"Mutual Agreement" Taming, A Helpful Guide to Skittish and Aggressive Birds - Talk Cockatiels Forums


User Menu
Forum Home
Cockatiel Gallery
Members List
Today's Posts
Log In
Register now!
Search



Advanced Search
Forums
Sticky Library

Cockatiel Talk

Cockatiel Housing/Toys

Cockatiel Pictures

Cockatiel Videos

Cockatiel Health

Food & Nutrition

Training & Bonding

Cockatiel Breeding

Mutations & Genetics

Cockatiel Articles

Talk Network
Talk Budgies
Talk Cockatiels
Talk Parrotlets
Talk Parrots

Go Back   Talk Cockatiels Forums > Cockatiel Resources > Sticky Library > General Info and Training

Notices

General Info and Training Place to learn general need to know about cockatiels and how to train them.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-27-2012, 12:45 AM
MeanneyFids's Avatar
MeanneyFids MeanneyFids is offline
Super Tiel
 
Cockatiel Information
Number of Cockatiels: 2
Cockatiel Experience Level: Cockatiel Lover
Profile
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Castelia City, Unova
Posts: 13,610
MeanneyFids is on a distinguished road
Heart "Mutual Agreement" Taming, A Helpful Guide to Skittish and Aggressive Birds

Birds are a lot like people in the way that they have different personalities. Some are bold and playful, others are shy and timid, while even some others are aggressive and finicky. Most taming guides are directed at the "average" bird. The taming guides are really good for the most part, but there are certain birds who need to be approached differently.




Positive reinforcement is noted to be one of the best ways to tame birds and many other animals. It uses good and positive rewards to show the animal what you want and like. Birds respond very well to this, and this has made it one of the most popular ways to tame a bird.




However taming is not always one size fits all. There are different ways to deal with a shy or aggressive bird. This guide focuses on those types of birds.
The main message of this guide is "mutual agreement" where you look at your bird's likes and dislikes and know where their limits are and you set a neutral ground with them.




First I will discuss aggressive birds.

First you must look at what your bird is aggressive about. Many are cage aggressive. Working with a cage aggressive bird when trying to tame it can be very difficult, and a lot more work than an average bird. Many owners get frustrated and either give up on taming or they get rid of the bird. Very few stick it out and keep trying.





The main idea with a cage aggressive bird is that their cage is their home, they do not usually want you dealing with anything in their cage. In or near it. They may bite or lunge at you or even chase you if you do not respect their space. This can make feeding and watering and cleaning a hazardous task.





How do you deal with these birds? First, look at the cage, is there something particular in the cage that they are protecting? If so if it possible to remove it, then do so. If not, then it is up to you to avoid this situation. The bird has a good chance of becoming more and more aggressive each time you invade its space, which can create worse future problems.





So, how do you get the bird out of the cage if it will not step up or will not stop attacking your hand? Easy! You let the bird come out of the cage on its own. Just leave the cage door open and do not reach into the cage for the bird. Respect the birds cage as ITS space, not YOURS. If the bird is clipped, you might have to escort the bird to its playgym if the playgym is not within climbing or jump reach of the bird's cage. To do this, simply towel the bird gently and carry it over to the playgym, and then leave it alone for a bit. Let the bird enjoy its time out. After the bird has had time to calm down, you may try step up training. If the bird is not aggressive on the playgym, this is an easier job and regular training can take place on the playgym.





However, if the bird is not willing to come near you with your hand nearby or attacks you still, simply sit where the bird can reach you, but simply read a book or do something that does NOT involve the bird. Place a sprig of spray millet, or another favourite treat where the bird can easily climb to reach, but placed close to you. So if you are sitting on a desk with the bird's playgym on top, sit a few feet away with the treat a few inches from your arm. Let the bird come to you, do not look at the bird right away if the bird comes to you for the spray millet. This will teach the bird that they can trust you and can go to you and you are not a threat. Let them come to you on their terms. Over time, eventually work on holding the treat so that the bird will step up onto your hand.





What is different about this method from regular taming of holding a treat in the hand for the bird? You are not forcing the millet upon the bird, you are letting them set the pace and go to you on their own terms. You have learned to respect the bird's cage space and its own personal boundaries, the bird will feel more comfortable around you and in time will learn to accept you. The cage aggression likely will not stop, but with the mutual respect of space (owner stays out of cage and owner does not get bit, thats the "mutual agreement here") will help with the bird staying more calm when you DO need to go into the cage to feed, water, clean, and service toys. They learn to trust you as they see that you do respect their space and they will relax more around you and not feel as threatened.





Skittish birds are often timid, flighty, nervous, and scared. These birds tend to adapt much slowly compared to other birds and tend to like familiarity, so frequent cage set up changes may spook them. These birds may take months to fully settle in to a new home, or even into a new cage. These differ from untame birds in the way that they tend to be even slower at adapting and are slow to trust and seem to be scared of nearly everything.




For skittish birds, the method is VERY much the same, only some things are done differently for different reasons. Never towel a skittish bird to bring it out of the cage, this will only frighten them more. Toweling should only be used for medical reasons or with an aggressive clipped bird who needs to be transported from point A to B. A bird can be trained to associate the towel with playtime (positive reinforcement) but this can prove too stressful on a skittish bird.




Never invade a skittish bird's cage. This is their safe haven, the place they should feel comfortable and relaxed. Placing your hands in the cage will frighten the bird and feed their insecurity. For these birds, if they seem really nervous at first, you can cover a corner of the cage, blocking your view of them and their view of you. This is somewhere they can retreat to when they feel scared or overwhelmed.




