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Stop Your Parrot from Biting

Training Tips for Birds that Bite

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Stop Your Parrot from Biting

The celebrity in this photo is having a good time, but it's likely she has no idea how dangerous this photo-op could have been. A Cockatoo's lower mandible forms a scoop at the tip, giving them a powerful 3 point bite that can cause severe wounds.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Why even keep a pet parrot if it will bite you?

The information in this article is not meant to prevent those who truly want a pet parrot from getting one -- to the contrary, it aims to prepare those future owners for the realities of pet bird ownership in the hopes that they will form realistic expectations of parrot adoption. I've heard that the average parrot goes through 5 homes throughout its lifetime, and it's not a stretch to say that many of these birds become displaced because their owners lack the time, will, or knowledge to deal with complex behavioral issues like biting.

There are plenty of reasons that birds make good pets. Birds are highly intelligent, given proper care they bond strongly with their owners, and they respond well to training. While it's true that a parrot's bite can be dangerous as outlined in the paragraphs above, a good deal of bird owners get through the days with only the occasional minor nip or pinch. If you have your heart set on becoming a bird owner, don't let the information in this article deter you. Instead, research the facts about what you should know before you buy a bird so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not a parrot is the right pet for you.

What can I do with a parrot that bites?

Owning a parrot that bites out of fear or aggression is no fun. Not only are bites physically dangerous due to the power of a parrot's beak, but they are a sign that the bird itself is unhappy with some aspect of its situation. Every pet bird owner wants to make sure their feathered friends are happy -- so when problem behaviors such as biting rear their head, it's important to act quickly to remedy the problem before long-term patterns of these behaviors set in. Reference the following articles for some great training tips that will help you calm your biting parrot and establish a better bird/owner relationship:
  • Handling and Taming Aggressive Parrots - Not every parrot owner is a natural-born bird trainer, but just about anybody can bribe a bird into being handleable with patience and effort. Use these tips to start building a daily training routine with your parrot starting right now.

  • Correcting Bad Behavior in Birds - Birds are very sensitive creatures that interpret our actions very differently than more traditional pets like cats and dogs. This can lead to frustration and miscommunication between the bird and owner, which often only exacerbates existing behavior problems. Successfully rehabilitating a bird with behavior problems requires some knowledge of avian psychology, as well as patience and a strong commitment to routine and consistency. This article lays out the ground rules for properly handling any necessary disciplinary interactions with your pet.

  • Should I See a Parrot Behavior Consultant? - Some problems are just too big for even experienced bird owners to deal with alone. Birds that are extremely aggressive, overly destructive, or that self-mutilate need professional help, and fast. Don't be afraid to seek the help of a certified parrot behavior consultant if your bird starts displaying behavior problems that you feel you can't handle. Look here for help in determining if a call to a consultant is in order.

Conclusion

If you want a pet bird that you can handle and interact with, you will eventually get bitten at some point. The key to dealing with bites is to monitor your bird's behavior patterns and provide consistent training in an effort to pinpoint the cause of the undesirable behavior and fix it. Even in temporary bouts of biting behavior such as the "Bluffing" phenomena, it's important to stick to a set training schedule so that you can disrupt the potential onset of a pattern of behavioral issues. Failure to do so could cost you your relationship with your bird -- and that's something that no pet owner wants.

The best favor you can do for your bird (and for yourself as a bird owner) is to become educated on as many facts about avian behavior and training as possible. Learning more about the way birds think will make your interactions and training sessions go more smoothly, and will give you insight as to the best ways to deal with behavior issues throughout your pet's lifetime. Commit to being the best bird owner that you can be now, and you'll almost be guaranteed to see improvements in your bird's behavior from this point forward.

Show & Tell: The Worst Bird Bite Ever

Bird bites are never fun, but we can learn a lot from them in hindsight. Share the story of your best parrot "battle scar" with other parrot owners and read what they've endured with their own feathered friends in this interactive Show & Tell!

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