How To Stop Hard Biting When Time To Go Up :(

by Cristofer

A few years ago I had a female Eclectus that one day developed a bad habit. Basically, my bird never wanted to go back to its cage and would bite me VERY hard if it was time for her to go up.

I could easily get my bird to come out of the cage, but it refused to go back up. I tried buying some DvDs over bird training, and these training methods dont work because this bird has NO interest in treats, she is just different from other birds. So please, DO NOT respond with something like target training or trick training, those solutions will not work.

I eventually gave my bird to a family member because she would bite me so hard when it was time to go up... the last straw was when she ripped my cuticle out of my thumb and it was immensely painful. This was very upsetting for me because I hand-raised this bird myself and she used to be an adorable baby.

I have the opportunity to take this bird back however, and I do want to, but no one knows how to stop her nasty biting habbit. How can I get this parrot to stop biting when it is time to go back up in her cage? The bites are so hard that I can barely tolerate them. And really she bites when she thinks you're going to put her up or if you try to take her off her shoulder. This means once she is out, she is NOT going to be moved from your shoulder or go back up without giving you some nasty bites!!

PLEASE keep in mind this bird has NO interest in treats. "Working with her" by getting her out more is not the solution, nor "target training", this bird is an exception from birds who can be trained with food. We are bleeding from these bites so please be optimistic about how to stop this habit. I need an experienced bird trainers advice! If I can get her to stop this I will take the bird back but the situation feels hopeless.

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Sep 15, 2011
thanks
by: Cristofer

@ Tracie,
I really may need to start using gloves as suggested. I don't want to, but the bites are very hard. This might be a little difficult though because Im pretty sure she will be fearful of the gloves and it may take time getting her used to them. But I think that is a great idea to use them to consistently put her back up and reward her by taking her back out. Also I have already read your story with your Green Cheek Conure and it was insightful. In fact, Ive read almost everything posted by you and Linda, as I tend to read everyone's bird problems and the solutions to them though I usually don't reply myself. Thanks!

Sep 15, 2011
thanks
by: Cristofer

@ "anonymous",
I'm trying to think of ways to make the cage more attractive (hince easier) to return her to it. She does like limes as favorite food, but she definately has no interest in them as a "treat" she will only eat them as an alternative to human attention and if it is at her food bowl and if she is hungry. She is kind of a timid bird, but she's not afraid of ppl or hands, just objects so I'll try to use the perches and gloves but she is going to be terrified of them at first.

Sep 15, 2011
thanks
by: Cristofer

@ Linda,
I agree that praise is the most effective way to reward birds, and especially this particular bird. Good idea on using a perch to put her up. Also I want to clarify that I generally don't like birds on my shoulder, I think it's fine if the bird is well-tamed and not known to bite, but generally I like birds on my hand anyways. This electus not only bites when it is time to go up, however, she also bites very hard if you try to stop her from going to your shoulder where she wants to be. I'm not completely sure how I would stop her from getting on my shoulder using a perch or wooden dowel. Typically she starts climbing up and I try to to put my hand in the way and there comes the bite. Also I usually don't jerk from the bites, I just try to hold still and wait for her to stop (which is unfortunate because she bites HARD) but I will also try to "move into the bite". I typically keep all my birds at or below my eye level because I know they associate dominance with eye level. I'm not sure the "learn or let her go" was the nicest way to conclude your advice, but thank you very much nonetheless. I wouldn't be posting this if I didnt want to rebuild my relationship with her. Also, I think that is very cool and interesting that you have tamed wild birds.

Sep 15, 2011
Thanks for the advice
by: Cristofer

My hotmail didn't update me that I received some replies so I had to come here and check manually. Any who, thanks all for the advice.

The first thing I want say is sorry I came off very "negative" in my post but I want to clarify on this. Be understanding that I am very sad that I can not handle my bird daily without getting bit very hard. I DO NOT get frustrated at the bird herself, and I don't have a negative attitude towards my bird - I just have a negative attitude towards training with treats because these methods are not effective for this parrot. I've hand raised an African Grey and a Blue and Gold Macaw that respond well to treats, and this Eclectus is in exception in that she is only interested in human attention. My other birds are nice pets but I havent ran into this problem before.

Sep 13, 2011
How To Stop Hard Biting When Time To Go Up :(
by: Linda

Use the perch or stick to get her back into cage. Make sure door is fully open as she will attempt to take a detour. If she goes on top of cage, then leave her there so she can go in shen she's ready. Make sure her wings have been clipped by an Avian Vet. The 4-6 long primary flight feathers at the ends of each wing are enough to keep bird from flying and will let her gently glide to the floor.

