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Biting Conure. How to stop? UPDATE!!!

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

Friend Just bought a green check conure today knowing that it bites. I told her about this site but she only has this one question so i told her i would ask. The people at the pet store told her it was hand raised and that it use to be extreamly friendly until it was put in with older birds and then it starting biting when handeld. They told her if she handels him enough again that he will stop biting.

I guess what she wants to know is that if there are any training things that she could use to help get him to stop biting her. The pet store also told her that everytime he bit that if she knocked him slightly off balance (not to the point were he fell) that it would make him let go and teach him not to do it. Is that true? 


Any advise would be great!


Edited by featherfinder - 5/19/11 at 9:28am

-1 Indian Runner Duck, -1 Black Swedish

The Duck Song!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q
 

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-1 Indian Runner Duck, -1 Black Swedish

The Duck Song!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q
 

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post #2 of 46

I have a 14 year old Cockatiel that I have had since he was 6 weeks old. He began biting me when he was about 2 months old, for what reason I have never figured out. He is spoiled rotten, has run of the house and lives a good life for a bird.

Well, over the years I had hoped that "love" would stop his biting. I tried ignoring him, or using a stick to handle him. Even screaming in pain when he bit. Nothing. He continued to bite me and got worse.

Then about 3 years ago, I read somewhere that while holding him on my finger, if when he bit me, I dropped my finger and let him fall to the floor, that being that they don't like this, the biting will stop. So, as I got him to "step up" on my finger and he went to bite me, I said very loudly, "no biting" and I dropped him. He was shocked at first. However by vocalizing the "no biting" and the dropping, he learned that when I told him not to bite me, if he did bite, he was going to land on the floor. You know, it only took about one week of this and the biting stopped.

My Cockatiel RARELY bites me anymore, and if he does, it is only a beaking type of bite.

So tell your friend this information and see if this fixes the problem. According to what I had read, it was supposed to work and it really did work on my biter. Good luck! smile


Edited by TwoCrows - 5/16/11 at 5:56pm
Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future and both eyes on the present. ~ a Raven ~
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Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future and both eyes on the present. ~ a Raven ~
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post #3 of 46

It's not really suggested by the experts to do things like dropping, knocking off balance, etc.. because it could create a trust issue.  Many birds start biting because they don't trust people or especially that they don't trust you as a stable perch so shaking up that trust can make things much worse.  Yelling is also not useful because noise is good to birds.  The louder things are the happier they are.  Putting them back in their cage or setting them down is also a tricky situation because it could lead to them purposely biting when they want down or back in their cage.  All of those things might work with some birds but because they have as much potential to cause another problem as solve the original biting problem they aren't universally suggested.  The most foolproof instructions I've seen is to get control of the situation through a method called laddering.  When they bite or act up you pass them from arm to arm or finger to finger telling them to step up each time by putting hand over hand in front of them.  They go up your hands like the rungs of a ladder.  By doing that you prove you are in control and you interrupt the behavior.  It's the best way to discipline a bird that I've heard of because there is minimal chance for it to lead to another bad behavior.  At worst if it doesn't work you now have a biter who steps up really well rather than a biter who doesn't trust you, screams, or has learned to bite to get things it wants on top of the original behavior.  If you google laddering parrots you will find lots of detailed instructions.

post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Akane 

It's not really suggested by the experts to do things like dropping, knocking off balance, etc.. because it could create a trust issue.  Many birds start biting because they don't trust people or especially that they don't trust you as a stable perch so shaking up that trust can make things much worse.  Yelling is also not useful because noise is good to birds.  The louder things are the happier they are.  Putting them back in their cage or setting them down is also a tricky situation because it could lead to them purposely biting when they want down or back in their cage.  All of those things might work with some birds but because they have as much potential to cause another problem as solve the original biting problem they aren't universally suggested.  The most foolproof instructions I've seen is to get control of the situation through a method called laddering.  When they bite or act up you pass them from arm to arm or finger to finger telling them to step up each time by putting hand over hand in front of them.  They go up your hands like the rungs of a ladder.  By doing that you prove you are in control and you interrupt the behavior.  It's the best way to discipline a bird that I've heard of because there is minimal chance for it to lead to another bad behavior.  At worst if it doesn't work you now have a biter who steps up really well rather than a biter who doesn't trust you, screams, or has learned to bite to get things it wants on top of the original behavior.  If you google laddering parrots you will find lots of detailed instructions.