Allow them to come out of their cage on their own. Quietly sit by and read a book or something similar and just leave the cage door open. Never reach for a timid bird unless absolutely necessary (emergencies, medicating, etc) as they may feel threatened by a "predator" and it may cause them to be even more fearful.




Forcing treats on them as well may not work because they are scared of the hands that hold them. These birds need to be left to come to you on their own as well, just like the aggressive birds. The method is the same, only you want the treat placed farther away from you at the start than you would with an aggressive bird. Over a slow period of time as the bird gets more comfortable, you may move the treat an inch closer to you, until you can hold the treat with your hand open flat on the table. The "mutual agreement" here is that you respect the bird's need for security and space and you will gain a more confident bird in time.




Let me state something with this taming guide. These birds can be worked with FLIGHTED. I have actually found these birds tend to benefit more from being flighted and I have had better results with them being flighted than I have had clipped. However, the aggressive bird might be better attitude wise clipped after taming should the bird attack you, but if the bird does not attack you it is fine to leave the bird flighted if you wish.




I highly recommend the skittish birds to be flighted rather than clipped. Clipping may help a bird rely on you to get around, but it can downright scare a timid bird and cause regression in their trust in you rather than progression. Flighted timid birds also tend to have a confidence boost and will be more willing to approach you as they can get away easier if they feel the need to. Never force a skittish bird to do something it does not want to. This damages their trust in their owners. If the bird wants to fly off and get away from you, let it do so freely. It will see you will not stop it if it wants to get away.


The treat does not have to be food. It can be a favourite toy or some other thing that they really like. I have used this method for my lovebirds. My male is super shy and timid and has been the hardest to work with in terms of earning his trust, but our female is aggressive and it has been a long but well-worth-it road to having her trust.



Copyright Casey Meanney
__________________


Those Meanney Fids FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Those-...284656?fref=ts
Photo Gallery Project: http://s1282.photobucket.com/user/Me...?sort=3&page=1

All posts and photos of mine posted here are copyrighted by Casey Meanney.

Last edited by MeanneyFids; 03-23-2013 at 05:58 PM..
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old 09-27-2012, 12:45 AM
MeanneyFids's Avatar
MeanneyFids MeanneyFids is offline
Super Tiel
 
Cockatiel Information
Number of Cockatiels: 2
Cockatiel Experience Level: Cockatiel Lover
Profile
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Castelia City, Unova
Posts: 13,610
MeanneyFids is on a distinguished road
Default

I have tried the average typical methods that most people have success with in taming. But it did not work. I often wondered why and ended up frustrated with a bloody hand after trying to get my female lovebird to accept millet or sunflower seeds by hand in her cage. She ended up getting more and more aggressive.



I then let them become flighted and had given up on taming them, I had gotten them as babies and thought I could tame them easier, especially since the female was handfed from hatching. However, they were not socialized, and therefore were wild, and the handfeeding only made my female bold and not afraid to bite the hands that feed her.


I had realized that once flighted, they were more confident. I would leave the cage doors open for them and they would come out on their own. I would hold out paper (their "treat") or millet and they would fly to me for it. Eventually the female would fly over to me just to see what I was doing and to preen my hair.



It was then I had realized I had been going the wrong way about taming them, I needed a different tactic. So, I let them come to me. In time, they've had to be clipped again for safety reasons (female being so aggressive she was also attacking the other birds, in or out of the cage, and clipping restricted her reach of them) and the male lovebird was clipped as well to prevent him from getting bit through the cage bars should he land on her cage. Things regressed far with the male lovebird being clipped. I had since moved the other birds out of the room, so the room only has the two lovebirds in their own separate cages.



The female lovebird remains clipped to protect the male, but the male has recently become flighted again and I have noticed his confidence growing and after five months, he is finally exploring his whole new cage, instead of staying up top all the time. The female lovebird I no longer reach in her cage unless to give her food, water, or clean the cage or to add a new toy. To rearrange the cage, I make sure she is not in her cage and I am safe to change things inside for her.




This mutual agreement with her has really brought out her trust in me and now she is fully tame, she steps up, she runs over and interacts with us, shes not super cuddly but she does accept some scritches (headscratches) and she is not as aggressive in the cage. We let her come out of her cage and then we towel her to bring her to her playgym. The towel protects her and me. If she bites my hand untowelled there is always that chance she could be dropped, the towel prevents this from happening.



All it took was not forcing the taming upon them. The male still is not fully tame, he will let us hold him on his own terms, he likes laying in our hands, but he will not step up. Currently as of writing this sticky, it has taken me one year and seven months to build up the trust I have earned with them. So please, if your bird does not give you results even in a few weeks, never give up on them, as they may take years to fully trust you. However, the trust earned was based on respect and space and I find a stronger bond can be forged this way.



I just wished to share my experiences using these methods and maybe give hope and help to others with birds in this situation.




Here are some photos that may be of interest for people wanting to see the results:


For the female lovebird, this was her as a baby when we clipped her wings and worked on her stepping up, you can see by her reactions that this is not a method for her





having her fly to me for the treats rather than me approaching her





even the shy male would fly to me for a cup filled with toys and paper!




this show's their progress using this method







and a video of the female enjoying some scritches!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y52HgJ7ykk



This method can be used for ANY bird, just my experience with untame skittish and aggressive birds are limited to my lovebirds, but this same method can help all of you with your birds of any species come to trust you more



Copyright Casey Meanney
__________________


Those Meanney Fids FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Those-...284656?fref=ts
Photo Gallery Project: http://s1282.photobucket.com/user/Me...?sort=3&page=1

All posts and photos of mine posted here are copyrighted by Casey Meanney.

Last edited by MeanneyFids; 03-23-2013 at 05:58 PM..
Closed Thread



Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:18 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © 2007 - , 2403 Networks LLC, All rights reserved.