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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.

Teaching an old dog new tricks

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Old 02-13-2017, 06:00 PM   #1
rizzie5022
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Teaching an old dog new tricks

Well not a dog but a parrotlet.

Training a parrotlet can be easy or frustrating. In our case it is frustrating.

I have been looking through pictures and noting timelines with our Huey.

When I first got him, he would step up. He did this for a few days only then he started biting. A biting bird who draws blood does not make for a happy family.

I decided that maybe I should just sit near him and win his heart then everything would fall into place. I would open his cage and he would climb out and onto his play gym. He eats his snacks outside of his cage on the play gym. I was hoping this would be easier to teach him "up". I figured I would have time to "properly" train him as I heard stories of people having their birds for many many years.

Our version of "up" consisted of a flat hand palm side up and could only be acomplished from outside of the cage. Huey was clipped when I got him when he was 6 months old he will be 4 in April. As his feathers grew in so did his personality, but also so did his attitude. "up" became a suggestion in our house. When he got tired of flying around he would step up onto my hand.

Then the plucking began. I was concentrating on trying to do EVERYTHING suggested to get him to stop. (still an ongoing process).

It was frustrating for me to read on this forum how lots of folks have these wonderful little birdies while I had a terror. I could bond more with the members who had their own little terrors. I decided that I would just be happy with what we had and not concern myself with all of the bonding. We had our own kind of bond in our house. Huey bonded differently to hubby than he did with me.

I realized that I was focusing on the wrong things. We have a guy who in his own way does care for us. It might not be like some of his friends care for their parronts but it is there.

We decided to clip him beofre we took our trip in November. I also made it a point to spend more time each day trying to teach him up. I have made progress and I am posting here because one of the members here made a comment to me privately when I told her how happy I was with our "training" that she knew of another person who bonded with their parrotlet after 4 years. Not everybirdy bonds in the same way, some really do take their time.

Here are a few things that I do know about our guy. I sat back and thought about how he is trained or how he has trained us, it might not be typical but it works and I want those who might be frustrated to know that there is hope.

Huey loves to travel, I open his cage and put his travel cage near the door and he hops right in (or out).

He now will chirp while sitting in my hand or on my shoulder.

He will "up" with minimal fluttering when I put my hand into his cage now. Once on my hand I can take him out.

He will fall asleep in my hand and will sit there for up to 25 minutes.

If he is out of our sight (he flutters off of the couch and we can not see him when we look) he will chirp if we call his name.

He loves to eat what we eat, he will give our plates a glance and them actually look at his to be sure they are the same.

Biting usually is now more of a signal and not a bite. If he wants to get my attn while in my hand he will kind of mouth my hand.

The only time he will talk around us is when hubby is getting cussed at for doing what ever Huey decides is what he should not be doing.

He does talk but only when we are not in the room.

Hubby is a safe zone, Huey will run away from me when I am trying to get him to "up" and over to hubby. He climbs up hubbys leg and onto his shoulder and sits as far away from me as he can, giving me stink eye.

He likes what I call head banging music, in the car Huey is quiet until a loud song comes on the radio then he chirps loudly until the song is over.

Hopefully as the years go by he will continue to become more friendlier and with any luck maybe even have some chest feathers. If not we will just love him as he is.

My point in this ramble is love your little ones and dont worry if they fit into the mold of what people percieve to be a tame parrotlet. There are people on this forum who have troubles and issues just like there are people who have perfectly tame wonderful little ones. Look for the good and you will find it.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:47 PM   #2
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Huey seems like a wonderful bird----you have worked so hard with him. He has an adorable personality-----unique in the ways you listed.

