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Old 12-08-2019, 12:06 PM
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Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

My wife and I adopted our Cockatoo for 8 years now, and we love her dearly.
Since day one, she picked me over my wife and we understand that. But she has bitten Patty several times, but never hard, they were like warning nips.

We have three dogs and she only goes after our Sheltie, which we are very close. We also have three cats, but they get along fine. So lately, Shelby has been in trouble with us. She has the play stand near the front window and our couch about 6' away. When we are watching TV, she'll say her favorite words, "hey baby" every five seconds that is very irritating. She'll come down and come over to the couch and sit in my lap, then walk over to Patty and act tough or, maybe wanting to play as she likes to play tug a war.

She goes after our Shelite, chasing him on the floor. It's funny, yet we don't let her ! When he's between the couch and light stand, on my side, she'll get on my lap then on the arm chair, looking down at him. We call it "stocking".
We know she's picked out whom I'm closest to.

We also have a small stand that's 2' feet from me, and start repeating "hey baby" over and over..... Again irritating. It's very bothersome. I'll say stop numerous many times, then take her her room's sleep cage and say, "you can come back if you'll" be good". A lot of times , like 15 minutes later, she'll say, "I'll be good".

If Patty is not on the couch, she's quiet. I feel like she's protecting me from Patty and the dog. We do NOT,... play her game or praise her when doing any of it, even after chasing the dog. It is funny though, to see her racing across the house,... like a chicken with it's head cut off.

I have some very bad health problems, so I get upset when she constantly repetitively... says her hey baby. One person actually told me to get rid of her, and I asked him, would you ever get rid of your dog, he replied, it's only a bird. I about smacked him !

So anyway, we will NEVER sell her. She's as important to us as any family member, or any human being.

There has to be a way of changing her behavior ?

Kevin & Patty.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:57 AM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

I admire your perseverance with Shelby and the desire to maintain an agreeable "forever home."

Some behaviors can be addressed with conditioning such as bite pressure and clicker/target training: Bite pressure training?
Clicker & Target Training

Avoidance of repetitive speech patterns may require more creativity than I can conjure. Few of my parrots talk, and the most prolific (FBA) is not at all annoying.

Respectfully, I have grave concerns about allowing Shelby to chase the sheltie. Birds are creatures of prey and extraordinarily vulnerable to injury. Dogs and cats may have repeated peaceful interactions with a parrot, then one day the dynamic changes for unknown reasons resulting in tragedy. Sadly, our Bereavement Forum is filled with horrific examples.

I hope other members will offer ideas to make life with Shelby far more enjoyable!
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:25 AM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

I think you might be reinforcing the unwanted talking by telling her to stop. She doesn't understand what you say, just that you're talking to her. Could your wife remove her from the room rather than you? Again a few seconds with you sounds like a reward.

What comes across to me is that she wants your attention and "plays up" when she doesn't get it. Could you play with her while watching the TV or not have her with you when you want to watch TV and not play with her? Does she have toys to shred and destroy on her play stands?

I know the level of interaction cockatoos need is OFF THE SCALE, especially when compared to my independent little Alexandrine, but I long gave up on the idea of "just hanging out watching TV" while he is out of his cage. If he's out he wants my attention!
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:52 AM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

Just chiming in to agree with what's already been said. It must sound silly to hear us advising you not to allow your bird to be out with your other animals when you've obviously done it for many years with no drama. Clearly, everyone's managed to get along fine up to now, so why the bother?

Well, it's because it only takes *one* mishap for everything to go pear-shaped. If Shelby connected with the Sheltie and managed a well-placed bite, I'd expect the Sheltie to whip round and bite right back in absolutely reasonable self-defence. You'd end up with one headless Shelby! Same with the cats.

Our rule of thumb here is that birds should *never* be allowed access to other animals for any reason. This is because in any and every conflict, the bird would come out the loser by a long margin. It only takes one toxic scratch from a cat or dog to kill a bird slowly and painfully. I know this from experience: A cat-scratch put me in hospital for two weeks with pasteurella and bartonella infections!

