Why doesn’t yelling at my lovebird stop bad behavior? How can I discipline my lovebird for this? Can lovebirds be trained like dogs?
Birds like drama! Yelling at them is a drama reward that reinforces the negative conduct. It is recommended to either ignore the bird or confine it to its cage for a period of time. When my Umbrella Cockatoo yells, she receives no attention. Not even remotely. Within a few minutes, she sees it’s not working, so she begins talking in a really pleasant sweet voice, and I immediately go to her and tell her what a wonderful bird she is and bring her out. When she has to be punished, I give a strong No, then utter the order, “Step up,” and remark calmly that she’s been a “bad girl” and is returned to her cage. The cage time works because they know and get used to the time of day when they are normally permitted to go.
When they do anything wrong, they are returned to the cage. They don’t want to be in their cages at that time of day, and they quickly figure out what makes them go there and quit doing it.
Now you MUST be consistent in your actions, words, and gestures. They do not comprehend and will not learn if the same conduct is chastised once but not the next. Children reach an age when they comprehend the concept of exceptions. Birds never comprehend the concept of “just this once.” Birds cannot be taught in the same way that dogs can. You can’t strike them or place a choker chain around their necks. Before they will do anything for you, birds must learn to trust you.
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