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#260758 - 11/08/17 05:46 AM 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin  
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Tigerlilylvr Online
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Hi all, this is my first large bird and I could use some help. I’ve had cockatiels, quakers, budgies, finches. I knew going into this that Baby was a whole new ball game and I’m dedicated to helping and loving him, I could just use some help from those more experienced than myself. I was waffling between getting an African grey and a Too, bit this guy really needed out of his situation so I decided to bring him in to the family.

His background is he was have raised by a woman who then gave him to her son when she started her own business because she didn’t have time for him. The son didn’t really handle him much, and he has spent several years in the “bird room” with a multitude of other birds; random species all
In their own cages. His cage was filthy when I went to pick him up, looked like it had been a very long time since it was cleaned- caked with feces and food on the bottom. The bird on top of him was desperately in need of a beak trim... frown I could go on but it was sad to see them all like that.

In any case, the mother was there and he obviously was close with her, she could handle him fairly easily though he would not allow her to pick him up to go in the travel cage. She did a LOT of petting under his wings which I have learned through reading here is a bad idea. After we brought him
Home he was ok the first night. Second day he was talking and being chatty but still obviously wary of us. Would take food from us and allow us to pet his head. I let him out and he stayed on his cage but climbed around the outside of it, didn’t venture away from it. He flat out refused to go back in, wouldn’t step up onto my arm, a ladder, dowel,,,, I finally had to towel him to get him home.

Day 3 he was wary of me, I’m assuming because of the toweling, he even trembled when I was near, I felt awful, I loved on him by giving him food by hand all night and he warmed back up to me and allowed me to pet his head again. We had fun laughing at a tv show because he laughs with the laugh track. While on the phone He started screaming randomly for the first time . Then it was the cats near him, then it was the dogs. I understand that. But then he was just screaming to scream. Not his nighttime calling, that’s tolerable; this was top of the lungs ear piercing screaming for no reason...

This morning he was a Love again. I fed him fruit and nuts and some of my granola. He was out for about an hour and a half and was fine. I could scritch his head and neck while he was out, no problem. I had to towel him to get him back in but he was still fine with me after; talking to me and took a few bits of food out of my hand. I came home from work tonight and he was the most rotten he’s ever been. Screaming over and over, Bit me when I tried to pet his head, bit me while I was feeding him eggs that he loved last night, hissed at me, etc. we left for dinner and came back and he’s back to nice bird. I can feed him, scratch his head, no screaming.

So I guess I’m just asking for some help on how to encourage the nice bird and discourage the tinysaur. I know he will still yell, I know there will be bites. I see now that despite what I was told he will need to learn step up. Till then I guess it’s going to be toweling to get him back in his cage because I don’t want to leave him in there 24/7 unless you all think that’s the best course of action?

Any advice you can give would be welcome. I know to leave the room when he screams and not interact or come back till he’s making appropriate vocalizations or being quiet. Other than that, I’m at a loss. He has an appt with a well recommended avian vet next Saturday. I want to make this work and need some help from the pros. Thanks in advance for your help!

