“Getting Past YOUR Fear!”
Lately we’ve had several people who have had questions about their fear of touching or even getting close to their parrot. The last lady to e-mail in said her husband has no problems with their Timneh African Grey but she is deathly afraid of touching it for fear of it biting her.
Granted these parrots do in fact have very strong beaks and it’s possible you could get seriously hurt if one chomped into you there are things you can do to prevent this. Here are my thoughts on the best steps to overcome these fears!
This happens to be a VERY common problem. Even Sally my wife had the same problem with Tiko our Blue and Gold Macaw. It’s not uncommon for a man or woman to see a big beak and for whatever reason they just can’t overcome the fear of being bitten.
Interestingly enough this person never mentioned that her bird had actually never bit her. We’ll assume for now the bird in the past has bitten her and she’s not just dreaming up this fear. Help with that kind of a problem takes a shrink, not a bird newsletter.
But for the sake of being constructive, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that every now and then her Timneh African Grey does bite her, has drawn some blood, and there is now some rational fear that this will happen again.
No amount of training advice will help in this situation. This is a game being played in our subscribers mind. To fix this problem she has to eliminate the bird’s ability to hurt her. The most common way to do this would be to protect your hands.
I would recommend putting on a pair of THICK work gloves. You can even get some falconry gloves that are made to handle sharp talons of predatory creatures. Lots of people will try to disagree that you should not use gloves when handling your parrot and up until recently I would have agreed. However I figured out a way that I talk about other times where using gloves is really providing excellent results.
You won’t be trying to pet your bird with these gloves, or grab him, or anything that might scare your bird. Instead you’ll learn what I taught you in our training videos to target the bird over to you. If you haven’t had the chance to check out those videos they teach you to never be bitten by your parrot again.
If I were this person I would have my husband take the bird out and put it on a nice flat table. I’d set my glove on the table palm up, and would practice targeting the bird closer to, around, and eventually on top of my thick glove.
It’s the perfect way to slowly teach the bird that the glove isn’t scary, give you practice with handling your bird WITHOUT the fear of being bitten, and gives you the one on one interaction you need to start to learn how to read your Timneh African Grey’s body language so you can start to see predictor body language that telegraphs when you’re going to get bit.
And if you’re looking for a little extra help in learning how to read your bird’s body language so you can know when he’s trying to tell you to back off, or he’s going to bite you, then you might want to pick up a copy of my How To Stop Random Biting course… it’s all about that kind of stuff.
So if FEAR is an issue that’s keeping you from developing a relationship with your parrot, go grab a pair of gloves and I think you’ll be a lot better off. Remember not to use the gloves in a way that your bird becomes scared of them like grabbing him and pulling him out of his cage but only as a way for you to overcome your fears of the bird.