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Updated: Mar 11, 2021

In the past week we are learning some more about Casper. One of the things we are learning is that he has not had a lot training and has never had rules. He was pretty much allowed to do what ever wanted which is not a great thing for a cockatoo. In consultation with my cockatoo expert I learned what I need to do to set him on the right path.

We need to follow a few rules in order to perform a "boundary reset" and condition him to new rules and behavioral expectations. He has a tendency to fly to peoples shoulders unasked which is problematic for people who are afraid of birds. He has been petted a lot and as a result wants to "pair bond" with humans in a bad way. To fix it we are need follow the following rules.

  1. NO petting at all. Period. Not even head scratches. For a year, at least. In the wild birds only have physical contact with their mates, never other birds so we are going to respect this law of nature.

  2. He stays in the cage for a week. When he does come out it need to be structured activity like training, not just freewheeling around the house doing what ever he wants.

  3. NO landing on shoulders. If he flies at us we should duck away, wave him off and otherwise make it really clear we don't want him to do that.

  4. Training Training Training. Train him to preform behaviors incompatable with being a flying menace. Recall training so he only comes when called is an important one.

We started working on target training this week and it is going pretty well. He was initially really afraid of the target stick but slowly started to understand the goal. Touch the stick=Get a treat.

In the video above you can see the hand training in process. We are trying to get him to stay on a hand and not fly to a shoulder. It is coming along slowly but surely. According to my expert, he flys to my shoulder to avoid being on my hand, and therefore under my control. I can't control him on my shoulder which he knows and likes, so we have to train him to stay where we have control.

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