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Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?

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Author Topic: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?  (Read 1111 times)

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MATTMOUSE

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Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« on: April 22, 2012, 12:16:08 PM »

Greetings Grey Lovers!!
I am a newbie to the forum and have read many fantastic reviews and comments, so when done to you all!!
I was given,,yes given an African Grey Congo parrot with cage around two weeks ago. His name is Terry and was told he is about 5 years old, he has had two owners and sadly was not tame enough to be handled. When we got him he was very aggressive to everyone and did not allow anyone to his cage empty handed......although he is as gentle as a mouse when you offer him food. I have made good progress with him by doing some simple things that I have read on the net.........I just need some tips on doing the step-up method so he takes to my hand.
Firstly I lowered his perch from the top of his cage (which was my head height) to the middle section (waist height).....after a few days on which he was looked upon from my wife and 3 children, The aggression reduced so that my wife could clean around the cage with him just sitting there calmly.
I then could stand next to the cage (after a few attempts) without him trying to attack me.....he then became curious and climbed on the cage bars to get near me, I reassured him by a few softly spoken words to keep him calm...this worked
I then slowly allowed him to see my hand so that I could stroke his foot whilst him clinging on the bars.......after a few near bitings he allowed me to stroke his feet and then came the head bow and offering me his neck!!....hooray
I am into the third week and I can now call him with the same words "Terry..scratch?" and he will move off his perch and race across the cage to where my hand is..(normally still at my waist height so I can look down on him) and he will bow he head and I can stroke him all over his head and neck and even along his back...after a few moments its ME who calls the shots and ends the session,I praise him and then walk away out of sight for a few minutes...
We now let him out of his cage and I can call him down the outside of the cage to my waist height and stroke him all over and then end the session as mentioned before. I want to try the "step up" method to get him on my hand or arm......
Am I rushing things to quickly??
Is it best to use a thick sweatshirt for protection or go bare.....lol??
Also guys have my methods been correct to gain dominance and trust to my bird??
Any comments and tips would be greatly received.
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Pat

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP UP LADDER" approach?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2012, 12:25:46 PM »

Hi there!

I wouldn't say you were rushing it, I think you have thought it through and are doing very well.  One thing I don't like the sound of is the "ladder"....what's that all about?  Do you mean where you get them to step up and up and up?  That's a punishment in my opinion, if that's what you mean.   Personally I'd go in with bare hands and arm, do it slowly.  Hold your hand out and say whatever it is you want to use all the time to get him to step up, he probably won't understand and will maybe lunge at you or at least put his head down.  If he does that just stop still, wait until he has relaxed and then walk away.  Hang on a few minutes and then try again doing the same thing, gradually, gradually you will be able to get closer to him and then you will be able to press very gently on the bottom of his tummy/top of his legs to get him to step up.  It's all time and patience, if you rush things and make him do things when he doesn't want to you will lose the trust that you are building up and it will take ages to get that back again.

One more thing, it's great that you can tickle him on his head and neck but don't touch down his back, that's a sexual thing and it will cause no end of aggresive behaviour when he reaches maturity. 

MATTMOUSE

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP UP LADDER" approach?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2012, 01:12:17 PM »

PAT...............massive thanx for the reply!!........just watched your video on the stick touching.....will try that in the future.
I meant just the "step-up" approach in my post......I have seen other people use the ladder method on "youtube".....I too think its not a good method.
And WOW as the the back stroking I never new it was a sexual thing.....lol. I assume I can stroke around his wings and what about his chest?
I will try your bare hand approach next week.........like you stated in your "stop you bird from biting" post for aggressive birds, could I try the perch method (one in each hand) as a second option?
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Pat

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2012, 02:45:32 PM »

Yeah, try that if you think he is going to be so aggressive that he will bite and mean it, but to be honest if you just open his cage and put your hand in as close as you can before he ducks down to lunge, you'll know what I mean when he does it....I think that might work a bit better.  I have one that I can't touch at all no matter what, I can't even try the stick method because I think the people who had her before me must have used a stick or perch to get her back into her cage and she physically shakes and screams at a stick/perch.  Luckily she is ok-ish with my partner but she will only step up if and when she wants to. 

Tickles are really best kept to just the head and back of neck, under the wings is a no no, although having said that I do a quick tickle, tickle with Charlie but nothing prolonged. 