Regarding the 'hey baby', the only thing you could do would be to ignore it and try to replace it with a different behaviour (preferably a non verbal one). The thing is that every time you jump up and remove her or 'punish' her for 'Hey Baby' you're giving her the attention she craves. Suppose you kept her in her cage whenever you watch TV and invest in a set of headphones in order to listen to it and to cut out most of Shelby's delightful commentary? If your wife wants to watch too, you'll need two sets. Best I can think of at the moment, sorry.

Hm. Just had an idea. What if you discovered an amazing toy that Shelby absolutely craved and only gave it to her during TV sessions? Does she have a rope swing or a dangling rope to play on? My corella *loves* her ropes and spends many hours each day swinging and rotating and climbing and basically behaving like a fair pork chop. Maybe you could teach Shelby to enjoy swinging and then give her a rope for the duration of the TV shows you like to watch. Remove the rope when you're finished. Shelby would soon get the idea that rope-play is only for a limited, defined time. We'd hope she'd put that time to good use and play rather than serenading you with 'Hey baby'. Might work, might not, but it's worth a try.

Other ideas: dog/cat balls that contain rattles or bells (make *sure* the bell can't be removed by Shelby's powerful beak); a good old piece of untreated timber to chew on or some nice stout cardboard to shred into confetti; a piece of corn cob to chomp on (leave a few corn kernels for a treat); an egg carton to shred.

'Nother idea: buy a packet of the little paper cups you use for cupcakes. In each one, wrap up a single sunflower seed or piece of peanut. Put your little parcels inside an egg carton along with plenty of shredded paper or even empty packets. Leave Shelby to work out that sweeties are in the little parcels and she has to open them all to find which ones. Do this at the beginning of TV. You get the idea: you just need to give her something new and intriguing to do while you watch telly. Hope something works for you. My corella can't say much very clearly, but oh boy she's LOUD. She drowns out the tv with no effort whatsoever. Thankfully, her sleep schedule no longer includes evening viewing so we don't have that problem any more.
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:43 PM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

I agree-- you can't control the dogs reaction (which is clearly reinforcing to the bird). This means that you will have to keep them apart for now....I will try to say more later. I am guessing your reactions are as well to some extent.
?
THANK YOU FOR CARING AND SEEING HER AS FAMILY! They really do need that (even though they can be giant hand-fulls...understatement of the year, perhaps?) lol
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Old 12-11-2019, 01:30 AM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

wish i could give you some advice but i cant i have 0 experience with these kind of situations but im sure the rest of the forum will help
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:16 PM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

Sorry for not getting back to you. I have brain damage after a injury as a two year old, so I have headaches to migraine's and the worst, electrical "zaps" 24/7. So it's difficult to respond most the time. Then 1.5 years ago a Lady rear ended me in my truck at 35 mph.
My physical therapist said after starting her business 8 years ago, I have the worst whiplash she's ever seen. I've had 30 nerves in my neck removes, three surgery's on me neck, shoulder and left arm.

Since I still have pain, the pain specialist's at the Mayo's Clinic worked with a local doctor at the Nebraska Pain Institute. They installed a devise called a Spinal Cord Stimulator in my lower right back. I have a remote control that can be adjusted to kill the pain between nerves and brain. It has helped my shoulder and arm, but only 25% of my neck. So far, I have two programs to choose from right now, but they want to start slowly, then gradually create more. It's not a fix all of patient's pain, but between 35% to 75%. The company's name is Boston Scientific. Anyone interested, do a search and their on Youtube. It is very interesting.

Anyway, Patty and I need to try and change Shelby's mind-set, and thanks to you guys help and ideas, we might be able to help her !

