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Old 02-07-2019, 03:06 PM
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Question Training out attack behavior

I need advice either from someone who has dealt with this successfully or "all y'all" brainstorming about how to do this. It's an old story: I have Francie, the U2, as well as two cats. The cats were raised by me and don't even know that a bird is prey. They're scared to death of Francie.

Francie, however, is the one going after the cats. He was never trained to fly so, while he uses his wings to steady himself, I don't think he knows how to actually fly UP. That said, he flies off the couch at the cats.

The cats are brothers who are right at 13 yrs old, and I really don't want them to live what little time they have left being terrified of the bird, OR suffering some kind of damage from him.
I've done MASSIVE clicker-training with cats and know tons about it, also "dabbled" in ABA. I've done some basic training with Francie, so not a problem there. I just need ideas how to go about training Francie to stay away from the cats. He doesn't have to LIKE them but he needs to leave them alone.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:45 PM
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Re: Training out attack behavior

Is the behavior increasing in frequency and/or duration?
What happens immediately after/as the bird goes after them (what do they do---what do you do etc etc--any changes to your/their proximity, any verbal or audible reactions from you/them)?

Also, when he does this, is it anytime they come around or is it when they come near you?

Right before it starts, where are you located in relation to the bird and cats..Also, does he only do this from the couch thus far?


Also--- just a reminder: Although your bird is the one instigating this, a cat's bite or scratch (even small) can kill a bird due to a specific bacteria in their mouths/spit.

Last edited by noodles123; 02-07-2019 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:51 AM
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Re: Training out attack behavior

Reward him when he ignores the cats...


(I LOL'ed at "little time left"' cats easily reach 20, I know quote a few who made it to 22-23, at 13 they are no way near geriatric.)
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:08 PM
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Re: Training out attack behavior

May I congratulate you on choosing an *excellent* name for your bird! My Dad was Francis (Frank) and my sister is Frances (Francie). I have two(2) statues of St Francis, a big one in my yard and a smaller one in the hallway. The thought of having a bird called Francis makes my heart go all smooshy.

Y'know what? We all want to live in peace and harmony with our companion animals around us and, hopefully, all getting along like a house on fire. Sadly, though, it's not always possible. Sometimes, you can make things work and sometimes just not. When we lived at our old house, my Beaks had the run of the place and had strategically-placed perches in every room so they could fly around at will. Cats and dogs were in the house too, but none of them ever raised an eyebrow at the birds 'cause they were up high and the animals were on the floor.

This new house has big windows and is a much lighter, airier place. The animals notice the birds flapping about now and the birds are far more likely to land on the floor (an absolute deal breaker AFAIC). I cannot have the birds and the animals about in the house at the same time. This means three cats and a dog have to be sent outdoors when I've got the birds out. That's just the way it has to be. I cannot risk the wellbeing of any of my creatures and so I do what I must to prevent that one freakish accident that could happen if I allow them in the same space together.

Just *one* time, one of the Beaks landed (by a dreadful error of judgement) on top of our old dog's head. God bless Alice: she just stood there, thinking 'What the...!?' I was quick enough to whip Barney away, but that one incident highlighted the possibility of a bird landing, digging claws in for stability and the dog (or cat) whipping round and... well, you can guess the rest. So, never again for us. I keep them separate.

Whatever Francie's reason is for hunting after your cats, it's his and he means it! If he bites or claws a cat and it (quite reasonably) retaliates, the aftermath could be a terrible tragedy. I'd keep them all separate, even if it means making major changes regarding who sits where or which room the bird and cats are allowed in. I know it's not a set-up that you'd want, but it's probably the most sensible.

PS. Rosetta sends a happy screech to her new friend, Francis!
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