All interactions with animals, wild and domestic potentially create habit of interaction. In that regard it is preferred by most
behaviorists and animal rehabilitation people and zoo keepers to instead avoid bites and recreate interactions in small behavioral
Learning to read the animal and respect it's communication and teach it what to expect, when and how and why is much smoother than forcing interaction that gets you bitten.
Especially wild animals need the opportunity to react, and say NO, and have the humans around them listen and respect that. Coercive
training, except in an emergency, rarely helps the relationship with a living willful, independent species.
There are various current training groups online. I got the most help retraining our adopted abused Moluccan from the group associated with the classes - Living and learning with Parrots. The public access group associated with the class is ParrotBAS, a yahoo group, made up of people who have taken the courses, and those waiting for courses, and those people with problems with their parrots that are looking for help.
Sunny is a Moluccan - he came to us screaming, lunging and biting, fearful and panicked at everything. He'd been beaten, flung, hit with
sticks, he was terrified of all sizes of sticks, oven mitts, gloves, hands, he'd been locked in a basement and neglected for years. Biting
was the only communication he knew that worked to keep him safe, yet he obviously LONGED for human contact, then after a few seconds - BANG- gotcha.
I met a lot of people online, read a dozen books, listened to and read a LOT of advice. ParrotBAS is the group and advice we worked
A year later, Sunny can step up and off of his parrot tower, a perch "ring", and Laura's arm on command, he stations (moves from
place to place on cue), he will play with, kiss and lay in Laura's arms. He tolerates me as a flock mate, even if I'm not his person.
Bites are very rare and almost always a failure of one of us to pay attention to his body language well enough. Last bite was over two
I can hand Sunny twigs and sticks and he no longer freaks, I can wear oven gloves or hand gloves and he no longer thinks I'm going to grab him. The BEST habit to teach the bird is to teach it to communicate what it wants without BITING first. That took a lot of work but has paid huge dividends pretty quickly considering that Sunny is twelve and had many years of abuse and neglect. Once he could predict what we would do and say he calmed down significantly.
You can actually retrain a bird/dog/cat/wild animal, without getting bitten and gutting it out like we were all once told.
Gutting it out can actually muddy the waters when what you really want is NOT to be bitten.
Teaching good communication skills between human and animal works out better in the long run.
I will continue with our further report. Though slowly, Sunny will now play in a large bowl of water and step onto the sink to watch the
water. We're not moving fast. Lord knows what someone did to frighten him that badly but he has our respect and patience.
He's gone from tolerating only seconds of interaction to more than an hour on Laura's arm. And we can BOTH even pet him at the same time without generating a meltdown. He's a royal hoot and has even learned to say a bunch of new phrases, including "HI LAURA!!!" And he'll laugh like me to make me laugh and it does work.
You gave us the tools and we continue to progress. Seeing his confidence and joy increase has been truly rewarding. He's becoming
a real parrot, swinging from the top of his cage up side down, bouncing on boings and swinging on his door. He will bounce and
dance on Laura's arm while she sings to him. This is the same bird that would lash out after just ten or fifteen seconds of
We can't thank you all enough for being here, for helping all of us. Oh and he's getting along with Romeo! They babble and chat and
whistle at one another and now are comfortable on the same area, if not the same branch, Sunny is obviously enjoying the company. Though he had a terrible time getting over his initial fears of Romeo flying.
A few notes on the Dusky Conure Romeo - thanks to you guys he went from a very dependent bird to quite the dapper little independent Conure he should have been, he is fully flighted, does a wonderful flighted or vine recall, and plays with his toys on his play areas a majority of the day. Again many thanks for teaching me the skills to help both our guys.
Ya'll will just have to get over it :::group hug::: from us all.
Chereand Laura and Sunny and Romeo and very little biting.