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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy Extreme aggression in sun conure

Sonny our sun conure has extreme cage aggression. We have had him for about 3 weeks now but I would like to know how to start training him once he settles in a little more.

When I stand up, after sitting down in the same room to get him used to me, he starts the rocking back and forth with his beak open. When I walk over to his cage he runs over to where I am and attacks the bars or whatever object is near him.

He also hates hands even though he will accept food from them (on occasion). He just seems to be in attack mode towards everything.

Help please!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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This is fear and you need to just sit next to the cage and read to him in a soothing voice. Don't try to work with him till he is calm with you near the cage.
Good luck

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
 
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Was/is he tame? If so maybe let him come out on his own from the cage. If not then this is just fear and you need to just sit next to the cage and read to him in a soothing voice. Don't try to work with him till he is calm with you near the cage.
Good luck
We don't know anything about him as he (?) is a rescue. We always leave his door open and he come out to the top of his age to play and eat. Once I sit near his cage for while, he is fine but as soon as I move he tries to attack again...
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 07:13 PM
 
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I have never worked with a conure, so don't know specific tips to use with this species. In general, it takes a lot of patience to work with a bird that has learned to bite. You have to take "baby steps" and use positive reinforcement--ignore the bad behavior and reward the "good" behavior in some way by giving the bird a treat or something else he likes.

Will he step up on a stick that you hold? You might be able to get him away from his cage that way and work on getting him to trust you in a more neutral environment.


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 02:03 AM


 
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M-Nature is right on the money.
Only three weeks is a very short time for him to be in a new home.
Cage aggression is fairly common, and nothing to worry about. He may remain this way. So let him come out before trying to work with him.
The cage is his safe zone and should always be so.
Step back and let him set the pace. I feel you may have a long road ahead of you.
But it is most important that you build a solid bond with him. This maybe the only way you get a solid relationship sorted.
Suns can be very pushy and this could be a lot to do with his past home.

Do you know much about his past home?


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by M-Nature View Post
I have never worked with a conure, so don't know specific tips to use with this species. In general, it takes a lot of patience to work with a bird that has learned to bite. You have to take "baby steps" and use positive reinforcement--ignore the bad behavior and reward the "good" behavior in some way by giving the bird a treat or something else he likes.

Will he step up on a stick that you hold? You might be able to get him away from his cage that way and work on getting him to trust you in a more neutral environment.
Thanks! I've tried getting him to step-up on a sick within the past few days and he wasn't having it, he would only bite it.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by clawnz View Post
M-Nature is right on the money.
Only three weeks is a very short time for him to be in a new home.
Cage aggression is fairly common, and nothing to worry about. He may remain this way. So let him come out before trying to work with him.
The cage is his safe zone and should always be so.
Step back and let him set the pace. I feel you may have a long road ahead of you.
But it is most important that you build a solid bond with him. This maybe the only way you get a solid relationship sorted.
Suns can be very pushy and this could be a lot to do with his past home.

Do you know much about his past home?
Thanks! We don't know anything about him, when we take him to the vet we plan on getting the band number, which will hopefully tell us something!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 04:29 PM
 
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I've had several suns over the years. One was a rescue sun in exactly the same condition yours is and it was definitely fear related. I noticed that when I got him away form his cage, where he couldn't see it at all, that he would calm down and be his sweet, albeit somewhat timid, self. I would have to towel him to get him out, but he never seemed to fear my hands after that-- just hated that bad old towel.

Remember their cage is their castle, almost an extension of themselves.

Another thing that seemed to help is always offering his favorite snack when I'd come by, and stooping a little lower than him and reaching up to offer the food. Making him climb down a little to get it. Over time, he even would give kisses before getting the treat.



Also, I have noticed that some suns get super aggressive when they are hormonal. Even the sweetest sun turns into a Dr. Jeckl and Mr Hyde.

