All registrations must be approved by an admin. Having problems with registration? E-mail us at indianringnecks@gmail.com

Finding the right balance

Moderator: Mods

Post Reply
User avatar
Fidgit_Green
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:35 am
Location: North Brisbane, QLD Australia

Finding the right balance

Post by Fidgit_Green » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:40 pm

my little guy has start becoming quite disobedient and i am at a bit of a loss of how to change it.

there was always a little bit of pushing the boundries, but over the last week Fidgit has started to straight out be disobedient.

i have done some of the things that have been recommended on this forum, one of them being sharing meals with him as a way to further our bonding.
however, now that i have done this a few times, he has decided that this means that he can have anything that i might be eating whenever he feels like it. even if it means trying to take it out right out of my mouth.
and he has started snatching things and trying to run off with them, mainly food but other things aswel.
now especially when it happens to be something that is unsafe for him to have, i have to grab him, and when he has snatched something he doesnt want to give it up willingly.
and clearly this doesnt do me any favors with his hand aggression.
and also lately he has been doing his little macho man dance alot, at least once a day, sometimes several times. so i assume that his disobedience and food snatching is all part and parcel with him being dominant.

is there anyone that might have any advice on what i can do with my situation here?
any advice would be very much appreciated.

also i have read on here a few times now about the bluffing stage, could anyone explain to me about the bluffing stage and when it is supposed to happen ect.

thanks everyone.

MissK
Posts: 3006
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by MissK » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:04 am

I don't really think "disobedient" and "bird" go together. Our birds are tamed and trained, but they are not domesticated. They do not "obey" us, but rather they allow their actions to be guided by our suggestions and conditioned cues.

If previously trained behaviour has broken down, you must go back and retrain, with more reinforcement.

If new and objectionable behaviour has arisen, it may be quite helpful to train an incompatible behaviour. For example, if my dog jumps on people, I can train her to sit. Then, when jumping would be happening, I just have her sit because jumping and sitting at the same time is impossible. For Fidget, I think you should condition him to "trade". Trade stuff with him all the time, and be sure to name the activity so you will have a cue if a critical "trade" opportunity arises. He has a ball, you trade him a leaf. He has the leaf, you trade him a seed. Train when he is well fed if you are trading food. A variation would be a slow motion game of "catch" - you give me that thing, I give it back, you give it again, etc, until you switch out a dangerous object for a safe one and then keep playing catch a little longer. He probably likes the game more than the object, and if he suspects that the game ends when he hands over his prize, he won't give it up.

If the problem is him running from you, see if you can teach him to chase you instead, or make the recall rock solid. You probably want a rock solid recall anyway.

I don't have experience training these behaviours. My focus has been on rehabbing my second hand bird to get him just to be a comfortable and natural bird. Now, in our second year, we are working more on physical interaction. But we haven't gotten to trading yet. I recommend you chat with in the air and red zone, as well as ellieelectrons. I bet they will be able to help.

Best wishes,
-MissK
-MissK

User avatar
ellieelectrons
Posts: 2703
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:17 am
Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by ellieelectrons » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:10 pm

Hi Fidgit_Green

Does your bird have a playstand that you can interact with him on? If you don't getting one may help. You may need to train your bird to use the playstand - you need to make it interesting for him. He needs to learn that he will get rewards if he is on his playstand.
Fidgit_Green wrote:however, now that i have done this a few times, he has decided that this means that he can have anything that i might be eating whenever he feels like it. even if it means trying to take it out right out of my mouth.
and he has started snatching things and trying to run off with them, mainly food but other things aswel.
These behaviours you describe are normal bird behaviours. I have two IRNs and they steal food from each other's mouths all the time - it's how they share... so even though we don't find these behaviours acceptable, they do mean that your bird is accepting you.

If I eat in front of my birds, I will almost always given them some of what I am eating. However, we usually only eat a meal when they are in their cage, so I just share it with them through the cage bars. Can you put your bird in his cage during meal times?

