The honeymoon phase is over and I need some help.

Runzbarrel

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Apr 21, 2015
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Washington
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"Peaches" G2
"Squeaker" YNA
"Crackers" B&G
It's been just over a week since I got my B&G and he's nipped me half a dozen times in the last couple days :/ It's always when I'm asking him to step up from the ground, his outside play stand, or like today from my shoulder which was a first. He's not full on biting me. More like hard pinching. I firmly tell him No and get very firm with asking him to step up but he comes at me harder and I have to resort to using a towel to get him or waiting a couple minutes and then he'll be nice. Tonight he didn't want to come off his stand and I had to use a perch to get him which he didn't like after he had nipped me twice. I was mad and put him to bed early at 7:45. I'm pretty sure he was mad cause he was in his cage most of the day today. But I did spend a solid hour with him one on one before putting him on his stand when I got home. I feel a little over my head here and feeling a bit discouraged that this sweet Macaw I met 3 weeks ago is now being a butthead. What am I doing wrong and what can I do better?
 

JerseyWendy

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Jul 20, 2012
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You’re not doing anything wrong. It’s just like you said, the honeymoon period is over, and he’s now testing his bounderies. I would not allow him on the shoulder until you can completely trust him.

Start teaching him the ‘up’ and ‘down’ command. You can either put him on the playstand for this, or the back of a chair. When you offer him your hand/arm and tell him ‘up’ or ‘step up’, he should not hesitate. The same goes for the ‘down’ ‘step down’ command. It will take some time, but be persistent. Keep the training sessions short, and end each one on a good note.

IME B&G love to pinch, and yes, it hurts, and yes, it leaves bruises. My Niko still does it on occasion, and he knows as soon as he’s applied too much pressure because he’ll tell me ‘uh-ooh’ when he sees my face (in displeasure). Bite pressure training comes in quite handy here.

If you find he’s pinching as he’s stepping up from the ground, try and pick him up from ‘behind’. Instead of offering your hand/arm in front of his chest, offer it behind him, so he’ll have to step backwards in order to step onto you.
 
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Runzbarrel

Runzbarrel

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He knows step up. He usually says it before I do lol Then he'll say "good boy". If I'm reading him right he's just being a "toddler" and saying "I don't wanna" at these times.
 

Mekaisto

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That's exactly what he's saying, he's saying: "I don't wanna get picked up, you're going to put me back in my cage!" (Assuming you put him in his cage after you pick him up)

JerseyWendy is absolutely right, and an extension of this is - whenever you pick him up, put him somewhere else rather than his cage. Maybe pick him off the ground and put him on a play stand, or pick him off the stand to put him somewhere else. That way he learns that being pickup up isn't a punishment. Also, try to make going back to the cage fun! Make sure there's a treat or toy waiting for him in there!

If you don't usually pick him up to put him back (say you're only picking him up to move him somewhere else) try reinforcing that if he steps up without biting, he might get a treat! (not all the time, otherwise he could get demanding) It doesn't have to be a food treat, it could be a toy of his or even just a cuddle.
 
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Runzbarrel

Runzbarrel

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I don't always pick him up and put him in his cage. He loves to walk around the house but after he took a chunk out of a bathroom cabinet I don't trust him. So I'll let him have a few minutes to wander around but then it's stand time. The guy I got him from would let him wander all over including outside. He didn't have any play stands or toys. This bird doesn't really play with toys. He barely touches the things in his cage. He's having to learn a whole new way of life here and I guess he's giving me his opinion ;) But I have a 4yo son that the Mac doesn't like so he has to learn that he can't walk around and have free reign anymore. Hence why I built the same play stand Birdman666 did. I finally got it finished the other day. Now I need to deck it out with toys. I also have some madrona branches that I'm planning to make a nice stand with to put in the living room.
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Wendy is absolutely right. He's testing to see what he can get away with. It's I don't wanna...