Hope that helps.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 04:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmk25 View Post
Thanks! I've tried getting him to step-up on a sick within the past few days and he wasn't having it, he would only bite it.

That is actually a perfect start for what is called "target training" The target stick receives the aggression, but then they are rewarded for biting it. Eventually it transitions to being rewarded for touching/bumping it, and finally rewarded simply for following it. Eventually they will follow it up to a perch or even outside the cage. Later you can subsitute the target stick for your finger (after they are beyond the biting stage, of course) I have used this successfully before, but it takes quite a while-- maybe two weeks. All in all, it was worth it, though.

I learned this on one of the Womach brothers' DVDs BirdTricks dot com
but I know a lot of folks on the forum don't like the Womach brothers. I am only saying it worked for me, and I personally don't see anything wrong with target training.

One time target training helped me get an escaped conure out of a tree - I just pointed and she flew down to my arm. If she hadn't been target trained I might have lost her.

Oh, yes, one more thing -- it is important that the target stick is always the same. Don't use a perch if you want her to step up on a perch. I used cheap wooden chopsticks since they were easy to replace and all looked the same. Never let the bird step up onto the target stick or else it ruins the target training. I didn't find the clicker necessary. "Good girl!" seemed enough.

Last edited by PeggyB; 10-08-2013 at 04:49 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 04:44 PM


 
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You already got great advice.
Please give him time and always respect the distance he needs between you.
Your parrot is afraid.

It may be difficult to change the food and water bowls when he is so cage aggressive.
My Paulchen (blue) was a bit cage aggressive in summer. The room was very hot and I changed the water bowls often. It would help him when I explain in short words why I put my hands into the cage:
Fresh water!
He learned that I only change the water bowls and nothing happens to him when I say "Fresh water".
And I praise him when he didn't open his beak and spread his wings.
"Well done".
He improved very much, and the cage aggression has become very seldom.

My linnies also hate hands, and I just accept it. This morning I brought fresh water, then talked a bit to them with my head at the open cage door. Paulchen walked to me and gave me a kiss on my nose.

If you are patient your parrot will come to you by his own.

Last edited by Flapping Mama; 10-08-2013 at 04:46 PM.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2013, 03:12 AM



 
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My suggestion was going to be target training too. I've trained some of my trickiest birds using it, including a rehome orange winged Amazon parrot who was extremely fearful of most things and aggressive at the best of times. He had literally flown at my face on numerous occasions! In the end, I had him stepping up and everything the key is to let them come to you. You can do target training through the bars if you know that he will take food from you BUT I wouldn't even necessarily do that. If I were you, I'd open the door and let him come out on his own terms. Start clicker training and then move on to the target. Most birds, no matter how difficult they may seem, can be won around by it. Would you like some help on clicker and target training or do you already know what you're doing ? I didn't know if this was an only bird or you'd done it before
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-11-2013, 09:45 AM
 
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Hello

I had a nandy conure, who seemed to have a similar temperment to a sun conure, for years. He/she was EXTREMELY cage agressive, hated hands in the cage, and would grab her food and water bowls and hold them inside the cage when you would try to change them.

I found that talking soothingly helped her to understand that I wasn't her enemy. However, I think that aggressive behavoir in the cage doesn't necessarily mean they are scared of you, just that they don't want you too close.

I know this is hard, but its worked for me many times to work with the bird (as long as he or she isn't frightened, like trying to back away, panicking or flying away), doing step-up training and petting/prenning, and doing "gente beak" and just IGNORING the bites. I know this is hard, as I've said and I have many scars to show for it, but this has been the best way I've been able to bond with birds, show them that they cant use biting to keep me away, and let them learn to trust my hands, despite the biting behavoir.

My conure was still cage aggressive and would bite often, but we came leaps and bounds over the years where she would let me pet her head, hold her, and pet her beak, because she knew that biting wouldn't deter me.

Yes I got bit a lot, but I had a relationship with my bird despite it. I am afraid I will get criticized for not letting the bird set the pace or come to me, but she wanted attention and affection, unfortunately her aggressive behavoir was in the way of her own potential happiness.

Edit: Beeko was older, untame, and had been re-homed three times, so I dont think she was in the mental state to overcome her aggressive behavoir in the same way as some younger or better adjusted birds can.

Last edited by katepeth124; 10-11-2013 at 09:48 AM.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-11-2013, 04:38 PM


 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katepeth124 View Post
Hello

I had a nandy conure, who seemed to have a similar temperment to a sun conure, for years. He/she was EXTREMELY cage agressive, hated hands in the cage, and would grab her food and water bowls and hold them inside the cage when you would try to change them.

I found that talking soothingly helped her to understand that I wasn't her enemy. However, I think that aggressive behavior in the cage doesn't necessarily mean they are scared of you, just that they don't want you too close.

I know this is hard, but its worked for me many times to work with the bird (as long as he or she isn't frightened, like trying to back away, panicking or flying away), doing step-up training and petting/preening, and doing "gentle beak" and just IGNORING the bites. I know this is hard, as I've said and I have many scars to show for it, but this has been the best way I've been able to bond with birds, show them that they cant use biting to keep me away, and let them learn to trust my hands, despite the biting behavior.

My Conure was still cage aggressive and would bite often, but we came leaps and bounds over the years where she would let me pet her head, hold her, and pet her beak, because she knew that biting wouldn't deter me.

Yes I got bit a lot, but I had a relationship with my bird despite it. I am afraid I will get criticized for not letting the bird set the pace or come to me, but she wanted attention and affection, unfortunately her aggressive behavoir was in the way of her own potential happiness.

Edit: Beeko was older, untame, and had been re-homed three times, so I dont think she was in the mental state to overcome her aggressive behavoir in the same way as some younger or better adjusted birds can.

I agree with what you have to say.
It always comes down to balancing just how much to push (and I mean that in the most gentle way).
And this can come down to how the birds sees you. And the bond that is there or forming.
It is a matter of setting limits of what is exceptable or not.
It works in any flock. Always a bit of push and shove.


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by PeggyB View Post
That is actually a perfect start for what is called "target training" The target stick receives the aggression, but then they are rewarded for biting it. Eventually it transitions to being rewarded for touching/bumping it, and finally rewarded simply for following it. Eventually they will follow it up to a perch or even outside the cage. Later you can subsitute the target stick for your finger (after they are beyond the biting stage, of course) I have used this successfully before, but it takes quite a while-- maybe two weeks. All in all, it was worth it, though.

I learned this on one of the Womach brothers' DVDs BirdTricks dot com
but I know a lot of folks on the forum don't like the Womach brothers. I am only saying it worked for me, and I personally don't see anything wrong with target training.

One time target training helped me get an escaped conure out of a tree - I just pointed and she flew down to my arm. If she hadn't been target trained I might have lost her.

Oh, yes, one more thing -- it is important that the target stick is always the same. Don't use a perch if you want her to step up on a perch. I used cheap wooden chopsticks since they were easy to replace and all looked the same. Never let the bird step up onto the target stick or else it ruins the target training. I didn't find the clicker necessary. "Good girl!" seemed enough.
Thanks for the help. I've looked into the bird tricks . com but decided I would just give him time. I'll start doing the training tomorrow!
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flapping Mama View Post
You already got great advice.
Please give him time and always respect the distance he needs between you.
Your parrot is afraid.

It may be difficult to change the food and water bowls when he is so cage aggressive.
My Paulchen (blue) was a bit cage aggressive in summer. The room was very hot and I changed the water bowls often. It would help him when I explain in short words why I put my hands into the cage:
Fresh water!
He learned that I only change the water bowls and nothing happens to him when I say "Fresh water".
And I praise him when he didn't open his beak and spread his wings.
"Well done".
He improved very much, and the cage aggression has become very seldom.

My linnies also hate hands, and I just accept it. This morning I brought fresh water, then talked a bit to them with my head at the open cage door. Paulchen walked to me and gave me a kiss on my nose.

If you are patient your parrot will come to you by his own.
It is very difficult to change his water/food bowl, I think I'll try saying something every time now, Thanks!
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by catalinadee View Post
My suggestion was going to be target training too. I've trained some of my trickiest birds using it, including a rehome orange winged Amazon parrot who was extremely fearful of most things and aggressive at the best of times. He had literally flown at my face on numerous occasions! In the end, I had him stepping up and everything the key is to let them come to you. You can do target training through the bars if you know that he will take food from you BUT I wouldn't even necessarily do that. If I were you, I'd open the door and let him come out on his own terms. Start clicker training and then move on to the target. Most birds, no matter how difficult they may seem, can be won around by it. Would you like some help on clicker and target training or do you already know what you're doing ? I didn't know if this was an only bird or you'd done it before
Thankfully, Sonny's wings are already clipped otherwise he probably would have dive bombed us a thousand times. I've never clicker trained a bird or target trained but i think I get it... When they touch the target you reward?
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-13-2013, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katepeth124 View Post
Hello

I had a nandy conure, who seemed to have a similar temperment to a sun conure, for years. He/she was EXTREMELY cage agressive, hated hands in the cage, and would grab her food and water bowls and hold them inside the cage when you would try to change them.

I found that talking soothingly helped her to understand that I wasn't her enemy. However, I think that aggressive behavoir in the cage doesn't necessarily mean they are scared of you, just that they don't want you too close.

I know this is hard, but its worked for me many times to work with the bird (as long as he or she isn't frightened, like trying to back away, panicking or flying away), doing step-up training and petting/prenning, and doing "gente beak" and just IGNORING the bites. I know this is hard, as I've said and I have many scars to show for it, but this has been the best way I've been able to bond with birds, show them that they cant use biting to keep me away, and let them learn to trust my hands, despite the biting behavoir.

My conure was still cage aggressive and would bite often, but we came leaps and bounds over the years where she would let me pet her head, hold her, and pet her beak, because she knew that biting wouldn't deter me.

Yes I got bit a lot, but I had a relationship with my bird despite it. I am afraid I will get criticized for not letting the bird set the pace or come to me, but she wanted attention and affection, unfortunately her aggressive behavoir was in the way of her own potential happiness.

Edit: Beeko was older, untame, and had been re-homed three times, so I dont think she was in the mental state to overcome her aggressive behavoir in the same way as some younger or better adjusted birds can.
Thanks! The ignoring the biting part is what gets me though, his beak to me is huge (nothing compared to a macaw or cockatoo but I've only ever had cockatiels who's bites don't really hurt), the other day I was putting some beans and fresh veggies on top of his cage as quickly as i could because he was on top but he ended up jumping onto the plate then hanging upside down off my hand trying to take a nice chunk out of my finger...
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 03:07 PM
 
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I agree with Katepeth and Peggy, they have given you great advice. I have a Nanday, who if very tame and loving---(he will fly into my bed in the morning to wake me up), but he can be very fiesty at times. He never had any cage agression, mostly because I NEVER leave him in his cage. He is out of it most of the time. I think you need to open up the cage and let him out. I think Peggy was the one that said that her sun conure was fine once it was out of the cage.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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Here is photo of my Nanday Jupiter.
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File Type: jpg good looking bird.jpg (509.1 KB, 2 views)
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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I agree with Katepeth and Peggy, they have given you great advice. I have a Nanday, who if very tame and loving---(he will fly into my bed in the morning to wake me up), but he can be very fiesty at times. He never had any cage agression, mostly because I NEVER leave him in his cage. He is out of it most of the time. I think you need to open up the cage and let him out. I think Peggy was the one that said that her sun conure was fine once it was out of the cage.
His cage is always opened unless we leave the house, other wise he is always out. Thanks!
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