Shoulder Rushing

IcyWinteRose

Active member
Nov 23, 2021
165
125
Tucson, AZ
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Stitch and Angel: Caiques
Hello,

So my fiancé and I have fallen for this sweet African Grey at the rescue we volunteer for. The only problem we have is she is a serious shoulder rusher. So we will be getting her most likely in a few weeks. the owners have shut down adoptions for the holidays so they can have a break.

So when we get her how do I get this to stop? I've tried keeping my arms at 90 degree angles so she cant walk up there, I've tried switching hands routinely, and she seems to always find a way around, usually its using her beak to climb up my chest vertically and get around anything I am doing to stop her.

The problem with her being on the shoulder is that she wont come down. if she came off easy I wouldn't worry about it, but we either have to help the other get her off, or scrape her off which isn't fun for anyone.

So what's the trick here? what am I missing? how do I fix this and train it out of her?
 

Birdgirl24

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Dec 2, 2021
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I have 1 budgie, He is a male both. I have been looking into getting an Eclectus Parrot tho.
Something ive read is make your hand the most comfortable place to be and try to keep at an angle far enough away from your body she can't get to your shoulder and keep your arm bent in a V shape so she cannot slide down it. But this is just off videos ive watched and articles I've read.
 
OP
IcyWinteRose

IcyWinteRose

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Nov 23, 2021
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125
Tucson, AZ
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Stitch and Angel: Caiques
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Something ive read is make your hand the most comfortable place to be and try to keep at an angle far enough away from your body she can't get to your shoulder and keep your arm bent in a V shape so she cannot slide down it. But this is just off videos ive watched and articles I've read.
That's what I am trying, she's just throwing me for loops that I'm not use to lol. I train dogs normally not birds, so its been interesting what transfers and what doesn't. Luckily I love learning new skills
 

Birdgirl24

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Dec 2, 2021
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I have 1 budgie, He is a male both. I have been looking into getting an Eclectus Parrot tho.
Maybe look at BirdTricks videos I'm sure they have something about it somewhere.
 

Birdgirl24

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Dec 2, 2021
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I have 1 budgie, He is a male both. I have been looking into getting an Eclectus Parrot tho.
Lol all bird people think alike.;)
 

texsize

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Bella was a shoulder rusher also.
keeping my upper arm tight against my body but also keeping my hand with Bella tucked close to my stomach.

one other thing to try.
very lightly use your non bird hand to put over her back.
I s hard for me to describe physically . Very gentle pressure on the birds back ,.
 

Emeral

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2021
209
444
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Hanhs Macaw
Hello,

So my fiancé and I have fallen for this sweet African Grey at the rescue we volunteer for. The only problem we have is she is a serious shoulder rusher. So we will be getting her most likely in a few weeks. the owners have shut down adoptions for the holidays so they can have a break.

So when we get her how do I get this to stop? I've tried keeping my arms at 90 degree angles so she cant walk up there, I've tried switching hands routinely, and she seems to always find a way around, usually its using her beak to climb up my chest vertically and get around anything I am doing to stop her.

The problem with her being on the shoulder is that she wont come down. if she came off easy I wouldn't worry about it, but we either have to help the other get her off, or scrape her off which isn't fun for anyone.

So what's the trick here? what am I missing? how do I fix this and train it out of her?

Bless you for taking in this serious shoulder rusher. My birds mind reading alarm ⏰ suggest possible causes of this behavior issue as follows. Could it be that....

1) she crave human companion and love so much. Hence she is afraid of losing that kind person again. Or.....

2) she associated coming down from shoulder as back to cage time/alone time.

With these causes, I suggest a strategy to reprogram her expectations. Redirect her attention from "oh no the alone time is coming" to other "oh wow....nice!"
Break the routine of her going back to cage after shoulder step down.

1) After getting her off from your shoulder, do unpredictable things. (Which she likes)
.....put her on another person's shoulder.
....put her on training perch
...put her on a table and play with her
.....start a recall training
....look into her eyes and give her treats
.......headscratch
.....hand wrestling

2) speak to her as though she understands your every word.

When my Emerald refused to step down from my shoulder, I told her this. "Emerald let me see you, step down, let me see you."
It works. She step down to let me look at her. I of course play with her until she forgot about her cage.

3) Put toys in her cage so that she looks forward to go back. Or better than that, give her a bird proof room to roam free.

