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Random biting?! + not wanting to step up!


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Avenue Veteran
The Netherlands
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My Indian ringneck has been having some weird habits going on for the past week or so. He used to be very scared of me but now he comes over and crawls on me and then starts nibbling at me! The first two nibbles he uses his tongue like he is exploring the feel of my skin and then he pinches! I can't help but flinch, especially when I'm not expecting it. I don't take it out on him, especially because it could be MY fault that is making him do this. He's 15 months so he's still a baby, maybe this is part of the "growing up" process?

I have been giving him other things to chew on when he flies onto me like pieces of clean cardboard and clean bottle caps, he LOVES chewing on them.

What's weird is when he comes over he will climb on me out of his own free will but when I ask him to step up most of the time he will run or fly away from me

He also recently has been pinning a lot more, I thought he was bluffing earlier this year but he started biting and not letting me touch him even more. He is showing more aggression than fear when it comes to me trying to scritch his head. A couple weeks ago he was fine with me giving him scritches before bed. I'd have to "chase" him a bit until he was tired (he would fly between his cage and the curtain rod in the next room) but he would eventually step up and be fine with me sitting with him, petting his head. I'm not sure what's going on now. Now he's doing the whole "head pulled back, beak open, eyes pinned, hissing" motion when I try to scritch him and even when I ask him to step up sometimes!


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Avenue Veteran
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Hell, NV
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Doesn't sound like "bluffing"... especially since birds don't "bluff" - they communicate. What is called "bluffing" is actually a *very* nice way of saying "No!" or "Leave me alone!". When that behavior gets ignored, it can lead to biting! Especially unpredictable bites!

Barbara's Force Free Animal Training Talk: Do Animals Bluff?

Sounds like he's really just exploring and you are doing right by providing him an outlet for his curiosity! You can mix things up by getting him some foot toys or foraging opportunities!

Step up training should look something like this.... (can teach target training first, then incorporate the target training into teaching step up)

  1. Reward your bird for looking at you.
  2. Reward your bird for moving his head towards you.
  3. Reward your bird for taking a step towards you.
  4. Reward your bird for taking another step towards you.
  5. If he doesn't run away, keep rewarding him for remaining where he's at. (if he runs/backs off, you may need to start over again)
  6. Reward your bird for taking a couple more steps closer.
  7. Encourage him to come closer yet again and reward him.
  8. Reward your bird for touching you with his toe(s).
  9. Reward your bird for putting a foot on you.
  10. *JACKPOT REWARD* Give your bird lots of goodies for putting both feet on you!

If I had to guess, I would say that you chasing him and then petting him may have lead to him biting you and avoiding you... not wanting to step up. Please stop chasing him! Instead, train him!

Free Training Resources | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum