|Sooner or later your pet human will try to assert itself as FLOCK LEADER. This must be avoided at all costs. Remember, you must retain dominance to keep peace in the flock. You might ask, how can we tell if the pet human is in the "terrible two’s" stage, where it tries to tell you, the parrot, what to do and how to live your life?
The human who thinks itself flock leader will attempt to make you come out of your cage when it wants you to, instead of when you choose to exit the cage. Do NOT let this happen. One of my favorite ploys is the old "puff up and dilate the eyes" trick. If this doesn’t intimidate the human, strike at its finger, then run up the sides of the cage, where it cannot catch you. But do not actually bite the human’s finger. This show of aggression usually makes them call the dreaded "behavior consultant." If that happens, you’re a defeated bird.
The next thing you must do to assert your natural right to dominance is scream for your pet human to come. A simple "hello" or "up" will not do the trick. You must scream or make some obnoxious sound that you know the human hates. Do this loudly and enough times and your human will come instantly, rewarding you for your effort. Remember, one of the rules of flock dominance is—the top parrot is the LOUDEST parrot.
When your pet human asks you to do something demeaning, such as "step up" to its hand or finger, don’t do it. A simple refusal often confuses the human, giving you an opportunity to take charge of the situation. If it offers you food that you don’t like, throw it at your human. Sometimes you must be abrupt to make a human understand your demands. Remember, flock leaders ALWAYS control the situation.
Now, there’s a diplomatic side to being flock leader. You cannot constantly terrorize your pet human and expect it to not call the parrot police—behavior consultant. Humans do not react well to "negative reinforcement." In other words, it will rebel if you bite it or otherwise cause it to lose its trust in you. Therefore, lull it into thinking it has some say in your life by occasionally acting sweet and good natured. Let it scratch your head. This serves two purposes: first, the human thinks it’s your leader, rather than your slave; and second, mutual preening feels so good on those pesky pin feathers.
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This Pet Human Report advice was published in the Winter 1997 issue of The Grey Play Round Table Magazine.