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rebuilding trust

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dewn

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rebuilding trust
« on: June 02, 2015, 08:40:26 PM »

Hi everyone!

Came across this forum and hoping to get some advice on how to rebuild trust with my CAG. I am the lucky owner of two CAGS. Charlie (5 yrs) and Amanda (3 yrs). My issue is with Charlie.
A bit of background, bought Charlie 4 months old. Sweetest bird in the world. Unfortunately he turns out to be self-chewer. He couldn't handle being alone, so developed a habit chewing his wings down to buffalo size. However, still very sociable and loves people and all. We did pretty much everything together. And as I am very indoorsy person, he was my companion in all my daily routines. Two years later got married. Charlie didn't seem to take well to that. Became more nervous, began biting, if I pick him up he will jump off my hand. If I put my hand near to him, he will shy away or even scream. I bought Amanda in an attempt to remedy his self-destructive behaviour, but unfortunately he's remained a nutter still.
So, I got divorced and now I have the two birds. But Charlie still "hates" me, though he still lets me caress his head late at night before going to sleep. Then he will come for a tickle or if I've been away for a long time. However, he rarely comes out of his cage. He's very "melancholic".
I've tried spending more time talking to him, giving him extra treats. Or treats just for him and not Amanda to make him feel more special, but all to no avail. I'm not sure what to do. I have on RARE occasions had him on my shoulders, because he has fallen of the cage and wandered about the apartment to find me. I will then pick him up and have him sit on my shoulder. He is not completely relaxed and will actually nip my hand if it gets too close. Does anybody have ANY idea? suggestions? Anyone been in a similar situation?  I want to have my grey back.

Cheers

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kazky

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2015, 09:29:10 PM »

There's probably a few factors at work here, he will definitely sense your frustration and anxiety over this, which will make him nervy. Your body language has also probably become more cautious, expecting a bite, he'll pick that up too.

None of this is the birds fault though so as difficult as it sounds,  you have to make it right, maybe spend some quality time in a different room with him, so it's all about him, get some training tips, something that interests and excites him.

As you say, you need to build his trust again, so try lots of different things. What food is he on? Do you have an avian lamp? Does he get some time outside ( in a cage obviously)

He has learnt this over time and he sounds a little depressed, it's not going to be a quick turnaround I'd say. I'm sure others will be along to offer advice. :)


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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2015, 12:12:01 AM »

What Kaz said...+

You mention 2 things yet over look them.

1) He did everything with me then my attention went to my partner. You spurned him, also over bonded. I suspect plucking started out of confusion, rejection. I did something similar with my boy, mine was not realising what his behaviour meant.

2) He's comfortable in the cage.. So why? Is this the only true place where he feels secure?

1 is the underlying cause, fixing will be gaining trust again. I also suspect the other parrot has compounded the problem. I wonder whether the other parrot has made the other areas stressful, well less comfortable than the cage.

Baby steps..

The aim is to just start with him being as comfortable out as in. I find mine every where, Hickory will take herself into another room, Willow sits on the kitchen door. Then they can go back to the cage and just sit in it. I'd be quite interested in your relationship with him in the cage whether he is aggressive/defensive.

I'd try to get him very happy just to climb/be out of the cage. Wouldn't be to surprised if this changes a lot. Lot's of drama/rewards just for being out, every parrot has something.

We have 2 parrots and I have seen jealousy/ownership of us. I can make Willow jealous by tickling his sister. I actually have to be careful he will go to far, and tell her to move.

I reckon the 2 don't get on. Try just letting him out and training him. Just baby steps, always think what is the aim.

Aim: Stop biting
Reward: Not biting.(tons of drama)

So start with nothing more than approaching, you have to help. Stop before even the thought of biting has happened. Then reward for just that, once this is done(this could be mths), I'd move onto step up. First though I'd try to find a way or what, will make him feel more comfortable out of the cage.

