Parrot Jealousy Unraveled
A pet bird is still wired like a wild bird. What often happens is that usually, just one person in the family cares for the bird. One person in particular may feed the bird, pet it and love on it and even carry it about on their shoulder. The pet bird attaches to that one person as though it were a mate. It's not the birds fault. The trouble begins when other family members show affection to the parrot’s perceived mate.
Talk about jealousy!
This affection is complicated by behaviors that induce hormonal behavior in a parrot. Discover how we inadvertently make our parrots overly hormonal and jeopardize its ability to behave.
The Avian Welfare Coalition informs us that parrots can become jealous especially to visitors and other pets. An overly jealous parrot isn’t fun to be around and it will be important to learn how to train your parrot to lower that emotion. If allowed, some parrots can and will form strong bonds one member of the family and this can include other pets, children and adults in the home as well. To prevent jealousy, make sure that everyone in the household talks and interacts with the bird and that everyone knows how to correctly pet a bird. Incorrect petting makes your parrot think it is your mate and that brings on a whole slew of problems.
Prevention Is Best Practice
When you bring your new parrot home, make sure that everyone in the family participates in its care. It’s very important to teach each person in the family the proper way to pet a bird. Make sure that everyone handles the bird or better yet, that everyone is teaching the bird behavioral skills and tricks.
Jealousy is just one of the parrot’s emotions that may be displayed. If your parrot is showing jealousy there are some things that you can do. According to Beauty of Birds, you should do your best to find out why your parrot is showing jealousy. Some reasons for jealousy may be: · New pets in the home · A baby in the home · Not being played with enough · Being teased by a child or other pet
The parrot has been “sexualized” by one or more members of the family with improper petting. What To Do If You Have A Jealous Bird Once you realize that your bird is jealous, it's time to nip these behaviors in the bud. Yes, jealous behavior can be modified, but YOU are the one that needs to change your ways. It is NEVER acceptable to punish a hormonal or jealous parrot, after all, it is simply being a parrot. Your parrot must feel safe, secure, and healthy and loved by all in order to modify its behavior. It also must have exercise and mental stimulation in the form of enriching bird toys.
First, figure out how and where to set boundaries with your bird. Concentrate on limiting the areas your bird can be when it is outside of the cage until it tolerates all members of the family equally. The most obvious place is on the bird stand or on a perch. But, you'll also want to start teaching your bird that it has perimeters of where it is allowed to be and how it is allowed to behave.Needed Supplies
- Clicker and Treats for Training
- An understanding of how to read parrot body language.
Let The Training Begin
Get a sheet or a baby blanket depending on the size of your bird. Place it on your bed , on the floor or on a sofa. Put some of your bird’s favorite toys on the sheet and teach your bird to stay on the blanket. Your bird will begin to realize that it is on your territory - and that it is expected to follow your expectations.
Help your bird to learn your expectations with a generous amount of praise. Your bird will appreciate and respond to cheerful voice tones, eye contact, and exaggerated praise, just like a little kid does. Clicker training methods with favorite treats speed up the process considerably. Make sure everyone in the family is on board in this training. As your bird slowly learns that it gets praise from everyone in the family by staying in its expected place and engaging in safe behaviors, introduce a doll that looks like a human.
Place the doll on the blanket and allow your bird to get used to it. Up the ante by talking to the doll as your bird can tolerate it. Consider using Clicker Training to reward your bird for tolerating “someone else” in its territory. Work your way up to picking up the doll and playing with it all the while rewarding your bird when it is not jealous. Keep all training sessions short and learn to read your bird’s body language so that you can tell when it is getting overloaded with jealousy. Always stop the training on a positive note.
Once your bird has learned to control its jealousy, introduce family members or a pet. Since you've learned to read your bird’s body language, keep your eyes open to understand when your bird is becoming overwhelmed with jealousy. Stop training on a positive note rather than allowing your bird to become overwhelmed and territorial. Work up to introducing all family members and even strangers until your bird learns to tolerate others and gets the message that you are not its mate.
In summary, make sure that everyone is truly committed to teaching your bird to enjoy all family members. Take every step possible to reduce hormonal behavior in your bird and to insure that it is healthy, and keep all training sessions very short, building on success. Understand that training your bird to love everyone equally will take some time, maybe a few months of daily 5 minute training sessions. In the end, your family will be rewarded with a wonderful pet that is fun to be around.
- Diane Burroughs