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Old 03-01-2012, 07:59 PM
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"Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

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Hello to all.

As some of you know we've had Stitch home only about a week and a half. All things considered, things are going in a good direction. I ordered some training tools (a small table perch and clickers) but they have not arrived.

In the mean time, Stitchy will get ornery and start to scream whilst on his cage or his perch. It seems to be for different reasons, and sometimes it has a quick and easy solution. Other times it doesn't, and it's just to get attention or cause drama, and in this case it needs to be ignored, and he needs to be put in his cage.

The problem is that I cannot get him to step up without being mauled, so I need to towel him to move him bodily (I actually should say "tshirt" him, as that's what I use). So I very calmly and without force pick him up in the tshirt and return him to the cage, calmly and firmly say "no screaming Stitch" and walk away. Is this OK? I want to make sure I'm not psychically scarring him. He seems fine-- doesn't seem spazzed by the process. He bites at the cloth but I don't get the sense that he's terribly stressed by it (unlike Geordi, who acts like we're killing him if we have to towel him).

Advice? I plan to immediately start clicker training him ASAP, with step-up w/o biting me the primary goal. Is what I'm doing in the mean time ok?

Thank you!
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:13 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

Well, if he doesn't seem to mind being "T shirted", I suppose it's fine. Most birds do mind though. Will he step up onto a hand held perch? That might be easier for both of you.

I guess you need to determine the reasons for the screaming. If it is fear, well, I think they should be allowed to do that. Of course I tell them, "It's alright. You're fine."

If it's "I'm so happy to be alive, I must tell the world!" I think that's fine, too, although I know how piercing BCCs are when they do that one. It used to hurt my ears, but I was glad she was happy.

If it's for drama, then the best thing to do is ignore him until he's quiet again.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:24 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

I'm pretty sure that at certain times its for drama. But I agree with you, and I do try to intuit what he's looking for. Only when it seems totally dramarama do I feel it is important to go through this routine.

He's fearful of a hand-held perch, and get very upset and will fly off (and he's clipped right now, so it's not an elegant and controlled flight). Geordi is stick-strained, and so I did try it out with Stitch.

thanks RN.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:34 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

Keep trying with the hand held perch with treats, he will come around!!! My birds are perch trained!!!
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:18 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

My opinion is that it is highly doubtful he truly "doesn't mind" being towelled by the T-shirt. If he is so upset by a hand-held perch, I really cannot imagine why it is so OK for him to get towelled.

I would be VERY wary that what you are interpreting to be him "not minding" the T shirt is not in fact what behavioralists call "response blocking" and what you are doing with the T shirt may very well be what behavioralists call "flooding".

Whereas "flooding" does indeed result in "response blocking" in the short term, and therefore seems to solve the problem, it causes many problems in the long-term, with the development of "learned helplessness". In humans, "learned helplessness" is also called "depression".

A parrot in the wild has only a few response pathways. It might scream, it might fly away, or it might bite. Your parrot's wings are clipped and so flight is not an effective response strategy for him. By towelling him with a T shirt, you are disabling its biting strategy. It is therefore left with the screaming strategy. If you block this screaming strategy, what do you think will likely happen in the long term? In captivity, parrots have developed a very endearing and new strategy (NOT!!) which is called feather-picking or feather-plucking. If your parrot doesn't come up with this very charming strategy, it could become a stunned parrot that doesn't react to ANYTHING. I think in Scott Echols' "Captive Foraging" DVD, there is a short sequence showing a "stunned parrot" with "learned helplessness" which just stands there and doesn't do anything even when you poke a perch at it. Very sad!

So, what are better alternatives to "flooding"?

