Communication is listening first

A relationship requires a two way street of conversation.

Communication is listening first

Some companions will not poop in their bedroom roost. They wait until the waking of the day and getting out of that area to lay their first golden egg. What I refer to around here as a "carpet bomb". It is a natural defense choice simply to hide their whereabouts from possible predators. Snickers, our scarlet macaw, is an avid wait-to pooper in the morning. We use the shower for his carpet bomb.

It's that last bit that reminded me of a few things in building communication with a companion. Snickers and I have gone through many exercises to get him from bedroom roost post to shower stall over the years. Some successful, some frustrating, and some just a down right struggle. I tried all the "tricks" of behavior modification and he was having none of it consistently. I look back and realize I stumbled backwards into training rather forward into conversation. Because I was lazy, in a scheduled place in time and needed to get on with it. I arrogantly applied the "hey I got better things to do than this" theory. Bottom line; I was dismissive of his preferences. I admit it. Because none of us get all this right all the time. So Snickers and I clumsily lived with each other through his morning first poop thing every day. I was the clumsy one, not him.

I can see how this particular transition felt so foreign to him now. I never used tricks in any other setting for any other reason ever. And now I'm all target training, operant conditioning him? I'm pretty sure he was delivering the Eye of Disdain there for a bit, but I was far too impatient to even get that signal.

Then one recent morning, a day I had zero plans except to just "be", he and I connected clearly. I had opened all the cages for the morning transitioning. Every one comes out on their own cage, at their own pace and posts on their cage doors.  Kirby follows me into the bathroom while I finish my morning routine of teeth brushing and face washing. He project manages from the hand towel holder. He's quite helpful. 

I hear a kerplunk behind me, and look around to find Snickers hanging from the bathroom door frame upside down. He's laughing in his dad's voice. I laugh at him. He's hilarious. He lets one foot go and hangs sideways and chews a toe. "HUH?" he says in my voice. He hangs from both feet now looking at me from between he legs and above his butt. There is no way you can not laugh at this sight. I'm laughing hard. "HUH!" he whispers with a chuckle in my voice.

Huh, is right. I walked over and asked him, "What exactly are you doing knucklehead?" and offered my right hand.  He stepped right on, and steered us leaning into the bathroom and around the corner to the shower stall.  

Clouds part, lights go on and a boxing ring bell goes off. Why I hadn't just simply gone about MY business and allowed him to go about his business until he asked for his last business? I'll never know the real answer to that except I am, but human. Every morning since I just go about making the bed, brushing my teeth and washing my face. He will kerplunk onto the door frame and say good morning when he's ready. 

I also recently realized that he prefers to stay with his finished work just a moment longer, and when stepping up on my hand he also prefers to gaze at his creation. For just a second. I suppose, much like a great artist, he wants to pause and take in his finished works.

Every one of us has our own successful ways delivered at our own comfort levels to be sure. End of day we all want our companions happy, stress free and enjoying the life we can give them. I have found it to be more true than not as I work with flocks around the globe, a parrot requires communication first, which requires us to listen first. Snickers and I hadn't been communicating at all, because I was never really listening.

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