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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Training Questions

I'm going to be spending time with Kiki this summer training her a bit more.

She can step up, I think she does recognize when I say "step up." I've mentioned before that she's very bossy on and in her cage. She WILL NOT step up, and I just can't have that anymore. How can I fix that? How can I get her to step up when on the cage and in the cage? She bites and nibbles hard when she's on and in the cage, too, which is another thing. How do you get her to stop biting? (Of course not all of it is aggressive, but I can tell when it is aggressive and when it's not.) It's not like she's scared of me, she just bites.




DIGBY 4-year-old male Congo African Grey

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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 01:08 PM


 
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Ok this is for training purposes only, Stand on a chair or something so that you can easily reach the top of her cage.

Instead of asking her to step up on your finger for this training just ask her to step on your palm.

Palm of your hand face up and ask her to step on to the palm of your hand, it's important here not to let her beak near your fingers and if she was going to bite it would only be possible for her to bite the palm of your hand.

I have noticed this with my cage aggression female she can't clamp down her beak if I stretched my palm out and the skin of the palm is fully stretched. She can't grip down with her beak and I was abled to get her to step on to my palm.

Be careful here because she can still bite the blade of your palm so you need to be quick in your reaction!

I suppose once you're able to do this maybe you could progress further and train her to step up on to your finger on top of the cage.

I did not continue training my female, I've got the other 2 clingy Conures to deal with so I'm just glad she stayed on top of the cage. I won't disturb her

Hope someone will come along with a better training technique for ya.

Feel free to try out my technique. I can't guarantee you that it will work, so if you lost chunks of flesh from your hand just don't blame me

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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Try bribing her to step up w/ food (millet works well for me). I don't let Gracie to go on top of her cage because she does not listen when she is up there. She randomly nips (pinches really) me when I am holding her, but we are working on that. I put her away when she does that and when I come back after a few minutes, she is usually as sweet as can be.

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 04:48 PM


 
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I just read your post again and saw that you said step up in the cage too, so the palm technique isn't going to work for stepping up in the cage.

Another way I could think that might possibly work is just before you ask her to step up, you SQUAWK at her to warn her, that might discourage her thinking about biting, then you ask her to step up, if she goes to bite you, try and tremble your hand and squawk at the same time. I'm thinking by doing these other things it would distract her from biting.

Anyone else got any suggestion?

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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 07:35 AM


 
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sorry thats the one area i have no problem with but i will surf the web and see what comes up

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:12 AM


 
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Abby,
I've stated this often, but I'm sold on the positive behavior techniques I've learned and am still learning through my avian vet and the club she has started for those who have taken her classes.
This is not going to be popular advice, especially on this particular forum, but I would back off right now from trying to force her to like or even accept your intrusions into what is HER only space in the entire world. She doesn't have anything else that is hers.
I was just back in my bird store talking yesterday about Ashlynn, and the manager's wife reminded me of a quote from the vet which I will share with you. The vet said, "How would you like it if someone barged into your bedroom and pulled you out of your own bed?"
As a teenager yourself, surely you can understand the desire to have some choice over your own life and over your own bedroom space, or whatever space is yours.
I used to think it was important to "maintain control" of my birds in all situations, but now I realize that the only time I would ever have to intrude into my birds' cages, if they don't want me there, is if the house is on fire or for some other reason they need to be evacuated. If that time came, then, yes, I'd reach in there and shove them into a carrier, even if I got severely bitten in the process. Other than that, I don't really have to put my hands into their cages and force them to "obey" me. I can give them choices and control over their own space. It builds trust between us, and it helps them feel safe.
I have this attitude, and ALL of my own personal birds actually allow me to take them out of their cages, so it doesn't make birds who would not otherwise be cage possessive become cage possessive. However, it would enable cage possessive birds and their owners to maintain positive relationships in all environments.
This attitude of allowing the birds choices over their own cage space is very prevalent on the linnie forum. If you can, please visit that forum and read some of the threads there about getting linnies out of their cages. You don't even have to join to read the threads if you don't want to join, but I think it would help you feel better about your relationship with Kiki to read those threads.
I'm pretty sure this isn't what you wanted to hear, and I almost didn't post it. I know you are very involved with birds, so I thought I would try.


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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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I think Nanay brings up a good point. My birds all have the option of saying no, but there are proper ways of doing it. Biting my hand is just going to make me force you. However, if I put my hand in and ask them to step up and they back away or run off, then I just say OK, have it your way and close them back up and leave them be for a bit. There's a fine line between giving them their freedom without allowing them to get away with aggressive behaviors.

I would offer her to step up, with a palm or a closed fist perhaps, so she doesn't bite your fingers. If she lunges or backs away, then don't push the issue. However, close her cage. It'll be a bit of a trial period while she learns that the way out of the cage is to be nice to mommy and step up like a good girl, but she can still have the freedom to say "no, I don't want to right now."

I hope that makes sense. When she does start to step up and be polite, you should make a big deal and give her a treat if you have one handy. Praise her, tell her how good she is, how wonderfully gentle she is. They respond really well just to our voices and our tones, without an actual treat. Often times, praise is a reward in itself, and you don't necessarily need to offer them tidbits. The way I look at it is, I can always provide praise and make a fool of myself using a baby voice telling them how great they are but I won't always have food handy.



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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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I think the positive way sounds great, all animals should be able to be treated with respect in all situations. I bet you could also say bring a chair to stand at the top of her cage(when she is on top not inside) and hold yummy snack and such, make soft cooeing noises and bribe her with treats. I find if Im a bit rough with Russel in making him step up he only gets angrier but if I just come in slowly and whenever he goes to nibble say no bite or like Tippa do the squawk and then I try slower from a different angle and praise him lavishly for stepping up. Russel doesnt seem to realize his cage is his but when I take him to the pet store he can get a bit grumpy and try to nip when I get him to step up, so I just go very slow and gentle

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 09:19 AM


 
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Try clicker training... get a dog clicker and then click and treat, click and treat , click and treat... the bird hears the click and expects the treat.... then move onto target training with a small stick ( I use a bamboo kabob skewer.) offer the stick and when the bird touches it( at this stage even if it is a bite) click and treat... repeat as many times ( in many training sessions) as it take for the bird to realize all they have to do is touch the stick and then it will get the click and treat. You can then start moving the stick and make the bird go to the stick and touch... then click and treat... eventually you should be able to move the stick near your hand and get the bird to step on you to reach the stick.. click and treat... good luck.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Nanay, I totally get that. I've heard you say it before, and as much as I understand it's her space this is a really big and frustrating problem. If I need her out of the cage for some reason, like going to the vet, or what if there was some emergency, and I just don't have time to mess around with getting her off of the cage, it's just way ridiculous. I need a solution of some sort. I feel so out of control here. Like she REFUSES to step up on the cage.




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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:33 PM


 
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If all fails then you'll just have to accept the next best way to get her off the cage or out the cage would be to use loose perch and get her to step up on to that, then take her to where ever she needs to go. In the mean time keep on looking for solution and don't give up. I do hope you succeed with the training.

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 09:15 PM


 
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Abby, I re-read my post, and it sounded a lot more preachy to me than I intended for it to sound. I do apologize for that. I shouldn't have written anything yesterday. I was beyond stressed about work - but, hey, I am a school teacher, and yesterday was my last day - finally!

I DO understand that you need to get her to come out of her cage sometimes. And, yes, it would be VERY frustrating. I, also, would be very frustrated.

I do not want to come across as knowing all the answers. In fact, I recently wrote about grey body language BECAUSE I am concerned about Ashlynn and the fact that I feel I am missing something in her body language, and I am very concerned that I am going to mess up her personality.

BUT - I do not think you have messed up Kiki's personality - I only mentioned that about Ashlynn because I am concerned that I will mess her up because she is a grey. Conures are very forgiving, and, anyway, I don't think you have done anything wrong. I just think Kiki started out being cage possessive right from the get go. Some birds just are.

Now, as far as what to do - after you wrap your head around the idea that you don't always have to be 100% in control of her, the solution actually becomes easy. This is the way my vet's lessons always go.

