Thursday, November 5, 2009

Introducing Parrots to New People

It was another big day for the baby parrots. I packed two familiar perches, toys, treats, my dog and the babies into the car for another excursion. This meant a little more time in crates for each parrot. Beni the blue throated macaw still has some hesitation on occasion with the crate, so we practice entering the kennel daily. However he did pretty well with the experience today. I do think he is becoming more accustomed to it.

Wrigley the double yellow headed Amazon on the other hand seems to find crate travel akin to luxury cruising I think. He loves it! It is definitely a solid behavior for him.

My dog Waylon came along because our destination included fun doggie times too. We were off to my friend Sue’s house. She is a dog trainer who runs a website called Raising Canine. Her site offers instructional courses for professional animal trainers. Her dog Jimmy Jo and Waylon are buddies.

Sue is new to parrots so this was going to be a fun learning opportunity for the babies and for Sue. I was extremely happy to see the baby parrots show absolutely no hesitation when they emerged from the kennels. Their body language showed they were at ease with the new environment. Each flew around the room a few times, but found their perches rather quickly and was ready to present behaviors. After snacking on a few treats from Sue, they were ready to fly to her.

This quickly turned into the baby parrots wanting to be on Sue all the time. She’s fun! She’s a treat dispenser! Beni is quite fond of head scratches in addition to treats. I wanted to see if he would be open to a new person touching him. To transition to this, I started giving Beni a few head scratches. Sue slowly took over. Pretty soon Beni was all but melted on the perch soaking up some all over touching. Beni later let me put his harness on and also spent a chunk of his time playing with toys alongside Wrigley on top of a crate.

Their next test was to see how they would respond to a new dog, Jimmy Jo. Jimmy Jo gets pretty excited around birds as his breed (Springer spaniel) was designed to hunt for birds. Just to be safe we had Jimmy Jo on the leash. He barked a lot but never tried to go after the birds. The baby parrots just sat there with a “what is with this guy?” look on their faces. I can happily report they were pretty much unphased by yet another new dog. Although one did somehow manage to poop on Waylon’s nose.

Going back home, meant going back into the crate. I had a feeling this might be tough after having so much fun at Sue’s. But I came prepared. Instead of their usual treats, I brought a nice hunk of birdie bread to use to reinforce going back into the crate. Smart move on my part, if I do say so myself. Wrigley went in perfectly. Beni did pretty well too.

They did so well at Sue’s I’d say we are ready for yet another new environment tomorrow!

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright Good Bird Inc 2009

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