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

how to stop the squawk

Moderator: Mods

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

how to stop the squawk

Post by Fidgit_Green » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:56 pm

hi there

im at wits end and need some help.

i have been trying to train Fidgit out of his squawking.
at first it was just when i would leave the room and leave him by himself for a while.
then it started even when i was in the room and standing right next to him, and then
it started when he was put to bed like if i get up at night as he is in my room with me,
or in the morning if i havnt uncovered him yet.
its starting to drive me crazy.

dont get me wrong, i they are noisy birds, and i dont mind him being noisy.
he can be as loud and noisy as he want and im fine with that, but its just this particular squawk
that i cant stand any more.
it would be the equivalent of a small child following you around going, Hey?.... hey?..... hey?...hey?..hey?.hey hey hey hey HEY!!!!?... hey? HEY! HEY! HEY!....hey.. hey.. hey.. hey.. hey.. HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY!!!!

I have tried 2 different methods that i have i was recommended to try.
the first one being to ignore him (easier said than done).
i was to ignore the squawk and even completely freeze on the spot so that he couldnt hear me at all, and then when he was quiet for long enough go in an praise him for being quiet or to give him
attention when he made a noise that i wanted him to replace the squawk with, such as him talking.
so clearly this didnt work, so i was recommended the second theory.
when he squawked i was to put him in a time out, so when he did i was to get up, without talking or
looking at him and cover his cage with a blackout cover (different to his normal bed time cover) and leave him for a short time until he had been quiet for long enough (5 maybe 10 mins) but the issue with this is that when im just about ready to uncover him again he will start his squawk again so i have to leave him again till he is quiet. so it can end up in a situation where i have to leave him all day because he keeps squawking before i take him out of his time out, or he is in an out in an out all day.

well neither of the theorys have seem to work and Fidgit is now squawking more than he ever did.
and there seem to be only one thing i can think that might work but its not something that i want to do.
being that the problem is that certain reactions encourage certain behavior, like if you scream at them for screaming they will scream more to get you to scream more because the like it.
so the idea is that if i react with something that scares the living **** out of him, then hes not going to want to squawk to get a reaction that scares him.
that is just a thought, not something i am going to put into practice. i love fidgit and just want to have a happy peaceful life together.

i would appreciate any advice anyone can give me

Cheer
Paul

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

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by InTheAir » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:56 pm

Hey,
I don't know if I have any advice exactly.
We have found ignoring unpleasant noises, especially learned bird calls, dramatically reduces them. Even if it is right in our ears, though we have been guilty of flinching, we try to keep focused on what we were doing before the noise. We don't stop or stay still because of his noise, to me that would be acknowledgement.

Other strategies we have employed to keep him making nice noises in his cage is to fill the cage with foraging toys before he goes in there. We put music he likes on when he is going to be in the cage too. His cage time is now where he does the most talking, he gets good responses to that.

I can't see any merit in covering the cage or trying to scare him into silence. Neither encourage a good relationship. A black out in the middle of the day may make bird feel more insecure and need his flock more, which he can only locate by calling. It also makes the cage an erratic, therefore uncomfortable place to be. The cage should be a positive place to be.
Maybe he needs more foraging toys to keep him busy in his cage?

I am on the fence as to whether responding to silence is a good policy, it can lead to entering the room to give the bird attention when the bird is having a nap. Choosing an inoffensive sound seems a better training tool to me. This also gives the bird the security that when he needs his flock he can get their attention.

User avatar
Doodlebug
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:14 am
Location: Suffolk, UK

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by Doodlebug » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:09 am

I just ignore it but my partner just can't seem to, so anyone know how to train a man to stop yelling 'Shut uuuup!'? I tell him he is actually encouraging it and it really annoys me as its me that spends most time with the bird.

I read a little bit about this from Barbara Heidenreich, I shall paste it here but it is a bit long, but hope its of some help.

Wow. That Bird Sure Can Scream! By Barbara Heidenreich www.GoodBirdInc.com

“Screaming. Somebodyreinforcedthe heck out of that behavior.” I said to myself. Misty, a double yellow headed Amazonparrot,lived with me for only a few weeks. She was there sothat I could put some of her vocal behaviors on cue. However it quickly became apparent she had a few other behaviors that needed to be addressed first. Before her stay with me sheresidedwith Jill Bell for six years.Prior to thattimeher history is pretty fuzzy. She is estimated to be 19 years old. This meant screaming could have been reinforced for at least 13 years. It must have been, because it was STRONG. Misty was relentless. I’d leavetheroom;she’d scream and scream andscream.

