Belgian petstore horror

So I was in Belgium visiting familly last weekend and I went to a petstore with my mom. There was this cute african grey and I went to say hi to it… It was ofcourse clipped so it wouldnt fly around the store. But they put it right next to the door… smart huh??So I was saying hi to it and the store employee comes to talk to me. I tell her about my bird Jo but she comes to the conlusion that Jo "is just a parakeet and doesnt even compair to an african grey". My bird is apparently something you just put in a cage and look at . And yes, they unfortunatly sold parakeets…Then the african grey started biting a bit, not at all hard, it was just testing a bit… her solution? Well you hit it ofcourse… You give it a little smack on its beak. I was appaled and said that was not necesary but according to her I knew nothing of birds cos I only had a parakeet. Whats really horrible is that she sells african greys… imagin her telling every one who buys one to smack it if it bites.Then I left.

Yeah, that sounds horrible. But unfortunately it is how most people react to birds biting because it’s the most intuitive. From what I know, birds are the only pets where one would act passively with when they bite. For horses, dogs, cats, etc., the right reaction would be reacting in a dominant manner. Maybe it’s because they are mammals (and so have evolved somewhere up the line that that is the right disciplinary reaction) that leads to this kind of correction, and also because they are not fragile and built for flight.It’s dangerous to hit a bird -anywhere-, but especially the head, because a bird’s skull and bones are made of very thin material. They are built for flight, and impact like that can seriously injure them interally. I’d hope that eventually one day that woman in the petstore learns this.

I feel very sorry for that poor African grey. Right now, I am furious because of that owner, but all that we can do is educate the public about the right way to care for and treat birds.

Cage Cleaner wrote:For horses, dogs, cats, etc., the right reaction would be reacting in a dominant manner. Maybe it’s because they are mammals (and so have evolved somewhere up the line that that is the right disciplinary reaction) that leads to this kind of correction, and also because they are not fragile and built for flight.Actually, a lot of behaviour scientists and animal trainers are beginning to disagree with the “dominant theory” for most (if not all) other animals as well. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. I would say even more so with a horse, elephant, whale, dolphin or other large animal in training… would you put your life in the hands (paws, fins, etc) of an animal that could KILL you by punishing it with dominant behaviour? I wouldn’t.

gabbagabbawill wrote:Cage Cleaner wrote:For horses, dogs, cats, etc., the right reaction would be reacting in a dominant manner. Maybe it’s because they are mammals (and so have evolved somewhere up the line that that is the right disciplinary reaction) that leads to this kind of correction, and also because they are not fragile and built for flight.Actually, a lot of behaviour scientists and animal trainers are beginning to disagree with the “dominant theory” for most (if not all) other animals as well. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. I would say even more so with a horse, elephant, whale, dolphin or other large animal in training… would you put your life in the hands (paws, fins, etc) of an animal that could KILL you by punishing it with dominant behaviour? I wouldn’t.LOL I certainly wouldnt hit an elephant over the head… sounds like suicide. But yes, a lot of people find it acceptable to hit animals to ‘disciplin’ them. I dont agree though. But it must be a lot worse to hit a bird considering how fragile they are.

I watched a documentary where the treatment for taming an elephant was to chain it down on it’s belly so it couldn’t get up and starved and beat it into submission over a period of a couple weeks until it had no will of it’s own.My first reaction was to throw up then cry. If I had the money I would have gone there to beat the men into submission.

liz wrote:I watched a documentary where the treatment for taming an elephant was to chain it down on it’s belly so it couldn’t get up and starved and beat it into submission over a period of a couple weeks until it had no will of it’s own.Camels are trained much the same way, exclusively through punishment and negative reinforcement. If you think about it, it’s quite convenient because it only requires the presence of a trainer and his weapon rather than barrels of food. With a herbivorous animal that spends large parts of its day eating, it’s difficult to make a mouthful of food rewarding enough for it to matter in training. I’m not advocating, just explaining how/why I think it is done.However, what you describe sounds much akin to clipping parrots (in concept more so than execution). The people who urge clipping because it “makes the parrot more mellow and easier to train” are essentially recommending an approach based on the same principles you described. Sure the owner can avoid feeling bad because they didn’t beat the parrot or lay a scissor across its feathers themselves. However, every time the parrot tries to fly it fails and likely gets hurt. Essentially it’s the same method of “beat it into submission over a period of a couple weeks until it had no will of it’s own.”

I’ll clarify.What I meant was that when an animal (not a bird, as stated above, obviously) acts out of line, the first and initial reaction would be to react back aggressively, and send a clear message that that kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable. However, as soon as the animal knocks it off (sometimes they don’t, immediately), you reward them with petting/treats/praise, etc. I work with horses on a daily basis. Some of these horses are young and going through the phase where they try to dominate -everyone-. That is what they do in the wild at this age. They challenge the lead stallion. When a horse bites or kicks or acts aggressively (it’s happened… many times) you smack him back, hard, tell him 'NO" very clearly, and act big. If he keeps at it, you might kick him. If it still keeps going on, you leave, get the whip out, and quickly come back so that he doesn’t perceive it as a victory, and then carry on until it gets the message. A misbehaving horse is not a pretty picture.This situation applies for when the horse is acting dominantly, not out of fear, obviously. I just say it so that bleeding hearts don’t bring it up as a counter argument, heh. That is a whole different situation. There are other times, when one wishes to fix smaller bad habits (nudging, pawing, removing saddle pad from self) where one would just ignore it. The idea is that any attention is attention. However, this doesn’t apply for when the horse attacks you. As SOON as the horse calms down and displays signs of submission, you immediately let off and reward him. Both by stopping the negative reinforcement, as well as by giving pets, kisses, treats, whatever, etc. So, the point in my previous post was that you do use strong negative reinforcement to correct behavior immediately, but what was left unstated was that it’s also backed up by positive reinforcement. I wouldn’t know about the aquatic animals, although I have been interested in that, lately.

The only problem I have with my dogs is barking. I found yelling at them does not shut them up. I point my finger and you could hear a pin drop.When my Amazons are having a spat over a toy, I yell hey and point my finger then neither one want it.I did the same with my kids. I never hit them and they are now well adjusted enough that I will let them live.

liz wrote:I watched a documentary where the treatment for taming an elephant was to chain it down on it’s belly so it couldn’t get up and starved and beat it into submission over a period of a couple weeks until it had no will of it’s own.My first reaction was to throw up then cry. If I had the money I would have gone there to beat the men into submission.These kind of things make me sick and make my insides literally burn. I love animals, and I hate it that some, heartless, humans beat up, starve and hurt other animals just to train them. My reaction is also to throw up. I feel s orry for animals who are beng mistreated by humans.