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Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Want to teach your bird talk? Learn about and discuss methods for training birds to vocalize and mimic different sounds on cue.

Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby Jstew320 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:10 am

My Senegal has started screaming almost every time he's in the room by himself. He screams in the morning even when I'm in the room with him which I realize that birds are more vocal in the morning but then he also screams from 3 or 4 o clock until he goes to sleep. Its becoming a real issue for my roommates and I've been trying to ignore the screaming as much as possible and only walk into the room when he's quiet. I've heard him talk twice but only when no one is in the room. How can I encourage talking and soft noises and discourage the screaming? I've been considering buying the bird tricks stop screaming DVD but I'm afraid that I'm going to spend all that money and they're just going to tell me the same things I've been reading on here... is it worth it?
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby cml » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:46 am

cml wrote:It sounds like you are doing pretty well, but personally, we had no luck with rewarding silence or ignoring screaming. Stitch used to do his contact call when he was a baby, but we trained him to only use a wolf whistle as his contact call.

What you do is that you choose a sound he makes that you like, and then you praise him for that, and nothing else. Ignore everything else, but as soon as he makes that sound, RUN (and I mean that you should really RUN) to him, praise him, give him treats and make a big fuss. Its important that he realizes that this was because of the sound you are trying to get him to use, hence the need for speed.

As I said, ignore everything else.

In our case we had to do it this way, as just ignoring the screaming got us nowhere, where as this completely removed the screaming issue in a matter of weeks.

This is my reply from a couple of days ago, in a thread with the same problem as yours, only you are lucky because your parrot is already making a vocalization you like and can train him to use, whilst the OP in the other thread's parrot didnt do any cute sounds.

Full thread here:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=9697
Stitch (WFA) and Leroy (BWP)
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby dan4 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:12 am

Ive ignored my IRN's screaming for a year now, my ears bleed and still he carries on. 3hours today already, ignoring doesnt work most likely because that is why they are making the fuss in the first place. Im going to change battle plans to rewarding the cute chirps
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby marie83 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:45 am

dan4 wrote:Ive ignored my IRN's screaming for a year now, my ears bleed and still he carries on. 3hours today already, ignoring doesnt work most likely because that is why they are making the fuss in the first place. Im going to change battle plans to rewarding the cute chirps


Wow, I'm impressed you stuck it out for so long. I do think you will be ok to change methods in all honesty as you have given it more than a fair go. The problem with most things is that people don't give a method long enough before deciding it isn't working and swapping to another.

Best of luck with reducing the screaming, I would say get some earplugs but that wont help you reward the quieter chirps :P
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby dan4 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:33 pm

I do wish i could take his batteries out sometimes :lol: Trouble is the cute noises quickly turn to screaming, its going to be a challenge reacting to them!
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby eggplantbren » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:22 pm

What do you mean by ignoring the screaming? We had a problem with our young Alexandrine and ignoring (in the sense of "acting as though there wasn't any sound") didn't work. We taught him to stop screaming by teaching him that screaming clearly causes good things to go away (not bad things to happen, don't use punishment!)

When we were in the room and he screamed, we'd turn around and leave immediately. We wouldn't come back in until he was quiet (for a few seconds). He'd usually scream again so we turned around and left again. It was frustrating and inconvenient for us, but it eventually worked. If he was out of his cage we'd freeze like a statue when he screamed. This was especially effective if we were getting treats for him. We'd walk towards him with the treats and then he'd scream, so we'd freeze. The screaming clearly caused a delay in the food arriving.

Just some ideas that worked for us. I hope it helps.
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby Michael » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:49 pm

eggplantbren wrote:We taught him to stop screaming by teaching him that screaming clearly causes good things to go away (not bad things to happen, don't use punishment!)


That's still punishment. Just an effective application of negative punishment.
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby marie83 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:49 am

Michael wrote:
eggplantbren wrote:We taught him to stop screaming by teaching him that screaming clearly causes good things to go away (not bad things to happen, don't use punishment!)


That's still punishment. Just an effective application of negative punishment.


Well I agree it is still a form of punishment but negative reinforcement is less severe that punishment in my eyes and is an effective way of training, although not as good as positive reinforcement. Punishment is a big no for me, in this I would include putting a bird back in its cage for biting, beak tapping etc . Maybe this is just because of the way I was taught or maybe you are trying to say the same thing and I am misunderstanding?
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby eggplantbren » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:27 pm

You're right, it is punishment. It's not the kind that's harsh enough to cause its own issues though (right?)
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Re: Please Help My Sennie is Screaming

Postby Michael » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:10 pm

Yes. But you still need to be careful whenever using any sort of punishment. For example, let's say a lion thinks it earned a piece of meat from the trainer but the trainer decided to punish the lion for not quite doing the right thing by not giving it.... see my point? With a parrot, a bad application of negative punishment with an aggressive bird could potentially lead to aggression or giving up. In the case of screaming as previously mentioned, I think it's pretty safe to do. But just something to always keep in mind.

Also, realize that positive reinforcement isn't necessarily a good thing either. Giving a bird attention when it starts plucking will cause it to pluck more which is positive reinforcement for plucking. Not a good thing, eh? It's important not to pass judgement on positive/negative reinforcement/punishment because none are good or bad. They are just means of increasing or reducing behavior by increasing or taking something away. It's just important to realize that there are many potential unintended consequences and that they could easily outweigh what you're actually trying to achieve.
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