The main exception to this for me would be breakfast. They are usually out of their cage when I eat breakfast. I have had problems with them trying to eat from my bowl in the past, so now I put a bit of my porridge in a bowl on the playstand for them to eat. I have tried having a separate plate for them at the table but I found that when they lost interest in their bowl, they'd come to mine. This has worked for me 90% of the time.

I won't use the hot plates when the birds are out as I am scared of them getting burnt, so usually they are in their cage during our dinner meal.
Fidgit_Green wrote:and he has started snatching things and trying to run off with them, mainly food but other things aswel.
now especially when it happens to be something that is unsafe for him to have, i have to grab him, and when he has snatched something he doesnt want to give it up willingly.
Unfortunately this is also a standard behaviour for birds. MissK's ideas around replacing the object with something else is a good idea. I try to keep things that I know they like hidden from view. When I use the remote control for the TV, I then hide it under a cushion so they can't see it, that sort of thing.

Not everyone does this the same, but with my guys, I mostly have them out of their cage when I can give them a fair amount of attention. Occasionally I'll watch tv when they're out - mostly when they're not displaying too much interest in me. I have several places where they can "perch" throughout the lounge and dining room areas where they can chew bark off natural branches, ring a bell etc. Sometimes they'll fly to me and sit and preen whilst I watch tv. Other times, they'll fly somewhere else in the house and at these times, I have to pause whatever I'm watching and go check on them - as they can be prone to mischief! When they're out of the cage, it's a little bit like having your child about, I always have an eye/ear out to see what they're up to and intervene where necessary.

My guys have a reasonable routine now. I have an ongoing battle with them flying onto picture frames and flying into the bathroom.... but overall they're pretty good.

Best wishes.

Ellie.
P.S. I'm planning to organise a trip for people on this forum to http://www.parrotsinparadise.net/ Would you be interested in coming?

User avatar
Fidgit_Green
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:35 am
Location: North Brisbane, QLD Australia

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by Fidgit_Green » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:15 pm

thanks for the advice missk.

i thought that if i guided his behavior as he got a older i would be alright, but he decided to have a bit of an attitude change a couple weeks ago and no longer wanted to do things the way he was doing the before then.
i am a little more used to doing thing a bit hands on from working with dogs, but Fidgit doesnt like hands on and most of the time freaks out if i have something in my hand and try to give it to him.
training him has turned out to be alot harder than i expected it to be. lol.

i would be a bit lost if it wasnt for this forum and every ones willingness to help each other.
i need to have someone that can give me a run down on the right way to train certain behaviors, because i try to train with treats and he wont do anything except try to get to me to get the food off me, or if i try to trade with a toy he freaks out about me presenting him with something or if he does take it he leaves it after a moment and goes straight back to doing what i was trying to stop him doing in the first place.

training a dog is by far easier than training a bird, or perhaps i am just to used to training dogs that it is making it hard to understand the right way to train a parrot.

anyway, it seems i have a fair bit of work ahead of me, i love him to bits and cant wait to have him be as happy and love me as much as i do him.

thank you for all the help.

MissK
Posts: 3006
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by MissK » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:47 pm

I would say that everything Rocky has done for me has started with a food lure. Most of his accomplishments have to do with learning to use his body and negotiate his environment, stuff most probably take for granted. The day he let me haul him over the edge of a platform by our mutual grip on a Cheerio stands as a breakthrough "teamwork" moment.

Working with the bird is certainly a step up from dogs, but I do like it. If you have not yet, maybe reread Karen Pryor's _Don't Shoot The Dog_. I realize birds are not dogs, but it might get you back into the training mood. I'm sure there are bird training books, but I haven't sought them out yet.

Anybody out there have a favourite bird training book?