Number 1 - most important rule - Don't get bitten. Most birds, especially baby birds, and Kiki is still a baby, do not bite automatically. Biting is not their preferred method of communicating. If we don't listen to their other body language, then they are forced to bite us to get us to pay attention. After a while, they go straight to biting because we have taught them that biting is the only thing we understand. Every time a bird bites, it becomes more apt to bite again. So, above all, don't put the bird and yourself in a position in which it is likely to bite.

Number 2 - Positive reinforcement training builds up trust between you and your bird. This is straight from what the vet says in her training classes - so nothing I've come up with. I have to give her all the credit. She likens our relationship with our birds to a bank account. Every positive interaction you have with Kiki puts a deposit in your bank account. Every negative interaction takes a withdrawal out. Just because life happens, you WILL have negative interactions with her. You will inadvertently scare her, or she will HAVE to come with you to the vet because she has a medical need. The key is to keep your account with as high a positive balance as you possibly can, and the way to do that is to have tons more positive interactions with her than negative. This is where positive behavior training comes in.

Sooooooooooooo - my advice of what to actually do is to follow the advice given above by Parrotletsrock regarding clicker training. You don't have to use a clicker, but the clicker makes it a little easier. That is post number 9 in this thread. It is very well written. Eventually, after some clicker training, you will be able to teach Kiki to either step up onto your hand - or - and I would seriously consider this instead when stepping this particular bird up from either inside or on top of her cage - step up onto a hand-held perch.

Again, I apologize for the tone of my earlier post.


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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 09:36 PM
 
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Have you considered stick training? Perhaps she just has an aversion to hands



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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 06:33 AM



 
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Jenny, that was exactly what I was going to say, with all of my birds I start off using a stick and slowly I progress on to hands. My new cockatiel Tobi was completely wild, had never been handled by humans and was downright aggressive. I started using a perch for him to start stepping up on by putting it near his belly, eventually he caught onto the idea only it didn't exactly last very long. He started letting me put my hand near him without biting me enough to draw blood. He does occasionally step up now, it's taking time but he's getting there. I find the stick to be by far the most effective method in my bird world haha. I did exactly the same for Chewee and he's one of the most tame birds I have now, though he was also a pretty wild bird to start with

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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 07:55 AM


 
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The hand-held perch is I meant on my above post instead of calling it a loose perch, English is not my first language, apologies

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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-17-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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No worries, Tippa I knew what you meant



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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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To let you know what Kiki's biting is like, here is a video of her on my hands. Yes, I know she's cute, and yes I know she needs a nail trim.
YouTube - ‪Kiki Biting‬‏
It's getting out of hand. I think the only reason she stepped up is we recently moved her cage from downstairs back up here and the toys were rearranged. Her biting is really, really hurting. I got little cuts all over my hands. I think you can hear me gasp a few times in the video, too.




DIGBY 4-year-old male Congo African Grey
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 01:23 PM


 
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Abby! you need to show her who's the boss. You stood there letting her nipping you and not doing much to prevent the nipping. All comures does that and if you don't quake your hand and shout at the same time she'll just walk all over you.

You're already half way there, those are not bites, believe me I've been bitten by my female GCC and blood were pouring from my hand, only then you can call it a bite.

Kiki looks stubborn like my female conure except when mine bites I would bled, so you're in a much better position with Kiki than i'm with my female GCC.

The next time she does her beaking you must do the earth quake and shout out at the same time. Discipline her now before the bites are worse and draws blood. These Conures are not scared that easily so if you're thinking "earth quake" and "shouting" is going to scare her, it's not.

I've got 3 Conures and I shouted at them all the time and they're still as clingy to me as anything (that's just shows they're not scared). I made sure now with the younger Conure that he does not step out of line, once they got you by the balls it's just not fun anymore.

Please keep us updated with the training

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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hahaha, usually when she starts I put her down, or I look straight in her eyes and say "no" firmly. But if I shout, what if she takes that as reinforcement or likes it?




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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 01:39 PM


 
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Putting her down for being bad I don't think that is good. So when ever she wants to be put down she'll just bite to let you know she want to be put down (that's not good is it?)

What I do sometimes is "hiss" at my Conures instead of shouting if they nipped a bit too hard, that seems to ease clapping down of their beaks.

You'll just have to try out all the sounds you can make (just make sure the sound is very loud) and do the earth quake aswell, see which one works. I know you can do it, you're already half way there

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