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Old 07-06-2014, 07:51 PM
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Unhappy Nervous New Caique Owner

Hi All,

Hope everyone is well. You all seem like a super helpful/supportive bunch. I'm hoping you can give me some words of advice from your experiences?

I just brought home a new 4 month old baby back-headed caique and I have the most nervous stomach that I'm doing everything wrong!

I've been reading all the blogs and professional sites for information on behavior and training, but putting it all into practice has been challenging... especially when it comes to screaming.

I know you're supposed to ignore the screaming because coming up to the bird can be perceived as rewarding it with attention for bad behavior... but I can't tell yet why it's screaming... I don't know it its scared and I should be checking on it or if there is something else I'm missing? I also don't know what the appropriate amount of time is to wait until I go back into the room and stop ignoring him.

He's in our living room which is where we do everything, including eat, so it's been difficult for us to keep walking into the bedroom to show him we're not pleased with his screaming, especially when we're not sure if we should wait 5 minutes or 15 or longer until we go back out!

The other thing I'm curious about is treats. We used treats on the first day to very quickly teach him "step up" but now he looks for a treat every time he steps up (even when we don't give the command) and he nibbles (hard) on our finger tips in search for goodies.... how do we get verbal praise to be enough?

So nervous!!
Ash
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:47 AM
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Re: Nervous New Caique Owner

Quote: Originally Posted by Tuki1030 View Post
The other thing I'm curious about is treats. We used treats on the first day to very quickly teach him "step up" but now he looks for a treat every time he steps up (even when we don't give the command) and he nibbles (hard) on our finger tips in search for goodies.... how do we get verbal praise to be enough?
This is why I don't like to use food for step up training. Stick to verbal praise and scritches to encourage the good behavior. When you praise him, make a HUGE exciting fuss. He'll want to step up just to see you react that way.

You could also try only rewarding with a treat every other time you ask him to step up, and then moving to every third time, etc. If the rewards come at random times, he'll learn not to expect it every single time.

When he nibbles your fingers, tell him "no bite" or "be gentle" in a stern, but calm manner. Don't raise your voice or make it exciting for him. You don't want to reinforce it.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:41 PM
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Re: Nervous New Caique Owner

Thank You, witchbaby! We'll try that. Definitely been working on the excessive, excited verbal praise. Like this morning, we were teaching him to play with his toys (in preparation for leaving him alone all day for the first time) and when he jumped up on his card board rings I threw him a parade basically haha)...

He was better than expected this morning with the screaming/crying but I still move on eggs shells around the house trying not to do anything I think will make him squawk. I've been trying very best to praise praise praise when he makes quite little peeps and coos... but still unsure of it all!! ackkk.
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:23 PM
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Re: Nervous New Caique Owner

Is he baby begging ? Did you get him when he was just weaned ? Sometimes baby birds regress when you first bring them home [and do this consistent wail when they see you.) If that's what it is ,try at set times feeding on a spoon warm oatmeal mixed with formula [watch the temperature]. Try morning afternoon and evening .Eventually he should refuse the formula [also keep regular food in cage] . I ve had to do this before . Good luck
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:40 AM
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Re: Nervous New Caique Owner

Hi Pinkbirdy!

Actually I don't think that's it because he seems to be a healthy eater, trying a variety of pellets, seed, and fresh fruits that we give him daily. So that being said, I don't think any of his crying has to do with food... I definitely think it's an attention/attachment thing because it's usually when I or my boyfriend leave the room or the apartment.

I guess it's just tough trying to navigate how long to wait before entering the room again , especially when he alternates between good and bad behavior... sometimes he'll squawk for 2 minutes and then make quiet noises and as soon as I start to return to the room to reward him, he'll cry again and then I get nervous that he thinks I'm rewarding him for crying instead of the good noises he was just previously making.

I don't know if I'm making any sense! haha
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:35 PM
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Re: Nervous New Caique Owner

I know what you mean. You need to teach him to be a confident little bird Hes a baby ,take him out at set times [love him up] . Try every type of toy you can to figure out what he likes leather ,newspaper ,plastic . I found when mine were babies they were big beggars .Their night call was louder then than it is now. Its ok to see these guys [their different than Toos ] I have three . Check out Sally Blanchards site [I love her methods].
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:43 AM
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Re: Nervous New Caique Owner

Thanks, Pinkbirdy! I'm going to read up on Sally Blanchard now. My dad and sister are coming over to meet him later as well so I've been studying up on socializing techniques. He met my mom the other day and things went relatively well. Appreciate the support.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:41 AM
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Re: Nervous New Caique Owner

As Pinkbirdy says, it's prob just baby begging.. My "baby" Skittles is over a year old now and still does it from time to time. It stops when we have one on one "flat birdy time" (holding him close with one hand, he flattens out on my chest and gets head skritches. Sometimes Chica will come and preen his head for him while he's there. Of the four, he's the only one who does this and needs such occasional attention!
Baby begging is more of a grating drawn out "whaaaa" then a loud scream or contact call.

A gentle shake of your finger will minimize the nipping, and in extreme cases, learn to firmly (but gently) hold the head around the ears to reinforce the no BITE policy. Understand though that a nip is REALLY common while playing or when telling you they don't WANT to do something. Work with it and play back by gently grabbing the beak while finger wrestling. It's only really a concern when it draws blood.
Of course if it's hormonally induced all bets are off.. My girl (Chica) is the sweetest bird in the world and wants nothing more than to be loved on whenever she's out and about. When the hormones kick in though, she draws blood and "stalks" me for more. Luckily it's pretty obvious when it happens, her eyes get crazy and she walks around VERY slowly while lifting her legs up very high, watching her target, it's kinda creepy!!

Last edited by punkindave; 07-21-2014 at 11:45 AM.
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