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Discipline/punishment. Just bad advice.

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

  1. Sharpie

    Sharpie Rollerblading along the road

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    I trained both my dogs to drop it using a high value treat. Noticed the 'trained' part of that sentence. Now that they know what 'drop it' means, they don't always get a cookie for it. On rare occasion they do though. This has resulted in my male practically throwing whatever he has in his mouth at me when I tell him to drop it. There is no hesitation or the "quick! swallow it really fast so the person can't take it away" that some dogs learn because he knows that if he listens to me, he wins. It's the same if Jasper has something I'd like back- I get something better that is okay and trade up. I don't have him trained to 'drop it' but I do tell him, to "hold on a sec" while I get a nut, and now he stops whatever it is he's doing when he hears me say that. Very useful and SAFE for us both. :)

    My male also came to me on the edge of becoming a fearful biter because someone thought he needed 'a firm hand' too. Unfortunately many people define 'a firm hand' with a fist, force, and fear. I won't say that GSDs can't be annoyingly clever and obstinate at times, but managing them is far more about winning the mental game and making them want to do what you want them to do than any sort of brawn.

    Wonderful post, and I very much agree. Just because dogs are more resistant to the negative effects of punishment than birds does not make it appropriate for them either! The best way to get the behavior you want out of any species (amazon, dog, human) is to set them up to succeed. Make doing the right thing so easy that it becomes habit.

    Thank you for this post, it's wonderful. And the body language thing is dead right. I can direct my dogs from across the room with a simple look and changing what direction my body is leaning, and we're not even pros! :) Birds are just as, of not even more observant and sensitive IMO. As I say, the thing that supposedly makes us people so great is our big brains, so let's use them to get what we want rather than muscles and force.
     
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  2. Red Jasper

    Red Jasper Sprinting down the street

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    Great post, John.

    I learned a great deal about the flock mentality of parrots from a book we probably all know and love called THE WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL. It is an incredibly insightful book on how parrots handle "difficult" flock-mates in the wild and how each parrot has a duty that they assume in the flock to feel productive and included. I love the observations of Mark Bittner in that book because they feel so genius and logical and yet they're so easily dismissed by some people that keep them as "pets" and still believe it's okay to punish.

    To me, punishment is different than discipline. Punishment is always bad. Punishment leaves emotional, psychological, physical scars. It is unacceptable, condemnable and an outright horrid display of humans forcing dominance over an innocent, pure creature due to their own ego and self-esteem problems.

    Discipline is teaching what is accepted and what is not through positive or firm response. You can tell that parrots discipline each other in the wild. There are many supporting books, videos and articles explaining this. Biting, despite what some people may think, is *not* a prevalent form of discipline in the wild flock. Birds discipline each other by pinning eyes, screaming at each other, displaying themselves with intimidation (spreading out their wings, fluffing feathers, squatting and jabbing with beak open toward target) and even flapping wings at each other to get the target to always do the same thing: go away/stop doing whatever they're doing.

    It takes a long time for some individuals to realize the huge difference between punishment and discipline -- it's usually the ones that do the punishing that just won't get it or are too afraid of failure and their own inadequacy to even try to change their way of thinking.

    For those of us with several animals within our flock, we can observe the way they often discipline each other. It is important to let this activity follow through but to be there if any serious scuffles tend to break out. We are the mediators and guardians and cannot allow any one of our babies to be hurt by another. We, as humans, are rational and do not need to punish or overly discipline any animal because we can restrain ourselves and use our minds to correct the situation (most often by removing the aggravant) or, of course as John wrote, reward a good situation positively. We don't need to exert our "power over the flock" because, truthfully, there is no contest anyway.

    I believe this post by John should be a huge wake-up call to those who still punish their animals by covering them up, hitting them, yelling at them, throwing them, scaring them into submission and other horrific things. I wish there was a "Best Post of the Month" award here because this one truly deserves it.
     
    Last edited: 11/25/10
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  3. CarmieJo

    CarmieJo Rollerblading along the road Avenue Veteran

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    This is a super thread and should be required reading.
     
