From friendly to aggressive

Posted By: Evican

From friendly to aggressive - 06/16/16 11:01 PM

I adopted a 25yo male M2 about a month ago. This is his 3rd home(at least) and he was previously abused my a male. Peaches has been very friendly and easy to handle up until about 3 days ago. It started when I asked him to step up (which is has been very good at). He hissed and turned his back on me, so I closed the cage and left him alone. Every few hours I would come back and try again, and I would get the same response. Then, on my last try, he lunged at me! And ever since then, he has been lunging at me through the cage when I walk by.

What could be causing such a drastic change? Any help or advice would we wonderful!
Posted By: Birdfriend

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/17/16 01:53 AM

Anything change about your appearance? New haircut or color, nail polish, glasses, visible tattoos, serious tan? Summer dress? I assume his cage has not been moved or any new furniture or something like that changed? Window treatments? Mirrors? Is anything disrupting his sleep? New people or pets in the house? Any changes at all that you can think of? How do you know he's a male? Same toys? Is he eating well? Poop ok? Any schedule changes?
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/17/16 03:55 AM

Sounds like the Honeymoon phase is over and he's asserting himself. I would start approaching the cage slowly with a favored treat. Talk softly, show him the treat and drop it in his bowl and leave.

You can also try finding his bubble of safety by seeing exactly where he is establishing his personal space and then acknowledge and respect it. Gradually you can attempt to enter into his space a little at a time. If he objects, back up to where his comfort level is and try again in a few days.

All of us have experienced the honeymoon period when adopting our birds. They are on their best behavior, then once settled in and comfortable they begin to show they many facets of their personality,

Good luck and keep us updated. Remember slow and sure always prevails. And if he doesn't want to come out of his cage for now, let him make that choice. Repeatedly asking him to step up when he didn't want to may likely be the reason for the lunging. You kept coming back and asking him when he turned his back, so he has resorted to lunging to communicate his desire not to step up.
Posted By: Birdfriend

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/18/16 02:07 AM

EchosMom is absolutely right about everything above. I didn't want to bring up the "Honeymoon" issue until we ruled out sickness or something else causing him to be grumpy for a few days...but it's classic. Since I couldn't see the body language when he turned his back, I didn't want to jump to any conclusions about WHAT he was trying to communicate. I agree 100% with EchosMom's last paragraph.
Posted By: Evican

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/18/16 06:52 AM

Nope, no changes! And Peaches was DNA tested. I did take away a mirror from an adjacent wall that I found out he could see into. I knew it wasn't sickness, as I took him to the vet immediately after adopting him. I didn't realize that coming back and asking again a few hours after he didn't step up was bad! Thanks for the advice, I will definitely try it out!!
Posted By: Beeps

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/18/16 04:32 PM

It's not that asking a few hours later is bad. You did exactly right by not forcing him and by offering him the choice.

What you will do over your relationship is figure out how to communicate with each other.

He let you know he wasn't interested in stepping up by hissing and turning around. When you asked again and he hissed and turned around, you understood and didn't force him. Then, when you asked again he escalated by lunging, effectively saying, listen to me -- I really don't want to get out! From my perspective as a human, you did everything right by respecting his wishes and listening to him, but apparently in his cockatoo mind, he really didn't want to come out, even though the requests were hours apart.

Unfortunately, this is the way that many people teach their birds to bite or to exhibit other unpleasant behaviors -- humans ignore the more subtle communication until the bird feels he has no choice but to immediately go to a communication method that works.

Can you open the cage door and let him come out on his own? Some birds are very protective of their cages and won't step up nicely out of the cage, but you can figure out work arounds.

Great job learning how to communicate -- keep at it!!!
Posted By: RB2sMom

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/18/16 11:10 PM

I agree with Beeps, open the cage door and sit nearby doing something like reading or just sitting there. Be patient and wait. If he does not come out for 20 or 30 minutes or so, then shut the cage door and try later. Otherwise they might feel threatened. They need to feel secure in their cage...their place for safety.

We had to do it initially with one of our RB2's who felt threatened with hands in the cage or by the open door. Once Harry came out, he walked around the cage bars and would step out on my hand. Now he comes out with no problem.
Posted By: Evican

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/19/16 06:26 PM

Today I let him come out of his cage, which he readily does. He doesn't like stepping up from his cage top, though. But I just sat down and talked to him and soon he walked over and put his head down to ask for scrathes. Then I asked him to step up and he did!! I feel like this is a HUGE step in our relationship, since it has been the first time I have tried this in the 4 days since his grumpiness started. Thank you all for the advice!
Posted By: Beeps

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/19/16 08:14 PM

Great job! As humans, we like to control things, and we have an idea of how our birds *should* act. I didn't learn as quickly as I probably should have, that you forge a much better, reciprocal, relationship, when you allow the bird to have a say.

I do stick train all of my birds and in an emergency, they'll step up and I can get them to do what I want, but I make sure to give them as many choices as possible to build a great relationship so that when I have to exert my will, they'll do what I request.

So excited for you! It sounds like you have a good, innate understanding of how to live with birds, and I look forward to hearing about more of your successes!!!
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 06/21/16 04:26 AM

Awesome!!!!! Your empowered him with choice and it paid off! Always does!!! Good job!!'
Posted By: Mango16

Re: From friendly to aggressive - 01/28/17 03:07 AM

How often should we try? I've try ed multiple times a day guess I'm doing it to much and the reasons for the bites
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