if she doesn't take it from your fingers, simply leave it near her and walk away. As the days pass, she will feel more and more comfortable with you and will start showing you, with her actions, that she wants a closer relationship and, when that happens, grab the opportunity and act on it but don't go any farther than she wants and always allow her to set the pace.

The honeymoon period [the first few months of a new parrot coming to live with us] is the most critical in our relationship with our parrots because it's the foundation of what is going to be for the duration so you need to be very careful not to push or to ask for anything that the bird doesn't want to give. Show the parrot respect for its feelings and the parrot will trust you for the rest of its life -and there is no love without trust.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 13331
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes


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