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ringneck biting

Discussion in 'Ringneck and other Keet Street' started by elaine kent, 5/19/18.

  1. elaine kent

    elaine kent Sitting on the front steps

    Real Name:
    elaine kent
    Hi guys, I've had my ringneck almost 12 months and I could use some advice on how to stop him biting. He will step up but sometimes runs down the stick and bites me, I don't react or anything And I usually keep going till he does what I want cos I don't want him thinking he's the boss, but I don't want to annoy him. I,m not scared of the bites and never back off. I know it's hormone season and he's worse than usual and that will pass but some tips for later on would be most welcome. He's Cheeky by name and definitely by nature and I just love him to bits. He is out of his cage all day cos I'm always at home and I do put him back in when he bites for about 15 mins and ignore him after I've told him no that's naughty but maybe that's the wrong thing to do. Thanks in advance guys.
  2. Shinobi

    Shinobi Jogging around the block

    There are people who believe that their birds should be free to be a bird. However, it's not about if the birds behaviour is a discomfort, good, bad or wrong and must be corrected. It's about teaching your bird, acceptable behaviours within the flock, just has the bird’s parents would have done in the wild. The parents would have disciplined their young if they were displaying unacceptable behaviour. Biting hard is an unacceptable behaviour.

    There have been observations that some breeds of parrots assemble their offspring in the same tree on which they establish a sort of kindergarten to teach the social niceties of being a Flock member. It seems that this Social etiquette teaching class was observed in African Greys, budgerigars and Galahs. This led to concluded that early bonds between birds are very important for their social development.

    The behaviour information is woefully incomplete on Parrots in the wild, most behaviour information is based on captive birds. It’s known that some species of bird stay together as a family unit for as long as two years. During this time, the parents and their flock members, educate the young with essential survival skills. Then, the adolescent bird has learnt and develop the required survival skills to become independent of the protection of its parents and to take up its place in the flock.

    Also the development of the juvenile bird’s normal social behaviour seems to go beyond their nesting period and involves many components that must be learned by interaction and the observation of other individuals in the flock. Not all flocks are of the feathered kind, some have feathers, fur and skin. Sometimes all in the one flock

    Biting is not a natural conflicts resolutions or communications in birds. Instead they are handled with body language and vocalizations. They convey their feelings beforehand or will fly off to avoid physical contact. If needed, the beak is protection against predators such as snakes and raptors or if it feels cornered and frighten then the need to bite will be from the natural instinct of self -preservation. But not against others in their own flock. In their natural environments, competition and/ or conflict between parrots rarely escalates to physical violence. Instead, they vocalize (scream) and/or use body language by strutting, posturing, and fluffing feathers to make themselves look bigger. Beaks are used for climbing, eating, playing (wrestling) and preening... not for biting another flock member.

    Don't use the earthquake method. (Shake your hand when the bird goes to bite). When your bird is on your hand don't shake your hands to unbalance the bird has this will cause trust issues between your hand and the bird. This person told me the idea is to make your hands a safe and trusted place for your birds and if you shake your hand to unbalance the bird then the bird will come to see your hand as unsafe and will learn to distrust your hands. If your bird views your hand has unsafe and distrusts your hand, it will more likely bite the hand, then fly away. The use of gloves can also cause problems further down the line. It would probably be better to find out what is triggering the bite and there are many different types of triggers. Watch the eyes. If they pin, pull your hand away.

    Just keep in mind that patience is key. Never mistreatment a bird who bites. Birds remember mistreatment, and they hold grudges. Any interaction you have with your bird should be bonding and trust-building. Parrots and other animals learn best when wanted behaviour is rewarded right as it occurs and BAD behaviour is not. (It’s that simple).

    I tolerate the bite, which can be really hard at times. Under NO circumstances should you yell while been bitten. Instead say No biting or naughty bird in a firm, displeased voice and give the bird a very dirty look. Show the bird your displeasure by giving it a REALLY DIRTY LOOK ("The Evil Eye"). Serious -- you have to look at it as if it were the lowest of the low, or pond scum, or something you might find stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Parrots are extremely empathetic creatures who watch our facial expressions closely. He will understand your displeasure if you give him a tremendously dirty look. The bird will understand that you are unhappy and will try very hard not to do it again. I don’t put my birds back in the cage has I feel this makes for resentment. Instead I put the bird back on its stand and scold it.