Training has to be done at their pace and when they want to. I just took my 2 out flying, Hickory flew once and just wasn't interested so I didn't ask her to(So I gain trust, I listened to her, she did her thing). Always finish on a positive and reward cram. I like clickers. Find it too slow by voice when training, but fine when learnt. I.e. Today outside I reinforced recall with the clicker, not used it for indoor recall for years.

You've got to determine the reason for biting, fear, learned aggression or territorial. I suspect you've now got a few if not all reasons. You'll have to work each one. I.e if territorial you'll have to get him comfortable with you in it. If learned then you have to learn to give no reward(drama) and reward the aim fear etc...
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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2015, 11:32:18 AM »

2 Brilliant replies there Dewn, Im sure if you can do all thats mentioned you will have your baby back.  When he's in his cage, where are you? Are you over the other side of the room? If so, maybe you could position yourself slightly closer to the cage so he gets used to you being so close again, then move closer and closer until you are next to his cage (over time not straight away).  Praise and treat all the time  :biggrin:
Good luck
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dewn

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2015, 01:48:49 PM »

@kazky
I always open the cage when I'm home. Amanda will rush out, but he will remain inside. On a rare occasion he will leave the cage. Not sure what triggers it, but it's on his terms.

The cage is right next to a big windows with a view and all. I give them pretty much everything. They have their pellets, then usually veggies and human food. They eat well both of them.

@FeatherMonkey

1. I have suspected something like that. though it makes me sad to read it coming from someone else. Is it possible to overbond? When I got Amanda, it was to have someone that he could be with. They do get on quite well the two of them. They do their mating rituals thing and all. But if I am in the room with them and I have to go for some reason, Charlie will go mental. Very restless and start chewing at his shoulders or his claws.

2. I'm not sure why he is comfortable in the cage. Even while I was married I always open up the cage to allow him to come out. Nothing changed in that aspect. I just didn't have him on my shoulders as often or eat with him.

I agree that the primary objective is to somehow get him out of the cage willingly. But he's not easy to bribe. No toy or treats. I'm gonna have to try to think of something.

@Angel Feathers

I have my cage in the living room, so I'm with them most of the time.  But I have started a ritual a fews weeks ago of setting a chair right by the cage and sit there and chit chat to them. Charlie has become less iffy and actually responds when I talk to him... sometimes, but he still won't even come to the door and greet me


Thanks for the feedback so far. This has put some thoughts into motion. More ideas are all welcome! Cheers
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2015, 03:11:55 PM »

Firstly you're not alone I also suspect it's pretty endemic in hand reared companion birds. Also suspect it's one of the primary causes of plucking, when the signs get missed. I've got one he's all mine, I'm just lucky that between me and my brother we can work him. I have to get my brother to get him off me somedays, I only just have to look at him.

Find it intriguing you say they do get on. Have to be honest I find training them together slightly easier as they learn of each other.

Yes you can overbond, I presume he's a hand rear I can point you to a parrot behaviourist who's against them fundamentaly for this reason. I've read some research on pluckers generally being imprints.

Personally we just need to stop seeing them as fluffy toddlers, but as wild, celibate, prey, flock birds. Then their behaviour makes sense. We have to educate them, teach them to play, teach them to forage, teach them what is acceptable behaviour and what's not. We can't replace an adult parrot but it doesn't mean we shouldn't do our best to be one.

I'm guessing you've inadvertently replaced the relationship with Amanda, you maybe right. I suspect he even has a soft spot for her.(Mine did play Dr's and nurses when younger now they only tolerate each other)

As for reward he must have a favourite food, just remove it from his regular food. Honestly little baffled by the doesn't want to leave the cage. I see something similar when mine have been out all day, wonder whether it's the only time he truly feels like he owns it(Working out they why will find the solution). Another thing, is it that you can't find a reward or fear of a hand? If you can work out exactly what the biting is for, correcting then can be tailored.

