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Early training and socialisation is ideal in having happy, well-adjusted birds. This is one of the many reasons that we encourage well bird examinations as soon as you acquire a new bird. Feather picking, aggression, separation anxiety, inappropriate vocalization and aberrant sexual behaviour are common problems in birds that often can be avoided by appropriate training, husbandry and environmental enrichment. Punishment of behavioural problems often worsens the situation so it is important that professional advice is obtained as soon as or even before behavioural problems appear to effectively prevent or resolve them. Positive reinforcement is the preferred method for changing behaviour, however this needs to be used carefully as it can encourage undesirable behaviour if used incorrectly.
Just like dogs go to puppy socialisation classes - Parrot socialisation is important. Parrot socialisation classes are becoming more and more common.
Because understanding the principles of using positive reinforcement to train birds can make a huge difference in the quality of the relationships that bird carers can have with their birds, our clinic has encouraged and supported dissemination of knowledge about positive reinforcement training techniques over many years. We also work with bird behaviouralists and sell and recommend DVDs on basic training and stock foraging and enrichment toys suitable for different species. We recommend the use of training perches and especially encourage owners to teach their birds to “step up” onto a perch; “step down” onto your hand;and to go back into their cage when requested.
Remember, as well as using positive re-inforcement to train your bird, your bird should be a “best friend but not your mate” and try to “arrange your bird’s environment for success.” Many behavioural problems can be avoided by encouraging positive interaction with all family members rather than ‘pair bonding’ with a single individual human. Changes in the environment may contribute to the emergence of behavioural problems. For example, changes in routine, a new member of the household (another bird, pet, baby or spouse), moving house, or the loss of a family member or pet can have a dramatic impact on behaviour.
How do we investigate behavioural problems?
Behavioural problems can be due to behavioural causes, medical causes, or both. Our veterinarians typically investigate behavioural problems by obtaining a history and conducting a vet examination (sometimes your pet may require blood ) to diagnose a problem. In some cases issues are straight forward and we are quickly able to give appropriate advice to treat the problem. In many cases we recommend a consult with our bird our behaviour specialist cost is $150 for a 45 minute visit with a report.. Great value!.\
Dr Phil Avian Vet likes the following
By S.G. Friedman, Ph.D tells you 10 things your parrot wants you to know !!!
from http://www.behaviorworks.org - a brilliant behaviour web site
1 Behavior is what a parrot does, under certain conditions ; behavior is not what a parrot is.
2 Every behavior serves a purpose for your parrot; the purpose is the consequence the behavior produces.3
3 Parrots naturally choose the behaviour that yields the most positive consequences.
4 Parrot is an individual and has a personal point of view about what consequences motivate him or her to behave.