#260759 - 11/08/17 12:24 PM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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The first thing I see is that you need to slow way down, your expectations of this bird are way too high for just moving in. I have a couple of questions for you to consider.
Last caretaker was unable to handle him, why would you think that you can on day 1?
Did you ask was he let out of the cage and how they got him back in? Is this his cage or a new strange one?
When was the last time he went to the vet, is he healthy or sick?
What is his diet?
Has he ever been around cats and dogs?
Are the cats and dogs free to walk around his cage all the time and when you are not home?
Why would you let your cats and dogs near him when he first moved in?
After biting you once why put yourself at risk again on the same day?
How many hours of undisturbed quiet, dark sleep is he getting?
Is his cage in an area where night time activities don't bother him?
For 3 days your expectations of him was a tame bird that would step up, cuddle, eat well. come out and interact with family and other pets, talk nice, have no problem with being toweled, not bite and not scream. I'm really not trying to be rude but you have to stop. Back way up and start over. This poor bird has been uprooted from his home and placed in to a strange environment with people he doesn't know. He's lost his flock. He's grieving so don't expect him to be happy because your home may be better right now. He needs to see that you can be trusted and so far all he sees is that you can not. You've toweled him now a couple of times. This is a very intelligent animal with emotions. Your heart is in the right place so you can succeed here but it has to be slower and on his terms. Begin with him in the cage. Is there things for him to do in it? Enough toys, is it big enough for him to move around and open his wings completely? Sit next to the cage and talk to him, give treats but don't touch. If you let him out of the cage figure out something that is very special to him. For treats does he like nuts or sunflower seeds. Figure out what is the most important to him. Remove it from his daily diet. Use it as a reinforcer only when you are interacting with him. Begin to establish a routine for evening before bedtime. Maybe a half hour before lights out you give him his favorite nut in the cage. Show him the nut while you put it in his cage then wait for him to go in to get it. Close the cage door and give him a second nut and chat for awhile before turning off the lights. When he screams ignore him, walk away without saying anything. Once he's quiet run back and tell him what a good bird he is. If you leave the room tell him where you are going and when you will be back. If you are just going to another room call to him while he is quiet telling him what a good bird he is. Reinforce the positive behavior but ignore all the negative behaviors. Most important thing you can do is begin to read his body language. What is he doing with the crest, what are his eyes doing, feathers, wings, back arched. These are all indicators of his mood or reaction to certain stimuli. Think about all of this before you respond it is all important information. The more people know what is happening with him the better able they are to help you out.
Welcome to Mytoos

Last edited by BE2Cassie; 11/08/17 12:25 PM.

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#260760 - 11/08/17 02:08 PM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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So she told me he was handled all the time, and her son said he handled him before his partner moved in a few months ago. I watched her handling him and she showed me how to scritch his head the way he likes. He knew when she was going to put him in the carrier and would not step up or turn around for her but before that was handled fine.

He has never been to the vet except when she first got him. His appointment with the avian vet here is next week. He’s in perfect feather, vent is clean, and looks to be in great health. His nails need to be trimmed but other than that he appears to be fine in that aspect.

She told me he has been around dogs and cats and gets excited when they come near. Definitely spot on. Our dogs are crated when we are not home and I’ve been keeping the cats in our bedroom. He doesn’t seem to mind the cats yesterday or this morning but the dogs playing gets him riled up, I’m assuming because it’s loud so can’t say I blame him but hoping he will learn it’s play and not scary stuff. He will bark back which is funny as heck. He has a big dog bark and a little dog bark.

I had let him out because she told me she’d never had a problem getting him to step up either on her arm or a dowel but he’s with out of practice or doesn’t want to do it for me. I will leave him caged for a while if that’s what you think is best,

His diet he is on is terrible, all seed mix with a few dried fruits mixed in. I’m going to get a recommendation from the vet and switch him onto something better. He loves almonds so I’ve been giving him those as a treat. I have been giving him other veggies and fruits trying to find what he likes. Mostly he likes destroying them not eating but at least he’s trying them. He did enjoy and actually eat greenbeans amd corn. Cherry tomatoes were a no, pomegranate was fun to pick apart but that’s about it. That was a surprise to me, my Quaker loved pomegranate- it was his favorite food. Should I not hand them to him as I have been even though he takes them with no issue? He did like eggs a lot but those I’ll have to put in his bowl since I’m
Not going to hand feed him that close and give him opportunities to bite at the moment.

His cage is massive, it was his first cage at the woman’s house that he lived in until moving to the sons house. It’s a macaw sized cage, he’s got plenty of room. The top of the scalloped dome that opens is six feet tall; it takes up half the living room. Right now he’s in the living room to be with us, he’s getting undisturbed time for about 8-10 hours. However in the morning he’s already up when we go out there. I asked about covering him and she said not to because he doesn’t like to be covered and will just pull the covering in and shred it. As such it’s getting light in the living room earlier than we get up. The blinds are shut and it’s still dim but obviously light enough to see. He is completely silent until we are up and moving around. I don’t want to put him in the spare bedroom and make him think I’m going to ignore him and shut him away like the last owner did.