I would urge you to consider Susan Friedman's proposed hierarchy of intervention strategies, reprinted here courtesy of Barbara Heidenreich's Good Bird magazine:

http://behaviorworks.org/files/artic...%20Picture.pdf

Notice that the way you walk away after placing your parrot back in his cage is "Negative Punishment", which is a Level 5 intervention. I would strongly suggest to you that your oarrot doesn't REALLY "not mind" getting towelled, in which case, the towelling by the T shirt would be a Level 6 intervention. I would strongly urge you to EXHAUST all the Level 1 to Level 4 strategies before utilizing Level 5 and Level 6 strategies.

I agree with the others that using positive reinforcement to get your parrot to step up is MUCH MORE preferable to towelling him with a T shirt, but even this positive reinforcement method is only a Level 3 strategy. Are you sure that you have exhausted ALL your Level 1 and Level 2 options (ie, modifying the antecedents)?

Hope this helps,
Enjru
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:44 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

I don't know if this will help you, and I've only had my cockatoo, Shelby, for a couple of weeks, so I'm absolutely no,..... expert.

For a cockatoo she's very quiet, but has her moments.

I've learned what noises she makes mean different things.

The one's I will pay attention to by talking tio her-

1- short burst squawking- means please pay attention to me !
2- long burst squawking- means if you don't pay attention, I'll scream !
3- short low pitch- I'm hungry ! (kinda cute)
4- short high pitch- She'll get low and point to where she wants to go, either she wants to be with me, go to her stand, or cage.

5- Screaming- is like a child that is throwing a temper-tantrum, so I make her have a "time out" in her cage.

After about 5 minutes, I will tell her "that's enough", and if she doesn't stop, I'll take back to her cage and shut the door. Most of the time she immediately stop. Then again about 5 minutes later, I'll tell her to "be a good girl, and I'll let you out". She already knows my "law" lol,....but at times, still challenges me. It's really not much of an issue now, as she knows what will happen.

The one I do not,... pay attention to-

1- Natural squawking at dawn & dusk- is a sound that's a long "calling" sound and I leave her to what is natural.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:02 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

Quote: Originally Posted by 427HISS View Post
I don't know if this will help you, and I've only had my cockatoo, Shelby, for a couple of weeks, so I'm absolutely no,..... expert.

For a cockatoo she's very quiet, but has her moments.

I've learned what noises she makes mean different things.

The one's I will pay attention to by talking tio her-

1- short burst squawking- means please pay attention to me !
2- long burst squawking- means if you don't pay attention, I'll scream !
3- short low pitch- I'm hungry ! (kinda cute)
4- short high pitch- She'll get low and point to where she wants to go, either she wants to be with me, go to her stand, or cage.

5- Screaming- is like a child that is throwing a temper-tantrum, so I make her have a "time out" in her cage.

After about 5 minutes, I will tell her "that's enough", and if she doesn't stop, I'll take back to her cage and shut the door. Most of the time she immediately stop. Then again about 5 minutes later, I'll tell her to "be a good girl, and I'll let you out". She already knows my "law" lol,....but at times, still challenges me. It's really not much of an issue now, as she knows what will happen.

The one I do not,... pay attention to-

1- Natural squawking at dawn & dusk- is a sound that's a long "calling" sound and I leave her to what is natural.
Sounds like Shelby has you trained right !
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:20 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

My wife AGREES !!!

I say,..."she just loves,ssssss me, and wants me to be proud of her !!! lol
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:30 PM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

Quote: Originally Posted by 427HISS View Post
My wife AGREES !!!

I say,..."she just loves,ssssss me, and wants me to be proud of her !!! lol
Oh she loves you alright
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:01 AM
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Re: "Disipline" for screaming - is this OK?

I sort of decided last night to quit the towelling thing, as I think it's causing a rift.

I should clarify that I didn't think that he literally didn't mind it, as I stated, so much as it doesn't seem to make him panic. My sense it that it makes him angry though, which isn't a good thing in the long run.

It's frustrating not not be able to move him into his cage if necessary at this moment (if my husband is home he can do it without issue). It seems like some of the noise is posturing and competing with Geordi at times.
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