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Old 12-28-2016, 03:00 PM
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Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

Giles, my other lovely 'tiel, has his own issues. Since I got him he's always been into self love (rubbing on toys, perches, anything) or humping his mate. The last two years or so there have been a LOT of changes in my family, for the good and bad, and I wasn't able to love him as much as I used to. He still got PLENTY of attention, he just wasn't the CENTER of attention. He's a very jealous thing, and feels ignored easily. As a result, he's learned bad habits. When he feels ignored he goes to self love to get attention. When he DOES get attention he goes to self love to 'show me' or something like that. He does it upwards of 20 times a DAY. He does it when he's happy, tired, sad, angry, everything! It's an attention getting action now. He ESPECIALLY does it when I've been gone for a few hours and he hasn't been able to get out of his cage. Or if I haven't been in the same room adoring him. (When I'm home they're free range, I leave their door open. When I'm gone they get tucked away as I have cats, and his mate tends to go splat on the floor)
We've tried to ignore it, or shoo him off, but it's not working. I've tried giving him his favorite toys, moving his cage, rearranging it. When I move his cage somewhere new he goes STRAIGHT to his favorite spot.
I've tried removing the toys he plays with. But now he uses his cage. I put a bit of tape there, sticky side up, in hopes that he'd go elsewhere. No go! He rubs on the tape. (I removed it) Unless I stick him in a bird diaper I'm not sure what to do. I'm afraid he's going to get a little infection. And cleaning up is nasty.
Is there something I can put that won't harm him to get him to stop? (With my female cat, after she got fixed we put hot sauce on her nipples to stop my adult male cat from nursing) or a way to train him? It's getting really old watching him rub all day.
He also has a vet visit next week, so if he needs meds or something I can ask. And she'll check for a birdie infection.
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:07 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

The hormones are kicking in. They will usually mellow out with time. I've never really successful broken a bird of masterbation.

It's worse when it's something the size of a greenwing...
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:11 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

Looks like there is nothing for it except a hump bunny then?
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:21 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

Oh boy...is THIS what I have to look forward to,with BB???? And at what age was your 'tiel when his pervy behavior started? BB will be one year old sometime next month


Jim
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:34 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

Quote: Originally Posted by AmyMyBlueFront View Post
Oh boy...is THIS what I have to look forward to,with BB???? And at what age was your 'tiel when his pervy behavior started? BB will be one year old sometime next month


Jim

Don't worry not all tiels are like this... Rascal is almost 5 yrs old and has never tried to get "frisky" with any objects asides form my hand LOL it's not often at all though... but' Nut on the other hand... unmmm... well he's a very frisky boy! He will try to mate with my hand all the time (I tell him "Thanks but no thanks!!" then I put him down LOL).... but it's nowhere near as bad as ShadowOfTheStorm's tiel he's mentioning in this thread thank goodness. Man! I can only imagine... yikes!

It would be an acwkard moment having a tiel doing that in front of my aunt/grandmother or something... I would surely be asked what on earth my bird is doing! LOL
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:34 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

If it truly is an attention getting maneuver, your best bet is simply to turn away anytime he starts up. If done consistently enough, it will eventually become clear to him that engaging in acts of self love is actually having an effect opposite his intentions. But if this doesn't deter him in the slightest, it may just indicate that he has an extremely active sex drive.

Now, if you have anything even remotely nesty around him, be it nest box or lots of shreddable material, you may want to remove it from his area. Also, you want to stop any kind of touching that he may be misinterpreting as sexual interest on your part. This would include stroking his back or beneath his wings, as well as running your hand down the length of his tail.

Also, since longer daylight hours and diets richer in sugar and fats can act as hormonal triggers, you could try putting him to bed a little earlier and cutting down on the more sugary and fatty parts of his diet.

Aside from these measures, however, I wouldn't take any steps to actively stop him. After all, he isn't doing anything "bad". He just has needs, and that is completely natural. As long as you are keeping the interior of his cage reasonably clean, infection really shouldn't be an issue.

The cockatiel I had also had a rather healthy libido, and he had a favorite branch that was the focus of his rather lascivious attentions. While he may not have been quite as... eager as your guy, he was certainly active in his bouts of self gratification. Me? I took quite a different approach than you did. I made sure never to move that branch. Why? Because it was something he really wanted and it didn't hurt any to let him have his fun. Better the branch than for him to focus on me instead! Or to lash out in a fit of sexual frustration.

It's good that you're taking him in to the vet, just in case his excessive practices are indicative of an underlying issue. But outside of that, I don't see the harm. If he's attempting anything with your hand or shoulder, just set him down and walk away for a few minutes to give him a chance to cool down... and remind him that your hand is not an acceptable venue for such pursuits.

Bottom line is that it doesn't sound like he's really hurting anybody with his little maneuvers. So I say live and let love. Lol!

And let me just say that sticky tape was definitely a bad move. He could easily have ingested pieces of the tape, which might have caused far more serious health issues than an overactive sex-drive.

And hot sauce on your cat's nipples?!? Not a big fan of that tactic, either.
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:46 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

Quote: Originally Posted by Anansi View Post
If it truly is an attention getting maneuver, your best bet is simply to turn away anytime he starts up. If done consistently enough, it will eventually become clear to him that engaging in acts of self love is actually having an effect opposite his intentions. But if this doesn't deter him in the slightest, it may just indicate that he has an extremely active sex drive.

Now, if you have anything even remotely nesty around him, be it nest box or lots of shreddable material, you may want to remove it from his area. Also, you want to stop any kind of touching that he may be misinterpreting as sexual interest on your part. This would include stroking his back or beneath his wings, as well as running your hand down the length of his tail.

Also, since longer daylight hours and diets richer in sugar and fats can act as hormonal triggers, you could try putting him to bed a little earlier and cutting down on the more sugary and fatty parts of his diet.

Aside from these measures, however, I wouldn't take any steps to actively stop him. After all, he isn't doing anything "bad". He just has needs, and that is completely natural. As long as you are keeping the interior of his cage reasonably clean, infection really shouldn't be an issue.

The cockatiel I had also had a rather healthy libido, and he had a favorite branch that was the focus of his rather lascivious attentions. While he may not have been quite as... eager as your guy, he was certainly active in his bouts of self gratification. Me? I took quite a different approach than you did. I made sure never to move that branch. Why? Because it was something he really wanted and it didn't hurt any to let him have his fun. Better the branch than for him to focus on me instead! Or to lash out in a fit of sexual frustration.

It's good that you're taking him in to the vet, just in case his excessive practices are indicative of an underlying issue. But outside of that, I don't see the harm. If he's attempting anything with your hand or shoulder, just set him down and walk away for a few minutes to give him a chance to cool down... and remind him that your hand is not an acceptable venue for such pursuits.

Bottom line is that it doesn't sound like he's really hurting anybody with his little maneuvers. So I say live and let love. Lol!

And let me just say that sticky tape was definitely a bad move. He could easily have ingested pieces of the tape, which might have caused far more serious health issues than an overactive sex-drive.

And hot sauce on your cat's nipples?!? Not a big fan of that tactic, either.
Well said, Doc!
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:51 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

See that's another thing I'm not sure I agree with.

It's one that everyone jumps on, and it's been the approach for ages, but I'm just not sure it works.

If they're hormonal, they're hormonal. That's triggered by daylight hours and seasons, NOT by access to nesting material. So, I'm not really sure that this advice was ever valid, even though it's the advice given in all these guidebooks.

You certainly DON'T want to be petting them in their happy places when they are hormonal. That makes matters worse. Letting them be and not handling them as much when they are really horny seems to help. (Mine get extra tree time as well. Go outside. Be a bird. Work off some frustratration.)

Giving my big macs phone books to shred actually takes their mind OFF masterbation for awhile when they are going to town. I personally think it HELPS rather than HINDERS the behavior problem.

Nest building is an instinctive behavior with a bird. Is it really possible to train all their instincts out of them? Isn't it better to give them an outlet for that.

ALL LIVING THINGS HAVE A SEX DRIVE...

Does taking the lock off the door prevent a human teenager from going in there? Or does it just mean you're more likely to walk in on them when they are... ahem... relieving their sexual frustration by taking matters into their own hands.

In the wild, they would just go find a female and mate. In captivity they can't. But the sex drive still exists. ALL captive birds masterbate some. And when they are really hormonal it can happen with annoying frequency.

Not sure you can really stop it.

Does that make sense?!
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Old 12-28-2016, 03:52 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

The best advice I've found for really hormonal birds is to regulate the amount of light they are exposed to and fool them into thinking it isn't breeding season...
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Old 12-28-2016, 04:12 PM
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Re: Cockatiel obsessed with self love - can I retrain him?

I have to point out - the vet was the one who suggested hot sauce. My kitty had her stitches broken twice due to my cat nursing. No harm done, just a bad taste. I checked to make sure it wasn't harmful for them! I admit the tape wasn't a great idea, I realized that quickly.

So mostly just let him sleep more? I put him to bed at 9pm and he wakes up about 9:30 am. (We cover him with a thin blanket or else he's up at six singing) he's never liked being touched at all, so no issues there! It's mostly a pain because he's at the center of the home - the crossroads between the bedroom hallway, the kitchen and the living room. Whenever company comes over they're treated to his attitude. If I ignore him he pounds on his mate.
I can try switching up his diet. I admit I have not been great with that! (He will NOT eat anything but seeds, and that took some training to do. He has a soft spot for chips though. No idea who fed them to him, but even after the eight years we've refused them to him he still goes nuts when he sees them) is there any one food that's best for him? I don't know how well he'd take to pellets. I'd have to figure out a way to convince him to eat them.
I don't have any nesting boxes around. He does have a box obsession, though. Whenever he sees one he goes nuts. If he gets into a small tube shaped one he goes 'manly' he'll stare at the wall for hours, then attack anyone who gets near him. Needless to say, we try to keep boxes out of sight.
I hadn't thought of chew toys! He LOVES to rip things apart. Especially cardboard. Mayb I'll try more of that!
On would assume a 15 year old bird would have settled down his sex drive. His is getting worse. He has no interest in a nest, just getting lucky.
If it is an attitude issue and not a high sex drive, does ignoring them really work? And how long does it take to train it out of them? As I said, he's always done it, but 20 times a day is unusual for him. When he was younger he did it maybe twice a week.
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