The Right Mindset for Communication

Emotional responses can confuse a parrot.

The Right Mindset for Communication

Living with a large mixed flock, life will never be uninteresting. It will be an on-going adventure in social organizing, world-wide cooking lessons and an occasional moment of refereeing. Keeping a large mixed species flock co-existing on an even keel is often a great challenge. Between the various assorted dietary requirements, species specific housing needs, and the endless array of toys, dishes and the continuing need for self-educating our lives, as a Companion Parrot parent can get pretty crazy at times. There is little time for relaxation and recreation, and the demands on ones physical and emotional being can be taxing. All this can lead to shortened tempers and less then ideal patience when it comes to dealing with our feathered Companions. Just like children, they can often times "push-the-right-buttons" to get a reaction from their care-giver.

Just as we need to learn how to relax, step-back and think before we deal with a misbehaving toddler, we also need to take time to "re-group" before we attempt any communication with our Companion Parrot. Parrots are extremely attune to their environment, and even the slightest deviation from what they perceive as being normal can bring about a very negative, at times aggressive reaction. We may think that our physical demeanor is calm and relaxed, but the Parrot sees even the smallest changes in eye contact, gesture or near invisible tension in their Parront.

If we find that we would need to step-back to catch our breathe before dealing with a young child, it is even more necessary and important to do likewise with our Companions. Taking five minutes to calm down before we deal with our Companion Parrot can mean the difference between a positive, calm, happy Parrot responding correctly and an aggressive, negative interaction that concludes in a nasty bite. Negative interactions only end with even more stress and disappointment for the Parent. We need to make it our golden rule to never interact with our Parrot when we are tense, upset or stressed in any way. Unless the Parrot is in danger of injury, we gain nothing by forging ahead when we ourselves are not ready for the interaction.

The old saying,"You can fool some of the people some of the time..." does not work with Companion Parrots. We can not put up a mask of happiness or calm that can "fool any of the Parrots, any of the time".  Our words must match our physical communications. Parrots respond quickly to clear, direct communications such as "step-up" when followed with a steady hand or perch to step onto.  A Parrot understands slow and deliberate. Hesitation is noted by the Parrot and they adapt their response accordingly.

When in doubt, take a time out. Go for a walk, listen to your favorite music, stop and calm down. Reacting too abruptly, showing any fear, or anger, or sending a mixed message will only end in frustration for both you and your Companion Parrot.

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