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Bonding and Training Want to train your parrotlet? Just want to bond with your parrotlet? Ask all your questions and suggestions here.

Socializing with strangers

How do I get my bird to not be a jerk to everyone but me?

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Old 04-18-2012, 11:25 PM   #1
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Unhappy Socializing with strangers

So, I've had Oliver for about 7 months now, and I think we are pretty well bonded. He wants to spend time with me whenever I am home, and loves to be petted, eat the things that he sees me eating and interact with the things that he sees me interacting with. He was very aggressive when I first got him, but his temper tantrums have become more rare, and he only bites me infrequently. Occasionally something will happen that will trigger his aggressiveness, and it's most upsetting when he's on my shoulder and bites my neck, but again, this is a rare occurrence.

Ol will get along with my mom for the most part, as she spends the most time with him when I am away, but he will bite her more often as she is generally less interested in putting effort into correcting his behavior. My dad and youngest brother don't want anything to do with him because they are afraid he will bite. He also does not like my friends or strangers in general.

I guess what I'm wanting to know is if anyone has had any luck in getting your parrotlet to be friendly with strangers? My other brother came to visit today and Oliver started freaking out and biting at me while he was on my shoulder and my brother was in the room. (To be fair, my brother does have a very loud, booming voice and there were also strangers in the yard re-pouring cement in our driveway that scared him, so he'd had a moderately stressful day already by the time I got home)

I just get a bit discouraged because I want to show off this animal that I love, but he gets aggressive, which makes people think he is mean and psychotic and not want to interact with him, which in turn keeps him in this fairly antisocial state. I don't want people to get bit, but I don't want to put him away whenever there is company over, because then he gains nothing.

There is a pet store near where I live, and whoever owns it has pets that live in there. One of them is a caique who sits on a perch in the middle of the store and is completely cool and calm with anyone and everyone who walks bye. I was in there for the first time, and the bird quite willingly and calmly climbed on my hand and back off again with no fuss or fear. I have no idea how old this bird is, but he's obviously use to strangers and I want Oliver to be like that too eventually, but I don't think I have enough people who are willing to help me teach him that strangers are okay.

I know my bird is still young, and I don't expect him to love everyone, but I would at least like him to learn to be polite, and the sooner the better - but I feel like I am working with a lack of resources. Does anyone have any experience in this regard?
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:19 AM   #2
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I'm sorry but I don't have much advice to offer you. Bird can learn to be ok with stangers when socialized at an early age but every bird is different. I met a caique once and she was totally cool with everyone, so long as it meant she was getting attention. I'm under the impression that caiques are just more social birds. The only advice I could give you is based off of dog training. Any time a stranger comes into the home, they offer a treat. Have your brother or dad come into the room, place a treat in front of the bird, and walk away. Keep doing this with anyone who comes in contact with Oliver and I'm sure he will learn that strangers equal food and so strangers are good. Have them talk to him too. They can say hello and tell him he's pretty and give him a yummy. It works for dogs! Lol good luck!
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:55 PM   #3
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I socalized my bird with strangers when she was a baby and she was cool with it. However, the older she gets, the more aggressive she's become towards strangers. It is highly annoying. If there is a stranger in the room she'll not only bite them, but bite at me too! I've semi given up on her. I did everything I could to make her ok with strangers. People she once liked, she now bites.

She is a little better if there is only one or two new people in the group. She prefers girls and will sometimes let my girlfriends hold her when it is only me and the girlfriend. She is fine if she's in her cage while the strangers are in the room AND if they don't walk past her cage. She will lunge if they get into her 'space.'

I can sympathize. Everyone I know thinks she a horrid little psycho.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:42 PM   #4
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Yes, my 9 month old female (Skye) doesn't like anyone but me. My daughter and husband are afraid of her because when they go near her she opens her wings and her beak, she will even chase them off the bed if they come sit with me lol. But my brother and dad will come over and stick their hand right in her cage and right under her and they do it so fast she has no choice but to step up and they get her out of the cage. Skye will go on someone's finger if I put her there but she doesn't like it too much at times.
JennT619 - I like your idea of treats! Skye loves loves loves pine nuts so we've decided only my daughter and husband will give her them, and like you said, they will put it in her cage and walk away. I'll let you know how it goes.
I'm going away in May for a week and am worried about her.
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:08 PM   #5
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Simon only likes women! He will go to any female that comes in and perch on their shoulder and laugh and grind his beak in their ear, like he does me. But men, good grief!! He acts like a penned up tiger towards men. Screaming at them,lunging, just in general being horrible. It is so embarassing...Well, he's only looking after me..ha..........right........................
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:44 PM   #6
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all my parrotlets have been only bonded to me. I unfortunately have nothing to offer you in advice. I also, don't overly "socialize" my bird, because I have had issues in the past with people either 1. not wanting a bird to come to them or be on them. and 2. people who didn't know how to properly handle a bird.

My main concern also was, kids who weren't use to birds being up at my place. If my bird was "overly friendly" the kids would be rough, try to take the bird outside, or just in general wouldn't respect the bird. It got irritating because the parents and kids didn't respect boundries. So needless to say, the parrotlets tendency to only be "one person" birds appeals more to me.

I don't have to watch people who bring their kids up, as I just say that he "could bite" and they'll leave him alone. Or if he is out and I have people up who aren't fond of birds, he wont bother them and leaves them alone. VS conures for example who are always in everyones face. lol
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:13 PM   #7
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So with kiwi, there were people in my family who would try to hold her sometimes, but she didn't like it as much as me holding her. shoulders were pretty okay for other people. Or she would go in between a shirt and undershirt and just crawl until she found a comfortable place. Since i taught her to stand on my hand, i had a friend come over and hold her to try to get her to accept other people. i put her on her shoulder, and then after a few minutes put her on her hand. Maybe you could try shoulders as a way into getting Oliver to accept other people. The problem is being on a shoulder is a lot scarier for the person if they don't have any experience with birds. they freak out that the bird will bite their face...
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:44 PM   #8
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Haha, it makes me feel better to know that I am not alone. I think the treats idea is the best bet.. I've tried shoulders with Ol before, and that's generally where he prefers to be - but he has the habit of getting on a strangers shoulder and then biting their neck, which is pretty much the worst. I guess it might be best to just let him be a one-person bird unless someone shows a genuine interest in learning how to handle him... =\
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:47 PM   #9
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Tell your friends that birds are monogamous and your parrotlet is showing the utmost respect to you by not flirting with them It sounds funny but it's true. Explaining this makes your bird sound more interesting and less mean.

I ran into the same issue as you awhile ago and I found that it was all-around more successful to have other people sit or stand around a table and allow my parrotlet to run around that surface and approach people at her own will. Or they can hold toys out, offer treats, etc. Expecting a parrotlet to readily jump onto another person's hand seems to be expecting too much. Mine did when she was young but she won't anymore. You're definitely not alone!
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:18 PM   #10
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Most birds bond to one person only. I'm a new parrotlet owner but that seems to be the case with most birds.
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