She hadbeen agood reminder of what companion parrot owners experience when faced witha very annoying and challenging problem. It can bevery frustrating. Oddly enough, when I walk into someone else’s home and hear screaming birds I am usually not effected. But when abird is screaming specifically,in what feels like a demanding way, to get myattention, it strikes a nerve. How does one find the patience to be a good trainer in those situations? It is not easy, but definitely necessary.

My mantra with Misty was “I am solving the problem. Getting angry or letting that knot in my gut sway my strategy will not give me the desired results. I am confident what I am doing will work. It has worked before with other birds I have trained. Hang in there!”

Andit is true, my blue frontedAmazonparrotTarahalso learned to scream for attention. Completelythrough my own ignorance I reinforced screaming. I acquired Tarah, as many people do, when he was offered to me for free. At the time I was working in a veterinary hospital. One of my co-workers also worked part time in a pet store. Someone had walked in off of the street and sold her the bird for $100. Was the bird stolen, smuggled or desperately unwanted? I don’t know. My co-worker found she was overwhelmed with too many animals in her home and asked if I would be interested in watching the bird for awhile.(That “while” has turned in 18 years.)

Once in my apartment I was thrilled when Tarah offered a “hello” at the sight of me snacking on a piece of bread. However the enchantment wore off as Tarah began to scream anytime I was out of sight. Unaware of how to stop this undesired behavior, I did as many do, I ran back into the room each time Tarahscreamed and told him to “Be quiet.”Did it work to stop the screaming? No, and at the same time I found I very much disliked my attempts at punishing reactions to the undesired behavior. I so enjoy having animals respond positively to my presence and did not want to become an unpleasant experience in mybird’slife in order to stop the screaming behavior.

While in the middle of dealing with this problem, I was introduced to the book “Don’t Shoot the Dog” by Karen Pryor. (Alsoknown as the bible of animal trainers) As I read the book, I latched onto two important principles that could help me address thescreaming problem. Extinction and differential reinforcement. Extinction is described as the process ofdiscontinuingreinforcing a behavior that has been previouslyreinforced. In other words part of my strategy should include discontinuingoffering reinforcers for screaming. This meant I should no longer run back into the room, or yell at Tarah. The book did not describe the exact situation I was experiencing with my bird. Rather it described the principles and how to apply them to a variety of examples, human and animal. In reading the words, I made the connection that the concepts could apply to any behavior I no longer wanted to continue. Paired with the principle of extinction was the strategy of differential reinforcement of an alternate behavior. In other words, if screaming would no longer work to get a response from me, what would? For Tarah this turnedout to be a whistle. In the middle of a session of screaming and me doing my best to ignore this undesired behavior, Tarah offered a “whistle”. Iimmediatelyreinforced this by respondingwith the word “good”. Tarah replied with a scream. This was because at this point he only had onerepetitionof whistling being positively reinforced and an entire year of screaming being reinforced. However I remainedconsistentwith my strategies and within two weeks time Tarahlearned to whistle instead of scream whenhe wanted a response from me. 17 years laterTarah whistles when he wants to know where I am, when he desires a toy or treat, when I come home, and when he simply seems to be “happy”.The undesired screaming behavior was extinguished and replaced with a whistling sound.

Misty seemed to throw a kink in our now peaceful,well behaved and relatively quiet household. I “knew” from my past experience that I could repeat the process I had implementedwith Tarah. However this time proved to be a bit more challenging. Because I was working outof the homeat the time, it meant no breaks from dealing with the behavior problem.Every timeI left the room I was challenged with having to be focused on training this bird. I was finding this to be very demanding. In addition there were times in the day when mentally I was just not prepared to train. Rather than feeling inspired to train andreadyto resolve the behavior problem, I found myself dreading having to leave a room and work with Misty. I decided I needed to better set myself up for success. In getting to know Misty, who other than the screaming behavior, I found to be a delight, I learned that in thepast she was accustomed to being covered at night. I took advantage of this and decided to leave Misty covered during the time in the morning I neededto shower and prepare breakfast and bird diets in the kitchen. This allowed me time topeacefullyattend to necessary tasks in the morning. After this,I found I was less stressed and more prepared to begin a training session with Misty.