I've got the beginning of learned here that I'm working on. Willow tends to mouth in fact he manages to make my mum stop. I'm teaching people that they need to stop before he mouths them, then get him to step up. I swear I train people not the parrots, they want him to repeat without him mouthing. All its going to do is frustrate him, does he mouth out of you're only going to make me do it twice.

Reading them is the key over the years sitting in beer gardens I've learnt exactly how fearful they can be. A prime example is busy gardens bother them less than quiet ones. I put it down to they notice the small things, harder when it's busy, the flock is just extended.

We become the flock, I've 2 completely different characters Hickory is highly strung, has to keep an eye out for the flock(She'll be gone first), a little spiteful yet the most secure and clever(She's the one we have to be careful of not teaching biting gets rewarded). Willow trusts the flock is generally chilled but heavy handed and pushes his sister(& my mum) around, a little dumber too.

Believe me we all have/will make mistakes I've got 2 that I'm still teaching how to solve grievances.
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dewn

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2015, 06:05:39 PM »

@FeatherMonkey
Charlie's relationship with Amanda is relaxed. I mean they do occasionally thrash each other. But he is definitely the dominating one. He will at times "claim" both bowls of food, if I give them something they really like. And Amanda will wait until he has chosen the bowl he likes the best and eats. That's when she eat too. Amanda though has a strong bond with me. But she's normal. I can leave her alone and she'll be happy to just idle alone.

He will shy away from my hand like it's something alien to him. At times scream and try to "fly" away. However, on his own terms, say it's all dark. and he feels lost, he will step up. Sometimes, however, already on my shoulder he will just jump off (no trigger just completely out of the blue).  I can't quite figure him out. And at times like I said, in his cage at night, he will do his "love you"  sound an put his head down so I can scratch him. On which occasionally he will try to nip me.

I could try to eliminate a treat from his diet. However, should the treat only be given to him on successful behaviour? And how does Amanda fit into this? They tend to be like kids. If one gets something the others HAS to have it too.

Have you been in successful in eliminating unwanted behaviour?
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2015, 10:28:59 PM »

I had a plucker I reversed, for sure I was also the cause.

I do a lot of different things just my mind set I guess. Mine know, perch, cage, recall, now training to go to the cage to go loo, go back to perch for 1 most times, know off, even have a sort of wait, gentle, no. Then I have the name trick(both know their names ).. Also my mum has pretty much 100% recall she has to she can't reach them.

I can't say it's ever as simple as eliminating it's about training the behaviour you want. Hickory loves my books, so gave her a bookshelf to trash. Does it stop her like hell(it's so easy to drama reward), but most of the time she will go on her shelf.

So can't say it's trained, it's working with what they give you. Then similar to a toddler don't expect 100% success rate. It's much about working with them on their terms. Problem is it's so easy to drama reward.

Also then in reversing the plucking it wasn't as simple as training. Best way of thinking is an accumulation of factors have pushed them over the stress line. Just need to do everything to bring them lower.

I'm a great believer in the trust account combined with the 60-40 works for me and my brother. Using clickers as the primary whilst teaching.
Trust account
http://www.naturalencounters.com/documents/TrustAccount.pdf
60-40
https://jamiesparrothelp.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/the-60-40-rule/
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dewn

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2015, 10:14:54 AM »

@FeatherMonkey

Thanks for the urls, they were a good read. This is definitely worth looking into.

I do have a couple of questions that I'm hoping you can give me a tip on. When I sometimes come close to Charlie he will just start going into crazy mode. Start nipping at his talons. It's literally like watching some  child have a some sort of fit. No matter what I say or do. He doesn't seem to react. Is it ok for me to just leave him? Or should I try to distract him? I'm afraid to give him a treat and have him think that's acceptable.  Any thoughts?

