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Old 07-16-2017, 04:19 PM
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Unhappy Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away)

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Hi,

I've had a Blue Front Amazon parrot for 4 years now. I got him when he was 11 months old. When I got him, he had never been touched, and was extremely wild.

Even now, he NEVER lets me touch him. In the past 4 years I've had him, he's maybe let me touch him three times briefly. I feel like I have followed all the (countless) advice people have given me. I just don't understand what to do with him. I was so eager to get a parrot and so prepared and invested in having him as a companion for many years. But now, I'm thinking of honestly just giving him away.

He flies on the paintings (we have many) and sharpens his beak on them (he has plenty of material to sharpen his beak on in his cage) when I have told him literally THOUSANDS of times NO over FOUR years. I understand he has to sharpen his beak but he flies on the SAME painting when I have SAID NO THOUSANDS OF TIMES.

What prompted this emotional rant is that i was looking after my friends wolf hybrid for a weekend, and the dog literally understood what I expected from her after telling her roughly 15 times. I know parrots aren't programmed to "please" their owners the way dogs are, but it just really makes me question everything.

I had more fun with that dog for 2 days than I EVER had with my parrot.

I just want a healthy relationship with him where I can take him out of his cage and train him and play with him where both of us have a good time.

I feel extremely sorry for him because due to our non-existent relationship we both suffer, especially him I'm not the one stuck in a cage 24/7. I've tried so hard to be patient and loving and talk to him in a happy tone and spend time with him but there is NO change.

We live in Vienna, Austria, and wing clipping is illegal here, which I heard could help me solve this insurmountable issue.

Please help me or advise me in any way. This is a last resort.
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:05 PM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

You can skip this Post if you like - it will be filled with little more than In Your Face Tough Love and pointing the blame directly on the Humans in your Home.

Where have you been for the last few years?
Where have you been getting your information on working with Amazons?
Why didn't you provide a Thread long before this point?
There has been numerous Threads covering issues that you have presented in the Amazon Forum.
There has been reports back from Owners who have reported success.
In just the last five pages in the Amazon Forum are many Threads that would be of great help.

As part of the Amazon Forum, the first sticky found at the top in light blue regarding understanding Amazon Body Language. Have you read it and if you have, have you read it more than once?

So, you made it to this point, congratulations! So, there maybe is a glimmer of hope that you are willing to start all over! Are you? If so there are ways of beginning from a very deep hole and recover from it! But for that to happen you have to accept 'ALL' the blame, to know that it is ALL you're fault and that you are totally the reason you and the others in your home are where you are today! That is difficult for most people to accept and assume the full responsibility. If it is something that you are willing to do, help will be provided. If not, well that's your choice and also your loss.

A real basic:
The Amazon is NEVER at Fault! The Human is Always at Fault! From this vantage point, the Human can see more quickly what you are doing wrong and correct it!

Amazons are not electronic toy that have buttons that you switch-on and off or come with software that you can upgrade or add plug-ins, etc.

The reality is that there is an Amazon in front of you that wants to have a functioning relationship with you and the others in your home! They are born with a want to bond with their family.

To some degree, I am sorry for the Tough Love, but the reality is; that Amazon is worth providing a really home. Your question is are you that family?

Last edited by SailBoat; 07-16-2017 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:12 PM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

If you temporarily clip his wings whos gonna know. They will grow back.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:38 AM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

Thanks for reaching out..you will find great help here. I did! And even though my beloved doolie is no longer with us,i will be forever greatful for the people who helped me with him.please give us a shot..keep us posted
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:07 AM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

What you saw with the canine is this: dogs are domesticated. Parrots are not. They are merely tame. Dogs have evolved over thousands of years to live with humans, and they have a pack / hierarchical social structure much like ours, so it's easy for us to understand them and for them to understand us.

Parrots, on the other hand, are but a few generations away from the wild. They don't have a dominant/submissive culture like us, or like dogs. Parrots may guard resources or territory but they don't try to establish control - they are part of the flock. Your parrot doesn't know what "no" means and won't even if you say it another thousand times. You know what he understands? That when he flies to this painting, you get really excited and make entertaining noises and movements, so he does it again and again. The way to stop himdoing it is to make it impossible. Move the painting to another room, put a protective plexi box around it, put a perch on the wall near it with a better beak scratchy thing. Birds don't want to please us, but they can be trained gently to learn to exist in a human world. The bird will never act like a dog, or like a human, so the only hope is for you to think like a bird.

I recommend Sally Blanchard's Companion Parrot handbook. It's out of print, but you can find used copies for sale, and I believe she has a few copies on her website. If you don't try, and give the parrot away, you may always regret it. Amains can be wonderfully engaging companions, but only if they get appropriate interactions and are respected for who they are. They aren't wusses! They won't submit. But when one chooses to love you...well...it's worth the effort. Good luck, and please do come back and tell us how it goes.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:34 AM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

All great advice given. I think what happened is you jumped into getting a parrot (a very wild one, too) and thought that with a little bit of training it would listen to you and love you just like a dog would. NOPE!!!