    For the record, in the two and half years that we had Marlin, our Alexandrine Parakeet I was bitten hard once. I put him on the stand and scolded him and after that he never bit anyone else. This happened when he was around 7 months old. Henry our male Eclectus did the same and I also put him on the bird stand and scolded him and he hasn’t bitten my wife or me since. But he still gives strangers a nip if they FORCE themselves onto him. I tell people to give him a sunflower seed and let him come to you.

    If you make a show out of being bitten, then the bird can find it quite entertaining and can be encouraged to bite. This is called learnt bad behaviour.
    So the parrot will nip again, because the human inadvertently rewarded it for nipping, by yelling. Sooner or later, the experimental nips will actually cause damage to the human (emotionally as well as physically), and the human's response becomes yelling, something to the effect of "YOU BAD BIRD, YOUR MOMMY (or DADDY) LOVES YOU, HOW COULD YOU BITE YOUR MOMMY (or DADDY)??!??!! The bird doesn't understand what's happening here, of course..... It thinks this is a wonderful new game. You know, bite a finger and your person makes lots of LOUD and WONDERFUL noises.... Bite hard enough and your person will also jump around... Bonus points…… This becomes learnt bad behaviour and they will actively hunt out skin to play this wonderful game of entertainment.

    Do not leave the room. The bird may have bitten you to go away. So you leaving the room is what the bird wants. Therefore, you are teaching the bird that by biting, you will leave. This is learnt bad behaviour

    You can use a Toy/treat as a distraction, But it's just that 'a distraction'. It's not really teaching the bird acceptable behaviours. What you're really teaching the bird, is that by biting, it gets a toy/treat. Again, learnt bad behaviour.

    Contrary to human beliefs, parrots think yelling is a fantastic and fun response and it will actually reinforce a behaviour. Parrots really enjoy it when humans yell at them. Parrots often scream simply for the fun of it so it is a fallacy to think they perceive that yelling is a reprimand. On the contrary, they generally interpret yelling as positive feed-back. This is what called The Drama Reward.

    Birds use their beaks like a third hand and they will use this "third hand to help them onto your hand when you are start the training of step up. This is because the bird is unsure how stable your hand is so they test your hands stability with their third hand before stepping up.

    This scenario happens when an inexperienced owner is not clear in their signals to the parrot. For example, when offering a hand for the bird to step up, an inexperienced owner often isn't quite sure of him/herself... so their hand motion is uncertain. The bird may wish very much to climb on, but is unsure of the stability of the hand will reaches with its beak (The beak functions as a third hand) to steady the human hand. The human, afraid of that beak, pulls their hand away. Now the bird is confused!

    Now each time the human's hand is offered, and the bird attempts to grab the hand with its beak to hold it steady so it can climb on. The human jerks their hand away. The bird has no idea what has happened but if the scene is repeated (as it usually is), the bird will learn that it's beak will make the hand go away. The bird doesn't really want the hand to go away, but it is fun to control one's human's hand so the behaviour will happen again and a-gain. Once again, the parrot has no idea it has done anything wrong.

    If you can't handle the bird with bare hands at this time, use a T perch to move the bird around.

    Dominance / Bossy; Parrots don't do dominance or think they are the "boss".
    I believe it’s referred to as ‘dominance theory’. It is a theory that is commonly used to train dogs. I believe it’s called pack leader” training. The dog’s human family essentially takes on the role of the pack leader, because there is a hierarchy in a wild dog pack. So, you need to be the alpha dog to have control of your dog, Therefore, the training is done accordingly. This is animal behavioural theory that I would never apply to a bird.

    I have trouble applying that theory to a flock. I believe that the reason why some birds perch higher, is to lookout for predators from above such as birds of prey. While the birds on the lower branches lookout for predators from below like snakes. While observing large flocks of Corellas feeding on grasslands together and I noticed the birds take turns in feeding and looking out for predators. The entire flock gets to eat because the role of lookout is rotated throughout the flock. There is no alpha pair Because if there was, they would have to constantly fight to maintain their hierarchy status. Imagine a flock of two hundred plus birds. The alpha pair just wouldn’t be able to physically fight two hundred plus birds just to be boss. Birds aren’t that stupid. The stature of the flock is fairly level. Therefore, flocks succeed in the wild.