Cheers
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Angel Feathers

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2015, 11:27:18 AM »

Oh thats interesting Dewn, my Ozzy does this when he's in his "can't get his own way" mode!  For example when Im in the Kitchen and he's in the hallway and wants to come in with me, I shut the door so he cant and when I re-open, he's biting his nails with his wings out like he wants to fly - I can see he's anxious but I dont say anything, too worried this will re-inforce his behaviour.
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2015, 02:15:19 PM »

Pretty much what Angel Feathers said though in my experience I don't find so much anxious but more like 'what am I supposed to do' more a self imposed stress. I say this because Will does it when he's done half of something yet Hickory has done it proper and got a reward. I actually use 'chill' quite funny to see them get startled then go 'chill'.

Anxious I tend to find what I call flight ready wings half spread panting sort of. Sounds like what Angel Feathers described.

To be honest I'd ask nothing from Charlie find that treat and just give it for a while regardless no drama. Hopefully he'll just think you=treat. Once he starts to expect it then work with the behaviour you want.

Generally no I wouldn't reward for unwanted behaviour. You work the behaviour you want. My avatar was on the door closer. Now Hickory is adamant that it's no man's land, Willow wins it but on the occasions we get a share I'll reward.

I'd just focus on building trust do nothing that will take trust. Hickory isn't mine but I can force her but I won't, I have to work her different.

@Angel Feathers Hickory does it(anxious flight ready)just have to ignore it, though I do find catching it just before can work, just a chat really just giving the drama before, I tend to spot the cue. Though I can't say I see much rhyme or reason for it. Certainly sometimes it's I want to be with you. Most common time she's looking into the kitchen doing she just has to join who ever it is.

So yeah I kinda agree reward the behaviour you want. Though for Charlie that doesn't sound like the first step, you'll need to just get him chilled around you before the next step. Maybe try just putting a treat where he can get it but not actually from your hand. You're trying to get him to approach you, not you approach him. I've always had the best response when it's on their terms not ours. I towelled mine for years I wouldn't dream of it now, that's saved for the vets.
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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2015, 11:41:57 AM »

Yes totally agree about ignoring the behaviour FM - however, Ozzy is 1.5yrs old now and he still does his "stressy eddy" thing when he's in his cage and he spots me - he HATES being in his cage and will just about tollerate it when Im not around.  Overbonded I guess.

Dewn, what does yours do when you interact with Amanda? 
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2015, 03:09:21 PM »

Mines 12 and still does it, I tend to ignore in the cage they're slowly learning being chilled gets the door open. But I do use the other parrot, ignoring the one doing it and praising the chilled one. I use the fact they want out to modify, as soon as they're chilled I let them out. Rewards aren't just treats.

Weirdly Hickory is our worst yet she's probably the one not bonded, hell she'll find my mum for chill out time, yet now she's begging me for tickles. She loves being on people though. Also she prefers my brother over me.
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dewn

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2015, 05:27:13 PM »

Update:

So I started implementing some of your advice, and guess what Charlie is responding! The treats get his attentions. Did some play time with him. Although Amanda wants to get on the game too. Makes me feel a bit bad that I'm ignoring her.  But I feel like that she can handle it. She doesn't get iffy like Charlie. But I played with Charlie and he actually began bobbing his head and answered when I talk to him. He acts like this overspoilt kid. Is that what he became when I overbonded with him?

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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2015, 06:40:16 PM »

I call them drama junkies they love drama. Congratulations on your progress.

Overbonding is a complicated subject. I've got Hickory perched now on my shoulder she loves just to be with people yet she's not overbonded. 3 days a week she's only with her brother all day.

Now Will is he'll do the wing drop and get ready to regurgitate. Yet recently I've not been favoured and been ignored. Which for me is perfect he is moving on, yet we will always have to be careful that he doesn't choose someone else.

I know 1 of the contributing factors to his plucking was me realising my behaviour wasn't helping him. Yet removal was a factor to plucking.

So to answer will a parrot unbond, then rebond again I'd have to say yes. Can it be undone I'm not honestly sure, for sure it can be managed. I modified my behaviour. Yet I'm still favoured yet recently he's been ignoring me, as for his motives no idea.