  4. Bokkapooh

    Bokkapooh Ripping up the road Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Perfectly said!:highfive:
     
  5. CeddysMum

    CeddysMum Biking along the boulevard Celebirdy of the Month

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    Oh Gosh, there are so many great posts on this thread - I started out multi-quoting but I've given that up :p

    I never punish or discipline in the sense most people use the word - verbally or otherwise. What I did with my GSD and now just the same do with Ceddy is teaching the word No - not in a disciplining way but a slow, calm, low voiced "No" so they learn(ed) it means that I don't want them to do whatever it is and treat/praise as soon as they stop(ped) - immediately followed with a command for desired behaviour, e.g. "come here" to 'channel' them away from the undesired behaviour (does that make sense :confused:).

    After a while No became 'ingrained' with my GSD in any situation, making him stop whatever he was up to (I could even verbally control him that way if needed with a female in season around and he was an entire male - something even his vet was marvelling over) and Ceddy is learning it too quite well already.

    If Ceddy does something that could endanger her (like chewing paint or some such) and I can't get to her quickly, I *sometimes* use a quick "Uh Uh" kinda sound, which usually stops her in her tracks, then praise her for stopping while I go to remove her from that place, like someone said, usually followed by doing something with her that she enjoys.

    When it comes to screaming/biting, I guess I'm lucky that Ceddy has a quiet and gentle nature AND that I applied positive reinforcement teaching methods right from the start so we really haven't had any issues with either (except for the very occasional slight nip).

    If I would get a parrot with such issues I would still apply the same positive reinforcement rather than 'discipline' of any kind in order to modify that behaviour even if it means putting up with it for as long as it takes. IMHO it's the only way that will work long term and make both, bird and parront happy :hug8:
     
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  6. Shockie

    Shockie Walking the driveway

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    Thank you for pointing out the difference between punishment and discipline! I kept reading and thought, "surely someone will say it so I don't have to." :lol:

    Discipline is better described as routines, habits, etc. And punishment as, well, punishment. Prisons are for punishment, not discipline. If you work out regularly, you are disciplining your mind and body to make it healthier. Hehe, my two dogs have me disciplined and notified when they are hungry and ready to go to bed if I'm preoccupied with something else. :lol:

    I have a request.

    As a future bird owner, I am completely lost. There is lots of good information on this forum that is "peer reviewed", but oftentimes it's hard to know what to look for and where to find it as a newbie to the board and as a newbie bird parent.

    Would it be possible to put together a separate message board for newbie bird owners with posts to tip sheets that have been deemed good information by the avian avenue community or written by members themselves? Topics including safety (although the safety board is pretty easy to use and find topics), especially behavior, what is good and bad discipline methods, etc. After reading this thread, I saw that "jailing" a bird in a dark room is actually bad and I had read online that it was a commendable form of punishment. I was satisfied with this information when I read it a few months back, and so I did not pursue reading other venues of discipline because what I had read made sense. And now I'm reading otherwise. It makes for a lot of confusion and leaves me with a sense of not knowing where to start and what sources to trust. And, of course, if there is already a newbie care center, please direct to me to it and disregard this post. :hehe:
     
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  7. Carmenellie

    Carmenellie Sprinting down the street Avenue Veteran

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    The stickied threads are a great place to start, in each forum section very important advice for new members and bird owners is generally a sticky. That could help!
     
  8. Holiday

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

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    Yes, "discipline" is teaching someone to follow a set of rules or to engage in a set of lock-step behaviors. Making soldiers march in formation or kids say the "Pledge of Allegiance" is discipline. The issue comes in more with the connotation of the word in everyday usage--which is negative and evokes the use of aversives or punishment as a way of teaching what those rules are. For most people, "discipline" is a way of making a bird do what a human wants it to do and using negative methods to let the bird know what those things are. But, most of us here try to work with the bird's natural instincts as much as possible, offer choice as much as possible, and reward good behavior. Yes, in a way, it could be described as a sort of loose and positive "discipline," but I'd rather use "teaching" or just about any other word, since "discipline" in most people's minds usually involves a stricter set of parameters, a harsher set of consequences, and a more human-centered focus than what I mean when I use it. But, yeah, literally, when we teach a bird to go in its cage at night or fly to us when called, those are forms of discipline.
     
