Tuesday, August 25, 2009

LLP Class

I finished the LLP course two weeks ago. I can certainly say it was one of the best parrot related investments of my time! It is extremely well run, very rewarding and enlightening, and will help everyone not only understand what they are doing when interacting and working with their parrots, but will help them work with them more productively and in a better way.

The LLP course, or Living and Learning with Parrots, is an eight week course on behavior, specifically as related to parrots, and on Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA (also known on the internet as "positive reinforcement training", which is a misnomer). It is run by Susan Friedman (website), Lee McGuire, and several great volunteer teachers. Although I think everyone should take the course, if you don't have time for that, you can also do your parrots a huge favor by joining the yahoo list PBAS (Parrot Behavior Analysis Solutions), read the following articles by Susan Friedman, or check out Barbara Heidenrich's website, Good Bird Inc.

I have always used ABA with my parrots, and I can say it is absolutely the best, and in my opinion, the only method that should be used when working with parrots. When the time is taken to learn about ABA and how to use it, it is not only is it much easier on the parrot and yourself, it is also the "fastest" method when used correctly and by a dedicated person. Although it can seem daunting at first, especially if you are not familiar with it at all, once you take the time to understand it (perhaps by taking the LLP course!) ABA slowly becomes easier and more manageable - along with the relationship you share with your parrot!

And as a side note, the LLP course is not only full of useful behavior knowledge for using with parrots, but the knowledge can be applied to all animals, as well as the humans in your life, as the same behavior rules apply to all. Just another reason to check out ABA!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update on Linus

Linus is doing much better after his "misadventure". He has really calmed down, to the point that his cage can be approached without him freaking out. In fact, his food and water can now be changed with little more than him stiffening his body with worry. A large improvement from flinging himself against the bars! He still does not play much; in fact, he has only been caught playing once, though he does also chew on a manu mud block somewhat frequently. I have filled his cage with what were favorite toys of his, so I am hoping he will "re-discover" them again soon.

He has started to sing again though! All day long he can be heard: whistling, talking, giving kisses, and imitated every possible noise he can in general! It is wonderful to hear, he was such a joyful fellow, and his long silence has was heartbreaking.

He also seems to be interacting some with people, which is wonderful. I have been told that he even gives kisses when someone comes the room now!!! I am hoping he will settle back in with Ava. When I first had him, he was very good friends with the budgies, and just loved them. Ava is quite lonely now, without a friend, and Linus I know does better with the security of another bird near him.

Edited to add: As I had hoped, Ava and Linus quickly took to each other, and are no longer the two lonely waifs! The have become totally inseparable, following each other around all day; Ava offering Linus support and confidence, and Linus simply giving Ava a good friend to confide in, as well as someone to boss around!