Managing 2 on your own, going on my own experience is going to require thought. I've definitely seen something similar to jealously. We're lucky whilst they favour someone they are also are very happy with the other and will even include my mum in the flock. Only yesterday Will decided my mum was the place to be.

I'd be a little careful that they learn to solve disagreements peacefully. I wouldn't be surprised if until they get used to it that the other gets a little stressed, not understanding it's not their time.
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kazky

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rebuilding trust
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2015, 06:49:00 PM »

That's good news,  glad things are starting to improve. It will have been difficult  for Charlie, having you at the centre of his world and then not.

I've seen something posted on Facebook, its kind of like a poem, but it's about how we have work, friends, partners etc but to remember, our pets only have us as their world. It's quite a sobering thought and we need to make sure they have some of our time. 
By the way, make sure you don't ignore Amanda too much otherwise you may be doing this with her in a few months.


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dewn

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2015, 09:37:10 AM »

@FeatherMonkey

You're right, he's a drama junkie. I'm surprised at how little he needs to improve. But I have to concentrate on him or he gets all flaky. Yesterday he did his "Batman"-move when I went to the bathroom, which is hanging upside down one grabbing on to his tail and just hangs there like bbq poultry until I go "Charlie!".

Amanda is a bit annoyed with him. Now that I am playing with Charlie too, she wants to play along and she will get into a small confrontation with him, because he usually doesn't play along. She wants me all to herself. However, I am able to tell her to stay away. She goes away and patiently awaits till I play with her. And it does indeed take thought on how balancing my relationship between the two. Charlie seems very needy but also very flakey. Amanda can live on a "small" dose of TLC. However, the other one sees that I have any kind of "loving" interaction with her, he flakes :(

@Kazky

I can't ignore her too much not even if I wanted to. It's hard to ignore a parrot who has learned to say your name to get your attention
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2015, 10:20:10 AM »

Sounds like your moving in leaps and bounds. Keep it going in regards to flakey whilst you're improving your relationship with him try and find something he does that means you swap to him. Give him the opportunity to steal your attention, just make sure it's something you can deal with being repeated a lot(once he's learnt, thin it so it is 2 fold, I.e. a repeat or second part). This is kinda what I meant about training 2 together they both try to do it.

Once again just to reiterate make sure they find a way to solve grievances peacefully(parrots shouldn't bite each other). This is something I missed and now have to undo. The consequences could well involve a vet otherwise, I have a recent'ish post showing what could happen.
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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2015, 04:25:33 PM »

Still better. However, I can't seem to get him to leave the cage :( Any ideas on how to do this? He used to enjoy leaving the cage
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FeatherMonkey

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Re: rebuilding trust
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2015, 05:13:45 PM »

Just bribe him, but honestly it'll take time unless you can actually put your finger on the why? We're presuming(I hate presuming) something is worse outside than in. It may even be something you can move, might be something you decorated, a memory not forgotten.

The prey side of these birds makes a lot of things threats. Which becomes a lot worse if we allow them to become too protected and insular.

Only yesterday on the allotment needed the rotovator, asked will they be OK, I said don't worry I'll deal with them. Less than a minute in fear was replaced with intrigue. (Now I'm not saying go out and do this but just pointing out that with a wealth of experience fear can be worked through very quickly.)

Honestly just work at his pace don't put your expectations on to them it just fails. I have to keep telling my mum Hickory isn't naughty she has no idea of the meaning.

1 thing though if Amanda is a better flyer she may actually be boss outside the cage. Hickory wouldn't dream of taking food of Willow indoors but outdoors he wouldn't dream of saying no.

Really just saying work at his pace, many moons ago I read only predators force prey, I've never forgotten it. Not to say rules and boundaries should be forgotten.

You need to focus on the why. Try and understand as he does, eliminate the possible causes. All else fails just ignore it and keep gaining his trust and including him in the drama/rewards. When he feels it's time he may surprise you.
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