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Old 06-23-2008, 10:04 AM
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Need some advise

I have a three or so old African grey that up untill things went sour with the ex wife was easy to take in and out of the cage and so forth. Now its I can't touch him till he decides he is done flying around the house and lands somewhere other then his cage. Then with in that last week or so he has become very violent towards me. Like this morning I was filling his feed bowl and he crossed that cage to see what I was doing. Well I went for a sunflower seed and he tried to attack my hand that was on the out side of the cage. I really don't understand the change in him other then I recently moved in with a friend because I am selling my house. He is fine with her. He does not lash out at her. He will tip his head and she can pet it but then he turns and grabs her finger, not hard though. He will even try and step up on her finger if it is through the cage. I come by and he tries to attack me. Any thoughts, tips, tricks, training advise for me? Even if it is buy the videos by chet womach I will accept that as well. My bird is a blast. The stuff he says and sings is great I just want to be able to take him out of the cage and handle him on my terms not his.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:59 PM
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Re: Need some advise

Are you on edge still? Because if you are he or she is sensing that. And now I am assumig that you are a little nervous around your bird, if I am wrong sorry. He or she can sense that too and take advantage of it.
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:00 PM
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Re: Need some advise

It sounds like a LOT has changed for the bird. A human companion is gone, a new one is there, and a move to a new home. I'm sure this has been challenging for you as well, but you KNOW what is going on. Your grey never had anyone explain it to him.

How long has it been since the move? Was there a regular routine in the home that he was used to prior to the divorce? Can any of that routine be continued in the new setting?

As far as the Chet Womach videos I have heard very good things about them, and also very bad things about the agencies that distribute them (taking money and not sending vids, no customer service, etc). Regardless of these feedbacks most if not all that you would find in the videos can be found elsewhere with minimal searching.

Have you done any training with the bird (what's his name BTW)? Does he step up on command reliably/did he used to?

It is not uncommon to have to go back to basics in training after a major life change. Start fresh as if he was a brand new bird, help him RE-learn everything. When you take this approach you may be surprised how fast it comes back. But dont expect him to know something you haven't taught in the new environment - If he new a command in the old house maybe he thought it ONLY meant something in the old house; teach it again in the new setting and he'll get the idea.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:03 PM
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Re: Need some advise

Chewy-- Are you on edge still? Because if you are he or she is sensing that. And now I am assumig that you are a little nervous around your bird, if I am wrong sorry. He or she can sense that too and take advantage of it.

On Edge, no fustrated because of the new job and them screwing up the pay and what has become of that, yes. Nervous, sticking my hand in the cage yes. He has tore open a shirt recently as I was adjusting a perch.

Auggie's Dad--It sounds like a LOT has changed for the bird. A human companion is gone, a new one is there, and a move to a new home. I'm sure this has been challenging for you as well, but you KNOW what is going on. Your grey never had anyone explain it to him.

How long has it been since the move? Was there a regular routine in the home that he was used to prior to the divorce? Can any of that routine be continued in the new setting?


About a month and a half maybe a little more. Just before the move I was on terminal leave from the Air Force and was home every day. Before that I worked 24 hour shifts. Now I work 16s but every other day so by the time I get home I go straight to bed. So for routine in the new place for me yes it is almost the same, now for my friend, we she is a paramedic and works 12 hour shifts. So its either up real early in the morning and working 12 hours or the oppisite shift at night.

Auggie's Dad--Have you done any training with the bird (what's his name BTW)? Does he step up on command reliably/did he used to?

I have done the basic training, step up and all that. But I had a busy life that I could not divote that much time to it. His name is Elwood. He used to be easy handle/get a hold of. Now I don't dare try and get him out of the cage and when he is out that only way I can get him to step up is if he has crashed landed somewhere in the house. I approach for him to step up and he takes off. Now he did have a traumatic landing before the move. He crashed into the blinds and got tangled up in the pull cord so bad that I had to cut him free and shorten the cord. It seems ever since then he has been getting worse towards me. Once he crashes and he stepps up everything is like the old. He wants to work his way up to my shoulder. I can almost kiss his beak and make kissing noises and sometimes he will do it back. He use to steal peanut butter filler pretzels from me when he was out, now I give them to him and he throws them away like he is mad at me. The funny thing is this, inside the cage he is acting normally.Talking and screaming when we are not in view. He is picking up new words daily, he even whistles a few notes of the Indiana Jones theme song. He tosses his food he does not like yada yada yada you know the drill. My friend is extremly afraid of him when he is out side of his cage and I don't blame her either. What are your suggestions for "getting back to the basics" and not ending up in the ER getting my hand stiched up from training him. Sorry that got long but I figured the more you know the better of and Idea you will have.

Last edited by DAFBFD58; 06-24-2008 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:21 PM
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Re: Need some advise

We've had some behavior problems with our grey Einstein. My husband was fine at the very beginning but now can't handle him much. For a while I had a hard time handling him too. He just suddenly didn't want anyone taking him out of his cage. To cure him of it, I took a no-fear approach. Of course I was afraid he'd bite me. I took the bites anyway and boldly stuck my hand in front of his feet and told him to step up. He ate a little skin, drew a little blood but soon figured out that biting didn't do him any good. Not biting got him a pleasant walk to the play gym with lots of praise. I don't know if it was the right way to correct his behavior but it worked. My husband is making a little progress with him. He is able to take him off of the play gym and hold him for a little while. Everyone else gets the psycho-bird act from him. My in-laws watch our pets for us when we're away and my father-in-law has to wear a welding glove just to feed him from outside the cage (he bites him through the food bowl door). It hard to convince someone else to allow your bird to bite them and not react too harshly. The greys are so sensitive. Sometimes I think Einstein knows exactly what I'm thinking (poor bird, no wonder he's psycho).

Julie
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:52 AM
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Re: Need some advise

As Julie said ignoring the biting and only rewarding when he doesnt would be ideal, but frankly we aren't all that tough :/

Auggie can nip to say he's upset or he can bite to remove fingers; the former can be ignored, but the latter can't... I like my fingers where they are. This is where stick training comes in. Use a small dowel or stick rather than your finger, practice the step up command over and over (with two sticks) praising or rewarding when he does well and ignoring when he attacks the stick. Note: wood mixing spoons work great if you have them, no need to go buy sticks.

This activity may sound trivial, but start a routine of doing it a few minutes at a time a couple times each day. The first days stay by his cage, then progressively work out to other areas of the home. The fact that he is good in his cage but not out is likely due to being unsure or insecure in the rest of the home. Stick training is a simple but structured and familar activity through which he can build up confidence in all areas of the home (sound a bit like the reasoning behind some military training?)

Be sure to make this training rewarding. Lots of praise while doing well and perhaps his favorite treat at the end of each session. This will help him overcome any fears or insecurities whether they are due to the new environment or the traumatic cord tangle experience.

Eventually your hands will replace the sticks in the above activity, but be in no hurry to get to that step.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:43 PM
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Re: Need some advise

Sure, where were you months ago when I was bleeding? We have plenty of sticks outside....

Julie
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