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Old 09-10-2017, 07:31 PM
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Unhappy Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

Brace yourselves, it's a long one!
I have a Male double-yellow head/yellow nape amazon, about 9 years old. I LOVE my bird. I've had him since he was 18 months old, and he bonded to me rather quickly. He used to be very affectionate: he would groom my hair, give me kisses, etc.
Of course, puberty set in about 4 years ago and the cute little 'boy' I had turned into a rebel teenager who had new hormones and emotions he didn't know how to handle. He became unpredictable and started lunging/attacking me. I know these are pretty typical behaviors of a raging-hormonal bird (less-so towards the owner though?), so I started lessening the situations where he might attack me because the attacks are getting much worse..as examples, he goes bananas whenever I am cleaning-especially dusting- so I keep him in his cage during those times. He is no longer allowed on my shoulder or on the back of the couch (he has a portable stand AND travel cage in the living room so that he can still be part of the flock). I communicate with him anything I am about to do to lessen surprises. This seems to work most of the time. He has always been very good about me being near his cage; I can put my hand in there without worrying a finger might be gone when I pull it out. However, when it's close to bedtime and he is outside of his cage, he will bite me when I tell him to step up on my hand. So now let him know when it's almost bed time; I give him a couple of minutes, then I tell him again that it is bedtime and ask him to go inside his cage. He will go inside of his cage, no problem. I gave him a responsibility, he does it, and he gets praised.
Most of the time, he is very good bird to not just me but just about anybody else. Actually, I'm the only one who has truly felt the wrath of 'the nutcracker'. These attacks become less predictable and more severe. What is the most frustrating to me is that this behavior has been going on for at least 4 years now. Do males ever really snap out of it, or are they pretty much wild animals after puberty?
I wanted to include a bit about how I take care of bad behavior for some advice on how I can improve. His attacks have gotten worse, and only towards me. This last time, he was on the ground walking around (nothing new). He was going towards the bathroom (dark corners!), so I bent down, asked him to step up, and he walked towards me, gently got on my hand, and as soon as I slowly stood up, he bit my wrist..more like bit and started grinding...he got a tendon and some nerves; I am lucky I don't have permanent damage from that one. First reaction was I dropped my hand down and he dropped to the floor. I scooped him up with a towel (still working on stick training) and placed him in his cage where he was put to bed for the rest of the evening (it was around 7 or so).
For years I have looked and looked on forums all over the internet for advice, and so far it appears that I am at fault. I apparently did something that he didn't like or misinterpreted, so he attacks me. Instead of telling me that amazons do nothing wrong (baloney, I say!) and I'm the one at fault, what can I do? Is there anything I CAN do? Can he still get the social activity he needs even with no physical contact? He still loves to have his head scratched, but only under his terms and unpredictable conditions that I am dubious to accept.
Anybody that has had this experience or any helpful advice/words of wisdom from any of my questions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:25 PM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

Welcome to the forum . I could write a book about this topic. First and foremost this occurs when the bird is in charge. If the bird is calling the shots then chaos is 5he result. You need to find some way to be his leader. You need to take charge. Example is petting. Don't pet him until he bites to tell you that's enough. You stop before he's had enough and leave him want more of your attentions.
I don't know how much you know about wild flock behavior in amazons but there's a leader. Young birds will always test the boundaries to see if the strongest bird is leading the flock. You need to make him rely on you instead of him training you. Being a male and this behavior allowed to continue for so l9ng, you have a tough path ahead. Baby steps. Start finding ways to be a confident, out going and strong leader. Amazons should never be allowed to walk around and cause problems. They love the attention and crave the chaos, excitement it brings. I know you've hear it before but ignore the bad and praise the good.
Like I said find little ways to call the shots. They don't mind being a follower so long as they know a good leader is in charge. I'm sure we'll have many more interactions about this subject. And I stop here and let others chime in.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:52 AM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

All I can say on the basis of this is the usual limiting daylight for him to 12 hours a day maximum and giving him lots of exercise to wind down should help, also limit high energy foods and stick away from any mushy warm foods. Letting him know biting is unacceptable is the way to go, I won't say it's not his fault he is deciding that biting is the suitable course of action, but there is reason behind his biting. the simplest reason is that he's decided you're his mate and he wants to have babies BUT you won't do the do with him and he's confused as to what is going on with him so he's getting frustrated. React to things as calm as you can and let him know you won't take that biting, of course 4 years of it it's a bit ingrained so you've got to break the habit. Stick by what I will dub the 3 P's of Parrots. Persistence, Patience, Plasters.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:09 AM
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Jake YNA 1970,Kia Panama amazon1975, both i removed from nest and left siblings, Forever Home to,Stacie (YN hen),Mickie (RLA male),Blinkie (YNA hen),Kong (Panama hen),Rescue Zons;Nitro,Echo,Rocky,Rub
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

He's biting because he's been taught that it will control his human underlings.
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Long time amazon parent/breeder and many rescue zons. We are breeding 2nd generation of our Yellow Nape ,Double Yellow Head, Panama ,Orange Wing Amazons and TAGs, also outdoor aviary with flock of Cockatiels. If you need help or advice please feel free to contact me,if i can't help maybe i can find someone who can.Capt and "Jake" the YN
Avatar is myself and "Juanita" 12/59 Guatemala CA
Rescues looking homes,Mumbles(DYH male)Echo (YNA male) Rockie(BFA male) Nitro (YNA male) Yeah, Echo found a home
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 09-11-2017, 10:00 AM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

I'm very sorry to hear this is happening. I hope you can get the help you need from these wonderful, knowledgeable ppl on this forum.

