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Old 08-04-2020, 01:53 AM
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Unhappy My untamed cockatiel got spooked while training this morning.

Greetings everyone, I'm new to both parrot ownership, and this forum!

6 days ago I got a young, white cockatiel lady. Everything was going great, and even though she was not handtame, we were making progress each day. She even whistled at me, and ate salad through the grates. Today I decided I'd try what the petshop employee told me, and held still with the foodbowl inside her cage. when she eventually did climb on, I was ecstatic. I slowly directed her towards my lap, and let the bowl sit there with her on top. After a few minutes of hissing, she even started eating.

I've been sitting like this for a while, when i gently try to shift just a tiny bit. This sets her off, and she goes flying. I had to catch her with my bare hands before she'd get somewhere i couldnt easily get to. Poor baby was screaming and crying out, biting my in the meantime.

She is now back in her cage but.. will this set me back to square one? Did I ***k up badly, and show her I'm a predator after all? I genuinely feel devastated. I never meant to scare her...

My question now is, how bad is the setback? Do birds hold grudges, and are we back to square one? Or worse, will she hate me now?
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Old 08-04-2020, 06:36 AM
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Re: My untamed cockatiel got spooked while training this morning.

Too fast, too fast. Taming a flighted parrot takes time. She has no reason to let you come near her or for her to stay with you. So, start over, like it was day 1 only really take your time. Work at her pace, not the pace of your expectations.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:18 AM
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Re: My untamed cockatiel got spooked while training this morning.

Quote: Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
Too fast, too fast. Taming a flighted parrot takes time. She has no reason to let you come near her or for her to stay with you. So, start over, like it was day 1 only really take your time. Work at her pace, not the pace of your expectations.

Yes, take encouragement from this. The first few days seem like forever but really birds live a long time and the past 6 days were just a drop in the bucket to her.

So, start over again withOut being discouraged. This occurence was Part of your training of her -- and, of your Learning of her. If you haven't already, read all the threads about training of cockateils. Part of learning how to be around your birds is learning stillness, which you will develop without even knowing it. You will get there with slowness and love and patience.

ALSO: A big suggestion!! Read those training threads -- or any cockateil threads, or threads about other birds, or training websites, books, wikipedia articles etc -- ALOUD, in her presence, to her. Sit as close to her cage as she seems ENTIRELY comfortable with. (Even if that is all the way across the room to start with.) Pay Attention to her Body Language. (Remember a FLUFFED UP bird is usually/often a relaxed calm bird, but when she Looks Slim & Skinny, she is actually tense and holding her feathers at Flight-Ready. So observe the point where, with you in the room being still, she seems relaxed & a bit (or a lot) FLUFFY. Even preening - that is Best! Slowly move toward her to find the point where she is no longer relaxed, notice that point, and go Further Away. So, as Close as you can Sit while she Stays relaxed & Fluffy, sit there and Read Aloud to her.

2nd part of the suggestion: Remember your goal is to convince her that you are another bird who belongs to Her Flock. Think about how you hold your hands & your head. Try to subtly imitate her posture. Birds in a flock eat at the same time - follow her lead, you can eat a snack when she eats from her bowl. They preen at the same time too, so if she is preening, that is a good time to fluff your own hair. Etc. Etc.

Reading aloud to her will get her used to your voice while you are engaging in a low-stress, low-movement activity in her presence so it is a win-win. Reading about cockateils is a good use of your time in her presence but it could be anything. (Well anything relatively non-emotional. I would not recommend reading ANYTHING you disagree with in front of her, nor exciting news articles social media etc!)

I am sure you will do well at taming her with patience and love.
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They are not really pets. They are small People with wings and Opinions. They pay no rent, expect you to come when they call, & like to destroy stuff.

Last edited by fiddlejen; 08-04-2020 at 08:32 AM. Reason: added info
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:37 AM
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Re: My untamed cockatiel got spooked while training this morning.

Quote: Originally Posted by netlive0 View Post
My question now is, how bad is the setback? Do birds hold grudges, and are we back to square one? Or worse, will she hate me now?
Oh one more note. As noted above, you are only at Day 6 and you are Still Good to proceed forward.

BUT -- indeed birds actually DO hold grudges and they Will Sulk.

Now is a good time to start off learning to APOLOGIZE to your bird whenever you mess up. Or, whenever you think your BIRD MIGHT THINK that you, the so-stupid human messed up. Over-apologize excessively. Truly!! They will actually quickly learn what "Oh, I'm sorry!" means. Immediately and Contritely APOLOGIZING to your bird when any problem occurs, will go a long way toward her NOT holding that grudge.



I think this is obvious, but only because you're a new owner I will mention -- do Not Ever actually apply a bandaid nor anything sticky to a bird. Of course.
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They are not really pets. They are small People with wings and Opinions. They pay no rent, expect you to come when they call, & like to destroy stuff.

Last edited by fiddlejen; 08-04-2020 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:58 AM
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Re: My untamed cockatiel got spooked while training this morning.

Welcome to the forum and welcome to your new birdie!!!

Keep working on your trust bond, keep talking and explain everything to her, keep hand feeding bribe treats. Keep in mind the joy of discovery and starting a new life long friend. They can read or minds ( body language, pupils, heart rate) so don’t be stressed or scared or fearful... Approach getting to know her with joy, and fun, and patience in your heart and mind.... it really can make all the difference
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:02 AM
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Re: My untamed cockatiel got spooked while training this morning.

This is a great article! I’m always sharing it!
Shaping behavior is fabulous, but in the clicker training part , I just say good birdie instead of useing a clicker ( I think so annoying , nit always with reach)
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/stress...ot-companions/
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:43 PM
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Thumbs up Re: My untamed cockatiel got spooked while training this morning.

I hope everyone can see this, I don't usually post on forums
Thank you all so much for your help and advice, i'll be sure to take them to heart!

I really was impatient, and need to get to know my birds language, rather than trying to force mine on her..
And yes, the first few days really do feel like an eternity or two

I'll be sure to follow your tips, and read up on more cockatiel training

Small update on my birdy Navi: She was very wary of me all day, seemed very tired most of the time, and almost reached in for another bite while i changed her food/water, but I guess that's my fault in the first place
Did not chirp either all day, which she usually would every now and then.

Thank all of you again!
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