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Old 05-17-2018, 10:16 AM
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Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

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Hi everybody!

I need some help with my tiel, Iggy. So out of the people Iggy interacts with, (Mom, Dad, my friend Cheyenne, and me) I am unfortunately the bad guy. I'm the one who enforces bedtime, don't chew that, don't poop there, etc. I feel bad that this has happened as I did hand raise her from the time she was about a month and a half old, but when I got her I was much less experienced.

I unfortunately did not immediately train her and this has led up to where we are now. She'll calmly step up and down for me, and allows me to grab her if necessary without much of a fuss. I feel as if our relationship lacks respect though, if that makes sense. She gets huffy and hissy if I tell her to stop doing something, and this progresses into nipping, and if in the right mood- full on bites.

She also sometimes seems to think me picking her up means she has to go back to her cage, which leads to flying around the room and playing chase the bird until she tires out. This is sort of stopping me from being able to improve her trust in me. I would like to try and potty train her, perhaps teach her to wave, big eagle, etc., but it's hard to do that when she flies away a lot of the time.

Any advice would be appreciated. This is partly her personality, but also many parts my fault. I would like us to have a better relationship.

I've attached a picture of Iggy with rice stuck to her face and her signature post bath devil horns below for giggles.Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting-resized952018051595202351.jpeg

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Old 05-17-2018, 12:08 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

Do you pick her up frequently to put her places besides the cage? I don't have a cockatiel and so far I have been lucky with my cockatoo but its a thought I had.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:23 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

I think you can still earn her respect and trust. It will take some dedication on your part to incorporate some positive reinforcement into her daily routine. The key is trying to make every single interaction a positive one, even when she's grumpy and doesn't want to do it.

For instance, when you have her step up for you -- reward her with a favorite treat! Tell her she's a good girl and then place her where you want her to be. Have her step down and, another treat. If she's interested in doing something you don't want her to do, cover the distraction/with a towel or something she can't get at. Wait until she loses interest and offer another treat to entice her to step up. You could place a small treat inside her cage (something she really likes, a piece of fruit, etc. to give her something to look forward to being back in her cage at bedtime.

The tricky thing about trying to train a flighted bird is that if they lose interest in training or don't want to do something they'll just take off and fly around the room to where they want to go. Consider a wing-clip to keep her grounded, though there are no guarantees she won't fly, it will make her dependent on you for going places. Just something to think about.

Hope that helps a little!
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:51 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

Took the words right out of my mouth...It's very possible to earn her trust and start to train her, but it's impossible if you're constantly chasing her and don't have her attention. I highly suggest doing a wing clip so that she cannot fly off, and so that you are not tempted to chase her either, chasing her is the worst thing you can do and is going backwards from where you're trying to be.

I have hand-tamed many parent-raised, young birds that are not tame in any way, and the first thing I've always done was clipped their wings. A lot of people are going to most likely disagree with doing this, for one reason or another, but here's what clipping their wings accomplishes:

-It keeps them from being able to fly away from you and tempting you to chase them all over the room/house
-It keeps them focused on what you are trying to teach them, as it's impossible to train a bird who keeps taking-off and not paying attention to you
******-Most importantly, it makes the bird HAVE to rely upon you, and while having to rely upon you, this eventually results in you earning their trust. They can't even get back to their cage from the floor without them having to step-up for you and hitching a ride, and the bird having to rely upon a single human being just to get around is the quickest way, in my personal experience, to earn that bird's trust.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:47 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

Quote: Originally Posted by BirdGeeks View Post
Do you pick her up frequently to put her places besides the cage? I don't have a cockatiel and so far I have been lucky with my cockatoo but its a thought I had.
I've been trying to so that she doesn't associate it with just going back. Its helped a bit.

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 05-17-2018, 02:50 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

Quote: Originally Posted by itzjbean View Post
I think you can still earn her respect and trust. It will take some dedication on your part to incorporate some positive reinforcement into her daily routine. The key is trying to make every single interaction a positive one, even when she's grumpy and doesn't want to do it.

For instance, when you have her step up for you -- reward her with a favorite treat! Tell her she's a good girl and then place her where you want her to be. Have her step down and, another treat. If she's interested in doing something you don't want her to do, cover the distraction/with a towel or something she can't get at. Wait until she loses interest and offer another treat to entice her to step up. You could place a small treat inside her cage (something she really likes, a piece of fruit, etc. to give her something to look forward to being back in her cage at bedtime.

The tricky thing about trying to train a flighted bird is that if they lose interest in training or don't want to do something they'll just take off and fly around the room to where they want to go. Consider a wing-clip to keep her grounded, though there are no guarantees she won't fly, it will make her dependent on you for going places. Just something to think about.

Hope that helps a little!
I'll definitely try this! She's highly food motivated so it shouldn't be too bad.

It's a major issue that she can just fly off, but I won't clip her wings. I personally don't like it for my birds because they enjoy flying so much.

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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 05-17-2018, 02:57 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

Quote: Originally Posted by EllenD View Post
Took the words right out of my mouth...It's very possible to earn her trust and start to train her, but it's impossible if you're constantly chasing her and don't have her attention. I highly suggest doing a wing clip so that she cannot fly off, and so that you are not tempted to chase her either, chasing her is the worst thing you can do and is going backwards from where you're trying to be.

I have hand-tamed many parent-raised, young birds that are not tame in any way, and the first thing I've always done was clipped their wings. A lot of people are going to most likely disagree with doing this, for one reason or another, but here's what clipping their wings accomplishes:

-It keeps them from being able to fly away from you and tempting you to chase them all over the room/house
-It keeps them focused on what you are trying to teach them, as it's impossible to train a bird who keeps taking-off and not paying attention to you
******-Most importantly, it makes the bird HAVE to rely upon you, and while having to rely upon you, this eventually results in you earning their trust. They can't even get back to their cage from the floor without them having to step-up for you and hitching a ride, and the bird having to rely upon a single human being just to get around is the quickest way, in my personal experience, to earn that bird's trust.
Do you think it would work if I took her into a room free of distractions? (I'm thinking our bathroom, as its too small for flight) Her wings were clipped as a baby and I don't want to do it to her again, especially consider how much she loves to fly. (She's also a bit chubby and needs the exercise haha)

She isn't fearful of me, and if I pick her up and she's in the right mood she'll focus on me. I have made progress with her recently in terms of respect. She used to be aggressive towards my mother, and now she cuddles up with her like a big baby. This was just from me reteaching step up/down, and my mother discouraging biting by not giving a reaction.

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Old 05-17-2018, 07:05 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

I unfortunately did not immediately train her and this has led up to where we are now. She'll calmly step up and down for me, and allows me to grab her if necessary without much of a fuss. I feel as if our relationship lacks respect though, if that makes sense. She gets huffy and hissy if I tell her to stop doing something, and this progresses into nipping, and if in the right mood- full on bites.

If you don't want her doing something, then what can she do instead? And how can that be more rewarding than what she's currently doing?

You could always teach her how to forage and play with toys. One simple foraging technique is to get a tiny piece of fake grass (say 6"x6" to 1'x1') and sprinkle food through the blades.

Or maybe it's using miniature muffin cups and hiding her favorite treats inside and wrapping up the ends. You might have to tear them open for her at first to give her the idea she has to chew through the outside to get to the goodies inside.



She also sometimes seems to think me picking her up means she has to go back to her cage, which leads to flying around the room and playing chase the bird until she tires out. This is sort of stopping me from being able to improve her trust in me. I would like to try and potty train her, perhaps teach her to wave, big eagle, etc., but it's hard to do that when she flies away a lot of the time.

Perhaps you should try picking her up, rewarding her (treats/head scratches), then setting her back down. Something quick and simple.



Any advice would be appreciated. This is partly her personality, but also many parts my fault. I would like us to have a better relationship.

From what I'm reading, it's not just her personality... it's yours. It may help to change the way you think about the relationship you have with her and what she does. If you don't teach her what you want her to do, then she can't learn and instead will come up with her own things. Therefore, start working on teaching her what you want her to do and focus on that. Do not focus on things you don't want her to do.

Instead of focusing on her flying away, try to focus instead on what you can do to teach her to stay put, even if only for a moment!
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 05-17-2018, 07:44 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

Quote: Originally Posted by MonicaMc View Post
I unfortunately did not immediately train her and this has led up to where we are now. She'll calmly step up and down for me, and allows me to grab her if necessary without much of a fuss. I feel as if our relationship lacks respect though, if that makes sense. She gets huffy and hissy if I tell her to stop doing something, and this progresses into nipping, and if in the right mood- full on bites.

If you don't want her doing something, then what can she do instead? And how can that be more rewarding than what she's currently doing?

You could always teach her how to forage and play with toys. One simple foraging technique is to get a tiny piece of fake grass (say 6"x6" to 1'x1') and sprinkle food through the blades.

Or maybe it's using miniature muffin cups and hiding her favorite treats inside and wrapping up the ends. You might have to tear them open for her at first to give her the idea she has to chew through the outside to get to the goodies inside.



She also sometimes seems to think me picking her up means she has to go back to her cage, which leads to flying around the room and playing chase the bird until she tires out. This is sort of stopping me from being able to improve her trust in me. I would like to try and potty train her, perhaps teach her to wave, big eagle, etc., but it's hard to do that when she flies away a lot of the time.

Perhaps you should try picking her up, rewarding her (treats/head scratches), then setting her back down. Something quick and simple.



Any advice would be appreciated. This is partly her personality, but also many parts my fault. I would like us to have a better relationship.

From what I'm reading, it's not just her personality... it's yours. It may help to change the way you think about the relationship you have with her and what she does. If you don't teach her what you want her to do, then she can't learn and instead will come up with her own things. Therefore, start working on teaching her what you want her to do and focus on that. Do not focus on things you don't want her to do.

Instead of focusing on her flying away, try to focus instead on what you can do to teach her to stay put, even if only for a moment!
I've tried redirecting her attention as you mentioned, but I'm not really sure what to direct it to. Maybe a favorite toy or treat???

I definitely want to look into foraging for her, she's not super big on toys but she is with food. The muffin cup idea is great, I think I'll try that tomorrow since I already have those on hand!

Thank you for this, I didn't really think of it that way. I've made loads of progress with her behavior myself, but I'm at a standstill and I think this new approach will help. I've never really had such an issue with training a bird before. She's a good bird, she just needs to learn some manners!

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Old 05-17-2018, 10:46 PM
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Re: Rebuilding bond + discouraging biting

It could be redirecting her with new behaviors you've taught her, a favorite toy or even a treat.

It certainly helps to think outside of the box or from a different perspective!
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