-MissK
-MissK

User avatar
Fidgit_Green
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:35 am
Location: North Brisbane, QLD Australia

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by Fidgit_Green » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:13 am

hi Ellie,

my play stand is currently partly under construction and mostly still being designed, if you know what i mean.
i am want to make it so that he has a lot of different things to keep him occupied, i want to make a good range of things so that he doesnt get bored of it very easy, plus i want to figure out wasys to incorporate treat challenges into it aswell.

because i dont work i have fidgit out of his cage and with me whenever i am at home, unless i have to cook dinner, and half the time i have to cook something i only put him on top of the cage so he can go i and out as he want.
i have started putting him on his cage more now when i have a meal, but i really dont want to have to put him away just because i want to eat something, i would like to be able to have him learn that when he can have something i will give it to him, not have him expected that he can have it because i have it.
when training dogs one of my pet peeves was a dog expecting food from someone that had some with them (sitting there staring at the food and even drooling). and also one thing that i couldnt stand over anything was a dog that would scavenge any type of food particle they could get hold of, my belief was, i feed you more than enough food every day, even treats during the day, but there is absolutely no reason for you to have to scavenge. unfortunately those peeves from dog training have become apparent with fidgit aswell.
i guess that it just going to take a fair bit of time for him to understand that i will give him something if its safe for him and that he doesnt have to try snatching things from me.

although i have him out of his cage pretty much all day, i still keep a very close eye on him because even though he cant fly there is still alot the he can get up to mischief with.
im starting to get the picture that there isnt really any way of actually training certain behavior, just having to distract him to do something else until he prefers to do the other instead?

and as for the trip to parrots in paradise, i would definitely be interested it that.
it would really be just a matter of when, and my issue would probably be trying to get there.

well thanks for all you advice, i am grateful for all the help.
Cheers

User avatar
Redzone
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by Redzone » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:22 am

Yeah when we mentioned that birds dont know what the word "NO" means, we meant it! Really all you can do to stop him doing a certain behaviour that you dont like, is to use diversion. Pretty much means you have to have something handy that he likes chewing/playing with etc that you dont care too much about, Nele loves beaking things when i'm on the computer, so i have an old pair of sunglasses, a guitar pick and a ballpoint pen on the same desk ready for him to destroy or throw off the desk as he pleases. Otherwise he just ends up climbing on the keyboard and chasing the cursor so my posts end up looking like kjhbljhljhliuykjblkjbkjnlkj;oiugvfct...........

I also build and race RC cars, Nele loves hanging out in the room with me while i'm building or repairing something, i have learnt to bring his perch upstairs with me so he has something to keep him occupied while i'm busy. He does tend to want to do what you're doing, birds just want to be involved! No matter what you're doing. Pretty rare for them to ignore you while you're busy, they are flock animals after all, and they want to be doing what their flock is doing (and you are their flock).

This post was brought to you by a bird sitting on my finger while i type, beaking my laptop to his heart's content...

User avatar
InTheAir
Posts: 2040
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:24 pm

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by InTheAir » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:54 am

Hey guys,
Wow, I've spent so long on this post, I hope it is still useful.
This topic rather interests me, I am really just reiterating what Missk and Ellie have already said so well! Karen Pryor also has written a couple other books on animal training. I would like to add my 2c in regards to dominance, and elaborate further on this.

I don't think our bird even has a concept of obedience! Lol It belongs in the bin with the word 'No' to him. He is very good at doing tricks, but not out of deference to us. He is generally not much trouble at all, as all 3 of us have an understanding.
We basically have obligations to fulfil to keep him entertained, if we do not meet these he will find his own amusement which may not suit us. He is not doing this out of malice, it is out of inquisitiveness and/our lack of any other interests.
We must always objectively consider our pets daily requirements of mental and physical stimulation.

I don't really think dominance and obedience has any bearing on parrot training. I have had extensive experience training horses, goats and some experience with dogs. I think disregarding most standard practise for dog training (ie: old skool, not pryor) is a good start. I think goats and cats are most similar to parrots, one can get a goat to comply with your wishes if you can provide something of value to the goat for its trouble.