Throughout the day I would treat each time I left the room for whatever reason as a learning opportunity for Misty. I practiced my strategy of extinguishing screaming by not responding to it, followed by reinforcing a desired behavior. In Misty’s case the desired behavior was not a specific sound. Instead I chose to reinforce silence. My plan was to reinforce small increments of time of silence and gradually increase the duration Misty was silent before I would reinforce her with my presence or attention. If I was in the kitchen I would wait just outside of her view while she screamed. At first if she offered a pause in screaming that seemed the slightest second longer than what she had presented in between screams in the past, I would quickly appear and offer generous amounts of

attention. I wanted quiet to receive a greater amount of positive reinforcement than screaming if I could.Overtime I gradually increased the amount of time she remained quiet before I would respond. And it worked!
Loo :)

User avatar
Doodlebug
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:14 am
Location: Suffolk, UK

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by Doodlebug » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:14 am

For some reason it wont let me paste the second half to this so I might have to do it in smaller posts.

Howeverthis was not without challenges. There were times throughout the day when a training session was not convenient for me when I needed to leave the room. Rather than cover Misty I opted for engaging her in other acceptable activity. For example, I often offered Misty a small cardboard box, arolled up ball of newspaper,a new toy, or a portion of her diet just prior to leaving the room. This gave Misty another activity to focus on instead of screaming. But it also was not an opportunity for Misty to learn that screaming would not gain my attention and quiet would. It was still important to include training sessions throughout the day. The other activity was meant only to offer a break from training for me. This may have also lengthenedthe amount of time it took overall to teach Misty that screaming no longer would work.

Another challenge in trainingMistywas that Tarah was in the same room as Misty. Tarah would whistle at times when I left the room. While I wanted to respond to his whistle, I did not want to also then accidentallyreinforce Misty’s screaming. My strategy had to be to only reinforce Tarah’s whistle if Misty wasnot screaming. If I was focused on the training session, I also found I could position myself so that Tarah could see me, but Misty could not. This allowed me to reinforce Tarah’s “good” behavior and wait for Misty to offer silence before responding to her.

Misty’s screaming alsoappeared to stimulate an occasional screaming behavior in Tarah as well. Fortunatelybecause he had astrongreinforcement history for a whistle, I simply waited for him to offer a whistle before I would respond. Tarah quickly returned to offering a whistle and once again extinguished screaming.

Misty also would on occasion scream for my attention while I was in the room. When this occurred, I simply left the room. Again my thought process was to teach her that screaming nowcreated the opposite response. Instead of people coming to her, people go away. It was also important to reinforce her with attention at times for being quiet while I was in the room as well.

OveralltrainingMisty to present silence to gain myattention took about 6 weeks to train. Obviously this was longer than it took to change Tarahs behavior. This could have been a result of the strength of the behavior in each bird based on their individual positive reinforcement histories. It could have also been a result of the fewer training sessions applied to Misty during the given amount of time. It could also be a factor of the birds as individual learners. In any case the end result was a bird that successfully learnedto present desired behavior forattentionas opposed to the undesired behavior of screaming.

I went through the emotional gamut that many companion parrot owners face when addressing screaming problems. However by focusing on good training strategy and allowing myself opportunities to relievemyself of the stress associated with addressing the problem I was able to attain my desired training goal. Screaming for attention is a

behavior problem with a solution. Set yourself up for success and invest the time to train thedesired behavior. The end result canbe a lifetime of good behavior.
Loo :)

User avatar
Donovan
Posts: 832
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:18 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by Donovan » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:20 am

If I were having this problem I would ignore the bad calls and reward the good ones with insane amounts of attention.
whether or not that would work is a matter of time and consistant responses on your part.

sanjays mummi
Posts: 2054
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:07 pm
Location: Bedfordshire UK

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by sanjays mummi » Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:33 pm

If I am on the phone, and Sanjay starts shouting, I just tell him to be quiet, always works. Anyway, I thought breeders were supposed to take the squeak out of them when they hatch? :mrgreen:

AJPeter
Posts: 2539
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:17 pm
Location: Birmingham England
Contact:

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by AJPeter » Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:40 pm

Its a bit late and may not go down well as l am known to be bit of radical in my approach but when Billie started squawking l blew my referee's whistle she was so shock that l could make more noise than her she shut up. I keep that whistle hanging up where she can see it and the next time Biliie started to squawk l reached for the whistle and she shut up immediatly.
Aslo when l worked in pet shop we had a big old macaw in cage and if no one took any notice of him he would shriek and swear but if some one went over to him he shut up and would not even talk. I think if a bird is feeling lonely they will talk, but also if they think they will get a reward they will talk. I hate the idea of getting my bird to jump through hoops for a rewards so l am not worried she does not talk my language, l would rather learn her language.
AJPeter

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

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by InTheAir » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:26 pm

AJPeter wrote:Its a bit late and may not go down well as l am known to be bit of radical in my approach but when Billie started squawking l blew my referee's whistle she was so shock that l could make more noise than her she shut up. I keep that whistle hanging up where she can see it and the next time Biliie started to squawk l reached for the whistle and she shut up immediatly.
Aslo when l worked in pet shop we had a big old macaw in cage and if no one took any notice of him he would shriek and swear but if some one went over to him he shut up and would not even talk. I think if a bird is feeling lonely they will talk, but also if they think they will get a reward they will talk. I hate the idea of getting my bird to jump through hoops for a rewards so l am not worried she does not talk my language, l would rather learn her language.
AJPeter
By using a referees whistle to shock Billie into silence you are modifying her behaviour.
I am curious why you think using aversion is less demeaning than using reward based training?