ALL MACAWS TEST TO SEE WHAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH...

The answer has to be, "well, you're gonna..."

Two fingers on the top of the beak controls the beak, and he can't nip you. Do that next time he gets "uppity" AND THEN tell him to step up. The "knock it off" command is a useful tool. Once he knows the boundaries are the boundaries, this stuff stops. However, if he can expand the boundaries by doing it, the behavior gets worse. That's what's meant by "firm hand" with a macaw.

No has to mean "NO!" Starting with NO BITING!
 
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thekarens

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Sep 29, 2013
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Wendy and Mark are absolutely correct. Zoe is 2 and we've almost had her a year and as sweet as she is she still occasionally tests me and gives a good pinch that results in a bruise.
 

zelliegirl

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Jan 3, 2015
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My birds grab me with their beak then step up, sometimes if they are unsure they grab a little harder and it feels like a bite. Also, since they are still new to me, I approach slowly and let them feel like they "agreed" to step up. If I give them the time (like a minute or two) the are more eager to step up next time. Eventually, I hope it becomes second nature. And we play the step up game everyday, they step off their cage and back on and get a sunflower seed like 10 or 20 times. That way step up is fun and doesn't always mean back in the cage. Sometimes after the game, they go in the cage and sometimes they don't. Good luck!
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Wendy and Mark are absolutely correct. Zoe is 2 and we've almost had her a year and as sweet as she is she still occasionally tests me and gives a good pinch that results in a bruise.

They also occasionally throw "toddler tantrums" when they don't wanna do something.

You deal with it the same way you deal with a toddler.

That sort of behavior results in a "time out."

I did a long step by step post in your other thread...

Please trust me, these work.
 

Flboy

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Dec 28, 2014
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Save your sanity, build him a monster PVC stand, 50 bucks minus the toys! Toys, knotted rope, wood blocks drilled and strung on a rope, a very simple cargo net using tywraps-not knots. for sea grass mats, if you have one of those old time pottery type stores, go get a 9x12 grass carpet, or door mat. They are made out of 1 foot squares, loosely sewn together, disassemble, wash--less than a buck each this way!
Do It Yourself - Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community
 
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Runzbarrel

Runzbarrel

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"Peaches" G2
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"Crackers" B&G
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Save your sanity, build him a monster PVC stand, 50 bucks minus the toys! Toys, knotted rope, wood blocks drilled and strung on a rope, a very simple cargo net using tywraps-not knots. for sea grass mats, if you have one of those old time pottery type stores, go get a 9x12 grass carpet, or door mat. They are made out of 1 foot squares, loosely sewn together, disassemble, wash--less than a buck each this way!
Do It Yourself - Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community

I already built it :)
 

Solo

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Shamrock Macaw
I've already employed Birdman666 methods with the girl I brought home a few days ago. She knows step up, but sometimes "doesn't feel like it". If I've already told her to, but she doesnt listen then I pursue it, and if she bites(which she has) 2 fingers get the beak and my hand moves under her feet while I have control of the head. Once she's on me she's fine, and she gets praised. Not sure if what Im doing is completely correct or not, but seems better then letting HER boss me around. She came from a similar situation. No play stand, few toys, no foraging toys, fully clipped and they let her waddle everywhere. She needs to learn the rules of the house immediately and in black and white, otherwise she may get confused and feel entitled to push the boundaries more often. Consistency is key, and no grudges about previous behavior, as soon as she does something right, act goofy and PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. Instead of "no bite" I find myself saying "be nice" when she's being difficult. Please keep us posted. [emoji1]
 
