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Conure developing biting behavior

mangobird

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Sam
Hi everyone. I've had my jenday conure Kahlo for about a month now :) He's always been a bit on the timid side, but recently, anytime I put out my finger and ask him to step up, he bites like bloody hell and leaves holes all over my finger :shifty: He always seems to get aggressive when I try to take him off of somewhere where he enjoys, such as my shoulder, his cage, or his playstand. I am extremely confused if I'm doing something wrong, considering he didn't have an issue until recently. Is there any advice as to how I could fix this issue?
 

Lady Jane

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When a bird is biting it may be frightened, guarding its territory or trying to control the owner. How are you handling the biting? What do you do right after the bite?

Birds have very subtle body language before they bite.

 

mangobird

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Sam
When a bird is biting it may be frightened, guarding its territory or trying to control the owner. How are you handling the biting? What do you do right after the bite?

Birds have very subtle body language before they bite.

I’m not sure exactly why he’s biting, I’m sure there’s something I’m missing and I don’t know what it is. When he bites, I try my best to stay quiet and calm. Usually I’ll pull my hand away and leave him be for a few minutes, but sometimes when I have to move him, I’ll keep trying until he steps up.
 

Tazlima

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There's your problem. He's saying no and you're insisting. That won't result in compliance; it will just teach him to say no more forcefully by biting. Instead of insisting he do something he doesn't want to do, wait for a yes (barring emergency situations, obviously). My grey frequently says no in two situations... coming out of her sleep cage when she wants to sleep in a bit longer, and coming out of the bathroom after a shower. I have two ways to get a yes. One is to wait. When she's ready to come out, she'll call me (literally- she imitates a phone ringing, which she learned at some point was a reliable way to get a human to enter the room). That, or I make her want to say yes by making the prospect of coming out more attractive - usually by offering a treat to lure her out.

Some days, I swear she says no just to test and see if I'll respect her wishes. I'll be like, "okay, I'll come back later", and as soon as I start to walk away, she's suddenly ready to cooperate. Other times, she's just happy where she is. She's spent a couple nights in the bathroom. I figure if she's happy and not hurting anything, why not?

Training parrots is paradoxical...The more you respect their desire to back away, the less they'll feel the need to do so.
 

JLcribber

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Well the first thing that jumps out is that you've had this bird one month. Just a speck of time to a bird. You have not "earned" this birds trust or respect yet and will not for some time to come. That's only if you stop "insisting" on behaviours as Tazlima said. Things need to be the birds choice. If the bird isn't making the right choice then you are not offering a juicy enough "reward" to get that choice. There's got to be something in it for the bird. Everytime.

If you keenly watch/study your bird you will begin to read/understand your birds body language. They speak very clearly once you learn the language.
 

mangobird

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There's your problem. He's saying no and you're insisting. That won't result in compliance; it will just teach him to say no more forcefully by biting. Instead of insisting he do something he doesn't want to do, wait for a yes (barring emergency situations, obviously). My grey frequently says no in two situations... coming out of her sleep cage when she wants to sleep in a bit longer, and coming out of the bathroom after a shower. I have two ways to get a yes. One is to wait. When she's ready to come out, she'll call me (literally- she imitates a phone ringing, which she learned at some point was a reliable way to get a human to enter the room). That, or I make her want to say yes by making the prospect of coming out more attractive - usually by offering a treat to lure her out.

Some days, I swear she says no just to test and see if I'll respect her wishes. I'll be like, "okay, I'll come back later", and as soon as I start to walk away, she's suddenly ready to cooperate. Other times, she's just happy where she is. She's spent a couple nights in the bathroom. I figure if she's happy and not hurting anything, why not?

Training parrots is paradoxical...The more you respect their desire to back away, the less they'll feel the need to do so.
Thank you for this!!! That was really helpful! I feel so bad knowing I was the thing that pushed him to bite :(
 

mangobird

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Well the first thing that jumps out is that you've had this bird one month. Just a speck of time to a bird. You have not "earned" this birds trust or respect yet and will not for some time to come. That's only if you stop "insisting" on behaviours as Tazlima said. Things need to be the birds choice. If the bird isn't making the right choice then you are not offering a juicy enough "reward" to get that choice. There's got to be something in it for the bird. Everytime.

If you keenly watch/study your bird you will begin to read/understand your birds body language. They speak very clearly once you learn the language.
Thank you for your advice, I’m absolutely going to change the way I go about things. I guess I didn’t realize that I was making such an obvious mistake. I’m glad I know now and I can fix the way I do things.
 

Karenza

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Thank you for your advice, I’m absolutely going to change the way I go about things. I guess I didn’t realize that I was making such an obvious mistake. I’m glad I know now and I can fix the way I do things.
I feel the same way you do. That is the reason I joined this forum is so that I would know how to train my bird properly. The breeder I got my conure from told me basically to just force myself on him and make him do what I want him to do. I did not agree with that advice which is why I joined this forum. I've only had my conure for about 2 weeks and he has been biting me and turns out it's because I'm asking him to do things he just does not want to do. So I too am going to do the same thing you are going to be doing and just back off. And just let him come to me when he wants to. Mine bites me when I try to get him off my head and ask him to step up from an area he is comfortable in. I need to duck when he comes for my head and remove the unsafe item in my home he likes to perch on. That was the advice I got on here and it too makes perfect sense!
 

Sharonitaw

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I definitely agree with the advice above.

I've had my GC conure for about 8 months now. He was a rescue, so he's come with his own peculiarities. One of them is that he doesn't step up for most people. He steps up on phones and sticks fine for most people but will bite hands of those that he has not "chosen". He wouldn't step up for me for a week or two despite quite a bit of training (and regularly watching a training video with the same species), then one evening he flew up, landed on my shoulder, and moved himself down to my hand. Since then he has been amazing at stepping up for me.

About a month ago he started refusing to step up for me and biting if I persisted. I started regularly asking him to step up and leaving him alone if he moved away.
If I was leaving the room I would ask "step up, bye bye, step up" that way he knew I needed him to do so and if he refused I would leave him (he doesn't like being alone/without me). Making a "priority" step up command really helped because he clued in pretty fast that it was important.
Since doing that, he has been much more responsive in general. I think it's both because there is now a stronger background of respecting his wishes and communicating when I really need him to do something.

Good luck! I hope you are able to figure out what works best for you and your bird.
 

Sharonitaw

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Oh! And check which hand you are using when your bird does step up! Mine will step up on both, but prefers my left.
 
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