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Old 11-04-2018, 07:56 PM
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Re: My galah is too attached to me

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Edit- I was in a bit of a ranty rood when I wrote this, so if my assumptions are wrong, forgive me lol.

I was assuming based on reactions I have seen in very similar situations.


You are probably correct in part- Toos do bond deeply. At the same time, you are probably partly to blame...plus, there are the hormones. You need to research ABA thoroughly (applied behavior analysis) and you will need to do an ABC chart- assuming you are correct w/ regard to the function of this behavior, you may need to micro-manage a lot of things-- A. your girlfriend's reactions...B. your reactions....c your time spent with the bird. I assume you do most of the cleaning and feeding etc..and I assume when your bird is mean to your gf, she jerks her hand back and yells and then you run over...That is not good. If you intervene, you are showing this bird that it is superior because it can manipulate you and your girlfriend--It also shows shows your bird that she can get your attention this way and that your girlfriend is very entertaining (like a squeaky toy). She needs to spend quality bonding time with the bird, preferably without you around...and then, very very slowly, start from there. These animals are so smart. They aren't like dogs...She hasn't earned the bird's trust and you have. On top of this, you need to understand that cockatoos are the most re-homed of all bird species (do not allow yours to become a statistic as well)...While Galahs are easier than the larger varieties, they are still cockatoos. You MUST research and understand behavior to make this work...ABA is going to be a good friend. Look up ABA Chloe sanctuary on youtube. It deals with Umbrellas, but it is a good start. Bottom line- it sounds like your bird is asserting herself as your flock-mate (NOT necessarily MATE...that is a road that you will have to travel when she reaches sexual maturity, and believe me...it can be rough)...Do yourself a favor and never hang out with your bird in dark spaces...do not cuddle...no dark boxes as playthings and DO NOT pet anywhere besides the head.

Last edited by noodles123; 11-05-2018 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:32 PM
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Re: My galah is too attached to me

Here’s the link I meant to post earlier!

https://avianexoticsvet.com/contact-us/


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Old 11-08-2018, 12:13 PM
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Re: My galah is too attached to me

Birds choose "their person" pretty quickly, and then that's it...There is rarely any rhyme or reason as to why they choose the person they do, a lot of the time they choose the person who wants nothing to do with them and they dislike the person who does everything for them...Don't try to "figure it out", as it just is what it is, and you aren't going to change the fact that he has chosen you as "his person"...It's not at all that he's "too bonded to you", you could totally ignore him 24/7 and you're still going to be "his person"...So you need to stop thinking that way, like you want him to be "less bonded to you", because that's not at all how this is going to work...

He doesn't "hate" your girlfriend...He's jealous of your girlfriend, and also, in addition to jealousy, he's actually trying to "protect" you from her...So every time she touches you or goes near you he's going to have to protect you...And when you're not around, then she isn't a "threat" to you, and he doesn't need to be jealous of her because she isn't touching you or "hurting" you...That's how your bird is thinking...

The idea here is NOT going to be ignoring your bird or keeping him in his cage all the time, or trying to make him "less-bonded to you", but rather making your girlfriend use "positive reinforcement" with him whenever she can, and then also having YOU take control of the situation and letting him know the way things are going to be...Let her be the good-guy all the time...She's the one that gives him all of his treats and does all of the good stuff all the time. And whenever you two are together and he tries to bite her, lunges at her, or even screams at her, or starts being aggressive towards her in any way, it's going to be up to you every single time to show him it's not going to fly, and he must stop...The most-effective way of doing this with "Velcro Birds" like Cockatoos, Conures, etc. is by using the "Shunning Method"...

The "Shunning Method" is quite simple and works very well, very quickly, because they absolutely hate being ignored by "their person" more than anything else in the world...However, you absolutely MUST do it every single time he becomes aggressive with your girlfriend for it to work. If you give-in, feel badly for him, or just don't do it every single time he is aggressive in any way to her, he will feel that he can get away with it and he'll start doing it again...If you do it every single time he's aggressive/lunges at/bites your girlfriend in your presence, he'll get the picture very quickly.

