Author Topic: Training to be petted  (Read 1752 times)

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Offline ejgraves

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Training to be petted
« on: December 30, 2013, 05:20:21 PM »
Hi all,

I'd love some guidance from you all.  I've had my Maxi Pi girl for 5 weeks now.  She seems anxious to be with me, calling to me when I'm away, and happy to sit with me.  When I try to pet her though, she "attacks" my hand.  Should I not try to pet her?   How do I go about "teaching" her to like being petted?  She often slowly lifts her foot up and scratches her head, but when I try to pet her she immediately goes for my fingers.  I'm trying to read her body language, but feel like I'm failing miserably.  Any suggestions are welcome.

Offline Julie T

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Re: Training to be petted
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 06:06:15 PM »
Hi, congrats on your new Maxi girl!
Is this new Pi a newly weaned baby, or is it an adult already?
If it's a baby (juvenile, young bird) with patience and consistency, making sure your movements are calm and gentle, and talk in a reassuring tone, she should get more trusting eventually as she gets to know you and see that you're someone she can trust. Maybe back off a little for now with the hand invasion? Keep it around the face/beak area at first, before going over the top of her head or body. Little by little.  :) Sounds like she's a bit scared and isn't fully sure of you yet. ALSO... keep in mind, some individual birds (and you do see this many times in Pionus) never come around to love petting and handling too much. Still, if they trust you, they should at least solicit a head scratch eventually. Patience is the hardest part! If she is already an adult and set in her ways and maybe has a previous reason to be wary of hands, or just isn't used to being touched much, it might take more time.
I think Pionus are one of the species that unless they are introduced to it consistently when very young (at the breeder's before weaning) they generally don't like full body touching and petting. Full body petting can also stimulate breeding behavior in mature birds, and is generally said one shouldn't do it. I do it with birds who let me, but it probably does lead to sexual frustration though some birds aren't that reactive about it. Please post updates!

Offline ejgraves

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Re: Training to be petted
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 07:00:41 PM »
Thanks, Julie T for your great advice.  My Pi is 5 months old, to answer your question.  I guess I will need to be patient and go very slowly at this point.  She's just so sweet--I am dying to pet her!

Offline Dartman

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Re: Training to be petted
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 09:18:44 PM »
Nerd hated being touched anywhere but his head and neck area, really hated having his feet touched, and hated my feet as well. Lurch is a bit more forgiving about being touched when in a good mood, and basically has no problem with having his feet touched and hasn't acted homicidal towards my feet either. I think given time like Julie said she'll realize your safe, a Friend, and worth trusting but you'll need to let her get there in her own pace. I had Nerd 31 years and he totally trusted me and I him but he had his wants, needs, and quirks that I just learned to deal with and accepted.
 Lurch is a used parrot and a Maxi just like Nerd was, it's been over 4 years now and he likes and trusts us mostly now but still has his grumpy bitey times so sometimes it just takes time and patience. Give her the time she needs and let her go at her own pace and sooner or later you'll have a friend on her own terms for the rest of her life.
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Offline Julie T

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Re: Training to be petted
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 12:34:41 AM »
I know the feeling. It's hard to resist. When they are cute and look so soft, you just want to reach out and pick them up and squeeze and kiss them!!  :fuzzy: she'll come around in time. Please let us know any progress over the next weeks, months!

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Training to be petted
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 02:52:08 AM »
Good advice. Give her time. With my baby it took him a while to put his head down to ask for head pets. It is so hard to resist but best not to force. Give it time as advised. Also be slow in your approach snd keep your hand at her head level when approaching

But oh how soft their heads are. Like bunnies.....so soft.  :bunny:

Mine soon learned how I loved it and would ration head pets. He is the boss. :wink1:
She flies with her own wings. Oregon State Motto

Offline ejgraves

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Re: Training to be petted
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 07:21:14 AM »
Thank you all so much for your responses!  I will do my best to be slow, steady and patient with my sweet girl.  I will keep you posted on the progress!

Offline momazon

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Re: Training to be petted
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2014, 11:56:37 AM »
It was important for us to talk gently and use the word "gentle".  I noticed that our nervous birds would stop biting and just lunge after a while. It took a year for one rehome to stop biting.