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Help with Erratic and biting behaviors

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Pi is 13wks old.   I am still hand feeding him.   Some days he's a big old mush and likes to cuddle but some days he's very independent and likes to bite.   He doesn't bite very hard but I don't like it. 

I've heard different views on stopping the behavior and I'm confused. 

For a while I was trying to put him down as soon as he bit and i would put him down and walk into the other room to ignore him. But now he's flying and doesn't seem to mind me getting up and leaving him alone :-(

My boyfriend who stays with me occasionally is a dog trainer decided to create a sense of equality with the biting. When pi went to bite him he decided that hurting him back equally would be fair by plucking feather. It was a small feather but I could see the bird was stressed out. I also don't know if that accomplished anything. After that he started acting just like the bird and mimicking his every move. Then he would move the bird to show the bird who was in charge (like showing him he was head of the flock) and at a later time give him a high-value treat to show him he had nothing to fear.  He claims that within a week of constant training  like that the bird will no longer bite him. I'm sure I will get a lot of negative comments on this but I am curious would something like this work?

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Not a good idea you will loose trust and that is important, birds do not react well to punishment they are not dogs. Physical punishment like that may not only damage your relationship with your bird but can cause a start to feather plucking please do not allow that to continue. Your bird is still a baby trying to learn about his environment his beak is like your hand in may ways it is a sensitive tactile organ to feel surfaces, discriminate items and share touch.  His behavior is a normal part of his development, just tell him no if he is too rough when beaking people and put him down or back into his cage. You can also try giving him a toy to play with rather than a correction move, perhaps something soft like aq sock to play tug of war with. maybe something he can manipulate like foot toys or a paper roll. Like a toddler keep that bird and that beak busy to avoid the problem behavior rather than a correction. Hope that helps I know we have some further helpful suggestions to come.

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Dogs don't even react well to punishment.  Dogs training works a lot better with rewards and most importantly praise.  That's what dogs are all about. 

 

 

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Birds are not dogs. They are not domesticated animals like dogs and cats. They will behave and respond differently to domesticated animals. I personally do not advocate hurting a bird to 'teach it a lesson' when it bites. Some biting is caused by a fear response- if the bird does not see a way out of a situation they will sometimes resort to biting to try and make the perceived threat go away.

Barbara Heidenreich is an animal trainer who has a lot of resources on parrot behaviour and training. It may be worth looking up some of her articles and books. She sometimes hosts webinars that you can pay to participate (or pay a smaller fee to watch back a previously recorded webinar). I'd strongly recommend doing some research on positive reinforcement and parrot behaviour before trying anything or letting others try anything. Invoking a fear response by hurting a bird or trying to dominate a bird by trying to be the 'top dog' isn't going to get you very far and you'll probably end up being bitten more often as a result.

On the days where your bird is trying to be independent and do his own thing then your best bet is to sit back a little bit and let him explore at his own pace. Don't attempt to force him to do things he clearly doesn't want to do. If I try and scratch Alfie's head and he's not interested then I know I am asking to be bitten if I keep trying to scratch his head. Body language is key with African Greys- you have to watch carefully at the subtle messages they are trying to convey. The bite is often the last resort... basically a "I've been trying to tell you to back off... now BACK OFF" response.

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You cannot punish a grey to get good behavior, it just doesn't work that way. You need to gain their trust to be able to handle them and yes sometimes they will bite, especially the young ones as they are exploring their environment. The more you work with your bird and learn the body language you will find out what they like and dislike and that will serve you well in avoiding getting bitten.

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In the parrot species there are No " Alpha males" ...Please take heed to the advice the others have given, Many of them also raise dogs. I just lost a bird from some one pulling feathers, please read my Forums post,

Pet Memorials

Pistachio Fly's "Over the rainbow" [No more pain.]

 

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