I read a lot. I watch a lot of Youtube videos. I surf the internet often. However sometimes when looking for solutions, it seems as if there are no answers.
This was me once I brought the Indian Ringneck home. Beautiful, is the only word I can use to describe his grey coloring but that’s where the pleasure ended. The thrashing around his cage every time we walked by or the struggle to try and remove him even though it’s been weeks was extremely discouraging. I googled every thing I could think of but nothing was hitting my problem on the nail so I sat down and talked to myself. Literally.
I did what any new owner would do with a bird that was a scary cat. I made noise before I entered the room so he would know I was coming. I sat and read by his cage and would sing soft songs. Put treats in his bowl every time I passed his cage… I knew all those things would work to get him to stop running when I came around, so that wasn’t my issue. My issue was our wonderful, amazingly grey, beautiful Indian Ringneck was so afraid of hands! He would step up from the ground but would look around frantically for ways to escape the very “perch” that would transport him from one spot to another. So I had to fix that!
I brought him to the training perch and I stood a good amount of distance away and when he fluffed up and went back to normal, I would click and step back. ( This method can be done with him in the cage) ( You only want to go as close as you can without him freaking out – You do not want him to actually exhibit any fear once you see him about to start, you freeze and wait for him to calm down. This is very important because if you let him exhibit a fear response then you just ruined the whole process and will have to start over from even further back than before) Wait a few seconds and then approach him again, I would stand closer than I did last time and wait for the same reaction. Once he fluffed and went back down, I would click and move farther away. Wait a few seconds and then come closer than the last time. Stand and wait. I did this over and over again until I was able to stand right beside him and he would be comfortable. This took me a week to master with him, that goes to show you how scared he was. After I mastered that, I was on cloud nine that I could be beside him and him not panic. Imagine living somewhere and your afraid of the very people who you share a house with? It would be ABSOLUTE torture! I could never put anyone through that so I had to get this parrot to be comfortable. This was a big step for me. I’ll be honest, it has never taken this long to train any of my parrots so I was beginning to feel a bit hopeless as each day went on. Once I realized that the time it would take for him to be comfortable with each step closer was getting shorter, I knew we were getting somewhere.
So here I was with this parrot who would let me stand beside him however DO NOT MOVE MY HANDS OR TOUCH HIM or that comfort zone would be over… What do I do?? I had to figure something out so I decided to try the same method I did with my body with my hands. I had no idea if this would work!
I would put my hand on the farthest part of the perch and wait for him to fluffed up and back down. I did this over and over again until I was able to place my hand right beside his foot and have him not panic. His fear worked in my favor to get him to at least step on my hand and that is how I got him to be comfortable with my hands (Seems contradicting right??… Hear me out). He would step on my hands to run to the other side of the perch and when he did I would click and remove my hand. I did this over and over until finally when I would put my hand on the perch, HE WOULD COME ON IT!! Just automatically come on it and STAY! WOW! GREAT! I was overly excited!
I would slowly lift my hand off the perch and click and then put him back on the perch and give him some space. Again, I did this over and over until I was able to transport him anywhere in the house without him looking around frantically. This procedure took me 9 days, twice a day, 10-15 min. sessions.