Hope this will train it out of her
Please keep us post
 
OP
IcyWinteRose

IcyWinteRose

Active member
Nov 23, 2021
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125
Tucson, AZ
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Stitch and Angel: Caiques
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  • Thread starter
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Bless you for taking in this serious shoulder rusher. My birds mind reading alarm ⏰ suggest possible causes of this behavior issue as follows. Could it be that....

1) she crave human companion and love so much. Hence she is afraid of losing that kind person again. Or.....

2) she associated coming down from shoulder as back to cage time/alone time.

With these causes, I suggest a strategy to reprogram her expectations. Redirect her attention from "oh no the alone time is coming" to other "oh wow....nice!"
Break the routine of her going back to cage after shoulder step down.

1) After getting her off from your shoulder, do unpredictable things. (Which she likes)
.....put her on another person's shoulder.
....put her on training perch
...put her on a table and play with her
.....start a recall training
....look into her eyes and give her treats
.......headscratch
.....hand wrestling

2) speak to her as though she understands your every word.

When my Emerald refused to step down from my shoulder, I told her this. "Emerald let me see you, step down, let me see you."
It works. She step down to let me look at her. I of course play with her until she forgot about her cage.

3) Put toys in her cage so that she looks forward to go back. Or better than that, give her a bird proof room to roam free.

Hope this will train it out of her
Please keep us post
Thanks for the help we will try it. At the rescue we know very little about the backstory. So we don’t know if she was always a shoulder rusher or if it started when she got displaced. Idk if it counts as contact calls but she will whistle back and forth with me when I come in and out of the room she is in.

she won’t let me pick her up off my shoulder to pass her but she will pass from shoulder to shoulder. So I guess we will start there.
 

Laurasea

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Aug 2, 2018
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when my green cheek did this, I used my naughty flag, a very small flag. I has read thst picking up unfamiliar object while slowly moving it towards them while asking them to step down could work. It did. And with a few times of doing this plus rewarding her for step down, this issue was solved. I've since lost the flag, I just raise my left hand if ever she is being stubborn abd she steps down and always i praise and give treat.
Don't know if this is good advice to give? But it worked very well.
 
OP
IcyWinteRose

IcyWinteRose

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Nov 23, 2021
165
125
Tucson, AZ
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Stitch and Angel: Caiques
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  • Thread starter
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Bless you for taking in this serious shoulder rusher. My birds mind reading alarm ⏰ suggest possible causes of this behavior issue as follows. Could it be that....

1) she crave human companion and love so much. Hence she is afraid of losing that kind person again. Or.....

2) she associated coming down from shoulder as back to cage time/alone time.

With these causes, I suggest a strategy to reprogram her expectations. Redirect her attention from "oh no the alone time is coming" to other "oh wow....nice!"
Break the routine of her going back to cage after shoulder step down.

1) After getting her off from your shoulder, do unpredictable things. (Which she likes)
.....put her on another person's shoulder.
....put her on training perch
...put her on a table and play with her
.....start a recall training
....look into her eyes and give her treats
.......headscratch
.....hand wrestling

2) speak to her as though she understands your every word.

When my Emerald refused to step down from my shoulder, I told her this. "Emerald let me see you, step down, let me see you."
It works. She step down to let me look at her. I of course play with her until she forgot about her cage.

3) Put toys in her cage so that she looks forward to go back. Or better than that, give her a bird proof room to roam free.

Hope this will train it out of her
Please keep us post
Now We've tried a variety of treats and she doesn't seem to like any of them. At least she isn't motivated by them. I'm wondering if that's cause they include seeds in the diet. Our plan if we get her, (Talking to the rescue on Wednesday), is to switch her to a pellet and fresh veg diet so then we can hopefully use seed as treats. Any ideas if she just never takes to treats? I would love to do training with her.
 

Laurasea

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My burds have seeds as part of their diet, they are still thrilled to receive seeds as treats.
 

Laurasea

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Some burds have to trust you more to take food gifts.
When I took in my older Penny she would take abd throw my gifts. Until she liked abd trusted me more. Popcorn can be tempting, a finger pinch of bread, an apple slice, a dried red chili. My burds know I always like giving them stuff by hand so at this point they joyful take anything, a pellet even , if I hand it to them they are like yippee !
 

Emeral

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Sep 16, 2021
209
444
Parrots
Hanhs Macaw
Now We've tried a variety of treats and she doesn't seem to like any of them. At least she isn't motivated by them. I'm wondering if that's cause they include seeds in the diet. Our plan if we get her, (Talking to the rescue on Wednesday), is to switch her to a pellet and fresh veg diet so then we can hopefully use seed as treats. Any ideas if she just never takes to treats? I would love to do training with her.


