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Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:05 pm

Well, what I've seen of Heidenreich I've liked and I find her suggestion intriguing, but I think it might be REALLY hard to accomplish unless you are a very talented trainer. I could see it working for screaming, but biting seems really challenging in that respect, for example. It would also rely on rewarding the cued behavior frequently while not rewarding the behavior when not cued. It does put a different spin on things. But I don't think it would be the first thing I'd try.

In "Good Bird" in the chapter on Biting she uniformly says "Don't try to force your bird to do anything it doesn't want to do" and "Use positive reinforcement to make your bird WANT to ____ (step up, come down, be with an unfavored pesron)", But for the situation where the bird gets too rough while grooming or playing with you, she does say, "End the interaction, give your bird a "time out"'. I don't have the impression from this that she's a whack job, or that she doesn't use multiple forms of behavior modification. However, like many people when addressing a lay population, she tends to use the word "punishment" in the vernacular, not in the technically correct sense. I think there are other cases in that book where she uses punishment without calling it that.

I do agree that it is difficult, and in some cases not desirable to not react at all to biting. If Scooter is nipping at me because he wants me to pay attention to him and not the computer, I can ignore that just fine. But when he was all revved up and angry, I needed to do something to get my flesh out of reach of his beak even if that meant reinforcing the behavior. And all he could really do is nibble me to death, or scar my hands... a BIG bird could be doing real damage to body parts, as in permanent defacing or crippling damage, and I think it may bear stating the obvious that if your bird is really injuring you, you should find a way to make it STOP even if it does net damage to your training attempts or your relationship. If it doesn't actually injure the bird seriously, it's fair game if your ear is being torn off... But once you've extracted yourself from danger and are back in a training model you should try to avoid putting yourself back in that situation while attempting the training. Does that make sense?
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby pchela » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:16 pm

^ What she said.
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby Michael » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:17 pm

I updated the article with a video of Kili biting my brother. He demonstrates how he ignores the bite and then tries again with target training. When stepping up is thus positively reinforced, Kili is not tempted to bite the person. Here's a direct link to the video.
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby meowingaround » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:14 pm

ok so really ignore and let them bite even though it obviously hurts. Actually I think this is probably the best solution, he bites me because he KNOWS I'll do some action whatever that might be varies but he obviously expects some action.

*goes out to buy more bandaids and antibiotic ointment*

Well we can give that a try, not sure if I can do it but we can try it and see if he stops using that tool so much. Thanks MIchael, you might wanna get some bandaids and antibiotic ointment as well :thumbsup:
“Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” Victor Hugo
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby footfoot » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:33 pm

I exercised my bird today with wing flapping (he's clipped) and climbing stairs. Wore him out. Made him much mellower and less nippy.
I have to exercise my dogs hard at least every other day otherwise they'll get too much starch in their shorts as well.
I bet more exercise would help, after all they fly for miles everyday in the wild.
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby Michael » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:59 am

They need mental exercise no less than physical. This is why trick training and flight recalls are so wonderful. See how trick and flight training can be enjoyable and exercise the bird very well.

meowingaround wrote:*goes out to buy more bandaids and antibiotic ointment*


I'm not saying to put your hand out there and let the bird bite, bite, bite until it is too tired or bored to bite you anymore. I suppose that would be flooding of the human, but that's not what we are trying to achieve. Yes, when the bird does bite, you must not react. However, the real key is prevention and positive reinforcement training.

Prevention might be wearing a glove, not forcing your bird to step up when you know it doesn't want to, or keeping the interaction short enough that the bite does not have time to occur. The positive reinforcement training is not only meant to convert the attitude of the parrot toward you, but also to teach it how the behaviors (like step up) are meant to go (step up with your beak in the air and not down biting).
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:35 pm

Yeah, that's what I was trying to say on the other thread, said much better here!
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby meowingaround » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:48 pm

Today he did a little bite, meaning it hurt a bit but did not puncture the skin. Usually I react expecting him to bite harder, this time I totally ignored it, and he did not escalate.


I think much of this has to do with me, I was badly bitten on my face by him before, not actually him being mean it was when he had his horrible feather trauma and I had to pull one that was bleeding excessively. Anyway he got my eye and I had to got the hospital and it was a whole ordeal.


So I do overreact to his bites, guess I've never really put it all together before.

Don't get me wrong he's always been more nippy than most, but I may have inadvertently taught him to bite harder.
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby entrancedbymyGCC » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:41 pm

meowingaround wrote:Don't get me wrong he's always been more nippy than most, but I may have inadvertently taught him to bite harder.


It is awfully easy to accidentally reinforce a behavior you want to get rid of. Even a lapse in attention can do it. This morning, Scotty gave Bill a nip when I walked up and Bill handed him over before either of us fully realized what we were doing. Three steps forward, two steps back...
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Re: Reasons Why Punishment Should Be Avoided With Parrots

Postby Jenny » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:47 pm

My cockatiel Aaron, is a rescued adult bird. He's flighted, & I've had him about 3 months now. Aaron is my first bird, & the first animal I've ever attempted to seriously train. He's becoming more & more comfortable w/me & his surroundings. My current issue w/Aaron is that when I'm eating dinner, he's started flying to my plate & landing on it/my food. He doesn't always take a bite of whatever is there, but I think it's obvious that if it interests him, he intends to do so. My reaction has been to put him in his cage until I finish my meal. I'm realizing that this is laziness on my part, & having read this article, I'm realizing that I'm conditioning Aaron to behave in some manner that won't solve the problem.

I always make sure to feed Aaron before I feed myself - my thought process being that he can eat his own food while I'm eating & participate in meal time w/me in that way. But as that is no longer working, it obviously reflects my inexperience. I have not yelled at Aaron when he lands on my plate, but I'm probably saying "no" or something totally worthless in a different tone than he's used to. I immediately ask him to step up, which he does, & then I've been putting him in his cage. Now I realize that I shouldn't be doing this. I understand that I need to engage him in some activity that I can positively reinforce to deter him from flying to my plate, but I don't know what the activity would be that would reduce the unwanted plate behaviour. Can you give me some suggestions?
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