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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we've had River since March 23rd, he is now a little over 11 weeks old. He has his freedom now and is such a character! We first opened his cage to see if he would come out onto the perch but he actually came out by accident. We think he overshot when trying to land on the door opening and landed on a surface next to his cage.

We've come a long way already and he is a cheeky boy. He will land on my lap if I'm sat, the computer keyboard when I'm writing and the top of the television. Also one of our pictures if he's attention seeking. After the initial landing on peoples spectacles or head, he landed on my shoulder of his own free will the other day and greeted me right in my ear which about made me just about melt. If we move our face close to his he will sometimes greet us or more frequently gently beak our noses. We can scritch him and do the hand cave over him, but he absolutely will not step up and he gets nippy if we offer a gentle hand. I'm trying to utilise gentle beak but he'll swipe at our finger if we then offer our hand. He hangs on for a couple of seconds too, and it hurts! He's also biting my neck, which Willow, who was closely bonded to my husband, did to him.

Is it just perseverance to get him to step up? Or are there any other tricks and tips we should know about?

46547
 

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Hi! River is sure flying good at 11 weeks! He looks great. You let him out of his cage....how does he get back in? In order to get him to step up, you will have to train him to do so. Look in one of the forums called Bonding and Training or Parrotlet Articles. You can Google " How to teach a parrotlet to step up " and see what comes up. You will be helped.
Remember, offering treats is one way to motivate your bird to do things.

David
 

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Because River is not keen on stepping on your finger, try using a perch and a favorite treat to motivate him to step up. He may be more comfortable with that right now. You can gradually get your hand closer and closer to him with time, always making sure to have a treat ready as a reward. Then when he is ready, try using your hand again. It is important to always give your bird options. If he steps up a couple of times, great! But, never try to get him to step up more than he wants to or it will not be an enjoyable experience for him. Patience is needed on your part. Do not be surprised that after getting him to step up, a day or so later he does not feel like doing it. It happens. There can be setbacks when you are training a bird. Just do not make the mistake of getting impatient, frustrated and wanting faster progress. If you chase your bird around trying to get him to step up on your finger when he does not want to, you are not giving your bird the choice to say no. You had made good progress, but now you are not giving them options. At that point, your bird will shut down and not want to work with you because the experience is no longer fun. Birds a lot of times give warning signs before they bite. Watch River’s body language, when they are not comfortable, they will try to step away from you, ruffle their feathers, pin their eyes… Cleopatra whistles get a higher pitch. If you ignore their warning signs, they will bite you to get control over the situation. Try not to let it get to that point. You do not want them thinking that the only way to get you to leave them alone is to bite you. Always give them options so they will feel like they are having fun with you. Find ways of giving them rewards so they feel like they are having fun.

By the way, River is gorgeous. I love the picture. Remember, everything is on their time - not ours. Patience, patience, patience. You are doing a great job with him! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
David: thank you! He comes and goes as he pleases. He often just goes back into his cage to play with his favourite toy. Right now he’s on the tree my husband made for Willow 🙂 I shall certainly have a look for any articles.

Anya: thank you 🙂 he allows us to touch him but it’s the stepping up he wants no part of. I offer my arm and say step up and he hops on but a finger, nope! I don’t push him, if he refuses, I just give him space. Often he’ll turn his back if I try a step up ! So far everything he’s done has been on his term, including bringing millet to eat in my curly hair 😂
 

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The others gave you great advice, The only other thing I will add is that if you feel like you have tried all avenues and he really just doesn't like fingers it's okay! Parrotlets are usually not hand shy but occasionally one will decide it just does not like fingers or hands! If he gets on your arm or your palm instead that is perfectly fine it may just be his preference. He obviously sounds bonded to you and you don't seem to have difficulty handling him so if all else fails I would not worry about it too much.
 

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this sounds almost word for word our experience with Sake.

I'm just now starting to really try to train her with step up and had really good luck with offering a treat that she MUST get on my finger to have. she LOVES popcorn and so I held it an inch or two away from her, with my finer in the way (completely on the desktop so its super low) and after about 15 minutes of yelling at me, she finally did it.

You'll get it!
 
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