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Discipline/punishment. Just bad advice.

Discussion in 'Behavior Byway' started by JLcribber, 11/23/10.

  1. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    I need to vent.

    Someone posted about trying an "alternative" method of getting a bird to stop screaming. It's outdated and just wrong. I'm not going to start a fire on that thread so I'll just vent here.

    A Birds natural response to stimulus that scares them, is something they don't like or makes them nervous is to scream to let the rest of their flock know that there is something there that will harm them. To quash a bird using any form of punishment is just wrong. A Bird is not something that should be trained in this way where their natural instincts are taken away from them and they are made to feel scared of doing something natural. It scares me that anyone thinks that it is ok to spray a bird and or use darkness to "punish" the bird, regardless of how much praise/reward/comfort is given afterwords.

    I liken this "punishment" to an abusive human situation. If a guy hits a woman that they are in a relationship with, but later makes it up to them with roses, a nice romantic dinner and apologies does not make it right regardless of the stuff that happens afterwords.

    All anyone is going to do by disciplining that way is end up with a nervous twitchy untrusting bird that will eventually pluck/mutilate and become overwhelmingly depressed..

    The same principles that work to hold a behavior if the reward is good are in play in a punishment situation. Punishment works for the "person" so they repeat it. What they don't see is that it does not work for the animal because the animal still does not know what to do, only what not to do in that moment. The side effects are increased anxiety and increased aggression. Down the road when the bird bites, the person will probably not have any idea why. They will just say that the bird has changed or become hormonal or any number of attempts to blame the bird without realizing how they directly limited the bird's ability to respond to a situation in a behavioral healthy and appropriate way.

    When you don't like something what do you do? Do you cry, sulk, get loud, get quiet? You do something that is behaviorally significant in response to how you feel. Birds are no different but people don't ask themselves why. It is easier to punish than to teach. It is easier to do the thing which works the fastest and allows us to release our negative feelings. It seems to work in the moment and we don't connect the dots down the road when a host of side effects present themselves.

    It's also used as an acceptable training method for dogs (although there are better ways to do that now too) and following the old-fashioned advice that was predominant among parrot owners for years made up by the same uninformed people who came up with clipping "for the birds safety" or putting a bird in a darkened and/or unfamiliar room to subdue aggression or the totally false height dominance crap and the "parrots can eat the same food as people". Dogs are animals that have been domesticated for over 15,000 years, belong to a hierarchical society that is genetically predisposed to accept authority and obey interaction rules, which have been bred for thousands of generations to establish traits that reinforce their desire to please us. Parrots are not like that.

    It's a matter of love. If you really love birds, you will accept them as they are and will not try to change them into something they are not. The right info is all over the place and anybody who has the slightest interest in learning has all the material at their fingertips and if they don't it's because they don't want to.

    This will probably fall on deaf ears to those who still live in the stone age but I needed to get it off my chest.
     
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  2. jmfleish

    jmfleish Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Premium Vendor Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    I think it's great info John, but I do want to point out that birds will scream for reasons other than being scared. My D2, Reggie, screams just because that's what he does. I think that at this point in his life, that's the way he communicates. There are lots of reasons for screaming...LOTS!:) None of them punishable by water or darkness though...those types of behavior modifications will either break the bird, break you, or make the problem worse.
     
  3. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    Yes I have a couple that also scream just for the love of it.
     
  4. Holiday

    Holiday Mac Mama Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    John, I agree with you. There's one other thing too, just as a pragmatic consideration. Punishment and aversives almost always have negative side effects as forms of training--the bird will begin to associate the negativity with the owner. Positive reinforcement works much better and has no such side effects--the bird will associate positive things with the owner. IMO, if a person punishes a bird, it's because they are 1) ignorant 2) lazy or 3) cruel. It's a little more work at first to train with positive reinforcement, but you get much better long term results. Therefore, logically, if you use another method, it's because you don't know any better, you don't want to put forth the effort up-front, or you just kind of enjoy "inflicting." Just MO.
     
  5. Sharpie

    Sharpie Rollerblading along the road

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    "I liken this "punishment" to an abusive human situation. If a guy hits a woman that they are in a relationship with, but later makes it up to them with roses, a nice romantic dinner and apologies does not make it right regardless of the stuff that happens afterwards."

    Agreed. If it's something that would not be okay to do to your significant human other or children, you really should think twice before assuming it's appropriate to use with other animals. There are (MUCH) better ways. For example, I could yell/hit/punish/put in time out my dogs for wrestling in the house when I get home, or Jasper for yelling, OR I could recognize that in both cases, it's a means of relieving pent up energy and go out and play with the dogs or take Jasper for some flapping, which are 'allowed' outlets that results in quiet, happy critters rather than fearful anxious stressed out critters.
     
  6. BraveheartDogs

    BraveheartDogs Cruising the avenue Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    This is a great post John and I agree with most of it (you didn't think it would be that easy did you)?

    Dogs are not bred to "please us" although many are bred to work cooperatively with humans. Just like all animals they work on the same learning theory, they repeat behaviors that are reinforcing to them. I don't disillusion myself by thinking that my dogs are doing things to "please me", but I do realize that when I am pleased, good things happen for dogs. When I am pleased treats are handed out, walks are taken, tennis balls are thrown and access to good places is granted.

    It's interesting that you wrote this today because I just wrote a lengthy email to a woman who was just given horrible advice about a dog that is having issues in her home. She was told to use a squirt bottle or shaker can for aggression, rather than actually dealing with the dogs anxiety about the triggers. Dogs are still suffering from outdated information that was proven wrong a long time ago.

