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My Macaw is biting

Willzan

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William Fransson
Hello everyone. I have a blue and hold macaw who is now 1 year old.
The problem i have with him tho is that he is biting me when he wants to play around. I could manage to ingore it when he was younger but now he can bite really hard sometimes, not in an agressive way but playful.
What is the best method to remove that behavior? He has alot of toys in his cage and he is often outside and playing with his toys but hopless whenever i carry him around, he is really tame and never wants to leave me so i dont think thats the problem atleast.

Should i just give it some time to wear out or whats good training for that?

Br
 

Fuzzy

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Hi William, You seem to know the reason for the biting, ie. he bites when he wants to play around, which leads me to think that maybe you have been inadvertently reinforcing the behaviour? Think about your response after the bite. Was it, he bites, and so you play with him? Or in other words, he bites to get you to play with him?

How can you change the scenario? Usually with an unwanted behaviour you would use Differential Reinforcement, which is removing the reinforcement for the unwanted behaviour (maybe by freezing or something similar) and as soon as possible highly reinforcing another more acceptable behaviour (might be tricky if he is over excited).

Better still try to avoid the bite in the first place. If you can see from his body language that he's getting over excited you can slow down the interaction... calm him down.

You could certainly teach him something like target training. That would give you another behaviour to reinforce.
 

Willzan

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William Fransson
Hmm.. thanks for all the tips, will try target training i guess to see what results i will get. Hope it works!
Im so glad tho that he isnt agressive atleast :)
 

Hankmacaw

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Keep in mind that macaws are usually pretty hardheaded by nature and you will need to be very consistent and firm - not mean, but firm. One slip in consistency will mean 10 more tries by your bird.
 

Eloy

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What is the best method to remove that behavior?
He needs to learn how hard he can bite you when you play together and that is your job. (that is normally what his parents will learn him in the wild) He is not bad and don't have a wrong behavior just so you understand that. :)
Don't punish him, and don't be angry at him. he is young and are only playing and enjoying life.
I say Ouch when it hurts and stop playing for some seconds. If they get to exited I use a toy instead of my fingers so I can continue to play with them.
He will learn how to be gentle but he must understand that he is hurting you first.

And don't allowed him to be with you all the time. It is very important that you learn him to be independent too.
You can offer him a toy when he comes wanting attention. If he comes to play nice give him more time and he will learn what gives him more time with you. (biting, bad behavior = less time)
 
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