I understand how this system of gaining trust may work on some birds. But you have to remember, each bird has a different personality and mistrust may not be the issue here. My Cockatiel knows the "step up" routine, stepping up on any finger in a prompt manner.  I tried that for years, using a quiet voice with this bird and it only gave him more authority. In my birds case, I think he was similar to a teenager that needed to know that someone had more control than he did. He thought he was "top bird" and could bite me anytime he felt like it.

In no way did I hurt him by dropping him. And in no way advocate yelling to be a good form of a teaching aid. In my bird's case, the loud voice meant business, something that he took for granted around here.  But he has not only learned that a drop will come from a bite, but he DOES have more respect for me and has become MORE friendlier than he has ever been before. My bird knows that I am the one in control and biting is not acceptable behavior. He completely trusts me to handle him now, where as before my hands were for biting only. He has never been so sweet in all his days.

In a perfect world your suggestions may work on all birds. But it doesn't. Just as not all things work on all children, each being a different case. Like so many other animals, you have to command the top position with all creatures otherwise they may assume it and you will be out of luck.


Edited by TwoCrows - 5/17/11 at 5:51am
Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future and both eyes on the present. ~ a Raven ~
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Keep one eye on the past, one eye on the future and both eyes on the present. ~ a Raven ~
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post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 

I just fowarded her this post and thank you for all the ideas. she said she needs all the help she can get and i can see why.

I went over last night to meet the new bird and it got me pretty good. Drew blood and took a chunk of skin with it. It gets really mad when you try to take him out of his cage and then once he is out he seems fine and will let you pet his back for a min and then turn and chomp down or in my case he was on the floor walking and crawled up my pants so i put my hand out and he got on and got all close and cuddled down into it and then chomp! I have never seen a bird that mean before. Espacially the hand raised ones but idk. i know im not going back over with out a good pair of gloves with me.

-1 Indian Runner Duck, -1 Black Swedish

The Duck Song!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q
 

Reply

-1 Indian Runner Duck, -1 Black Swedish

The Duck Song!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q
 

Reply
post #6 of 46

I greatly disagree with the 'dominance' theory and will leave it at that. smile

This is the best article I know of that addresses biting and how to prevent it. It takes a lot of time and patience to work with a bird that has been 'trained' to bite.

http://rationalparrot.com/biting.html

post #7 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nambroth 

I greatly disagree with the 'dominance' theory and will leave it at that. smile

This is the best article I know of that addresses biting and how to prevent it. It takes a lot of time and patience to work with a bird that has been 'trained' to bite.

http://rationalparrot.com/biting.html


Thanks for posting the link; that was a good article!

My Bantam Breeds: Dutch: Light Brown, Blue Light Brown   Modern: Birchen & Silver Blue
NPIP# 58-1605-E

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My Bantam Breeds: Dutch: Light Brown, Blue Light Brown   Modern: Birchen & Silver Blue
NPIP# 58-1605-E

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post #8 of 46

I knew a lady who took in a rescued Cockatoo that was pretty spoiled and mean.  She needed to trim his nails and his beak and wanted to trim one wing so he couldn't fly around the house when he was out of the cage.  She also hadn't figured out how to feed and water him without getting bitten.  I happened to be in her house the day after he arrived and she was telling me all about this bird and was preparing to take him on a five hour trip to an exotic animal vet to have him "groomed out" and for advice.  She asked me~since I have chickens, mind you~if I could "do anything" with this bird. 

I had never been around exotic birds before but it all seemed pretty simple to me...one just has to be smarter than the average bird.  Put on heavy gloves for maintaining sharp objects~I laid him across my lap, held him securely and trimmed all that needed trimming.  I guess this bird had never really been handled in such a manner but it changed his whole attitude!  When I placed him back in the cage he went to the opposite side and stayed there as I replenished food and water.  After that day he was much more docile and soon was able to come out of his cage and socialize without eating people.   Amazingly enough I was his fave person and he would say things to me that he didn't to other visitors.... would even wolf whistle when I walked by the cage!  lol

post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beekissed 

I knew a lady who took in a rescued Cockatoo that was pretty spoiled and mean.  She needed to trim his nails and his beak and wanted to trim one wing so he couldn't fly around the house when he was out of the cage.  She also hadn't figured out how to feed and water him without getting bitten.  I happened to be in her house the day after he arrived and she was telling me all about this bird and was preparing to take him on a five hour trip to an exotic animal vet to have him "groomed out" and for advice.  She asked me~since I have chickens, mind you~if I could "do anything" with this bird. 

