Are parrots difficult pets?
“In my experience parrots are neither inherently good companion animals nor inherently bad companion animals. The behaviors parrots choose to exhibit are the result of what earns them reinforcers or what will cause an aversive stimulus to go away. In other words, parrot behavior is the result of our behavior. If we choose to reinforce behaviors we like, we will see those behaviors exhibited more often. If we try to control parrots through unpleasant experiences we are likely to create agressive behavior or fear responses.
The bottom line is parrot caregivers who are armed with tools and information on training their parrots with positive reinforcement are likely to have great sucess with a parrot in their home. Those who rely on coercion are sure to encounter problems and sadly miss out on the incredible relationship based on trust once can have with a parrot. The methods we choose to influence parrot behavior determine the outcome, not the genetics of the parrot.”
Barbara Heidenrich has been a professional in the field of animal training since 1990. She is president of Good Bird Inc. providing parrot behavior and training products. Barbara also consults on animal training in zoos and other animal related facilities. She is past president of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators.