bird is selectively scared of my hand


New member
Jan 19, 2021
african grey about 20 years old
so for context, my grey is a rescue and he is around 20 years old or so. i am trying to gently train him the basics (step up, being more comfortable when we do stuff with him, etc) so i can give him a better life.

he has made an excelent recovery and is very happy and healthy. i just want to teach him basic things so that i can do more with him and more activities for him to do. i understand he is an older bird and it will be harder to teach him, but i am more than happy to be patient with him!

so i bought a clicker to target train him. i started to do that trick where you give him a treat and click the clicker when he taps the stick with his beak and he seems to understand that part.

but when i tried to lead him on my hand (it was placed flat against the floor) he was more scared of my hand than he was motivated with the clicker. Its strange too because he is comfortable with me rubbing his head with my hand and he doesnt freak out when i clean his cage, but for some reason my hand being flat against the ground is scary for him.

normally when he gets scared of new objects, i just leave it in his cage for a few days and he slowly realizes the new thing is not bad. but i can't just pop off my hands and do that.

anyone out there have any tips? :grey:


New member
Sep 21, 2017
NorthWest England
Enzo - adopted Female CAG circa 2004. A truly amazing young lady!
make every hand interaction a positive, and short experience. Never push it, the aim is to get hand confident but certainly not a starting position.

Start with a beak rub or any hand interaction that is acceptable , and you move away. Finish any interaction positively.

Take your time, if you finish each hand interaction with a smile, you are on the right track


Aug 29, 2012
Shropshire, UK
Orange-winged Amazon - RIP Charlie,
Spock - Common Mynah,
McCoy - Alexandrine
Is he happy on the floor? I'd start having him do something else, even just play, near your hand flat on the floor so he doesn't get eaten to death by it.

If he isn't happy on the floor start somewhere hwhere he is relaxed - maybe not his cage though as if there is any territorial behaviour that complicates things.

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