He’s got a bunch of toys and enjoys playing with them. All are new because she didn’t have anything in his cage with him except a half chewed up baby toy and she didn’t give that to me, nor his perch. He does prefer the one perch I got him over the other two and spends most of his time on that or on the cage bars. One toy is a foraging toy I stuffed with walnuts which he also likes. I’ve got those plastic baby links in a few chains around the cage and he really likes to pull them apart so I can rebuild and hang again. The straw toy I have in there he’s been destroying and shredding as well. I’ve got a couple more foraging toys for him I’ve ordered online.

His feathers are perfect at the moment, she did say he was about to molt. His crest is down most of the time. He’s done some dancing and singing and fluffs all the way up and bobs his head or shakes yes and no while moving his body, the singing sounds like he has been exposed to death metal music and is trying to replicate. It’s definity musical and not screaming. He will respond to the “falling and crashing” noise and hand movement by lifting his crest and wings and then laughing. He’s not fluffing up when we go near him, I have noticed when he was grumpy yesterday that he was pulling the feathers near his beak forward. He did have a “look” to him last night when he was grumpy that I’ve never seen before or since.

I have been doing exactly what you say with the screaming as I’ve read your advice on other threads about how to deal with it. As soon as he is quiet I’ve been waiting about 15 seconds then calling to him that he’s a good bird and going back in and giving him an almond. He doesn’t have nuts in his diet other than what we give him for treats and they appear to be some of his favorite foods.

Last edited by Tigerlilylvr; 11/08/17 02:11 PM.
#260762 - 11/08/17 07:55 PM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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So now that I’ve given you a bit more info on him here are a few questions I’m hoping you could help with.

How long should I leave him in the cage before trying to let him out again and risking that he won’t go in? A week? A month? Or is there some sort of sign I can look for that he’s ready? When I do let him out, what if I can not get him to go back in even with his favorite food? I wouldn’t want to leave him out all night unsupervised.

What time frame will it be appropriate to start trying to reteach stepping up?

Do you think I should move him into the spare bedroom even though he’s been ignored like that before because I can keep it completely dark without covering him, or do you think I should try covering him? At this time of year should he be getting 10 hours of dark, or more?

Is there anything else I should be doing besides chattinh with him and offering treats and ignoring his screaming fits?

Should I leave the TV on for him when I leave for work? He’s home for about 4-6 hours when nobody is there.

Thank you for your advice!

#260763 - 11/09/17 12:30 AM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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Easiest questions first. Yes leave the TV or music on for him all day. Be sure there are no scary shows for him like National Geographic, snakes, hawks are very scary. If he enjoys music and singing that's something that you can do with him. Sing an up beat song that he can dance to. Don't worry about looking silly we all have gotten used to the neighbors shaking their heads and walking away laughing. It's tons of fun and good exercise. I would wait a few days at least so he can calm down and get past the move. The first time I would let him out is when he doesn't show aggressive behavior and you have the time. Don't let him out if you don't have the time to wait him out. I would do it on a day off where you can let him out of the cage in the morning. Leave his door open, not the top and keep his food and water dishes inside the cage or pull the food dish completely. This will give him a reason to go back in after not eating. Once you put the food dish back in and he goes in the cage make a big deal over him being so good and give treats. I would hold the food back for the length of time you are able to give him your undivided attention. I would plan on the first session out of the cage to last about an hour or so. Don't give him any treats while he is out of the cage. If he goes in on his own during the day give him a treat in the cage. When it's getting close to bed time begin to slowly close blinds, shut off tv and dim the lights. Place a treat in the bowl and go sit down and wait. Use a cover on his cage if he tolerates it as he should be getting 12 hours or more right now during hormone season. I would not move his cage considering his past. Once he's settled in and coming out of the cage you can begin step up training although you may not need to train him, he may just start stepping up again when he's comfortable. Does he have a play stand? If not this may be something you should look into. It offers a way for him to step up and gives you the ability to use it to get him back in the cage. A simple T stand works great. I use one for a big macaw that comes to my house that doesn't like women.
I hope some of my suggestions help. I'm sure that others will come on over the next couple of days to offer additional suggestions for you. Just remember the best tool when dealing with a too is patience. Good luck you can do it!


