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Helping Taco through his fear of water

hrafn

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Much unlike the macaws I see in videos who go absolutely nuts for a shower, Taco has a fear of water unlike anything I've ever seen. No attempts I've tried (spray bottle, reptile mister, shower, shallow bowl, hose, all temperatures) have been successful, as everything outside of his water dish is absolutely nightmare-inducing.

I'm pretty much positive that water was used as a punishment for Taco in his former home; when I went to get him, his old owner picked up a large spray bottle from beside his cage to move it out of the way, and Taco immediately went on the offensive, striking at the bars and screaming bloody murder.

After an ordeal like that I can't blame him for being terrified, but since he's a macaw he tends to look pretty scruffy if he doesn't have a shower at least weekly. I don't want to cause him undue stress, but I want him to be healthy and clean.

Has anyone else had to help their bird through aquaphobia? Any more ideas on how I can gently coax him into (at the very least) accepting the occasional bath?

I love my poor giant chicken.
 

rocky'smom

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Rocky was the same way, but much smaller bird. We worked through it though. Try this put your swim suit on. Spray yourself, make party about it, laugh, sing, bring joy into it. Let him join you in his own time and way. You may have to do this several times. But it worked with Rocky.
 

Shezbug

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I find Burt is more interested in trying the water out when he sees me in it having a good time. He is much happier to have a shower if I have one at the same time, he will shower on his own but there is a big difference in his enthusiasm when I am in the water.
 

faislaq

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Spray yourself, make party about it, laugh, sing, bring joy into it. Let him join you in his own time and way. You may have to do this several times.
We were told that Buzzard didn't like misting with a spray bottle at first but that he would usually warm up to it if we could make it exciting.

We installed a screw-in shower rod over our garden tub, vet wrapped it & hung a couple toys from it to get him used to stepping up there. I show him his spray bottle (get one that looks totally different than what Taco was used to) and ask if wants a shower, saying the word like it's the funnest thing in the world. I stand at one end of the rod and mist straight up in the air & say all of his favorite words and noises and dance around as the water lands on me until he comes over to check it out. Then I tilt the spray so it gets both of us, then only fully above him when he starts enjoying himself. When he goes to the other end, I stop spraying and whenever he offers me his foot, it's over. He steps up & I taje him back to his playstand where he gets a treat. :)

If he bites at the bottle when I ask if he wants a shower or doesn't come to my end to be misted, I'll leave him up there to play with his toys while I shower so the steam fills the room and works on his feathers & skin that way. ;)

It did take several tries before he decided to join me, so I always do it before I take my shower so I don't end up wet for no reason. :rolleyes:
 

issajoy

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Aww Taco! If he's associating a spray bottle with punishment, I would give up on trying to use one for misting. Put him in the tub and try to associate that with good things - like treats and attention and funny voices. Having him see you in the shower definitely helps too - shows them its not so bad if mommy does it!

Ollie isn't a big fan of water either - she tolerates showers but is not happy about it. I've gotten in with her a few times to show her it's okay - that helped get her to the tolerating point rather than running away! She also knows she gets a nice big nutriberry after a shower if she's good. Bribery works wonders ;)
 
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