I have a dog. I love him to death, he is very well-behaved and shows me affection and is a blast. I also love my birds. But they get spooked easily. If I do my hair different they freak out. They scream for no reason, just because they want to. They don't like getting picked up all the time. But I knew this -- I knew that they were not going to be like dogs when I got them, and that's something I realized from the start.

Having the expectations that your parrot is going to be like a well-trained dog, you were just looking for failure on this. Parrots are NOT domesticated like cats and dogs! They don't live by our rules, they're not going to sit and stay and be obedient like a dog learns to be. They still have these incredible instincts inside them that make them not so great to own, especially in the spring-summer seasons when hormones are high and they tend to get aggressive and testy.

Essentially this is what you're saying -- your parrot isn't as affectionate and obedient like the dog you played with despite all the work you put in so you're thinking of giving it away. Please don't give up on your Amazon just because it doesn't act like a dog. I will say this, though...having a parrot is like nothing most people are ready for. We generally have to find ways to work around THEM, not the other way around. If you can't do this, then maybe you should find it another owner who is dedicated to taking care of it, whether or not it is 'dog-obedient' or not.

Some birds, even worked with a whole lot, don't like being touched. Especially wild-caught birds, may never FULLY come around the way you're describing -- allowing head scratches, stepping up when asked, etc.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:35 AM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

Hi I feel quite sorry for you since you must really be at the end of your tether. I am a very new pet to a little conure and to be honest hadn't a clue but I have lurked around this site posting the odd question/comment and read and read until I almost need glasses. Has it been worth it? Oh yes! Stick in there - be guided by those with the experience and know-how.
I am also a dog owner and the relationship is completely different. You can own a dog and if you do it right it will look up to you, follow you around and make you his god. I get the feeling so far that parrots simply aren't geared that way and it takes a completely different set of rules.
Get it wrong with a dog and it will attack you so I guess it's not so different with a bird. I talk dog language very well. Give me any mutt and I will give you back a beautifully trained companion, but you have to learn the language and the rules. Same with a parrot I believe. I am still at baby stage with my parrot language skills but I'm progressing slowly and luckily my Green Cheek is being very patient with me. It sounds as if your feathered friend is just waiting for you to start learning how to communicate and become part of his flock.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:48 AM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

Great advice above.

Here's the thing. Parrots and dogs really are different. The why's have already been covered multiple times, so I'll simply address one of the how's. As any watcher of Cesar Milan knows, the key to training a dog is to set yourself as the alpha. This is a structure the dog understands, and through which he/she can find contentment and happiness.

Conversely, you do not train a bird through dominance. Or, at least, not effectively. You train a bird by figuring out a way to get the bird to want to do as you ask. This is achieved through patience and consistency using positive association. My birds, for instance, have learned where they are allowed to fly and where they aren't, how to differentiate between colors and to fetch the color of ring I request and bring it to me, to go where I ask without question, to spin on command, to shake my hand, to lift their wings on command, to stay put when I ask it of them (mostly), and to gently beak my hand as a form of communication instead of biting. But I was only able to teach them these things once I accepted their differences from dogs.

Via conditioning, they get as excited about training time as I do. It's become something they enjoy. The same tendency that makes negative behaviors such as plucking so difficult to counter in parrots is the same thing that allows them to pick up on the good behaviors that you want them to learn: association and ingrained habit. Once behaviors that you want them to perform become strongly associated to a good treat (or whatever reward the bird most loves) they come to react to performing said behavior same as they would to the treat that often follows. You know, not unlike the salivation response in Pavlov's dogs to the sound of the dinner bell.

But you have to be willing to reset from zero to make this work.

Also, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to put in this work. If not, it may be that a parrot is simply not for you. Only you can truly answer that question. But as others have said, if you do stick it through you'll find that birds are very much worth the effort.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:34 PM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

Hi bostralian, I hope you're still reading the responses, I have a feeling they might be what you expected, but probably not what you hoped for!

I'm afraid I can't disagree with the tough love above, but it doesn't seem like that's the issue. I've had a look at your previous posts and they are all very consistent, although it does look like you had some success with getting him to fly to you at some point?

So did your weekend with your friend's dog make you wish your parrot was like that - which as you know is unrealistic and all you are doing is setting him up to fail. Or did it make you realise that the quality of life you're giving your bird is worse than you'd thought? Plenty of people have 'hands off' birds that are quite happy. Not being able to physically interact doesn't necessarily mean things aren't good.

I understand your frustration and heartache and I wonder if the situation can be boiled down to a very simple example... your parrot still wipes his beak on the same picture despite having being told no thousands of times not to. Yet you haven't taken the picture down. Or put something on the frame to mean it's safe that he can do it. My guess is that absolutely everyone with birds has had to move or change things - or accept their inevitable destruction - because of their birds. I certainly have and still have to most weeks! The fact that you haven't done this might show your level of commitment, or your expectations of your bird, or that you have priorities in life that mean a parrot isn't the best companion for you and you for it.

I don't think you should keep your bird at all costs. He may be unhappy, which for me is the most important thing. Or you might have just been letting off steam and this isn't a true reflection of how you feel and your relationship.

It would be good to know what you think after you've had time to digest all this.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:38 PM
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Re: Permanently strained relationship with Amazon parrot (considering giving him away

P.S. Please please please don't clip his wings! Even if no-one would know!!!
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