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260764 - 11/09/17 06:17 AM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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Thank you for your reply. We had a really good day today. I have been leaving on Nick Jr for him, I figure if it’s good enough for young kids it should be ok for a bird with the same intellect level. He was dancing with hubby tonight while I was at the store after work, and when I got home we continued to all dance and sing for another hour or so. He loves Latin music! He is definitely trying to “sing” when he does his death metal sounds- it’s so funny. His singing may be awful but his dance moves are stellar. We were cracking up. We certainly looked like a couple of wackos but we don’t have neighbors to see us! I FaceTimed with my daughters so they could watch him dance, they think he’s great. (They are older, 10 & 13, and live here on vacations. They already got the talk to never go near him without us being home.)

He’s still not a fan of the corgi being near him but doesn’t mind the big dogs. He barks at the corgi and then will yell. I can’t keep them completely away from his cage, they need to have time out too, but we’ve been doing our best to have them on the couch and away from that side of the room. The only way into the hallway is past his cage. He’s not bothered by the cats at all anymore. The corgi is the loudest and wildest (he runs laps around the coffee table five or six times a night even with plenty of time in the fenced yard) so I can imagine that’s why he’s not a fan. We put him to bed early tonight to give Baby a break from the crazy corgi energy.

I will have to cut and sew together a couple of movers blankets to make a cover that will go around the whole cage. It is enormous, the biggest sheet I have in the House doesn’t even come close. That will be my project for this weekend.

He has been enjoying sharing bits of our dinner with us and I don’t know how he did it in such a short time but he’s has picked up my hubbys burp and now continuously does it while we are eating to elicit laughs from us. He is crazy smart- can definitely tell when he’s getting a reaction out of us and will continue to ham it up. He did scream a couple of times while we were eating because we were not sharing as much as he’d like but we walked into the kitchen till he stopped and then gave him a nibble when he stopped yelling.

Discovered tonight he is a huge fan of spaghetti so I’m thinking that might be a good thing to use to get him in his cage after playtime. Saturday I have the day off so I think I’ll let him out in the morning and hope that he eventually goes back in so I can reinforce. I can wait him out for hours if necessary. I’ll take away food while he’s out as well. If he refuses to go back in what should I do then? I can’t imagine he’d stay out without food for more than 3 or 4 hours but if he does...???

I don’t have a play stand for him but I was thinking about getting a large one where in the furture I could move his cage into the bedroom and have him out on the stand whenever we are home. It would be nice to move the giant bird mansion out of the living room and just have him free roaming or on the stand all the time except when we are not home or are sleeping. I would wait a while before doing so and would get him used to the play stand before moving his cage. I saw a pretty nice one for about $200 on the PetSmart website. I am also going to get a T perch I can use to move him when he’s being difficult in the future after we build trust and get step up back into action.

Thank you again!

