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Old 04-29-2015, 07:19 AM
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Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Hi,

I'm hoping to get some help from all of you who have experience!!! I've had my B&G a little over a year now so she just turned 2 in April and I know that the problem probably comes from me .

I'm the only one that can handle her! If the children or my husband even talk to her she gets the look and gets ready to strike. My children are 9, 7, and 4. Obviously I'm not going to put them near her for her to bite them. She does the same when we have company over. She gets feisty. I really want her to get better with other people and change the way she behaves, but I'm. Not quite sure where to start!

If we go away for long weekend I'll bring them for boarding and the two last times when I went to get her she was super feisty and nipped me good, wouldn't step up, etc... Once we're home she's good (with me). Not sure if she's just mad at me for leaving her or what. Any guidance as to how to go about this would be appreciated. I hate always being afraid she gonna nip someone.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:29 AM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

I'd say start with your husband - he's the most readily available. Put Tinker on a playstand, or the back of a chair and walk away, out of sight. Then have your husband pick her up and walk around with her, while holding her close to his chest, yet far enough away from his face. She will most likely be too confused to do much, especially if your husband is walking around with her and talking to her at the same time. He can finish the session with putting her right back on the playstand/chair and then praise, praise, praise.

If you have good friends who would tolerate a nip/pinch, invite them over and repeat. The more people that handle her - the better, the easier it will become.

No, I'm not talking about all those people petting Tinker all over, but a good start is for others to be able to pick her up when they need to/want to.

She may make a bunch of noise and complain, you know...the macaw bluffing noise, but I think she'll come around.
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:54 AM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Thanks!! I know that part of the problem is me and being afraid she'll hurt someone;(. I'll get started with my husband....he's good with pain. Haha!
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:56 AM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

I need to work on this also. I'm hoping my guy takes to my husband ok when he gets home. He'll be coming home next week for our sons birthday then gone again till June. I don't want to be the only person that can handle him.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:33 AM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Here is an old bird trainer's trick for working with macaws that haven't been properly socialized yet.

Get two of those microfiber towels. Wrap them around your forearms. Then wrap those in place with two ace bandages. Now put on a loose fitting long sleeved Shirt. The bird won't even know they are there. He'll be stepping up on your arm, not a towel.

It makes absolutely no sense getting scars from teaching a bird the rules...
And you'll handle the bird a lot more confidently if you don't have to focus on protecting your arms from bites.

LUNGE BITING... First of all, this is one of the ways macaws test... and this bird is clearly in "testing" mode. (Hint: Pass the test! The behavior stops...)

It is also the way they sometimes initiate play... and it's how they distinguish between who is afraid of them and who is not. MADE YOU JUMP!!! HA-HA!!!

Macaws can sometimes become bullys, if allowed to be. You nip that behavior in the bud, the same way you confront a bully on the playground. By standing up to him when he does it, and, oh by the way bird, YOU LOSE THIS GAME EVERY TIME WE PLAY! The behavior simply stops when you do that consistently...

To do it safely is a learned skill...

Don't jump. Use a closed bent fist so there is nothing for the bird to latch onto, and push back on the beak when he lunges. Gently shake his head side to side. Don't make a big deal about it. Beak wrestle with him. Show him you're not afraid, and you'll stand your ground. You're not intimidated, and you're not going to be intimidated. The bird is not in charge here... AND WE DON'T GET AWAY WITH THINGS LIKE THAT!!! But if you'd like to play, I'd be happy to take a few minutes to rough house and wrestle...

IF HE IS SERIOUSLY INTENDING TO BITE WHEN HE LUNGES:

1. Use the towel trick I told you about when working with him.

2. When he goes to lunge he will be off balance.

3. He'll be expecting you to push back with that closed fist, because that's what normally happens. If he's leaning forward like that, his weight is shifted all the way forward.

4. USE TWO FINGERS ON THE BEAK AND GIVE HIM A TUG FORWARD... Guess what, he has to step forward, or HE'S GOING TO FALL. Your other arm comes up, and he has just stepped forward onto your arms (against his will), and the two fingers you used to pull him forward have control of that big beak. THAT'S YOU WILL STEP UP NICE FOR ME... THANK YOU.

STEP UP! BE NICE! KNOCK IT OFF! NO BITING!!!

NOW DISTRACT HIM WITH A TREAT OR A HEAD SCRATCH...

You and your husband should work with him first.

Once he is good with you, the kids work with him with a big beach towel around their arms, and just do simple step up practice...

The "Excitement" thread at around page 7 - there was an eckie who was biting the crap outta everyone. (NAILED ME ONCE TOO! ONCE... AFTER THAT IT STOPPED.) We taught her to step up nice, and controlled the beak with one finger... in one easy, no stress lesson, and the photos show us working with that bird with our arms wrapped in a towel. Do it just like that...

excitement

There are photos of that in that thread that shows what to do with the towel.

Again, it's simple step up practice, demonstrating to the bird that this is a safe thing to do, and that the kids have the ability to control him safely...

If he gets pissy, push the beak away with a closed bent fist. Give the "KNOCK IT OFF!" command.

Last edited by Birdman666; 04-29-2015 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:40 AM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Birdman666 do you happen to have any videos of some of your training exercises? That would be awesome.
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Old 04-29-2015, 12:26 PM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Quote: Originally Posted by Runzbarrel View Post
Birdman666 do you happen to have any videos of some of your training exercises? That would be awesome.
Sorry I don't. I've never done a video, or written a book.

I've written behavior mod protocols for the rescue, but that was a lifetime ago, and I can't find them all. I've posted a lot of the stuff that was effective.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:03 PM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Ok dumb question Birdman666. When you say use two fingers on their beak do you mean to hold it or just pressure to lush back so they can't bite?
I did a short training session with my Mac this morning and he was a very good boy. Didn't nip me once. I need to find something to use as a treat though. He's not very food motivated.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:13 PM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Macaws are attention motivated... head scratches and animated interaction actually seem to go further than food with a lot of big macs.

Food treats I generally use with macs as training treats are slivered almonds, walnut pieces, and cashew nut pieces.

Two fingers on the beak... I hold it when he's nippy.

Obviously if he's lunge biting you hold it until he calms down, especially if you're pulling him, and putting him off balance by his beak. [He will use that beak to steady himself, and the branch at that point IS YOUR ARM!]

I usually just reach around with a finger once he's calm and scratch the head feathers til they go sproing... scratch me right there...
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:18 PM
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Re: Socializing my B&G Tinker!

Quote: Originally Posted by Runzbarrel View Post
Ok dumb question Birdman666. When you say use two fingers on their beak do you mean to hold it or just pressure to lush back so they can't bite?
That is an either/or. Both work. Or just two fingers to push the beak away before he grabs ahold of anything.

If this is a bird that grabs at fingers, then you use a closed bent fist to push the beak away. (Either the middle of the palm, or the middle of the back of your hand. That makes it difficult - not impossible, but difficult - for the bird to latch on to him, and you can easily prevent him from biting you with a quick push of the beak.)
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