    Bird behavioural theory and dog behavioural theory are different for a reason. Sometimes behaviours produced by roles within the structure of a bird flock could be interpreted as dominant. Such has adult and juvenile relationships, otherwise puberty vs maturity. Also, mating relationships which can be bonded or competitive. Because a bird appears to have an advantage from these behaviours doesn’t mean they are dominant. Just because humans classified the role behaviours as dominant. The bossy bird maybe a lookout, a juvenile going through puberty or a bird in mating. This doesn’t mean that they think they’re the alpha birds.

    Target Training; clicker training achieves better cognitive connections results.

    The clicker is the bridge between you and your bird and you use that bridge to highlight the bird’s desired behaviour to your bird. Training treats are not the bridge, they are the reward at the end of the bridge and patience is the time taken to go over the bridge.

    To teach targeting, the bird must first be clicker trained, this means that the birds understands that a click equals reward, the reward can be praise or a food item

    Then you need to decide what to use for the target, I use a chop stick and it can’t be a hand-held perch that the birds step up onto. The chop stick must only be used for training sessions and not for play outside the training sessions, otherwise they lose their meaning.

    Use T-stand to confine the bird to the area which helps it to concentrate on the chop stick. Start by holding the chop stick near the bird and Click and reward for any movement toward the chop stick. Then withhold the reward until the bird touches the chop stick, Click and reward.

    Teach him to touch it with a gentle grip of the beak as birds have a tendency to open their beak to touch it. If you have a bird that is very aggressive and wants to grab the chop stick out of your hand, then you will need to hold onto the chop stick and not let him pull it out of your hand.

    The first time he does a gentle grab Click and reward with extra treats and praise. This is an “recognition moment ". He should soon get the idea of the gentle grip. Once he understands that, only Click and reward for gentle grip touches.

    Once the bird is reliably touching the chop stick from the perch, by having him move up, down, right and left, we can then move the bird to the table top training area. If the bird seems nervous at first, go ahead and move the chop stick close to him to begin with. Then start moving it back a little at a time, and Click and reward for each gentle grip touch. Soon you should have him following the chop stick anywhere on the training area. This usually only takes two or three short sessions to train, but don't be discouraged if it takes longer.

    The benefits of teaching a bird to target with a gentle grip, is that grabbing something with his beak is natural for him.

    If your bird is cage bound, then start target training in the cage. This may have to take more time, but no need to rush things. Empty the food bowl and then when you Click and reward, you simply drop the treats into the food bowl. When you are finished with your training session. refill the food bowl.

    Once a cage bound or aggressive bird has learned to target, you can start teaching him to step up using the target. Just don't use your arm first to step up on if there is any chance of being bitten. In training, we ALWAYS aim to avoid bites. Use a hand-held T- perch for the bird to step up on. You can either hold the clicker on the target stick and the perch with the other hand or use a mouth click. Hold the target where he will have to step onto the perch to reach the target. Take your time and don't worry if you must back up. We don't want to frighten the bird. When the bird becomes better at stepping up, you can then teach behaviours away from the cage.

    Targeting is just one of the tools we use in training. The important things to keep in mind about this behaviour are:

    The basic idea of targeting is to have the bird follow an object to touch it.

    Once he has the idea of the gentle grip only reward him for that.

    Always Click and reward for every gentle grip of the target.

    Use “recognition moment " to help keep up his interest.

    Try and end sessions on a positive note.

    Have fun, keep training simple and never train if you are in a bad mood.

    Once a bird has learned a behaviour, he won't forget it.

    Happy training.

    Last edited: 5/19/18
    Attycakes likes this.
  3. Garet

    Garet Rollerblading along the road

    Montreal, Quebec
    Real Name:
    There's your problem. You need to respect his boundaries. Having a bird is not about being the boss, it's about mutual respect. Stop forcing your bird to step up unless there's an emergency and start listening to his body language. By ignoring his warnings, you're teaching him that you're a predator and warnings won't work to keep you at bay. He's going to stop giving you warnings (if he even bothers trying anymore) and start going straight for the bite.

    You're the one being naughty here, not your bird.
  4. elaine kent

    elaine kent Sitting on the front steps

    Real Name:
    elaine kent
    Thank so much for the advice, it has been so useful. I'm trying not to be naughty and am really studying Cheeky's reactions to everything I do. I hope it's not too late for me to become a better more responsible owner.
    Attycakes and finchly like this.
  5. finchly

    finchly Biking along the boulevard Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Vendor

    SW Florida
    Real Name:
    Of course it isn't! You'll do better and better. Just keep asking questions, there's lots of folks here that can help.

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