All the "Shunning Method" requires is this: Every single time your bird becomes aggressive towards your girlfriend in any way, whether it be a full bite or just a lunge towards her, or even a direct scream at her, you immediately have to take control of him, and immediately say the same phrase that you choose, something like "No Bites!" or "Bad Bird!"; whatever phrase you choose, it needs to be short and to the point, and you must say it firmly and loudly (don't ever yell at or scold him angrily though), and say it immediately upon any aggressive behavior towards your girlfriend...So as soon as he lunges/bites/screams at her, whatever it is that he does directly to her, you immediately say the phrase, such as "No Bites!" or "Bad Bird!", and then you immediately put him right down on the floor. They hate being on the floor because they are the lowest thing in the room, so they have no power or dominance at all over anything or anyone, and even worse is the fact that YOU, "his person" has put him down and are ignoring him. To your bird, this is the worst thing in the world... Then as soon as you put him down on the floor, you must immediately turn your back to him. Literally. You turn your back to him (and your girlfriend and anyone else in the room must do the same, he needs to be ignored completely by everyone). You turn your back to him, and then you must completely and totally ignore him for 5 minutes. No less, no more...Too short a time period and it means nothing to him, too long and he'll lose interest or become so frustrated that he misses the point...

While he's on the floor and you are totally ignoring him, you must not make eye contact with him, don't look at him at all, don't even acknowledge him being there, and don't say a single word to him or make any acknowledgement if he makes any sounds. Ignore all of his screaming/crying/whining noises, ignore him if he calls to you, just purposely pretend that he doesn't even exist for 5 minutes...If he walks around to your front to look at you, you turn your back to him. If he starts climbing up your leg or he flies to your shoulder, etc., DON'T SAY A WORD, just quickly remove him and put him right back down on the floor and turn your back to him again. Some people will actually walk out of the room, but I don't think this is nearly effective and I don't suggest doing this at all because #1) Him actually seeing you purposely ignoring him is much more impactful to him than you just leaving the room, and then also #2) If you leave the room he's in, chances are that he will start crying or screaming, and this usually continues for longer than 5 minutes. So if you leave the room and he starts screaming, and then the 5 minutes is up and he's still screaming, you can't go back to him because then you'll be rewarding his screaming, and with a Cockatoo this is a very horrible thing to do, lol...So this works best if you just stay in the same room he's in and continually keep your back to him, don't look at him, don't say a single word to him, put him back down silently if he flies/climbs back up to you, and once a full 5 minutes is up, then You don't just immediately go back to paying attention to him or immediately pick him up again!!! When the full 5 minutes is up, you simply "stop purposely ignoring him", meaning you stop keeping your back to him, you look at him again, etc. The best way I've found to come-out of the 5-minute "shunning" period is to simply turn around and face him again, and then simply go and sit down somewhere or just start doing things normally again, and allow him to come back to you on his own, and when he does only THEN do you start talking to him normally again, pick him up, etc., and act perfectly normally again, like nothing even happened.

****Don't be surprised if you do this the first time, you get through the 5 minutes, you then go and sit down and allow him to come over to you again, and you start talking to him and holding him again, and he immediately tries to bite your girlfriend again...It will take a few times for him to get the picture...What's very, very important is that if you do this, the 5 minutes is up and you go back to treating him normally again, and he just turns around and is aggressive to your girlfriend again, you immediately do the "Shunning Method" again, starting completely over, and you do it as many times in a row as you need to until finally he stops being aggressive towards her, it's his bedtime, whichever comes first. Then you'll need to continue to do this every single time he is aggressive with her from that point forward, until he gets it and is no longer being aggressive/biting/lunging/screaming at her, and he seemingly "accepts" her. It you don't do this every time he acts aggressively towards her, then HE WINS. So let's say you do it, the 5 minutes is over, he comes over to you and everything is normal again, and then he immediately screams/lunges at/bites your girlfriend again...So what do you do? You immediately say "Bad Bird!" firmly and loudly again, put him right back down on the floor, and turn your back to him for another 5 minutes of purposely ignoring that he even exists again...And then so-on...

I've seen this become successful in one evening of doing it maybe 4-5 times in a row with a Cockatoo, a Macaw, African Grey, and even with a Green Cheek Conure, as they are all so very intelligent and also so very needy and clingy with "their person" that this just devastates them at first, and then it eventually just pisses them off so badly that they just kind of give-in and say "Okay, I get it, I'll stop, she's okay now and I know she's not going to hurt you or take you away from me." But YOU must remember that this is all dependent on YOU being the one who takes immediate control of the situation and then totally depriving him of the one thing he loves the most in the world...YOU.