#260765 - 11/09/17 12:36 PM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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Always have a towel at the ready. I keep one in each of the rooms that I board birds. It's good practice. Towels are so expensive today that I go to St Vincent de Paul and buy them there for 1.99 a piece including beach towels and bath sheets. I then bring them right in the house and wash them with bleach and a white vinegar rinse. Beach towels and bath sheets are the best with the bigger birds. If they become very unruly on the floor attacking feet I just drop the towel on top of them. They begin to go after the towel forgetting my feet. With the large towels you can also use them to "herd" a nippy one back into the cage. I don't think that you will have a problem when you put the food back in his cage. With toos keep everything you do animated and over the top. They can't stand not being a part of everything and seeing that dish you just put in. When I put the dish in the cage for Cassie, miss picky eater I put on a show of look how wonderful this bowl is, oohing and awing over the dishes contents. Even though I know it's futile sometimes we still say how good sweet potato and carrots are before they are violently thrown to the floor where all toxic orange colored foods go! Good luck and I look forward to your updates.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#260767 - 11/10/17 01:57 AM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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I had Baby out today and he was well behaved and then after about 90 minutes went on on his own! I put his dish back in and gave him an almond and a pomegranate quarter.

While he was out he ventured into the floor for a few minutes which was the first time he’d done that.

I made a big deal out of his bowl and all the wonderful things in it when I put it back in, and made sure to tell him what a good bird he was for going home on his own.

He’s not a fan of carrots except as an item to destroy but he will eat tiny bits of it.

He’s been a good bird all day, hasn’t tried to nip at me while I was changing his water with him nearby and asked for head scrtitches. He only screamed a few times and mostly it was when he wanted our attention when we were in the other room. Not ok, but far more reasonable than just yelling to yell when we are sitting in the living room. He’s a bird, and I expect that he will always have yelling as part of his behavior and was well prepared for it when I took him on. The minimal amount we had today was more than acceptable.


Thank you again for your help, I will continue to update if anything else comes to mind.

#260768 - 11/10/17 12:38 PM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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What a speedy wonderful update!!! Try to find a contact call that both of you can vocalize. With Cassie and I it's a blip noise. When I'm leaving an area that she can't see me I tell her where I'm going and that I'll be right back. Once I reached the kitchen I do our contact call of "blip" which she returns. Every few minutes while in the kitchen we exchange a blip or I will tell her I'm still in the kitchen be back in a couple of minutes. She still does her cockatoo scream in the mornings and again before bed at night. This pretty much can be expected from cockatoos as they call to their flock to be sure everyone is ok in the wild. I look forward to hearing more updates of the successful days ahead!


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#260775 - 11/13/17 07:05 PM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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Just read this thread and it brought back many memories of when we got our GSC, Baby. Yes, another Baby! grin Baby was one year old and now we have had her for 18 years. We are retired and man does time fly. For most of her life I worked offshore on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico for two weeks on and two weeks off. I was always her favorite person and still am but she also, now, has a great relationship with my wife, Peg, as well. Peg was bitten and bloodied many times in the first two years but she prevailed and won.

You are so right about them being smart. As time goes on, you will be amazed. I don't want to rehash the excellent advice Nancy has provided and you are reading posts out of the various forums so that will serve you well too. They do love a routine schedule. Over time with your attitude and energy you should have a great companion and hopefully your daughters can take up the task if you can't; they do live a really long time in many cases. I'm glad she is in good feather. We have had never had any problems with feathers either. It seems that the Greaters are more stable birds and not quite as sensitive as the Umbrellas and especially Moluccans. They can be every bit as loud though! Screaming has been pretty much eliminated in our household though unless her breakfast is too late or we are slow to take her outside in the evening. Remember, we have had 18 years to adapt to living with her and she is now very tolerant of our inadequacies. smile

Just keep doing everything you are doing and continue to learn, It takes time but is worth it. Nancy has given you the absolute straight skinny and you should continue to read posts daily and you will arm yourself for the future. It is a pleasure to have you and Baby aboard and thank you for taking her out of that horrid condition. Welcome to Mytoos!

Here's Baby!

Last edited by Charlie; 11/13/17 07:07 PM.
#260784 - 11/15/17 04:50 AM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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Thank you for the warm welcome!
Nancy’s advice has been fantastic, and I read posts on the forums every day to learn more. He has become a completely different bird in such a short time. I think he was neglected for so long that as soon as he realized we were going to love him and make him part of our crazy household he settled right in. I don’t think we are scary people anymore!