You also have to remember that Terry is around 5 years old, you don't know what he's been through for sure in that time, so you really do have to gain his trust and bond with him two weeks is no time at all.  I've had Penny for 10 months now and she still doesn't trust me although I have given her no reason to mistrust me.  They are complex birds and like I said before if you rush them they will just fly off and you will have lost that little bit of trust.  For training, it's best to do it after the big morning poop and before breakfast, you have about 10 - 15 minutes at the most before they lose interest, give little treats, tiny bit of nut or apple, half a sunflower seed, or quarter of a peanut, change the treats, don't let him see what he's going to get or he might hold out for something different or a bigger piece!  Then you can do training again before the evening meal again, 10 - 15 minutes at the most.  Always end on a high, whoop it up make sure he knows he's been a good boy and once he is in his cage give him his treat, we want them to think the cage is a good place to be.  There are quite a few videos I've done that might help you.  Most of all, have fun, don't make it a chore for either of you.

LesleyR

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Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2012, 03:30:29 PM »

Pat, can I just say, your posts and advice are always brilliant! 😃


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Pat

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2012, 03:50:27 PM »

Awww thank you  :cheekkiss:

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 04:47:45 PM »

Pat: I can now approach him with my bare hands!!.........hoooraayyy!!!
The trouble is, he bows his head so low to his belly I cant get my arm or hand near the position where you stated in your earlier post for him to step-up......lol
At the evening training sessions....I have noticed that he gets so exited when we interact together he has started to regurgitate his food and offers it to me. I have read that this is another form of trust/love affection in thinking that the owner is a offspring who needs feeding...is this correct?....should I slow things down abit as not to confuse him on who I am.

Great posts by the way!!
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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 06:05:01 PM »

Oh he's got you sussed  :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:  You want him to step up, you put your hand near him, he puts his head down so that he can't step up but he gets tickles.  :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:  Just keep trying, I think he'll do it once he realises that he's not going to get tickles.  What you could do is show him a little treat with one hand and while he is looking at the treat, put your other hand in underneath to get him to step up.  Just show him the treat and say whatever it is you say as you put your hand near his feet to get him to step up.  Hopefully he will be so interested in what you have in your other hand that he will do it automatically.

As for the regurgitating, put him back onto a play stand or perch, turn your back and walk away, that is something that is not to be encouraged it will only cause problems when sexual maturity sets in. 

MATTMOUSE

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 07:45:46 PM »

Thanx Pat............I'll give it ago.............and will post any new results :crossed
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MATTMOUSE

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2012, 05:33:59 PM »

Pat:
Made some progress today!!.............hoorraahh!
When Terry was on top of his cage...........I did the normal "Terry scratch" routine to get him in a comfortable mood for the first step-up attempt,as stated earlier he bows his head so low I cant get under to reach his feet/lower tummy. I had to resort in circling both my arms around him so he had to climb over my arms to move elsewhere, with me verballing reassuring him he went for the step-up over my left arm,I allowed him to step-on and over my arm so he could then make contact with the cage......this I praised him for. On the third attempt, I then waited for him to step-on my arm in which I then moved from the cage to about two feet away. he seemed nervous that he was now not in contact with the cage, but after a good scratch session he calmed down and perched on my shoulder with no problems..even started to preen himself. After about 5 mins I straightened arm to make a bridge to the cage and he then looked and calmly walked across my arm back on the cage.........this I then praised him with a monkey nut.
I have ended the it for tonight...........I don't know about Terry, even I was tired out after the session......................lol
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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2012, 10:25:42 AM »

Fantastic!!!  :clap: :clap: :clap: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:  Just a couple of things made me cringe a little bit, but you know your bird, I don't.  The first thing was, making a circle with your arms....your face would have been really close to that beak and they are fast when they want to lunge if they think they are threatened.  Second thing was sitting on your shoulder......he's a bit above you and until you have really, really got him trained so that he does what you ask him to do, I wouldn't put him on your shoulder......also if you want to keep an ear in tact it's not a good idea. Like I said though, you were there, you know your bird, it's up to you but well done indeed on getting that far with him.

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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2012, 06:35:49 PM »

Pat,
Like you, I would like to train him to take to my hand,so I will concentrate on that in future sessions. It's just that he seemed to be nervous about standing on human flesh, he took to my sweater which covered all my arm,also it looks like he's never been perched on a human away from his cage before so I just wanted to show him that he's in no danger when perched away from it.....like you stated I must get in the habit of not giving him tickles when he bows his head when I show him my hand........lol
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Re: Am I ready for the "STEP-UP" approach?
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2012, 07:04:39 PM »

It's all good, it's all about building up trust, time and patience.  I put up a training video today with Penny...I've had her 10 months now and she still hates me, go and take a look at the stick training I did with her today, you could start that with your little one.  You may not see the point in it, but to be honest I use it a lot when Charlie is out flying around, if he is on something that I can't reach to get him down, I get his stick out and he'll come and touch it for a treat.  It's very handy.  :dance:
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