Living with Pets

Disciplining your pet bird

December 24, 2011

It is a scientifically proven fact that while man forms the top end of the evolutionary ladder, present at the same height but along another branch of the same ladder, is the bird! Your feathered friends are very intelligent and learn fast. This intelligence when combined with the wild instincts that are inherent in the birds, gives them the ability to cause painful attacks and injuries when they are angry or upset. That is where training them and dealing with their issues becomes important. Since birds have an unusually high emotional quotient and are sensitive, correcting bad behaviors and inculcating good manners in them becomes a trying affair for the owners. Here are some dos and don’ts in dealing with your pet birds.

Correcting your pet bird

Rules when dealing with the bird-transgressions

Some means that have been used to train animals should never be used on the birds. It would be beneficial to discuss these don’ts first.

1. Do not hold a grudge against your bird

Since your birds are intelligent, they have the ability to read facial expressions and expressions of displeasure. Therefore, when you are scolding the bird or frowning upon it, make it short and quick. The per will get the message, Prolonged exposure to displeasure puts stress and emotional strain on the bird. This should be avoided.

2. Hitting the bird is a strict no-no

However big a bird, it is always delicate and fragile. A body blow may cause it some serious physical injury and may also result in death. In some cases, the bird may not get physically affected but the action will definitely leave psychological and emotional scars which may never heal in a lifetime. This could also lead to aggravated aggression and intensified viciousness in the bird.

3. Neglecting the bird’s health is not the way to punish

Often times, pet owners do not feed the bird or refuse to clean its cage as a punishment for bad behavior. This is a really inhuman thing to do because it will seriously affect the health of the bird. It will hurt the bird which has a fragile constitution. Apart from physical damage, the bird may also suffer psychologically.

How to deal with the bird’s bad behavior

The bird reads and interprets your tones and facial expressions. But it may read some of them in a different way. For instance, loud shouting will let your bird know that you have high energy levels. However, it may read it as excitement and thus feel that you are praising it. So training a bird and dealing with its bad behavior requires you to train yourself too!

1. Make the bird step on your hand

When your bird begins to misbehave, put out your hand and have it perch on it. Hold your hand at eye level and look at the bird in the eye. A short stare like this will fix the issue in most cases.

2. Be as expressive as you can

You could actually ‘hit’ your bird with your expressions and bring about more positive change than actually hitting it! These feathered friends are very capable of understanding the facial expressions. They also feel ‘ashamed’ of their behavior.

3. Be soft and stern in your speech

While it is important to be firm and stern when the bird misbehaves, do not raise your voice or be loud. Keep the message short and strict. The effectiveness of the treatment will surprise even you!

4. Return to normal after allowing the bird a brief period for reflection

Once you have conveyed your displeasure, place the bird back on its perch or in the cage. Leave it alone for a while to reflect on what has happened. A few minutes later, return to your playful self. The bird would have realized the lesson and will learn fast. Prolonged displeasure on your side will not help.

The key lies in consistency

In spite of all that has been said about the bird’s intelligence, it might take different times for different birds to learn and adapt. Do not get discouraged if the bird does not learn in the first few attempts. Persevere and you are sure to see positive results soon. Be quick in rewarding too! If your bird is improving and changing its bad behaviors, reinforce the change by showering it with love and lavishing it with praise. The reward of a well-mannered and beautiful bird is something to be experienced.

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