We dance every day and enjoy his terrible singing with the hope that someday he will sing more like Romeo Santos and less like Pantera but even his Rah-Rah-Rah is better than bloodcurdling screaming so we encourage it anyway. He shows us new tricks every day and is eager to learn new things too. We tried teaching him “touchdown!” With his wings and crest up but he was getting too excited after a few attempts and it devolved into screaming. Anytime he gets over excited it usually turns into a yelling fit. We need to work on it not getting to that point.

I was going to wait until the vet visit this Saturday to get pellet food as he’s only ever had seeds and dried fruit however we heard that a pet store near us had nice bird toys (Petsmart and Petco do NOT lol) and found they have a great selection of good quality bird food as well as awesome and reasonably priced toys. From reading here I knew what to look for; I picked up a bag of nurtriberries, zupreem fruit, and Roudybush figuring I’d use the nutriberries for the foraging toy I picked up there and give the other two pellets so he’d have a choice. I was shocked to see him immediately begin eating the Roudybush pellets, even with sunflower seeds in the bowl! He also eats the zupreem ones. The foraging toy has been getting some use as well. He eats fresh fruit and veggies every day, and nibbles of whatever we are having that is ok for him to eat.

He got two huge wooden toys Sunday and has been making a good effort to shred them completely. Not too interested in paper rolls or a phone book though.
He still has cranky times but they are fewer and farther between. He tried nipping us when we were putting new stuff in his cage but I should have known better since he was in a bad mood. Then he stalked me for an hour being rotten and terrorizing me if I got near his cage. He didn’t get down to chase me, he just followed me to whichever side of his cage I was on as I tried to clean it. He is actually pretty easy to read in that aspect- when he is in tinysaur mode he gets a look to him that’s just the devil!
Still goes a bit crazy if the dogs are being wild but I dont think that will ever change.

Today was amazing... hubby walked by him while he was on his perch with the door open and he reached for him with his beak in a way that I could tell he was trying to catch his attention not a lunge as to bite. I told hubby to go back and offer his arm for a step up...AND HE DID! smile Hubby walked him
Over to the couch and he sat with us for an hour just relaxing and walking around. He sat on my arm for a bit and was cuddling with us. I don’t trust him by my face but he was trying to get right up next to my chin and underneath it. I’m still pretty scared of him after the one good pinch I got last week but I have been trying not to show it and it’s paying off. He adores neck and head scritches and is very blatant about asking for them. He will also let us touch his beak. He lifts his wings and begs for us to pet under (last owner did it a lot before giving him to the son when he became exiled) but we do not indulge him.

He would not step back up to go home but I think it was because he was quit content to sit with us. He was fluffed with his bottom beak covered with feathers and settled in. He let hubby pick him up “like a chicken” (as hubby says- around the middle of him with his wings pinned) to put him home. The few times this week he did not go home on his own this is how we have put him away and he seems to be fine with it, doesn’t try to nip or anything.
Every night he has been sitting slightly fluffed with the beak feathers forward and usually on one foot, which I have read means he is happy and comfortable.

Thank you again for your welcome and advice as well as Nancy and her spot on advice! This forum is such a wealth of knowledge! Your Baby is beautiful, I don’t know how to link to a photo of mine. I’ve been uploading pictures and videos to Facebook and Instagram, my daughters love seeing them. My oldest has already claimed him when I’m gone. She’s got a firm grip on death- it means she gets all our stuff- she tells me that my new Challenger will be her car and her dad that his house will be hers. Now it’s the bird that needs inheriting lmao!

#260786 - 11/15/17 09:47 AM Re: 22 yr old GSC2 - need help with biting, screamin [Re: Tigerlilylvr]  
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Wrentham, MA
Update is beyond awesome, I am so happy he's progressing so quickly for you. Patience and persistence is paying off for your!


Nancy & Cassie BE2

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