My husband does not want to have anything to do with birds, so he is no help there.

the mornings I give Ollie a spoon of oatmeal or eggs/toast and he enjoys the offering. Ollie gets fresh veggies and cooked food (rice, quinoa, romaine, etc.) in a separate dish I put in his cage for the day. I take it out at the end of the day----earlier in the summer.
Bath time is done by me holding a plastic dish on the edge of the kitchen table encouraging him saying "take a bath." He will respond to me with "taka-take, chick chick" and if interested, he will first inspect the temperature. He goes up and down the dish wetting himself more and more each time. I have a towel close to him he uses. They all have their cute ways of doing things. He is my joy in retirement.
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Old 02-14-2017, 12:25 AM   #3
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You seem to really love Huey. Bogie was a very mean birdie when I first got him. The first ten days were the worst! He was not just a biter-he went after me or my wife on purpose, just to give us a bite! I called the breeder and she said she would take Bogie back, but when she said that, I got an unhappy feeling about the whole situation. I wanted Bogie and I wanted to win the war of the beak!

So,I started to think about the disposition of Bogie. I found that if I was going to be successful in overcoming his bad behavior, I had to think like him! I found that the times I got bit the most were in the morning or anytime I approached him after not being around him for a while.

He did not like to be bothered, so when I wanted to play with him or be social with him, I stood away from his cage and looked over at him and started talking to him from a few feet away. After a minute or so, I approached his cage and he would step up without biting me. It worked every time! Soon, he got used to me coming over to him and he started looking forward for our time together. Treats had something to do with it, too!.

He still had an attitude, but we both learned to manage it. My first career working undercover as a police officer helped me 'train' Bogie. I worked with some real nasty people and I learned how to handle these nasty people's bad behavior. Bogie was a difficult bird, so I treated him like I was undercover. I learned what ticked him off and I learned that Bogie had good days and bad days, just like humans do. Bogie always had an angle for what he was doing.

I would be eating and he would sneak up towards me, one step at a time, then, all of a sudden he would run up to the bottom of my paper and take a bite out of it and quickly fly away ! He chattered all the time he flew. I would get up and walk towards him and he would fly to my shoulder and give me a kiss on my cheek. It was like, " Tag! Your it!" My wife would crack up when she saw me and Bogie horse around like that. I knew I could go after him. He knew he could bug me and make a game out of it.

I have had him 8 years and I wouldn't trade him for the world! If someone offered me fifty thousand dollars for him, I wouldn't even think of selling him. Never!
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Old 02-18-2017, 02:48 AM   #4
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I think sometimes we see all the "cutest" sides of each others parrotlets here and its easy to think yours (mine) is the terror.

I mean lets face it, yes Melody is cute and fluffy and like scritches, but she also bites the snot out of us. Shes really a little terror right now. If I'm lucky I can spend 10 minutes with her until she starts biting me.

Lilly and Tobie don't really want much to do with us, they hang out in their cage and like to play on the top, sometimes they crawl back inside on their own and they will put themselves to bed in their sleepy cage. Occasionally I take Lilly in the shower or they will sit on my shoulder for a while.

In my perfect world, all my birds would just be fluffy and cuddly all the time but they are not. They are all little boogers sometimes. Except Jasper. He is perfect.
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:23 AM   #5
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Nobody is perfect, right? While I am always amazed at some of the things I read on here and different birds personalities, I try not to compare Dima to other birds. What's the saying "comparison is the thief of happiness"? It can be hard, reading all these amazing stories and wishing your bird would do the same thing but you've made an excellent point Lin! Love the little one you have, quirks, biting, or tantrums and all.
For me, Dima is not yet a year old, so our relationship is still pretty new and for the most part she is a sweet little girl. We've been working on gentle beak, but I think she mostly associates the word gentle with getting cheek scritches now and just wants to be petted... but it's better than biting! Step up however... has not been working for us. To get her out of her cage there is much coercion and treats. And try to get her to try something healthy? Hah!! I've given her fruits to try and she had literally tasted them, tried to wipe the taste from her tongue and look so offended... but if I have a cookie? She will
Do anything in her power to get to it. Needles to say I don't eat cookies around anymore.
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Last edited by Koiki; 02-20-2017 at 04:26 AM..
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