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Trainer - Parrot Relationship

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Trainer - Parrot Relationship

Postby Electic » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:45 am

I have had tremendous progress with my Male Eclectus since bringing him home. He has completely stopped biting except the occasional nibbles on the finger when I am asking him to do something that he doesn't want to do. This is generally where the training comes into play. But I've noticed that there is not much of an affectionate relationship, whereas with my female, there is very much cuddling, cute noises she makes when I kiss her and so forth. I've had the male for about 5 months now in my home, and 3 months where I used to visit him in the store. Perhaps an affectionate relationship hasn't developed? At the moment, my interactions with him are limited, which I don't mind, it's basically consisted of Ambient attention, where he is on the stand and I'm doing my work, he makes a noise and I reply, etc. Instructive attention, which basically consists of training. Not much direct attention.

This is where it gets complicated, he knows the layout of the house and shows anxious/nervous body language when being in any other room in the house besides the one that has his cage/playstand in. He will fly off back into his room if I don't get up and take him there, which I rarely if ever do, just to see if anything different will happen. So I try not to make him uncomfortable and won't take him out to the other rooms for extended periods of time, just a short stroll around. If I am walking around, he doesn't have much of an issue, but once I sit down is when he starts showing body language of wanting back into his room. I don't know if this will pass and will begin to become more comfortable in different parts of the house or not, and whether he'll develop affection for me as a caregiver as well, and not only as a trainer.

Shorter question. he seems to get overstimulated extremely easy, such as if I have a toy in my hand and he is playing with it, he'll randomly look at my fingers and bite down. I'm assuming just how kids will get riled up and will accidentally do harm, unintentionally, we have been working on it and it is improving, but your input is valued. Secondly, ear biting, when he is on my shoulder or near my face, he will get curious and start to explore, I remove him if I even suspect he will begin to do this, but every once in a while, he will nail my ear and I'm not too sure how to handle it.

Thanks in advance!
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Electic
Cockatiel
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 54
Location: California
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Red Sided Eclectus
Red Sided Eclectus
Flight: Yes

Re: Trainer - Parrot Relationship

Postby marie83 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:09 am

Regarding your last issue with they toys, I had to cease all "foot toy" play with one of mine as he would get so over excited he would forget himself and and up charging at my hands in full blown attack mode. He still gets given them but he plays alone with them now.
In the future I'm hoping to use training to calm him down with some of them as I want to teach him fetch at some point. I'm not sure if it will work out because I don't want the toys to mearly become props, they are there for enjoyment but I'm going to try it.

With the rooms issue, I actually think its great you allow yours the freedom to be able to return to his cage if he wishes. Harlie gets anxious if I take her into another room and she cant see her cage, I've started taking her in a few seconds at a time, I'll walk in, stand still briefly so she can look round then walk straight back out. I'm currently working on increasing the time as her anxiety decreases. Might a similar approach work for you?
A better way to do it may incorperate the use of the "target" skill and gradually lure the bird into a room using positive reinforcement methods. I would personally choose this method first above the other but it might not be practical for you.

When you are training/talking to your birds or just generally interacting with them you are giving direct attention, I think you may be confusing direct attention with physical attention? Whilst it is nice for us if the birds enjoy a good head scratch, some birds are "just not like that" regardless of their upbringing. I wouldn't worry provided he will tolerate being handled- enough to be able to health check, administer meds etc without stressing him out. Michael has a really good article on teaching birds to accept touch if yours wont, you will need to keep refreshing the training though after it is taught.
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marie83
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Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Pineapple Green Cheek Conure
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Re: Trainer - Parrot Relationship

Postby Electic » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:42 am

marie83 wrote:Regarding your last issue with they toys, I had to cease all "foot toy" play with one of mine as he would get so over excited he would forget himself and and up charging at my hands in full blown attack mode. He still gets given them but he plays alone with them now.
In the future I'm hoping to use training to calm him down with some of them as I want to teach him fetch at some point. I'm not sure if it will work out because I don't want the toys to mearly become props, they are there for enjoyment but I'm going to try it.

