Michael wrote:3. The Defensive Bite - This can result from touching the parrot where it does not want to be touched, taking away something, or getting into its territory. This kind of bite is purely out of self defense and is best avoided by not infringing upon the parrot's territory so abruptly.
The best way to overcome defensive biting is by systematic desensitization through positive reinforcement. Rather than just trying to grab the parrot's wings, start with having hands close to bird, then a small touch to wing, then cupping wing in hand, then opening slightly, then opening more, etc while progressively rewarding each step. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to forever depending on how defensive the parrot is and how unpleasant what you are doing is.
Mona wrote:This could be a good forum topic. What do people do to reinforce (and set up) appropriate communication between their birds and themselves? Trick training is an easy answer but I think there are lots of other ways to do this. For example: When Phinney is uncertain about an object and moves away from it (she sees it as being aversive), I tell her "It's okay. It's okay. It's okay"
I will then move and touch or chew the object so she can see that "it is okay"....and then I will often give her a moment to also move to the object. If she does move towards the object, she is reinforced and if she touches the object, she is reinforced. The object is to teach her "It's okay" means that "all is safe". In time, the bird responds positively to that simple cue. Greys will often even say it if they are nervous. Phinney says it quite often. Another bird startles and Phinney will say, "It's okay. It's okay"
It is vitally important to maintain the integrity of this cue and NEVER use it in a situation that the bird might perceive is a real threat.
That's just one example of reinforcing nonverbal communication between the person and the bird. The bird is communicating to the person by moving away from an object. (nonverbal) They are saying, "This is something I want to avoid". You acknowledge their communication by letting them move away but then you approach the object yourself and say, "It's okay." A well socialized bird will often want to participate in whatever you are doing that looks like fun and they will also move to the object. You reinforce any voluntary movement towards the perceived "threat" and in time, you develop a very trusting back and forth between yourself and the bird. In time, the bird absolutely learns that "It's okay" means that every thing is safe.
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