User avatar
Donovan
Posts: 832
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:18 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by Donovan » Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:00 pm

AJPeter wrote:Its a bit late and may not go down well as l am known to be bit of radical in my approach but when Billie started squawking l blew my referee's whistle she was so shock that l could make more noise than her she shut up. I keep that whistle hanging up where she can see it and the next time Biliie started to squawk l reached for the whistle and she shut up immediatly.
Aslo when l worked in pet shop we had a big old macaw in cage and if no one took any notice of him he would shriek and swear but if some one went over to him he shut up and would not even talk. I think if a bird is feeling lonely they will talk, but also if they think they will get a reward they will talk. I hate the idea of getting my bird to jump through hoops for a rewards so l am not worried she does not talk my language, l would rather learn her language.
AJPeter

Sometimes when I'm on the phone and my bird gets too chirpy I can turn around and look and point at him and he's like "oh crap, he's looking" and shuts up.. the trick is I have to keep doing it, but for the time I'm on the phone it works. The whistle blowing reminds me of this.

I can see where people would disagree or argue the merits of the whistle but if it works, it works.

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

Re: how to stop the squawk

Post by Redzone » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:42 am

Hi Paul, I really really think you need to check out an article by Steve Martin ( http://www.naturalencounters.com/images ... Martin.pdf ), one section is on screaming and how to stop it/tone it down. Here is the section i'm referring to:

"Screaming
Some experts have expressed some pretty interesting views about why parrots scream and consequently some
pretty interesting ideas for solutions to the problem. One “behaviorist” blamed a painting of Abraham Lincoln
looking directly at the bird for its screaming problem. She said, “He was a good man but not a handsome man.”
She also scolded the owner of the bird for wearing a back T-shirt with paintings of parrots on it, which scared the
parrot into screaming because all the bird saw was dead parrots! These are fairly wild explanations for something
that, when you look at natural parrot behavior, is very easily understood.

Screaming is one of the most natural things a parrot does in the wild and, likewise, one of the most natural things a
parrot does in captivity. At sunup each morning the forests are alive with sounds of parrots claiming their territory
and expressing their well being with various contact calls and other vocalizations. In the wild, parrots scream as
a play behavior, to define territory, and to communicate many messages to other birds in their community. This
form of screaming is innate, driven by instincts, and is one of the reasons that parrots make such challenging pets
for many people. Unfortunately, it is difficult to eliminate instinctive behavior in any organism.
Screaming can easily become a learned behavior in a captive parrot. Behavior is a product of it’s consequence, and
if a parrot’s screaming brings its owner rushing into the room and showing the bird attention, it is very possible
the bird will soon learn to scream for attention.

So, how do you stop a parrot from screaming? That question is similar to how do you stop a dog from playing, or
how do you stop a child from laughing? However, parrots are more independent than both dogs and children and
are more difficult to control with negative interactions, which, unfortunately, are the most common approaches
used to modify behavior with both dogs and children. Few people realize the power of positive reinforcement
and usually resort to the less effective, but easier to use, negative approaches. Many people have tried covering
the cage of a screaming parrot or squirting the bird with a squirt bottle when it screams. These methods generally
produce only marginal results and rarely stop the screaming behavior.


If a parrot’s screaming behavior is learned, or, if the bird vocalizes for a desired response such as getting attention
or other positive reinforcers, it is possible that simply ignoring it may eliminate the screaming behavior. A
behavior that goes unreinforced will eventually extinguish itself. However, screaming in the form of contact calls
in the morning and evening is more hard-wired and is therefore more difficult to modify.

One skilled parrot trainer taught her Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva) to modify its morning and evening contact calls by ignoring the bird’s natural loud call and only responding to a soft whistle that the bird had previously learned from her. The owner went to the extent of freezing when the bird screamed so it could not even hear her moving in another room. When the bird finally made the soft whistle, the owner would whistle in response and the bird’s contact whistle was reinforced. Over time, the bird finally replaced its natural loud contact call with the much more acceptable soft whistle."

Post Reply