Quote: Originally Posted by henpecked View Post
He's biting because he's been taught that it will control his human underlings.
I have an almost 1 & 1/2 year old male grey. Every time he bites me in anger I immediately tell him No & put him in his cage. Kind of a 'timeout' type discipline.
Is this in your experience & opinion the correct way to extinguish this behavior? If not what should I be doing?
I'd like to avoid what Rfemmer is dealing with before Levi enters puberty.

Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:12 PM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

Quote: Originally Posted by henpecked View Post
I could write a book about this topic.
I think a book is actually a great idea. There are not any books that I have found that truly capture amazon behavior.
In fact, I had NO idea that these birds 'rub' themselves on everything until my bird hit puberty.. Apparently no one even wants to touch that subject.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:01 PM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

Quote: Originally Posted by RFemmer View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by henpecked View Post
I could write a book about this topic.
I think a book is actually a great idea. There are not any books that I have found that truly capture amazon behavior.
In fact, I had NO idea that these birds 'rub' themselves on everything until my bird hit puberty.. Apparently no one even wants to touch that subject.
Try Sally Blanchard's book on 'Amazons', 'Biting', and her 'Companion Handbook' are great books! Check-out her website or the larger used books sites.

Wait until they Hit Puberty! Get your training in early, you will need it when they start puberty.

Highly sensitive parts of the body, overly interested in touching - never been around Human kids? Welcome to the World of Smart Animals and Parrots! Great, all we need is yet another book on Sexuality.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:26 PM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

Quote: Originally Posted by Tami2 View Post
I'm very sorry to hear this is happening. I hope you can get the help you need from these wonderful, knowledgeable ppl on this forum.

Quote: Originally Posted by henpecked View Post
He's biting because he's been taught that it will control his human underlings.
I have an almost 1 & 1/2 year old male grey. Every time he bites me in anger I immediately tell him No & put him in his cage. Kind of a 'timeout' type discipline.
Is this in your experience & opinion the correct way to extinguish this behavior? If not what should I be doing?
I'd like to avoid what Rfemmer is dealing with before Levi enters puberty.

Thanks!
Your process is good! Just make sure that you do not leave him in the cage very long! Parrots, like kids have very short memories! The Process is called Bit Pressure Training! As you noted "bites me in anger" is what you are working to reduce. As the amount of pressure reduces, the response can be only verbal with hard bites getting 'time outs'.

As you know, the Beak is the third claw and is used extensively for getting around. So, understanding what is holding-on and what is anger-biting is important. A Parrot hanging from your ear resulting from a slip is your fault not the Parrots!

Our older and/or injured (handicapped) Amazons have always been provided a finger for the Bill and the other hand for the claws to step-up on. This provides a greater level of stability for them and it works to increasing their acceptance of fingers being 'in their face,' if you will.

It is also a great tool for younger Parrots as you are teaching 'Step-Up.' Regardless of age, I use this method anytime that the 'Step-up' is from a difficult position for either the Amazon or myself. With Younger Parrots, the Hook Bill works great for steadying them as you use your finger under the upper bill to lift them slightly and slip your other finger /hand in under them.

Remember that Greys are very smart and will always be looking at being the boss! Pay close attention to your Parrots body language and vocals when you are working with your Parrot or when ever they are in your sight as they are always communicating, we just need to be aware of it and connect it to what is going on around them and us!

When you become in tune with your Parrot, no one can sneak-up on either of you!

Enjoy!

Last edited by SailBoat; 09-11-2017 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:34 PM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

Quote: Originally Posted by henpecked View Post
He's biting because he's been taught that it will control his human underlings.
I agree with Henpecked.

It's very easy to train a bird to bite. If the bird gets his or her way by biting, then you just trained the bird to bite. And every time he gets his way by biting you have just reinforced the point.

First order of business with mine is usually no bite, basic step up, touch training, and bite pressure training. Basically, I'm old school. Birds who bite end up on the floor when they try it. They get up when they step up nice, without biting. If they aren't nice, they meet my friend, MR. TOWEL. And they learn the expression "KNOCK IT OFF!"

Some of this could also be body language related. If you haven't read my post on amazon body language, I'd advise you to. If your zon is in "do not disturb" mode, and you persist with touching, or trying to pick the bird up, he's likely to nail you.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:40 PM
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Re: Help! Male amazon parrot unpredictable and aggressive towards owner/companion!

Quote: Originally Posted by Tami2 View Post
I'm very sorry to hear this is happening. I hope you can get the help you need from these wonderful, knowledgeable ppl on this forum.

Quote: Originally Posted by henpecked View Post
He's biting because he's been taught that it will control his human underlings.
I have an almost 1 & 1/2 year old male grey. Every time he bites me in anger I immediately tell him No & put him in his cage. Kind of a 'timeout' type discipline.
Is this in your experience & opinion the correct way to extinguish this behavior? If not what should I be doing?
I'd like to avoid what Rfemmer is dealing with before Levi enters puberty.

Thanks!
CAGS are a whole different ballgame from a bird training perspective.

CAGS, first of all, can out stubborn a mule, so humans pretty much aren't even competitive in the "stubborn" department. They can and will outlast you on some things.

Second, with most birds, you are reigning in bad behaviors, and setting boundaries. WITH A CAG you are dealing with a bird who sets boundaries WITH YOU, and you are expanding on what they will tolerate from you...

Bite pressure training is still possible. But take it slow. CAGS have to first "accept" your input before they behave. Even then, the only bird I've got that will occasionally nail me is my CAG. If he gets a bug up his butt about something WATCH OUT! That bird has a beak like a scissors!
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