I detest begging dogs also, but we must realise that your parrot is not begging, he does not has a structure in nature that prevents or dissuades sharing food. We have meals at the table with our bird, and keep his meals as varied and interesting as we can to keep him to his own plate. If one of us wants to eat biscuits (his addiction) it is not done in his presence. I eat a biscuit when he won't come when called, its a surefire way of getting his attention!

This post is brilliant: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3770

The only behaviour that Nele has ever exhibited that could possibly be translated into being domineering was when he was about 4 months old he was on a visitors shoulder and when they tried to to remove him he threatened to bite. I am now inclined to think the person had provoked this response by moving his hand away when Nele tried to test it with his beak, therefore making Nele frightened and defensive rather then Nele believing himself to be the boss. Dave and I are in disagreement on this though.
In interactions with other ringnecks on playdates he has taken food from their mouths with no reaction from them, on their own cage.

Nele regularly lands on my head as I am usually wearing sleeveless shirts and he slides straight off my shoulder, and I never have trouble with him displaying untoward aggression. I am the person who does the most training with him, so he is always quick to do as I ask.


The latest behaviour I have been working on is to get him to look at me whenever I say his nam e.
I started with him on his training perch and saying his name, if he looks at me I reward him verbally first, and hand him a treat (Nele thinks its easy money). Now he will look at me even when he is chasing our flatmates goldfish, or chewing something he shouldn't. This gives me time to remove the object while he is eating (or himself) and start him afresh on a new game. We use voice in lei of a clicker (i can't stand his impersonal a clicker sounds)
If we can satisfy his mind he will only be a pain, as opposed to a household hazard!

I will message you some additional information.
Regards,
Claire

MissK
Posts: 3006
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by MissK » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:55 am

I really like Claire's post, especially for pointing out that
We basically have obligations to fulfil to keep him entertained, if we do not meet these he will find his own amusement which may not suit us. He is not doing this out of malice, it is out of inquisitiveness and/our lack of any other interests.
We must always objectively consider our pets daily requirements of mental and physical stimulation.
Animals are generally not placing us/the world in the same emotional frame of reference we use. As well, they are hard-wired to seek food. What we see as "begging", they would see as "just going about the business of seeking food as Nature commands they do". Except they would not even think about it. I find it helpful, when stymied over some animal hitch, to look from the animal's perspective and ask the animal's eternal question: "What's in it for me?"

I agree, an animal prancing about, getting in my face when I want to eat is not any fun. This is why my dogs are trained to sit when I eat, if they are present. Eventually they lie down or leave. I enjoy seeing my dogs' beautiful faces turned to me at all times, so this is good with me. I once dated a guy who apparently could not tolerate the dogs quietly lying on the floor at the other end of the room, watching him eat. What I saw as dogs quietly lying by he saw as outrageous begging because they did keep their eyes on us. I guess there's no pleasing some people.

Can birds be trained to leave you alone when you eat? I have not tried, but I expect that a bird who is trained to his playstand and there provided a cup of great food would have as good reason as possible to remain there. Since Fidgit is clipped, he might not have a lot of choice in the matter, and that might be one way to go. However, I would not expect stellar success, reasoning explained as follows. As Claire notes,
we must realise that your parrot is not begging, he does not has a structure in nature that prevents or dissuades sharing food.
Unlike humans and dogs, parrots don't have to expend a bunch of energy hunting down their food. Because the resource is abundant, they can afford to be wasteful and have a *comparatively* milder need to protect their food. Whether they drop half a fruit or their neighbor takes it, there's more fruit here or on the next tree over, so it's not really a big deal.

If you want to eat with parrots, you cannot expect them to share your idea of manners, because they have absolutely no way to understand that idea. You'll have more fun if you sit down with a large resource and eat like a parrot does. You have the bigger brain, so the burden of easing the way is on you. The very easiest way is to prevent the bird reaching your food while you provide him top notch edibles of his own. Maybe as a compromise, if you are inclined, you can place Fidget in his travel cage, and place that as close to your plate as you care. You can give him a little bit in there, and even have a special fork you can use to feed him off your plate. But if you don't restrain him, I am sure he's going to be up close and personal.