I had never been around exotic birds before but it all seemed pretty simple to me...one just has to be smarter than the average bird.  Put on heavy gloves for maintaining sharp objects~I laid him across my lap, held him securely and trimmed all that needed trimming.  I guess this bird had never really been handled in such a manner but it changed his whole attitude!  When I placed him back in the cage he went to the opposite side and stayed there as I replenished food and water.  After that day he was much more docile and soon was able to come out of his cage and socialize without eating people.   Amazingly enough I was his fave person and he would say things to me that he didn't to other visitors.... would even wolf whistle when I walked by the cage!  lol


Thats cute smile

She has asked me to help train him so i went back over there last night with my motorcycle gloves (thick leather) and i tried again to get him out because jenny is now afraid to even go near the cage. as soon as i put my hand in he bit at it but i finally got him out and he still was trying to get away back to the cage and biting me. I took him to another room and sat him on my lap and atempted to pet his back and he let me for a min before he latched down and i lefted my hand up and the bird was dangling from my glove and refused to let go. he finally did so i tried the step up thing with him and he wouldnt. know one has ever tought him to step up yet. He is pretty much the bird from he** because wat ever we try to do to train him he just seems to get worse...

-1 Indian Runner Duck, -1 Black Swedish

The Duck Song!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q
 

Reply

-1 Indian Runner Duck, -1 Black Swedish

The Duck Song!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q
 

Reply
post #10 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by featherfinder 

She has asked me to help train him so i went back over there last night with my motorcycle gloves (thick leather) and i tried again to get him out because jenny is now afraid to even go near the cage. as soon as i put my hand in he bit at it but i finally got him out and he still was trying to get away back to the cage and biting me. I took him to another room and sat him on my lap and atempted to pet his back and he let me for a min before he latched down and i lefted my hand up and the bird was dangling from my glove and refused to let go. he finally did so i tried the step up thing with him and he wouldnt. know one has ever tought him to step up yet. He is pretty much the bird from he** because wat ever we try to do to train him he just seems to get worse...


With respect, I think you are forcing him too quickly; while people can and to form relationships with birds based on force, it will never be the same as one based on trust. smile
He is completely new in a new situation, totally different than the one he was in before. New people, and no one speaks his language.
I suspect in his past environment he learned that biting was the only thing people understood and so he learned that biting was the only way to get people to leave him alone-- pet stores can often leave a negative impact on parrots, socially, because there are such a huge number of people that don't respect their space. So now he is at your friends house, he's been taught to bite, and one thing that he seems to hate/be afraid of (hands) just got a thousand times scarier because they have gloves on them and don't react as much when he bites them. He's not learning anything other than he has to try and bite harder to get the reaction he wants.

Training can take a long time, and patience is hard (I myself am guilty of this, we all can be!). If he were mine, I'd suggest picking one of two initial training methods: either train to step up onto a branch or object other than your hand first, or acclimate him to hands. Positive reinforcement is the key, and patience.
In either case, your first goal is to find out what his favorite food is (as long as it's not unhealthy... sunflower seeds are okay as a treat, french fries... not so much!).
To train for hands, I'd first approach his cage when he is in a calm mood. Drop in a tiny bit of treat, into the food bowl or whatever, linger for a few moments, then back away. Repeat this several times a day until he seems eager to see you. "That lady brings food! Awesome!". This may take hours, or days (earning trust of a parrot that has been taught not to trust can take a while).
Once he seems happy to see you approach, slowly place your hand into the cage by the food bowl, offer the treat in your hand for a moment. He probably won't come to get it-- this is normal. Then drop it in his dish.
The second time, offer the treat in your hand inside the cage and wait. If he does nothing or runs away, do nothing. If he approaches... even just a little!! A few inches... drop the treat into the dish.
The third time, repeat this. Wait until he starts to get closer, then drop the treat in. You want to train him that coming over to you is fruitful. This may take DAYS.
Eventually the goal is to get him to accept the treat from your hand. If he approaches and bites you before taking the treat, try not to react, withdraw your hand and remove the treat. If he continually approaches, and time after time bites you instead of taking the treat, there is nothing wrong with repeating this training exercise with a glove on. But remember-- you've already taught him that a glove GRABS him and is not to be trusted, so gaining trust with the glove might take some time.
You can then turn this positive reinforcement into a 'step up' command. After he accepts your hands, hold the treat in one hand, and offer your other hand to him, between him and the treat. You may have to do this in stages.... say "step up!" and offer your hand and the treat. If he gets right on, reward him immediately! He might not though. Even if he only puts one foot on your hand, reward him. He may not understand right away what you want him to do. Eventually work up to a strong 'step up' by using treats and hands.

I had an abused cockatiel and it took me 6 months to train her to step up do with with a trusting method. 6 months!! But it can be done, and she is now an extremely sweet bird and has not bit me since.

Were you able to read over the article I linked?

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