****And I'll say this one more time to you because it's extremely important that both you AND your girlfriend understand why he is doing this, and that you don't keep trying to figure out WHY he has chosen you and not her, or trying to make him "less-bonded" to you, that's a horrible idea to even attempt, because not only is it a lost-cause that usually just makes the problem much, much, much worse and does nothing to stop their protective/jealous behavior over you, but it also usually causes new issues to start, such as him getting so frustrated at you for purposely trying to always be more distant with him that they can often times actually start plucking themselves or even self-mutilating.
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Last edited by EllenD; 11-08-2018 at 01:01 PM.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 11-08-2018, 05:45 PM
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Re: My galah is too attached to me

I agree with much of what EllenD said, but I have found that using a loud/firm "no" escalates my bird (as opposed to just ignoring/keeping a neutral tone)...I have always either said, "no biting" or nothing at all in a nuetral voice. I DO sometimes make a facial expression to show disapproval, but ONLY IF the bite was an accident. If it was intentional, then I try not to gratify it with any response other than ignoring/shunning/time-out...And I only do this because I know my bird is an attention seeker...I wouldn't react the same way to a bird who was biting out of fear.

I also think that, for some bored, attention-seeking cockatoos, if you are dropping what you are doing and running over to remove the bird from your girlfriend, that you could inadvertently teach your bird that to get you away from the tv/computer/project etc (and closer to her), all she has to do is bite your girlfriend and you come running (especially if she yells and there is chaos etc). That is why I think that it would be helpful if your girlfriend could take a bit more control within the situation...Especially because this bird is young and the two of you will both need to interact with your bird a lot over time...

With my bird, if she is around her favorite person and that person leaves, she is:
A) motivated to get that person back and

B) nicer to the person she was being mean to.

That is why I think you could do the exact same thing (Ellen D's shunning method) but leave the room as soon as the behavior occurs and then allow your girlfriend to place the bird on the ground (I use a time-out style perch...but that is because I don't want the ground to feel scary)...
If you leave the bird whenever she bites your girlfriend, then you are doing the opposite of what your bird wants (which is to be near you). That having been said, your girlfriend may get bitten a few times and she would want to have built up some one-on-one rapport ahead of time with treats and fun activities (just so she isn't only associated with negativity)....My method worked for me, but for many people, EllenD's method has worked as well. Just consider that it may vary by bird.

Also- prior to attempting to stop my bird from biting, I taught her that screaming did not earn her my attention...so, after going to time-out for biting, she didn't usually scream for too long because she already knew that she wasn't supposed to and that getting quiet was the way to get me back. If you haven't worked with your bird on screaming etc, then this could be problematic, as EllenD mentioned.


Do focus on associating your girlfriend with more good things.

Last edited by noodles123; 11-08-2018 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:38 AM
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Re: My galah is too attached to me

I agree that I would never "run over and remove the bird from the girlfriend", that will only teach the bird that to get you to come running all he has to do is bite your girlfriend...It sounds to me from what you describe that when you are not home and your girlfriend is the only one there that they get along fine, but when you are home the bird is basically stuck to you and tries to keep your girlfriend away...So that's why using the Shunning-Method is a good choice, because the bird is already on YOU, and you would be directly removing the bird from your body and showing him that if he acts this way towards your girlfriend, then you're not going to pay him any attention, which is what he seeks-out the most...

And as far as saying "Bad Bird" or "No Bites" before you put the bird down on the ground, something has to first be said, and the same thing every time, because this is what tells the bird that "Crap, I did it again", rather than just putting him down on the floor without saying a word...That's exactly why I stated to never yell at or scold the bird when you say this, but just say it "firmly" so that he knows you mean business and aren't just playing around...You should never "yell at" or "scold" a bird, it does nothing but either scare them or make them angry...
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Old 11-09-2018, 06:38 PM
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Re: My galah is too attached to me

Devils-advocate on the necessity of "saying something"- When you turn on a light switch, and the room is illuminated, it isn't necessary for someone to say "The light is on". Sometimes, actions/consequences do speak for themselves...Just saying haha. That having been said, with a young bird, it will help to say something as long as it is non-emotive and the same every time.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:16 AM
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Re: My galah is too attached to me