With the rooms issue, I actually think its great you allow yours the freedom to be able to return to his cage if he wishes. Harlie gets anxious if I take her into another room and she cant see her cage, I've started taking her in a few seconds at a time, I'll walk in, stand still briefly so she can look round then walk straight back out. I'm currently working on increasing the time as her anxiety decreases. Might a similar approach work for you?
A better way to do it may incorperate the use of the "target" skill and gradually lure the bird into a room using positive reinforcement methods. I would personally choose this method first above the other but it might not be practical for you.

When you are training/talking to your birds or just generally interacting with them you are giving direct attention, I think you may be confusing direct attention with physical attention? Whilst it is nice for us if the birds enjoy a good head scratch, some birds are "just not like that" regardless of their upbringing. I wouldn't worry provided he will tolerate being handled- enough to be able to health check, administer meds etc without stressing him out. Michael has a really good article on teaching birds to accept touch if yours wont, you will need to keep refreshing the training though after it is taught.


To address your issue with how I handled mine with the foot toys, he would sometimes look off after having at his toy, I'd make a big fuss and tell him how good he is, he caught on and is less likely to bite down at me. I've tried similar things with the ear biting. Some progress as well.

I have been slowly increasing times he goes out and still letting him choose to leave if he wants to, slowly he's been getting more comfortable in very short amounts of time, but who cares, I have another 30-50 years with these guys. He seems to be very much more observant and cautious than my female is. Much more outgoing and he is much more shy. Kind of how men and women work, LOL.

As for physical attention, that's exactly right, he doesn't like sitting down and doing nothing, he likes playing with foot toys etc, but it's dangerous for me because of his over stimulation resulting in a bite. So yes, I did get the two confused, however I compensate by training him longer since he seems to really enjoy it.

As for being touched, he made EXTREME progress, he accepts his wings being opened, feet being picked up, wrapped in towels (work in progress) etc. He lets me handle him fairly well and I still have things I'd like to work on as well.
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Electic
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Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 54
Location: California
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Red Sided Eclectus
Red Sided Eclectus
Flight: Yes

Re: Trainer - Parrot Relationship

Postby Andromeda » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:59 pm

Electic wrote:I have had tremendous progress with my Male Eclectus since bringing him home. ... But I've noticed that there is not much of an affectionate relationship, whereas with my female, there is very much cuddling, cute noises she makes when I kiss her and so forth. ... As for being touched, he made EXTREME progress, he accepts his wings being opened, feet being picked up, wrapped in towels (work in progress) etc. He lets me handle him fairly well and I still have things I'd like to work on as well.


Some birds like touching and cuddling and some don't. It sounds like yours will accept touching (you have already made great progress if you can open his wings and hold his feet) and by all means continue this training but realize that accepting touching and desiring it (the way your other bird does) are different things and he may never desire it the way your other bird does. Only time will tell.

Electic wrote:This is where it gets complicated, he knows the layout of the house and shows anxious/nervous body language when being in any other room in the house besides the one that has his cage/playstand in. He will fly off back into his room if I don't get up and take him there, which I rarely if ever do, just to see if anything different will happen. So I try not to make him uncomfortable and won't take him out to the other rooms for extended periods of time, just a short stroll around. If I am walking around, he doesn't have much of an issue, but once I sit down is when he starts showing body language of wanting back into his room.


Marie has good advice for you regarding this and I agree that it's great that he has the freedom to be able to return to his cage.

Electic wrote:I don't know if this will pass and will begin to become more comfortable in different parts of the house or not, and whether he'll develop affection for me as a caregiver as well, and not only as a trainer.


If you use positive reinforcement to gradually increase the amount of time he spends in other rooms (as Marie suggests) over time he should become less anxious.

When you use positive reinforcement to train a bird you are building trust and over time it should bond with you more; however, just because your bird trusts you more does not mean it will be affectionate as it may not have that type of personality.
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Andromeda
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