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Training and Bonding Give and recieve tips on training and bonding with your cockatiel here.

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Old 03-05-2017, 12:37 PM
Klmp Klmp is offline
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Default How to train untrusting cockatiel

My poor birdy bird wasn't hand raised, she was only raised to sell for profit
So she's scared of people's hands. I have gotten her to the point where she's trusting enough of people to let pretty much anyone hand feed her millet, and she is quite attached to me, but she's still afraid if i get my hands close to her without the millet in hand. Any advice on how I should go about getting her to the point where she can step up on my finger & I can pet her?
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:49 PM
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Haimovfids Haimovfids is offline
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Default <------ Good article on what you need help on.
Old 03-06-2017, 02:41 PM
chrissy055 chrissy055 is offline
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Hi Klmp,
I am a new bird owner to Ava who is 5 months. Unlike yours, Ava was hand-raised but still afraid. I would take her out and since she loves exploring, she would walk all over our family room and I would just sit on the floor as she had fun. I would type or put my hands on the floor so that she knew they weren't scary. That way you build that trust that you are interacting with them, but not forcing her to be uncomfortable and on your hand. I also do chores and different things around her that made her curious. She would eventually fly from room to room with me to watch what I was doing.

I would also sit by her cage and put my hand on it when she was playing to show that again my hands won't hurt you and they aren't scary. She of course would stay on the opposite side of the cage. Now she comes running to play with our fingers.

Also, even if she gets on your finger for a sec, you should give her lots of praises. Ava loves it when I say "Good Job", "you are so smart", she understands now that she did something good and of course I give her millet.

You can also start with a perch/branch to take her out of her cage and each time getting your hand closer to her. Then eventually she will just hop onto your hand or finger.

You want every interaction with her to be positive if possible so that she can build the trust. Even though Ava was hand-tamed, it took her a good 2-3 months to trust me fully.

We have just started clicker training and she loves it. I do the clicker once, then praise her, followed by millet. I waited until she trusted me before doing clicker training.
Old 03-06-2017, 08:25 PM
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Lunawolfsong Lunawolfsong is offline
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I just wanted to pipe in and add that taming a bird can take a long time, and the milestones (i.e. coming up on your hand, being able to be pet, etc) can come really far apart.

What I would start with is to desensitize her to the sight of your finger (outstretched in the step-up position) entirely. Hold your finger like that while outside of the cage and give her millet. Slowly, move your finger like this inside of the cage praising her and giving her millet as your finger gets closer and closer.

Eventually, you should build up to being able to have her reach toward your finger for the millet. Place the millet right next to your finger so that she has to almost touch it, place the millet directly over your finger, etc. Build it up until the millet is past your finger and she will have to step on it to reach the millet.

From there, you can work with her over time to give the act of getting on your finger a cue ("step up"), and slowly work on moving her out of her cage while on your hand from there.

I know that there are old threads on here that describe the process in more detail, so if you are able to find them they will benefit you as well.
I am not a vet or a bird expert. I do work at a bird rescue, but that doesn't mean that I'm always right. This is just my opinion based off of my work at the rescue, general bird knowledge, research, and personal experience.
Owned by:
Max, Shih Tzu/standard poodle/mystery mix, 1 yr old (service dog in training)
Kirby, pied cockatiel, ~5yrs old

thank you, Calitiels, for the signature!
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