As for giving food for training, this is not good training method. Praise when bird does anything right will work. If she gets on the stick, tell her what a good bird she is. The small things count with birds or children. Praise shows them they CAN do something right which leads to a desire to do more things right that will bring a positive response from you.

I think your frustration is causing this to get worse and worse. Birds look for reactions, and they don't have to be positive as they'll take negative if that's all they can get.

As the other person said, move gently into a bite, and you will find that the bird lets go. It is difficult to override the "jerk back" response, and you have to do it to keep from having the bite pull and tear. When you move gently into the bite/bird, the bird will let go if even for a second, and you are then free with maybe a little puncture but no tearing.

I tamed and trained wild caught parrots back in the 70's, and we used gloves when we first started with them because they were not only terrified of us but downright MAD because they'd been torn out of their homes and brought to a pet store. Once the gloves finally came off, they ALWAYS attempted to take a hunk out of us which is where the stick comes in for a while and later moving into the bite comes into play. These are things you won't ever learn from a CD or DVD, so try the stick training, and for Gosh Sake, keep that bird off your shoulder. People who put their birds on their shoulders are looking at possible severe injuries to the face, eyes, ears and neck. Keep the bird at eye level with you as much as is possible. Make sure cage has perches that put her at eye level with you because if they are too low, they feel crushed and do not like this at all. The higher the bird, the more power they think they have, so you don't want them way above you either--eye level is fine.

Keep in touch with us, and try to see this from your bird's point of view. You are not only frustrated with her, but I detect more than a little dislike for the bird. This will never develop into a loving trusting relationship. She needs love, understanding, trust,firmness tempered with gentleness with someone committed to her health and well being.This is about the bird, and she is trying to help you learn making you the student and your bird the teacher. Learn or let her go, and this goes for any other bird as they all have ability and willingness to bite and behave badly from time to time.

Linda

Sep 13, 2011
training
by: Anonymous

Treat training rarely works on eclectus parrots. They love interaction & thrive on praises from their owners. please don't take this the wrong way but your negative attitude towards target training& 'I've tried ' & nothing works is only setting yourself & her up for failure. eclectus parrots are extremely sensitive to our feelings, behaviour around them& towards them. She will pick up on your frustration with her& she will react by biting. before you attempt to train you need to develop a more positive attitude. It Will not work without this this. All eclectus parrots have a fav treat. find out what this is (mine love almonds) & place in her cage, or a toy, foraging toys, make her cage like a castle so she wants to return. Train her to step up while away from her cage. Make it into a game& as hard as it is try. not to react to the bites. That is the hardest thing to do but reactions to bites gives results you don't want.& she knows this. Try stick training. Use a perch instead of your hand. She can bite the perch & get no reaction. Be careful with gloves. if she is clearly fearful of them you should back away.& most birds who are not used to gloves are terrified of them. This could set you back. The most important thing is take baby steps, slow & steady gives you results qicker than rushing it& making her do things. Sometimes eclectus parrots just like to have a quick 5 min play with you before being put back in their cage so make time for this. Eclectus parrots react badly to anyone in a rush & they will do things in their own time if you like it or not so you do need to allow for this. Be positive first, use training away from her cage& make her cage enjoyable for her to want to go in.

Sep 13, 2011
Stop a bird from biting
by: Tracie

I am not sure there are any "expert" bird trainers that read this blog, sorry.

Birds are much like children. You don't have to have treats to train kids, you just have to find out what they hate, and use that to change their behavior.

My birds hate to be returned to their cage. If they bite, they get returned to their cage with a low "noooo" and then we turn our back on them and walk away for about a minute. Then we turn around, speak sweetly to them and try again.

Since you are having trouble returning the bird to the cage, you will likely have to wear leather gloves during training, so you can consistently return the bird to the cage until it gets the picture that biting will always result in a lonely time in the cage.

If you can get the bird back in the cage without a bite, then reward the bird immediately with getting to come back out. Do this every day, several times a day.

Eventually you may not have to put the bird in and out with success a few times before putting the bird back and going to bed. One day, hopefully, the bird will just go back in the cage without a fight because it knows it will not get him anywhere.

If the bird has someone that it does NOT bite, then that person can help with the training. Read our biting green cheek conure story on our Parrot Training page for more information on this.

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