African Grey is absolutely very clever. So it is not surprising to find her complicated.

I don't want to think the worst of what happened. Is she heart broken missing her previous owner? Or is she just shy? If she is shy, then relationship with her may progress in this order.....

1) eye contact and some interaction....she accept you with some reservations)

2) Eating at the same time....that's if she start to eat from her plate when she see you eat (Birds in the same flock eat at the same time) means, yes, she thinks you are cool.

3) Trusting is when she accept food or eat from your plate. Yes, she feels safe and will now start to eat things that she likes the most first.

So far, does she talk? Happy birds chat away or may be sing. But this will also depend on how long has she been here?

I guess so much fun awaits for her. She will soon enjoy your training in Trust building, Target training, stepping up, recall training, indoor flights......etc.

Meanwhile the way to her heart would be to read and understand her body language. This is my goto article, it has everything covered.



Keep us posted 🐦
 

MissMac

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Sorry but what is shoulder rushing and why is it so bad?
 

OrrinocosMom

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Jul 29, 2021
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Orrinoco The Pirate
Hello,

So my fiancé and I have fallen for this sweet African Grey at the rescue we volunteer for. The only problem we have is she is a serious shoulder rusher. So we will be getting her most likely in a few weeks. the owners have shut down adoptions for the holidays so they can have a break.

So when we get her how do I get this to stop? I've tried keeping my arms at 90 degree angles so she cant walk up there, I've tried switching hands routinely, and she seems to always find a way around, usually its using her beak to climb up my chest vertically and get around anything I am doing to stop her.

The problem with her being on the shoulder is that she wont come down. if she came off easy I wouldn't worry about it, but we either have to help the other get her off, or scrape her off which isn't fun for anyone.

So what's the trick here? what am I missing? how do I fix this and train it out of her?
I have been working with some absolutely fabulous parrot trainers...they are knowledgeable, fun, respectful and all around great at what they do. They are in the UK, and charge for their consultations, but you might want to check with them. They are really generous with their time. You could ask them if they can help with your shoulder issue before you pay for a session. Here is their IG account that has website with contact info. ❤️🦜❤️
 
OP
IcyWinteRose

IcyWinteRose

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Nov 23, 2021
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125
Tucson, AZ
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Stitch and Angel: Caiques
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  • Thread starter
  • #17
Sorry but what is shoulder rushing and why is it so bad?
it is when they rush up your arm to get on your shoulder. Often times it pairs with them refusing to come down. Its either them hiding on your shoulder, or it can be a show of dominance because they can move and prevent you from taking them down.

Its bad because they are difficult to handle and the bird can also be aggressive when trying to get them down. In her case she bites.
 

jeffisme

Active member
Jan 28, 2016
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56
please keep us posted. I'm dealing with the same issue. I can keep our Pionus on my hands by walking around the house, so she grips me hand tightly in the unfamiliar territory, but in my office or my training room, she scoots right up my arm to my shoulder. I like the idea of it being a privilege not a right, but as of now she thinks it's her right.

I do think it's in part fear of my hands, so as she gets over that fear it will be better. The question is how to do that. Clicker training? I have tried putting food in either hand but she is just so determined to perch on my shoulder she will ignore it. So maybe it's just time and trust. When I pick her up, hold her for few minutes and try to extend that time so she knows she can trust my hand. If you find a better way, let me know.

And as a fellow Tucson person, if you need a vet recommendation, I found a terrific one.
 
OP
IcyWinteRose

IcyWinteRose

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Nov 23, 2021
165
125
Tucson, AZ
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Stitch and Angel: Caiques
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
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please keep us posted. I'm dealing with the same issue. I can keep our Pionus on my hands by walking around the house, so she grips me hand tightly in the unfamiliar territory, but in my office or my training room, she scoots right up my arm to my shoulder. I like the idea of it being a privilege not a right, but as of now she thinks it's her right.

I do think it's in part fear of my hands, so as she gets over that fear it will be better. The question is how to do that. Clicker training? I have tried putting food in either hand but she is just so determined to perch on my shoulder she will ignore it. So maybe it's just time and trust. When I pick her up, hold her for few minutes and try to extend that time so she knows she can trust my hand. If you find a better way, let me know.

And as a fellow Tucson person, if you need a vet recommendation, I found a terrific one.
Thanks! Will keep you guys updated
 

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