    I don't understand why people get animals like birds or dogs when they aren't prepared to deal with them. Don't you think I would love to have a beautiful macaw or cockatoo? Of course I would, it would be amazing, but it's my responsibility to have animals that I can properly provide for and can deal with, in all aspects, the good and bad. I can't tell you how many people I meet who complain about their beagles who sniff the ground (yeah, that's what beagles do), or their dobermans who guard the house (yeah, that's what dobermans do), or their border collies who are super active (yeah, that's what border collies are). It is beyond frustrating. I am right there with you.

    That being said, I want to share something with you so that you know that you are heard. A long time ago, probably at least a year ago you and I had a "discussion" that felt more like an argument about modifying behavior. You thought that the person should just remove the antecedent. I thought that the person should modify the behavior and believed and still believe that it could have been done. That discussion has changed me in that I spend a lot more time now thinking about how I could change the antecedent or simply remove it rather than trying to modify behavior I don't like. It wasn't exactly an a-ha moment but it has made me always look at that as a possible first line of defense with a behavior issue. I mean, I train professionally, so I always had to look at it somewhat, and it's hard not to be gung ho about modifying behavior, but I have realized that it makes sense to look at that first and see if we can simply remove what is causing the behavior rather than changing something that we may have inadvertantly built ourselves. Thank you for that and for your great posts. Sometimes you say what I would like to, but don't because I don't want to "cause any waves". You are a good guy.
     
  7. ortegah

    ortegah Biking along the boulevard

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    Raylan screams when the other birds make noise, he screams when he thinks we shouldn't be sleeping in, when he thinks it's time to go to sleep, when someone walks down the street, when he's playing. Honestly I don't think he's actually ever screamed when he's scared though. That might be the only time he doesn't scream :lol:
     
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  8. JLcribber

    JLcribber Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran Shutterbugs' Best

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    I remember that conversation Vicki. All your points were very valid and I agree the behavior could have been modified given enough time and effort but it was just so much easier to just remove the antecedent "in that case". Not always possible of course so then we do have to do it the hard way. I hate hard work and avoid it whenever possible but I can do it if I have to. :D

    I only brought up dogs because the majority of people seem to lump dogs and birds (all other animals for that matter) in the same category because "everybody" seems to have a dog and thinks if it worked for the dog, it should work for birds. Wherein aversion doesn't work for any animal, including us.
     
  9. Welshanne

    Welshanne Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avian Angel

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    I could cry at this still happening to any dumb animal, such sensless behaviour.
    Even if you do not know how to look after a bird, you would not be cruel to it just to get the reaction you wanted would you? Not if you have any feelings for that bird.
    When are us humans all going to realise that the world is here for All of us not just them!:(
     
  10. Jeddy

    Jeddy Rollerblading along the road Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Veteran

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    Fantastic post John. Thank you very much for posting it.
     
  11. HungryBird

    HungryBird Rollerblading along the road

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    I agree with this. There are plenty of ways to express displeasure that aren't cruel. If Squeaky is being a pain and I call out his name and tell him to stop he will usually stop. When I tell him not to go over to a certain spot he usually listens. If he doesn't I just stand up and then he scurries away because he knows he wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. It's very useful for teaching him not to chew on certain things or explore a certain area. That being said, the moment I turn my back he will probably do it again. Just because he understands doesn't mean he agrees!

    If telling them to stop doesn't work, and it always has for me, you can just use your hand to block access to a spot or to carry the bird elsewhere. I really think that if my cockatiel whose brain is the size of a M&M can figure this out then most other birds should too.

    Dogs and birds are totally different by the way. I prefer very independent dogs that are loners and not overly social. My dog is very independent while still managing to be glued to my side at all times. I love him very much and discipline him very differently than I do the birds. Dogs are also much tougher, you can push a dog down who is jumping on you without causing any damage but pushing a bird would be a really bad idea. My dog understands much more of what I say than my birds do but he is very intelligent and he also tries very hard to learn English! A vet tech told me she was so shocked that when she spoke to him as if he were human he listened and obeyed her. I always speak to him like he was a person and sometimes I forget that some people aren't used to that. I'm sure you all speak to your pets as if they were human too!
     
  12. samccormack

    samccormack Jogging around the block Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Veteran

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    Birds make noise, it's what they do. As a programmer would say it's a feature not a bug. :)
     
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  13. BraveheartDogs

    BraveheartDogs Cruising the avenue Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    So excellent:)
     
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  14. BraveheartDogs

    BraveheartDogs Cruising the avenue Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    Absolutely! I wouldn't use aversives to try and change a person's behavior, so why on earth would I use it with animals? It is so possible to do without aversives, pain and intimidation.
     
  15. Anne & Gang

    Anne & Gang Riding the Skies Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avian Angel

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    John I was just waiting for someone to post what you have posted...bless you bless you
     
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  16. Bokkapooh

    Bokkapooh Ripping up the road Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    John another GREAT post. Your the best. And THANK YOU for bringing this up. Its been eating me up after reading the recent thread that brought about this discussion, and you just hit the nail on the head.:hug8::highfive:
     
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  17. Brigidt36

    Brigidt36 Biking along the boulevard Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    Great post John. Thanks for taking the bull by the horn and spreading this important message.
     
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  18. Fuzzy

    Fuzzy Rollerblading along the road Avenue Veteran

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    Yaaaaay John!
     
  19. Big.Green.Chicken

    Big.Green.Chicken Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award

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    I think this is a great post John. I hope it is seen by everyone who visits the forum to learn about birds and their behavior.

    Unfortunately library shelves are full of books on bird training that contain bad advice. I am so happy you were here to give me good advice when I needed it. Your posts are always so informative and helpful. Thank you John:hug8:
     
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  20. Deejo

    Deejo Biking along the boulevard Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Fantastic post John.
    It deserves to be a "sticky" so new members can read it.
    Thank you; I'm sure your thoughts on this topic echo most everyones'.

     

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