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Runzbarrel

Runzbarrel

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"Peaches" G2
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"Crackers" B&G
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We've had two great days in a row! I've been doing a lot of "step down" and "step up" with him and making a big fuss when he does it without attitude. I've also been putting him to bed an hour earlier and he seems much happier. I let him on the floor this evening for a few and he tried to nip me at first when it was time to be picked up but I got firm, put my fingers on his beak and made him step backwards on to my hand. He even hung upside down being silly after that :) I finally found a treat he goes crazy for too! He loves walnuts. I'm feeling a bit more confident now. Thanks everyone for your advice and support!
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
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San Antonio, TX
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Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
We've had two great days in a row! I've been doing a lot of "step down" and "step up" with him and making a big fuss when he does it without attitude. I've also been putting him to bed an hour earlier and he seems much happier. I let him on the floor this evening for a few and he tried to nip me at first when it was time to be picked up but I got firm, put my fingers on his beak and made him step backwards on to my hand. He even hung upside down being silly after that :) I finally found a treat he goes crazy for too! He loves walnuts. I'm feeling a bit more confident now. Thanks everyone for your advice and support!

Yep. It's all part of the settling in process. Sounds like things are going good now and you're well on your way to posting in the "mush mac" thread...

And this really does seem to be the point where they either end up stuck in cages, or end up forming bonds with people...

Problem being that a lot of people either don't get the advice/training they need to work with the bird, or they let the fear get the better of them. Or some combination of both. There just seems to be this HUMP you have to get over with the pair bond species, especially macaws when they play the "intimidation game."
 
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deque

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Aug 7, 2014
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Miami, Florida
Parrots
Bala- B&G, Capri- Greenwing, Cata- Catalina, Ruby- Military, Abbey- B&G
Kudos to you for your dedication. I also agree that boundaries must be set with Macaws but think it's worth mentioning that you've had him a very short time. Building trust (on both your parts) takes time and patience.

Every macaw is different and figuring out how to reach him is half the fun.

Set boundaries but I'd suggest you encourage interaction but never force it.
 

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
9,904
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San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Every macaw is different and figuring out how to reach him is half the fun.

Set boundaries but I'd suggest you encourage interaction but never force it.

Agreed as to the first one.

The second one, I disagree only to the extent that some birds are so stubborn that they SIMPLY WON'T DO IT UNTIL THE FIRST TIME SOMEONE DOESN'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER.

I recently worked with a bunch of NOT TAME macaws at a resort. One of them had been cage bound for years and didn't know how to step up. I literally had to tackle that bird and towel him in order to get him to interact with me. (Of the 10 macaws, he was the only one I had to towel.) And he fought like hell and was kicking and screaming in the towel...

Until I got him calmed down, took the towel off, and he suddenly wasn't. In fact, the interaction at that point went 180 degrees the other way...

15 minutes later he was lying on his back in the palm of my hand, trying to slip me the tongue...

(See the "excitement" thread in the macaw section at page 5 or 6, I think. If you think I'm making this up.) http://www.parrotforums.com/macaws/53118-excitement.html

So I respectfully postulate that the first sentence is entirely correct. Every macaw is different, and how you work with them depends 100% on the bird, what his phobias and problems are, and what he responds to. There are rare occasions where the interaction needs to be forced on them, or they will NEVER let anyone interact with them, BUT THIS NOT THE PREFERRED METHOD, AND IS ALWAYS A LAST RESORT, NOT THE FIRST THING YOU TRY!!!

"Hard case, meet Mr. Towel."

Letting them fester in cages, un-handled, is one of the worst things you can do to a big mac. Waiting for them to be ready, can sometimes be an eternal wait.
 
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Runzbarrel

Runzbarrel

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Apr 21, 2015
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Washington
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"Peaches" G2
"Squeaker" YNA
"Crackers" B&G
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Crackers is doing really great these days. He loves attention so as long as I spend enough time with him during the day he's a very happy bird. He's also very sweet and loves to cuddle against my chest first thing in the morning while he mumbles. It's so cute. Every once in a while he will try to lunge at me but I just tell him to knock it off and basically shove my arm under him and tell him to step up and he does. He's a BIG bluffer!
 

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