• Welcome to Avian Avenue! To view our forum with less advertisments please register with us.
    Memberships are free and it will just take a moment. Click here

Discipline/punishment. Just bad advice.

Sharpie

Rollerblading along the road
Joined
11/5/09
Messages
4,376
Location
Now TN
I think GSDs in particular need a very firm hand. Do you find your dog more intelligent than your bird or your bird more intelligent than your dog? I find my dog to be much more intelligent. I suppose there must be different ways to measure intelligence for dog and for birds...
I would be hesitant to divert attention with a treat. I don't do that with my dogs or my birds. My dog is trained to drop anything on command but I never taught him by offering him something else if he dropped what he had. I wanted him to know that when I say "Drop it" he should drop it no matter what. He is also trained not to touch chicken bones on the street, which is very useful.
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.


You dont. I recommend reading Barbara Heidenreich's Parrot Problem Solver to learn more. ANYONE who thinks any type of punishment is needed to work with a bird is WRONG, and needs to read that book ASAP.

Parrot Books | Parrot Training Books

You ignore the bad, or take them away from the situation(or take the situation away from the bird) that causes them to be naughty, and praise good behavior. With prey animals such as birds, they learn MUCH BETTER and faster when using positive reinforcement. Punishment does NOT work longterm and it barely works short term. Whether verbal or physical. The end result is usually a phobic bird, skittish bird, or a bird who is going to feel all its flight instinct to run from the scary punishment is gone and it'll go out on the offensive and it'll learn that in order for it to stop the evil human from being so cruel is to bite bite bite. Punishment, whether verbal or physical is a horrible way to train any animal especially a bird.

This is a huge reason why you see big aggressive parrots. They have been taught (although accidentally from ignorant humans) to bite to be on the offense when IT feels threatened. And typically a bird like this can be very unruly and "unpredictable" and hard to read.

Yelling or pointing fingers at them, giving mean looks, slapping and spankings, etc, does not work. All these things are human ways, and birds do not understand it. You cannot train a bird effectively when using punishment.
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.

Dogs do not need a "firm hand", they need a skilled and compassionate owner who will set good boundaries (which can absolutely be done with positive reinforcement), be smart about doling out resources and who is skilled in reading body language. I train dogs professionally and I can tell you that the owners who get in the most trouble are the ones who think that they "need to show the dog whose boss". GSD are extremely sensitive and very responsive to body language.

Dogs aren't "smarter" than birds and birds aren't "smarter" than dogs, it's just not that simple. Measuring intelligence is a really difficult thing to do because humans tend to measure everything against human intelligence. How can you say one is smarter than the other? It's like measuring intelligence of dogs breeds, you can't because they all excel at something.

Really good trainers set the animals up to get it right so that punishment and discipline isn't necessary. The only discipline required is of me to be patient and put together good training plans and not rush things. If a bird is a biter, than you avoid triggers that create bites and desensitize and counter condition the bird to the triggers that make it bite. Nearly all aggression is fear or frustration based, so if you deal with that fear or frustration the bird won't have to bite anymore. Pair that with reinforcing the heck out of the things you do want and the biting goes away. Learning the birds body language is really important too. Most birds (and dogs for that matter) give early subtle signs way before they bite but those signs go ignored and they are pushed to bite.
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.
 

Red Jasper

Sprinting down the street
Joined
8/15/10
Messages
455
Location
Hanover Park, IL
Real Name
Elizabeth
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:

CarmieJo

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Joined
10/17/09
Messages
1,660
Location
Raleigh, NC
Real Name
Carmie
This is a super thread and should be required reading.
 

Bokkapooh

Ripping up the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/18/09
Messages
25,460
Location
Pacific Northwest
Real Name
Mercedez
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.
Perfectly said!:highfive:
 

CeddysMum

Biking along the boulevard
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Joined
10/16/09
Messages
6,988
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Real Name
Astrid (formerly: 'featherbaby')
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:
 

Shockie

Walking the driveway
Joined
8/25/10
Messages
244
Real Name
Heather


To me, punishment is different than discipline. Punishment is always bad. Punishment leaves emotional, psychological, physical scars.

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:
 

Carmenellie

Sprinting down the street
Avenue Veteran
Joined
9/4/10
Messages
446
Location
Washington State
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!
 

Holiday

Mac Mama
Avenue Veteran
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/16/09
Messages
16,991
Location
Ohio
Discipline is teaching what is accepted and what is not through positive or firm response.
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.
 

Shockie

Walking the driveway
Joined
8/25/10
Messages
244
Real Name
Heather
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!
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. :)
 

JLcribber

@cockatoojohn
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Shutterbugs' Best
Avenue Concierge
Joined
10/16/09
Messages
21,271
Location
Alberta, Canada
Real Name
John
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.
 

Bokkapooh

Ripping up the road
Avenue Veteran
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/18/09
Messages
25,460
Location
Pacific Northwest
Real Name
Mercedez
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.
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".
 

Holiday

Mac Mama
Avenue Veteran
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
10/16/09
Messages
16,991
Location
Ohio
Yes, I like "setting boundaries." :) That's a good phrase.
 

southernbirds

Rollerblading along the road
Joined
11/8/09
Messages
2,777
Location
USA
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.
 

GiGi Bird

Sitting on the front steps
Joined
9/5/10
Messages
16
Location
Florida Keys
Real Name
Lori
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!
 

rikkitikki

Biking along the boulevard
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
8/10/10
Messages
5,515
Location
Papillion, NE
Real Name
Erika
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!
 

lotus15

Cruising the avenue
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Joined
3/23/10
Messages
11,517
Location
Bay Area
Real Name
Coco
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!
Perhaps it has to do with the upcoming breeding season? Lots of birdies become hormonal this time of year :o:
 

JLcribber

@cockatoojohn
Vendor
Avenue Veteran
Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
Shutterbugs' Best
Avenue Concierge
Joined
10/16/09
Messages
21,271
Location
Alberta, Canada
Real Name
John
How do you "unspoil" a bird???
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.
 

ArthursMom

Meeting neighbors
Joined
7/10/12
Messages
66
Location
NJ Shore
Real Name
Katie Black
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
 

ArthursMom

Meeting neighbors
Joined
7/10/12
Messages
66
Location
NJ Shore
Real Name
Katie Black
great post John, I 100% agree with everything you've said and although I've never owned dogs, I've seen far to many people treat birds like "pretty talking dogs" :mad:
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
 

akijoy

Rollerblading along the road
Avenue Veteran
Mayor of the Avenue
Joined
10/17/09
Messages
3,336
Location
Atlanta area
Real Name
Monica
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:
 
Top