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Old 07-14-2019, 07:51 PM
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Unhappy Cockatoo suddenly scared of me

Hello all,
Jojo my goffin cockatoo has been living with me for a few months now. He's known me for close to a year.
We have been buddies from the start, and I am actually pretty proud of our progress, as Jojo frequently bit people (out of excitement, usually) and I have curbed him of that habit.
One night, I decided to take him out before bed and give him some snuggles. I held him to my chest as I frequently do, when suddenly he let out a blood curdling screech. It was so loud and so sudden, that I sort of "threw" him away from me, not on purpose, but because I was so startled. He wasn't hurt, but ever since then, he has been absolutely terrified of me.
He refuses to step up completely. He still likes getting scritches, but he is very weary of me. He won't come out of his cage. If by some chance I get him out of his cage (by "force", after chasing him around the cage he slips past me and runs away on the floor) he refuses to come near me. This all has been going on for at least a week.
Today we made a little progress, after locking him out of the room his cage is in, I was able to get him to step up a few times, which he promptly left my hand and went for my shoulder, or preferably if available, a piece of furniture. I let him sit on the head of my chair while I browsed the computer for a while, but he is still super sketched out.
I'm ready to cry I'm so upset. We were so close that I could do literally anything with him and he didn't mind. Now he will bite (if he has to) to escape.
I'm really not sure what to do or how to mend our relationship.
We're pretty sure Jojo is male, and he's about 5 years old.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:28 PM
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Re: Cockatoo suddenly scared of me

I’m sure that others will respond with ideas. I’m so sorry that you and he had a scary incident. My first instinct is to just take your time, go back to building trust and move at his speed. Favorite treats (lots of them), talking and spending time nearby, let him come out on his own whenever possible. You were scared, he was scared... I think it will just take some time.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:54 PM
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Re: Cockatoo suddenly scared of me

The "I sort of "threw" him away from me" is what did it and chasing him not good and can destroy trust. You have to rebuild and take it slow and bribe him with treats he like.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:42 PM
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Re: Cockatoo suddenly scared of me

Very sorry to hear of this setback. Goffins can be very sensitive, but I suspect working at Jojo's pace should normalize the relationship. This thread has some excellent techniques: Tips for Bonding and Building Trust
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:45 AM
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Re: Cockatoo suddenly scared of me

Thank you guys so much for the advice. I worked with Jojo last night at a slower pace, and let him come to me, and rewarded him with his favorite treat (and scritches) when he did. This morning I was shocked to find that he not only came out of his cage by stepping up, but has been more cuddly than ever. (He’s demanding I pet him as I type this). It almost seems like we are back to where we were, and for that I am so thankful. Thank you again everyone for your recommendations. I am going to continue to go slow and reward good behavior with treats to keep working on our relationship. Thank you for the links, I will continue to read them, I only want to improve our relationship now that it’s back on track!
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:52 AM
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Re: Cockatoo suddenly scared of me

Quote: Originally Posted by Justrosie View Post
Thank you guys so much for the advice. I worked with Jojo last night at a slower pace, and let him come to me, and rewarded him with his favorite treat (and scritches) when he did. This morning I was shocked to find that he not only came out of his cage by stepping up, but has been more cuddly than ever. (He’s demanding I pet him as I type this). It almost seems like we are back to where we were, and for that I am so thankful. Thank you again everyone for your recommendations. I am going to continue to go slow and reward good behavior with treats to keep working on our relationship. Thank you for the links, I will continue to read them, I only want to improve our relationship now that it’s back on track!

Glad he seemed to recover from this! Hope you are aware also that 'cuddling' and 'petting' cockatoos should ONLY be done on the head area, otherwise any petting along the back, over or under the wings can easily stimulate them and it's not good to do this to them. It can make them really hormonal, frustrated and overly-bond to you. It could also be the reason why he screamed out in the first place, perhaps it was stimulating him a little too much...
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:03 AM
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Re: Cockatoo suddenly scared of me

So good to hear that things are getting back to normal!
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