Archive for December, 2014

Is Your Bird a Biter?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Dear Parrot Lover,

Every parrot owner wants to know the secret to owning a happy, and well-behaved, parrot.

The secret is quite simple, actually. A trained parrot is a happy parrot.

Much like training your dog, training your parrot helps him learn boundaries and what behavior is acceptable and what is not. A well-trained parrot is one that is quite content in his surroundings and does not need to rely solely on his owner for stimulation.

But training your parrot can seem like a very daunting process, especially if you are new to owning a parrot. The key element is to never give up, and to never stop training your parrot. Understand that, at first, your parrot may be resistant to training and you may endure bites, scratches, and be subjected to screaming tantrums. But know that the more you stick with a training regime, the better things will be in the long run.

However, when training your parrot to do anything, the most important thing to remember is to always interact with your parrot in a happy and positive way. Parrots thrive on positivity and will learn faster when you teach them with kind words and smiles, rather than stern looks and shouting.

So, before starting your training session for the day, do a self-check and make sure that you are in a positive and calm mood. Leave all your stressful troubles at the door. Parrots are more perceptive than their owners give them credit for, and your parrot will very quickly pick up on any stress that you may be feeling. This will make your parrot feel uncomfortable and he may be hesitant that usual during the training session.

When scheduling a training session, make sure that you choose a time when there will be the least amount of distractions in your home. This includes distractions from the radio, TV, and other family members. Always stick
to a time limit. The shorter and sweeter the session, the quicker and better
your parrot will learn. Otherwise you run the potential of your parrot becoming bored and irritable, which will cause the training session to be cut short.

Never raise your voice at your parrot, in or out of a training session. Parrots have wonderful memories and will remember your raised voice for a long time. Yelling at your parrot will only make him become afraid of you; and a parrot that is afraid will bite to defend itself. It is better to give your parrot a disapproving look than it is to yell.

At the end of the training session, allow your parrot to have some free time to himself to play. Reward him by allowing him to play on his play tree or elsewhere outside of his cage. Remember too, that you every parrot is as unique as human children, and will therefore learn at different paces. So practice patience, remain calm and happy, and your parrot will quickly become a happy, and well-trained, parrot.

Is Your Bird a Biter?

Biting is common in pet birds

Biting is common because it is a normal reaction for birds.

It often is used to express fear. For example, if a bird is afraid of being
touched or being approached, he will express that fear through various movements or vocalizations. If this doesn’t stop the movement or touching, the bird will bite. Biting is really to teach a person to stop touching. And it works! Biting is painful.

A bird should never be punished for biting since this is a normal reaction
and is one of the last ways a bird can express its discomfort. But there are
ways to help him become less fearful.

Click here to learn more how birds use biting as a tactic

Working through his fears

The only way to stop a bird from biting is to systematically teach him that
there is nothing to fear from you. He needs to learn to trust you, and you need to fully respect him in order to make progress.

Will you be bitten in training? It is possible, but ideally there is no need
for you to be bitten as part of the training process. The reason why is that
you are going to teach him positively in small portions that don’t make
him uncomfortable enough to bite you. It really does work, and it comes down to the use of a clicker.

Click here to learn how to avoid being bitten in parrot training

Using a clicker and The Power
Pause

A clicker is a small tool that makes a consistent noise each time a button
is pressed. It is commonly used in dog training as well as the training of other animals, chickens included! The clicker is a very useful tool for training parrots and other birds as well.

The Power Pause is a technique that utilizes a clicker. You are going to click
and reward the bird for remaining calm as you approach him. The reward at this time is actually going to be you walking away when he remains calm.

Here is how it works: you approach the bird and stop several feet short of
the bird. As soon as he stops talking and closes his mouth and settles down,
click and walk away. Once he no longer reacts at this distance, you move closer.

By working in incremental levels that the bird is comfortable with, you can
teach him that you approaching (and eventually touching) is a good thing. You can ultimately stop his biting with this technique.

