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Help! Training a cockatiel to trust me

Outstrech

Walking the driveway
Joined
12/31/20
Messages
208
Real Name
Erica
Hello. I am the proud owner of Sunflower (or sunny) my gray cockatiel. He's 7 months old, and I've had him for maybe 5-ish months? He LOVES millet and he'll take it (if I break off the little pieces) from my hand, as well as this treat stick! He doesn't like the target stick, he occasionally hops out of his cage onto a table (there's a dowel extending from the inside of his cage to the door, so he can jump out and go onto a mini-table thing with treats) and I'm scared he'll be scared to step up. He seems to hate the training dowel more than my hand, so I think I might just want him to step onto my hand. He also doesn't play with toys or eat veggies. He's on a pellet diet right now. How can I bond with him to get him to trust me? I was considering toweling him and letting him chill on my shoulder, though I think that might just scare him even more. Thanks for any help!!
 

Tazlima

Sprinting down the street
Joined
3/7/19
Messages
445
Don't towel him or force him into anything. If he moves away or shows discomfort, back off and give him space. There's no magic technique that will make a bird trust you; that's something you earn over time by letting them set the pace.

I find it can be helpful to think of "taming" in terms of consent. If you're on a date and want the person to like you, do you ignore what they want and just start kissing them against their will? Of course not. That will make them like you LESS.

Just be that cool person hanging around. You can ask for a step up, but if they say no, back off and give them space. You can always ask again later, with treats ready to reward them if they do as you ask. Trust will come in time.

Sometimes you have no choice but to towel them, for medical exams and stuff. But that should be reserved for necessities and emergencies. You're bird is just a baby and could easily live 20-30 years. There's no rush.
 

Outstrech

Walking the driveway
Joined
12/31/20
Messages
208
Real Name
Erica
Thank you for the thought-out reply! I will try the things you reccommended!! :D
 
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