:(
-MissK
-MissK

MissK
Posts: 3006
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by MissK » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:06 am

I also did not want to overlook this one important comment,
im starting to get the picture that there isnt really any way of actually training certain behavior, just having to distract him to do something else until he prefers to do the other instead?
This depends on the behaviour you want and how much work you will do for it. Is the bird chewing your priceless heirlooms? Offer him a trade and hope he takes it. Or condition him to give things up when you ask for them. Do you want the bird to stand up straight, wave one foot and then the other, roll over, and take a bow? Training with patience and persistence will get you there. It might take five years and three cases of whiskey, but you can have that if you are willing to do the work.

Read Karen Pryor's book. It's a good book! I used what I learned in it to train a handful of rambunctious teenagers to come running when called and line up in order to get undesirable job assignments at work. They even did the jobs, too.

Keep the faith.
-MissK
-MissK

User avatar
Fidgit_Green
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:35 am
Location: North Brisbane, QLD Australia

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by Fidgit_Green » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:46 am

well after reading everyones replies it has made me realize that alot of my problem is that i am still in the frame of mind of thinking i can train Fidgit to be obedient like you can a dog.
an like missk mentioned, i should start looking at thing alot more from his point of view, which after all is what made training dogs easy, knowing the way they think and being able to read their body language to know what they are thinking of doing before that actually do it.
which that again could be part of my problem, trying to judge a birds behavior and intentions the same way i would a dog, considering that a bird does not think the same way as a dog, and certain body language or actions do not mean the same as a dogs.
perhaps i should stop likening bird train to dog training all together. i guess its just taking a little getting used to Fidgit not responding the way i expected or hoped and being a lot more difficult than i thought it would, when dog training came so easily to me.
i am starting to understand now that i need to take a step back entirely and do some research on bird training so that i can get an all round understanding of how a birds mind works and how to approach it better.
i have always been someone that likes a challenge and i am usually a good problem solver, but if i hit a speed bump and let it frustrate me it tends to send me in a circle of frustration and i cant figure out the answer until i take a step back, shake off the frustration and take a fresh look at the problem.

all you guy have given me some great advice and i will most likely reread this post a number of times over the next couple of weeks just so i can make sure that it all sinks in properly.
and i am going to look up about the books by Karen Pryor that you have recommended for me.

i know i say this in most of my posts, but, i very much appreciate all the advice everyone is so willing to give out, i cant tell you enough how great it has been to have this forum available to get help from (as i assume most of you have been where i am and found knowledge and comfort from this forum at some point in time).
i am in any position to give out advice (as i dont have the experience yet to have any), but i am more than happy to let anyone know of my experiences along the road of my irn ownership if it may help with someones decision making or purely added knowledge.

anyway, i have babble on a bit to much now and its just about 4am here now, so ill get going and again say thank you to everyone for your willingness to help a another in need of assistance.

Cheers
Paul.

User avatar
ranechild
Posts: 295
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 12:57 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by ranechild » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:38 pm

The only behaviour that Nele has ever exhibited that could possibly be translated into being domineering was when he was about 4 months old he was on a visitors shoulder and when they tried to to remove him he threatened to bite.
HAHA... You've never met a Quaker Parrot have you!? This is a several times a week exercise. A quaker parrot owns you, not the other way around. If he does not want to go back in his cage or he's mad at you, he will refuse to step up off a shoulder. Instead he leans down to block any step up fingers with a bite. This is him being the boss. The trick is to just take the bites until he realizes that cannot stop you. And if he really refuses, grab him from the top--hard to do when he's on you shoulder--and there you have exerted your dominance over him!

We make our bird step up repeatedly after he does things we do not like. It's a good distraction. We also make him play "dead bird". He's not awfully fond of playing "dead bird".

MissK
Posts: 3006
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Re: Finding the right balance

Post by MissK » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:26 pm

I bet it's cute, tho.........

:D
-MissK
-MissK

Post Reply