Q: I am the third person to have Chip-Chip. He has about fifteen words he says. At first he loved me and kissed on my cheek-rode on my shoulder, then one day he was on my knee and I leaned over to talk to him and he flew up and bit my lip. About two days later he bit through my shirt and made my arm bleed. Now he wants to bite me every chance he gets. He takes food from my fingers but refuses to come to me. Now he has bonded with my husband and even lets him pet him. Also I have never been able teach him any new words. I did teach him to whistle like a quail. I love him, but the feeling isn’t returned.
– Lois Thomas
A: I’d highly recommend starting out with trick training with Chip-Chip. You need to do something that is “hands off” right now since he doesn’t have a desire to be with you, only with your husband.
You should also make sure you are doing the training alone. Tricks like the “spin“, “touch training” and the “wave” are easy tricks to train and are very hands-off so you don’t have to get bit or pass that safe zone with your bird.
If you touch train your bird (which is the very first thing we teach in all of our courses) you can easily train him these tricks afterwards using the target stick.
Our parrot Cressi absolutely loves Dave and although she likes me, I can tell it’s not as much. Once I took the time to train her to wave and spin, she wouldn’t stop flying to me over him! I was more fun and stimulating to be around and she was excited to learn more with me. It really strengthened our bond and I feel this will do the same for you and Chip-Chip.
Once you develop this type of bond with Chip-Chip, I am sure you will be able to move on and teach him new words, too, as he will be more interested in learning and listening to you.
Jamieleigh Womach has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots with whom she shares the stage.