Someone said to quit giving her the bags of seeds for a treat, as they can mess up their Physiological mind, is that true ? Can human food also change them ?
Once a while we'll let her have a small piece of cheese and she loves pasta.

My round about is, I'm home most the time so I can spend a lot of time with her. But, I lay down twice a day, so I put her in her cage. We've tried to put toys in there, but seldom plays with them. She does like shredding box's etc, but they don't last long. lol...
We need to make some type of toy box for her to play with. She likes playing tug a war with Patty with a Shelby's,... blanket we have on the couch.

Last edited by 427HISS; 01-12-2020 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:49 PM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

Yes food can change their behavior. Seeds should be given in moderation (not ever as their sole source of nutrition). Human food in extreme moderation only. Careful letting her play with a box---that is a major hormonal trigger and can definitely increase hormonal aggression. No access to shadowy spaces or nesting-type materials. You can give her other things to shred, but even the act of shredding paper can be a trigger in an already-hormonal bird (I take away shredding toys if I see any weird aggression in my bird when it is coupled with a desire to seek out shadowy spaces etc or any mate-defending tendencies).
DO NOT MAKE A BOX TOY FOR A COCKATOO WITH BEHAVIOR ISSUES (or any cockatoo- ever)..this could be tied to her behavioral issues (they are cavity nesters and so a box simulates that type of nesting environment, as does the shredding of the box).

Also, be careful allowing her to play with blankets--- fabrics like that and pillows etc also can be hormonal triggers......

Last edited by noodles123; 01-12-2020 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:54 PM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

Bag of seeds is pretty fatty/oily and over time causes health issues and reason why people say avoid giving them as a treat, it junk food to birds. Cheese and Pasta is ok and my U2's tend to love that. Just avoid anything with avocados as it contain persin, a toxin that can make your bird very sick or even kill her. The Guatemalan avocado variety, which is the most common one sold in stores, is especially toxic. Also avoid anything with orion in it. There is a few others, but those are the main two as far as people food goes. Do try to feed you bird fresh vegetables and fruit chop up in a food processor.

Now as far as working out behavior issues it take time and a lot more to it, but can be dealt with. My baby my female U2 was a terror and would bite, chase and attack anyone that came near and now she the most friendliness bird and did a 180 turnaround. Right now don't have the time to write it out. Someone here likely will post about how to deal with behavior issues more in detail before I get then chance to.

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Old 01-12-2020, 01:04 PM
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Re: Our Cockatoo "Shelby" Behavior Towards Wife And Dog

Quote: Originally Posted by noodles123 View Post
Yes food can change their behavior. Seeds should be given in moderation (not ever as their sole source of nutrition). Human food in extreme moderation only. Careful letting her play with a box---that is a major hormonal trigger and can definitely increase hormonal aggression. No access to shadowy spaces or nesting-type materials. You can give her other things to shred, but even the act of shredding paper can be a trigger in an already-hormonal bird (I take away shredding toys if I see any weird aggression in my bird when it is coupled with a desire to seek out shadowy spaces etc or any mate-defending tendencies).
DO NOT MAKE A BOX TOY FOR A COCKATOO WITH BEHAVIOR ISSUES (or any cockatoo- ever)..this could be tied to her behavioral issues (they are cavity nesters and so a box simulates that type of nesting environment, as does the shredding of the box).

Also, be careful allowing her to play with blankets--- fabrics like that and pillows etc also can be hormonal triggers......

Cockatoos love boxes and a huge hormonal trigger. I remember one lady that use to work at the store Baby my female U2 use to be at before I adopted her and she would tap the box Baby was digging playing with and Baby would come out and come down on the side of the cage and chase her for that and then get larger fluff up squawk and bite. Avoid boxes and anything that can be used as nesting material and don't allow them in dark corners and under stuff. My pair will try to find a nesting location and then have to get them out and I have to block it off, then they will try to find another spot. Yes my male will tend to hiss at me for removing them and keeping them from nesting.

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