Click here to learn more about the Power Pause

Regards,
Nathalie Roberts

Your Bird’s Ear Splitting Scream

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Dear Parrot Lover,

Just as some parrots come in a wide array of colorfully loud colors, so too comes their vocal sounds. Some smaller parrots, such as budgies and cockatiels, have pastel colored feathers accompanying their soft, sweet chirps; whilst larger parrots, such as Cockatoos and Amazons, have brightly colored feathers that match up perfectly with their sometimes obnoxious sounds.

Regardless of their individual coloring and size, all parrots do have one major thing in common with each other: screaming.

More so than any other domesticated pet, parrots are well known to voice their opinions as loudly as they desire. And, boy, can they have plenty of opinions!

This screaming is a very bad habit for your parrot to have. It is something to take quite seriously and stopped or prevented as soon as possible. If left to continue screaming, this habit could become worse, and it will put a hefty strain on your relationship with your parrot, as well as
a strain on your household members.

Here is some easy to follow parrot screaming advice:

Before getting a parrot as a pet, make sure you do your due diligence. There are many different varieties of parrot species, and each one has a tendency to be rather loud. However, some parrots have more of this tendency than others. For example, some Cockatoos will emit an obnoxious screech that resembles a
car horn. If you prefer peace and quiet, then choosing an African Grey or Cockatiel may be your best bet.

In the wild, parrots live together in a flock where they foraging for food together. This foraging occurs predominately in the early morning hours and again in the early evening hours. These wild parrots call out to each other to alert the flock of where the food is. This habit has not been removed in domesticated parrots. Be prepared for your parrot to be most vocal at dawn and at dusk.

One of the best prevention tips is to make sure that your parrot is as well-socialized as possible. Keep to a routine, and allow your parrot to come out of their cage for playtime for at least two to three hours each day. Teach your parrot commands such as ‘step up’. A parrot that is well-socialized will be comfortable in any situation.

Most parrots scream as a way of getting attention from their owners. Don’t give in to this. If need be, simply walk out of the room and stay out until your parrot has calmed down. Do not reward the screaming by giving your parrot any attention.

However, as soon as your parrot has stopped their screaming, you should reward her immediately with lots loving praise. If done right, your parrot will eventually prefer to receive your praise and will not even bother with screaming first.

Try to be diligent and keep a diary of the instances of when your parrot does scream. Doing so will allow you to determine a pattern to your parrot’s screaming. From this pattern you will then also be able to determine your parrot’s screaming triggers and together you can work on eliminating or reducing these triggers.

The last bit of advice is teaching your parrot to talk. This will focus your parrot’s vocalization into making pleasant sounds rather than harsh ones.

Your Bird’s Ear Splitting Scream

Are your ears still ringing from your bird’s scream?

A screaming parrot can be not only hard on the ears, but it can be hard on your life too. It’s certainly hard to talk on the phone or have friends over to visit if your bird just screams at the top of his lungs.

Screaming and loud vocalization is also one of the primary reasons that parrots are rehomed or abandoned. It can also make them more challenging to find a new home for if the habit remains.

Click here to read more about screaming parrots

Screaming serves a role

While screaming may be annoying for an owner, it actually serves a purpose for the bird. Parrots are by nature a very vocal animal, and they use their voices for many reasons. For example, birds are often separated by a fairly far distance in the wild, and the loud screaming and calling is one way to call
to one another over the distance and be heard. It just sounds a little different from only 2 feet away for us!

Click here to learn more about soothing techniques in parrots

Soothing the noisy bird

Although being noisy is second nature to parrots, there are ways to help soothe the intensity of his screaming and talking. For example, if your bird is trying to make contact with you across the distance because he can’t see you, he will begin to scream at higher and higher levels to get you. This is because he may be anxious at not being able to hear or see you. If you respond to him with your own call back, such as I’ll be back or I’m here, you will reduce his anxiety and volume of talking.

There are also other things that can be considered such as:

  • Learning what toys in your bird’s cage can help him stop screaming
  • Learning body language cues from the bird so that you can understand what he is talking about
  • Paying attention to how you respond to him and to be consistent in your cues to him

Click here to learn all about techniques to stop screaming in parrots

Regards,
Nathalie Roberts