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Old 11-09-2020, 07:25 AM
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GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

Hello!

So, 3 months ago, we brought a GCC(he was I think 2 months old at the time, but he had already weaned)and now he lets me pet him(although sometimes he doesn’t let me do that either, but only sometimes),give him food and everything, but when I put my finger for him to step up, he bites—sometimes really hard.

Is it normal for GCCs to not step up after 3 months? Anybody has some suggestions?
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Old 11-09-2020, 07:44 AM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

Hi it is important to remember that they have free choice and don't always want to be petted. Yours is very young and has lots to learn, every day is new. One of my girls wont step onto skin she prefers clothes to step onto, some don't like fingers only hands or arms, they are all different. You may find training time is more rewarding in the evening when energy levels are lower and maybe he'll be more compliant.
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Old 11-09-2020, 05:12 PM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

Training parrots has a few things to keep in mind.
1. never do things that will destroy his trust in you.
2. only GOOD things come from humans
3. BE CONSISTENT when trying to change things. see remarks below
5. Always treat for good or desired behavior, even if its only a little part of the desired thing

Being consistent. Whether its teaching step up or trying to quiet down a screaming people-dependant parrot, you have to decide on a course of action and stick to it. Parrots are stubborn, like mules! SOme birds take years to decide to do something, like eat pellets or learn a trick.

Biting. No doubt if you own a parrot you will be bitten at some point, maybe even made to bleed. But you can teach him that this is not acceptable. If a bite occurs AND ITS NOT YOUR FAULT, a stern "NO BITE" and shunning the bird will teach him. Shunning involves putting him IMMEDEITELY on a neutral place, like the back of a chair, turning your back to him, no eye contact, nothing, for 1 minute, 2 max ( more than that the lesson will be lost). Do not return him to his cage- that only teaches him that he can bite when he wants to go back to it. This is where the consistency comes into play. You have to do it EVERY time he bites.

Most bites occur becasue we are not paying attention to what the parrot s telling us, via body language or eyes. And you cannot fault him in those instances.

But yeah, some parrots ( and conures are in this group) are bitey especially as younglings. THis early in his life teaching him about biting and bite pressure is important and will serve to create a much desired companion in the many years he will be with you.
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Old 11-09-2020, 05:17 PM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

A couple of questions for clarification:
Has your gcc ever learnt "step up"? He may not know what you're asking him to do.
Are you pushing your finger into his belly/chest? If so, that's not an effective method for asking your bird to step up. My sun conure has fantastic step up but she will not comply if you try to force her by pushing your finger into her.

Otherwise, it's all about training! Hold a treat/reward a short distance from your bird and have your finger be the stepping stone to get to the treat. Reward for small progress, such as when he puts his foot on your finger (even if he doesn't step up). Let him know that he's heading in the right direction.
If he bites, remove your finger and the treat, wait a few seconds then "reset" by starting again. You may be asking too much of him for now and need to start with baby steps. Maybe just hold your finger in the step up position and reward for no biting (if he usually bites straight away).
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Old 11-09-2020, 05:32 PM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

Yeah- it's normal (especially if you aren't reading signals, have not trained "step up" fully and/or keep accidentally breaking trust by pushing things to where you end up getting bitten).
They move slowly.
Build trust and never try to move faster than they are ready.
You want your interactions to be as low-key and positive as possible---biting is a last-resort behavior in the wild...and so if yours keeps doing it, you may have accidentally taught it that the only way to assert its desire to stay put is to bite (or you will keep at it).

It's all stuff that can be fixed, but much of this depends on what you have been doing.

I agree with much of what wrench said, but if you shun a bird that bites in the cage, you could be rewarding the behavior. Shunning depends on the bird WANTING your company. He cannot pick up a bird who bites him in protest of stepping up (that would really mess with trust) so he can't put the bird in a neutral place. If the bird bites and he walks off and leaves the bird in the cage, that may be exactly what the bird wanted, but there is no way to push it past that point and force to bird to do something without REALLY setting yourself back.
This is why it is absolutely essential that you read signals better, and avoid getting bitten.

Outside of the cage it's way easier to shun a bird...but even then, you have to be sure that they are not biting as a means of getting away from your company. A few years ago, Noodles bit me so I took her to her cage, but then she started biting in the evening to go to her cage..SO, just think about the patterns..

Almost all behaviors fall into escape (from someone, a situation, a stimulus, an undesired task), attention (yelling, eye contact, verbal, physical reactions etc), sensory (eating when hungry, crying when injured etc), and tangibles (to get a treat, physical reward, toy etc).

It sounds like your bird is biting to escape the aversive task of stepping up. In the event that a behavior is escape oriented, shunning doesn't work as well because it kind of rewards the behavior...at least when it happens while the bird is perched (because trying to forcefully move a bird who is showing you NO with its beak will only increase your bird's biting severity and familiarity, while harming the relationship).

You need to find out what your bird loves and catch it being good. Pair key phrases with actions and rewards **not just tangibles--whatever your bird loves**...move slowly...try target training etc..Keep trainings brief and end on a positive without pushing too hard. REMEMBER--- If I am doing a behavior to get away from something....say, a test (e.g., ESCAPE), no amount of candy (tangible) is going to change my mind. To reinforce a behavior you want to see more of, you have to reward with a reinforcer that matches the function of the behavior. A kid who is acting out in class for attention gets yelled at by the teacher (that is actually reinforcing the attention seeking behavior b/c the kid did it for attention, and got attention)...You will not get an attention seeker to stop seeking attention, so you have to teach them more positive ways to do it. If a kid is yelling out, you teach them a signal and let them talk ASAP...see where I am going with this?

You need to read signals and build trust so that your bird WANTS to step up. In the meantime, take baby steps and try to reward as much as possible for tiny approximations towards that goal of step up. NOTE: YOU CAN ABSOLUUUUUUTELY pair any behavior with additional rewards (food etc) but what I meant above was that the initial/most basic function behind any behavior (attention, escape, sensory or tangibles) must be considered first-- just b/c it seems like a reward to you, doesnt mean your bird will agree if it isn't motivating to him/her. If your bird loves attention, you can still give that attention and a treat, BUT a treat alone, with little attention would be less motivating for an attention-seeking bird. Look up ABA (applied behavior analysis) if you want to research what I am talking about more.

Almost forgot- if you have huts, tents, boxes etc in the cage (or if the bird has a lot of access out of the cage) remove them. These can lead to hormonal behavior and huts are very dangerous for other reasons as well. Make sure you only ever pet on the head and neck (the rest is sexual) and make sure your bird gets 10-12 hours of sleep nightly. 10 is decent for a conure, but if you don't have a sleep schedule, you will have a crankier bird..Sleep needs to be set (just like it is in the wild). Sleep regulates their hormonal and immune health (and impacts mood as well)

Last edited by noodles123; 11-09-2020 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 11-09-2020, 08:35 PM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

watch some target training videos.
They offer a different and very successful way to train.
My new quaker Orbit has a huge fear of hands. Its been over a month, I've started to have success. Mostly because when he gets in precarious situations im there to save him. He flys to me now, and when he does he will step up from hand to hand. I don't use the words step up, because he has negative association with those words. I just offer my hsnd, but I'm currently not doing any focus training on step up, I just take advantage of situations when he flys to the floor, or to me.
I try and feed treats by hand bunches of times a day and am just focusing on trust.
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Old 11-10-2020, 12:02 AM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

THank you Noodles, you put so much into responses with good clarity. Wish I had the time to spend with each new member and thier issues or problems.

OP, yer gettin' good info here!
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Old 11-10-2020, 09:42 AM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

I will add one more thought. I'm GUESSing it probably does not apply to you as you probably might have worded your post differently. But, just-in-case:

When I got my Sun Conure she did Not step up. However it was actually clear that she wanted to. At first I did not see the cause and just worked with a sort of modified target-training. We eventually Achieved Step-Up.

However as we went along I eventually was able to observe, she actually has one Non-Working claw. It lays there and looks fine, so not obvious at first. But when actually observed, she cannot grip with that one claw. This does affect her sense of balance, which does affect her Ability and Willingness to Step-Up.

Now I can't exactly describe how, but, realizing this Did help me in teaching my birdie to Step-Up. (I started viewing certain activities as Physical Therapy for her.)

SO... if you observe your bird, IF there is any physical difficulty, being aware and taking it into account may help when applying the good advice already given by everyone else in this thread.
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:58 PM
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Re: GCC we brought 3 months ago still doesn’t step up

Also--- some birds prefer a wrist, vs arm, vs fingers..and Noodles avoids stepping up on my left hand because she is used to the right.
I don't think that is your issue, but what fiddlejane said made me think of this.
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