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  9. Shockie

    Shockie Walking the driveway

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    It is a help in each section, but there's simply so many that it's hard to figure out where to start, not to mention lots and lots of reading past replies that simply say, "good post, thanks for this!"... and you keep reading 100 posts down and find more good information in addition... it's just time consuming is all.

    If there were a refined single section for a good set of guidelines for newbies, it would just be that much easier. :)
     
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  10. JLcribber

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

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    Now that I look back the word discipline should not be in the title. Discipline as far as birds are concerned is setting "boundaries".

    But yes when most people hear the word discipline they associate it with punishment.
     
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  11. Bokkapooh

    Bokkapooh Ripping up the road Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Yeah in the true sense of discipline, its setting boundaries. But in the common language and understandings, the word "discipline" is followed by punishment. Thus I never tell anyone "Yes I discipline my birds" as that would contradict what I say about positive reinforcement:p:( So I say "setting boundaries" and "No discipline/no punishment".
     
  12. Holiday

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

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    Yes, I like "setting boundaries." :) That's a good phrase.
     
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  13. southernbirds

    southernbirds Rollerblading along the road

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    This is an excellent post because at this time of year too many people are buying birds, dogs, cats, ferrets, etc because they assign a "love" quotient to these animals. Their expectations are unreal because they want the immediate "wow" factor to occur. Patience is not their virtue and they expect the animal to meet their emotional needs. This unrealistic attitude has nothing to do with how uneducated or educated they are or how much money they have. I find that if a personal is dysfunctional, mean and emotionally bankrupt, their animals suffer as much as the people around them. Control is a big part of this behavior as is evidenced in most of these situations. Training and bonding are two different things. Each has to be done carefully to have a well-adjusted relationship with any living thing.
     
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  14. GiGi Bird

    GiGi Bird Sitting on the front steps

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    Well, i think my hawk head is just plain spoiled! When we are sitting on the couch, SHE should be snuggling with us. Or she screams. Yes, we did this to her. What can I say, I've been recovering from back surgery and probably over indulged the whole snuggle time thing. But what do I do now?? I can sometimes convert the screaming into singing, that will quiet her after several rounds of "Old MacDonald", but it doesn't always work.
    How do you "unspoil" a bird???
    Ps
    She's also been biting more than usual. Usually I know why, but sometimes I think she's just wanting to hurt me. Please advise!
     
  15. rikkitikki

    rikkitikki Biking along the boulevard Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Hi Lori! I know some basics about training, but I don't have a bird, soooo... Instead, I figured I'd send you over to this part of the forum: The Training Court - Avian Avenue Parrot Forum & Other Birds Message Board
    There you will find some training basics, and a good place to start a thread on that very topic if you don't get answers here right away :hug8: If you do a "search" (go up above and find "search" on the medium blue bar and type in a couple keywords), you might be able to find some threads that have info similar to what you're looking for. Good luck!
     
  16. lotus15

    lotus15 Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avenue Veteran

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    Perhaps it has to do with the upcoming breeding season? Lots of birdies become hormonal this time of year :o:
     
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  17. JLcribber

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

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    Very very slowly and sometimes painfully (ours of course) :D

    "You" must change the way you handle them and treat them and you must be "consistent" with the new way. Then you summon every inch of patience you have to put up with the bad behavior because like a "spoiled" child throwing a tantrum, it's going to get worse before it gets better and they realize the tantrum is not going to work and they finally give up and resign themselves to the new behavior/way of doing things.
     
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  18. ArthursMom

    ArthursMom Meeting neighbors

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    My birds only scream when the dog barks, in my opinion they are just joining in on the fun. If it gets really intense, i calmly start whispering to them, it usually works like a charm
     
  19. ArthursMom

    ArthursMom Meeting neighbors

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    Um, I hope you dont think all people punish their dogs, I have NEVER hit my dog or sprayed him with water or locked him in a dark room. I work with animals and find that kindness and respect are your best training aids
     
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  20. akijoy

    akijoy Rollerblading along the road Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Veteran

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    It's very interesting that Sam Mealy DOES respond to verbal discipline! When she doesn't want to be put in the cage, she sometimes pins her eyes at me and fills out her feathers, but I always say in a stern voice, "NO MA'AM!" and then she seems to shrink a bit, puts out her foot, and steps up to go easily into her cage.
    :hug8:
     

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