Instincts in our companions dictate they have no boundaries. When the discussion arises that a parrot is testing boundaries, or testing rules it's more helpful to look at that moment for what it really is, they are testing location, materials or food for a reason to stay, use or consume. There are no boundaries in a parrot brain. Which is why we tend to have one or two locations, materials or foods that are a never ending battle with our birds. We are denying access to ascertain the value of said location, material or food. They can't leave it alone, because they have no boundaries and you are getting in the way of that instinctive rule.
Of course, because they live in a human environment full of human things and foods, there has to be boundaries for their safety. But explaining that split hair to a parrot is, difficult. Positive reinforcement (which is just making a trade) may fail because they are positive the item or action you are using for manipulation is in no way better than the thing they need to explore and you are denying them. TV Remotes and objects that interest us greatly, but are denied them, are an excellent example of that human world meets parrot brain.
Or you can take Felix, our Grey, for an example. We've hit an interesting and immovable moment in Felix History. He must have Dad. He is waking up earlier and earlier to start the day to get to dad. He must have Dad. He is insistent on Dad. "Apple Popcorn! Here!" Dad is apple popcorn, by the way. He'll get himself in such a tizzy begging, dancing, spinning, begging with one foot up yelling "Apple Popcorn HERE!", that he will literally chastise himself for the ruckus! "BAD BIRD!" He must have Dad.
There are boundaries we as humans do not consider boundaries, but our companions see them as nothing but brick walls of no. Boundaries are simply the removal or absence of the location, material, food, or even human that they want, now. consider this, a wild parrot just goes where they want. Period. No exceptions generally. They just go, to at least attempt what they want or where they want to be. But what of our companions? All is well until one parent goes to work, leaving behind the other parent or no one at all. An insurmountable boundary is up. They can't chase after their parent. They can not get a flock call back from them. This is a dynamic that in the wild signals loss, death or rejection.
Dad is gone. For me there is no boundary. I can call him to talk, text to communicate or if I feel so inclined travel to him at will. Felix does not have this luxury. He, is stuck. So, the frustation or adamacy we might witness is simply a parrot experiencing our world through their filter. Boundaries that we do not see, but they feel very much as boundaries.
Dad and Felix spend time together every morning. It's the Dad and Felix Show. A routine, that helps Felix get in the right frame of understanding about the impending doom of dad leaving. Dad always takes time to say goodbye to Felix, reminding him he'll be back. Felix much like a 5 year old understands, but that doesn't mean he likes it. And so they had their goodbyes, Felix watched us say goodbye to each other and Dad walked out. Felix was rather tense after Dad left today. He's outside in his RV, on the deck with the cockatiel Horde next to him. I can hear him shooting squirrels with laser beams. He's mocking the bluejays, freestyle whistling and eating his breadfast. I know he's accepted the absence of dad because he's whistling the Andy Griffith Theme with a joyful emotional uptick in that second refrain. He's good.
The most difficult part of companion parrots is the time you will sacrifice. It's not the feeding. It's not the cleaning and it's not the care. It's the emotional investment. You can not short cut that part. Oh, you'll run out of apples, but you can use pears. You may run out of newspapers for the bottom of the cage, but you can use towels for now.
There is no swap or trade or replacement for the time needed to understand a companion's point of view, and the effort to act on that understanding. I have nothing to trade for time with Dad. Nothing. All we can do is create a process that lowers the stress of it, and over time prove the fact that Dad always comes back.
And so while Felix waits for the promise to be kept, he'll laser beam squirrels. Which isn't a bad trade, it's just not a replacement.