Quote: Originally Posted by noodles123 View Post
Devils-advocate on the necessity of "saying something"- When you turn on a light switch, and the room is illuminated, it isn't necessary for someone to say "The light is on". Sometimes, actions/consequences do speak for themselves...Just saying haha. That having been said, with a young bird, it will help to say something as long as it is non-emotive and the same every time.
I respectfully disagree...It's not as simple as not saying "The light is on" when you're trying to get a hormonal, bonded, possessive Cockatoo to understand why you just removed them from you and put them on the floor...The verbal-signal really is what creates the relationship in the bird's brain between the action (being aggressive/lunging/biting the girlfriend) and the punishment, as you say it immediately after the bird is aggressive and right before you put them on the floor. This is also why it's important that you say the same phrase every single time, so they associate that particular action (biting/lunging/aggressive towards the girlfriend) with that phrase, so that they instantly know what they've done and it actually registers. Think of teaching a 4-5 year-old human child to stop doing something. Anything. It won't go very well if you don't give them some kind of verbal sign that they've done something wrong; since parrots have cognitive abilities to actually understand language just as a 3-4 year-old human child does, that's why the verbal cue works so well...I honestly believe that the verbal signal, or the act of saying the same phrase immediately after the bird does the unwanted behavior, every single time they do that particular behavior (and changing the verbal cue for each different unwanted behavior they do) is what actually allows the "Shunning Method" to work as quickly as it does. I've seen a Green Cheek Conure figure this exact situation out in one evening by following the Shunning-Method exactly this way (albeit they did it about 10 times in a row, lol, but he never did it again).

***Also, let's assume that we're going to be using the Shunning-Method to correct other unwanted-behaviors besides the bird's aggression towards the girlfriend; if this is the case, since the punishment is always going to be the same in the Shunning-Method no matter what the unwanted behavior the bird is exhibiting, then the verbal-signal that you give them immediately after each specific unwanted-behavior is what allows for the bird to understand that they aren't just being punished because they did something wrong, rather it allows them to know exactly what it was that they did that was wrong. (and even if there is no other unwanted behavior you want to correct right now, there most-likely will be in the near future, lol) Think about the difference between training a dog and training a parrot. There is a huge difference in the way a dog reacts to being punished when compared to how a parrot reacts to being punished (especially when the parrot is a Cockatoo). This difference is linked completely with each species' Cognitive abilities. A dog doesn't necessarily understand what they did that was wrong, or even the concept of "wrong", all the know is there are certain things that they do that makes their owner mad at them. A parrot has the Cognitive ability to fully understand exactly what they are doing that is the unwanted behavior, to understand the concept of "wrong" or "unwanted", and to use this logic with each individual unwanted behavior. Parrots actually use logic. What's most-amazing about a parrot's cognitive capability is that they actually process information in basically the same way that humans do, and they are fully able to understand language and not only link certain words with certain actions, but they actually know exactly what is going to happen depending on what is said to them. I remember the first time that our African Grey spoke and actually used the words to convey a concept and logic! I was 9 when we got him as a just-weaned baby CAG, and by the time he was around 2 years-old or so is when he started actually speaking like he was basically a part of the conversation (albeit in short spurts or segments, but still!) It was actually very bizarre and a little frightening, because never before had I ever seen an "animal" who could actually understand language.

The only other "pets" that I'm aware of besides birds who possess these cognitive abilities are of course the Primates that people keep as "pets", such as Capuchin Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Owl Monkeys, Marmosets, Lemurs, etc. It's this ability to not only understand language, but also to be able to process language and link it with behaviors, actions, and even form predication based on their understanding of the words and phrases that makes that little, tiny, seemingly insignificant "Verbal Signal" being said immediately after an unwanted behavior and immediately before punishment so very important. It's all about "logic" and a parrot's ability to link language with it that makes the "Shunning Method" so successful. And I truly believe that using a distinct, constant, and unique "verbal signal" immediately after each individual unwanted behavior can make the difference between the bird changing their behavior in a few weeks and the bird changing their behavior in a few months, or even longer. We can certainly agree to disagree, of course, as I respect your opinion on anything and everything "bird", lol, but from my perspective using a unique "verbal signal" directly after each, individual unwanted behavior isn't going to have any negative consequences as long as it isn't yelled at the bird, screamed at the bird, etc., it can only help, so why not. I've used this exact format of the Shunning Method I don't even know how many times in the Rescue over the last 8 years, well, probably the last 5 years since I wasn't doing any "training" or behavior modification, or any medical/health stuff at the Rescue for the first 3 years I volunteered there...Either way, it works and it works quickly. Rarely does it fail, it has failed as any method will with some birds, and if it doesn't work with your individual bird you move-on to the next method until you find what works...

****And you don't have to say it "loudly", I actually shouldn't have added that in, that was my mistake, I do agree about that. In fact, I'll probably go back and edit the word "loudly" out of my original post, because to some people who knows what they will take that word mean, and if they scream the verbal-phrase at the bird then the whole thing will only cause additional issues...Just say it firmly, or rather just not in a nice or cute way, so that the bird knows you're not playing around with them, and then right down on the floor.
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