Another Teenager in the House.
Some part of me was hoping I had more time with my quirky baby boy, but it seems like Reptar has different ideas. He's just a week or so past the five month mark, but we're pretty sure he's hitting puberty like a semi truck through a pie factory. We've been jokingly referring to it as "the beginning of the end". Overall, I'm really not too worried. I was well aware this 'teenage' period was coming, and obviously it can't really be avoided. I've read what I can, but still don't feel fully prepared. It really comes down to the fact that I want Reptar to come out on the other side as the same loving companion he has been up until this point. There are just a couple things in particular, but I want to do this right for both of our sakes. I'll try to keep it brief.
Okay so. With Bird, he's always been aggressive towards keyboards so its something I'm used to. But this is just.. different. When I'm watching netflix, typing or playing on my ipad, Reptar will fly to my head, do the typical playful climb down the side of my head and lay on his back on my shoulder with his feet in my hair. Its how I judge his mood, when he does this, he's happy and enjoying himself. Usually I'll give him scritches, he'll play with my fingers, etc. When I stop scratching him and return to whatever I was doing, it suddenly becomes a big problem for him. He runs down my chest, all fluffed up, tail fully fanned out, and suddenly goes into attack mode against my hands.
I'm used to the conure nips, they don't really bother me, but holy dang do these hurt. The only thing he doesn't do is draw blood, yet. Reptar has never been a biter. The fact that he will physically bite so hard, and keep biting over and over, its just not him. It doesn't seem to be the keyboards though. It's more like he's super angry that I'm not paying attention to him or that I stopped scratching him.
I don't react to the bites, say 'no' firmly, and move him away but he'll just run right back and start biting again. If it keeps going, I put him in the cage for a few minutes, which he absolutely hates. Is there something else I could be doing? I don't want him to get into this habit of thinking he can bite me for scritches. Reptar loves my mom, my friends love Reptar. He's a popular bird around here, and I'm actually scared to even let him be around them right now. If he bites me like that, I can handle it. I can't count on the others to react the same way.
He's started treating our dog Jazz similarly. She's gone from retired top dog to bird assault victim. Jazz is 13 years old, mostly deaf and losing her sight a bit we think. She's content to spend 90% of the day asleep on the couch. When he's out in the living room, everything can be fine for hours, nothing happens. But out of the blue, he'll suddenly land on the couch and go into attack mode. Biting at her paws, lunging at her until Jazz is effectively run off the couch completely. Then he flies away and goes on like nothing happened. He's never done this before. He would occasionally be curious about her, but nothing major. And suddenly, she's a target.
I've been limiting his time out in the other room and any time he flies around, I'm ready to jump to the couch in case he lands there. If he does try to approach Jazz, he gets returned to my room. Again, I'm not exactly sure how to go about it. It's not like I can give him a treat when he leaves her alone. Just keeping him out the living room doesn't exactly solve the problem either. He's been fine for months and nothing has changed except this whole moody period, I hate to think that this is going to be a perpetual problem for the future.
In general, I've found a couple solutions that seem to work well for me for the biting, even if they aren't exactly typical. When he starts biting, I can flip him onto his back and as long as he's holding onto one of my fingers, he calms down and just chills there for a bit. Last night he was getting nippy and I shoved him into the big sweater I was wearing and he just curled up and fell asleep. These were more responses out of frustration in the moment, and even if they work, I want to make sure I'm not making things worse.
Basically, I can read all I want about it but he does things like this, and suddenly I can't remember anything I should be doing to curb the behavior. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but Reptar means a lot to me. It tends to cloud your thinking a bit. Any thoughts or better possible ways to go about either issue, I would love.
lindsay, owned by three conures
six tiels, two dogs & two tortoises