Science Daily (Feb.. 18, 2009) — In a new, year-long University of Pennsylvania survey of dog owners who use confrontational or aversive methods to train aggressive pets, veterinary researchers have found that most of these animals will continue to be aggressive unless training techniques are modified. The story went on to say that using non-aversive or neutral training methods such as additional exercise or rewards elicited very few aggressive responses.
I'd venture to say that this research holds true for parrots, as well. Maybe even more so. Parrots tend to be very sensitive to adversity, negative moods or energy and punishment. Even though dominance-based training has been made popular by TV, books and punishment-based training advocates fear eliciting behaviors on our part only results in owner directed aggression. And, parrots have a long memory.
One of my first birds was a Black Headed Caique named Rascal. When Rascal was very young and I was new to parrots I improperly cared for him. First off, I made the error of getting a tall cage with the perches placed up high. He was too young to sleep through the night without falling off the perch. This caused him to repeatedly break his primary wing feathers. I added insult to the injury by "man-handling" him to catch him and try to stop the bleeding using styptic powder. I did not know that styptic powder can be quite painful to open injuries. To this day, Rascal associates me with pain.
- Study Parrot Training Techniques from books or bird training DVD's
- "Force" training never works