Parrots don't understand punishment?
Many of us have heard or read that parrots don't understand punishment. Well, I'm here to tell you that parrots, like most animals, certainly understand punishment. The problem is that parrots understand punishment all too well. Each time a parrot is put in a cage and separated from his flock, he considers it punishment.
People who don't know psychology, don't really have a full understanding of what the word "punishment" actually means. Punishment and Reward are two words that are used to define something that a person or animal likes or dislikes. A reward is something that one likes and using a reward usually enhances the probability that the preceding behavior will be repeated.
A punishment is the opposite. It is simply a word used to describe something that one doesn't like. It doesn't necessarily mean being beaten, shocked or incarcerated for years. A punishment usually reduces the probability that the preceding behavior will be repeated.
Does this mean you should scream and yell, or hit or drop your bird? Certainly not! I would never advocate anything harmful to any bird.
What this does mean is that whenever and wherever possible you should ALWAYS try to keep your bird OUT of a cage as much as possible. When a bird is left in his cage too much, his whole life can become a punishment.
Always remember that your bird wants to be part of your family. He wants to eat with you, socialize with you and be with you every second of the day, when he's not, he feels like he's being left out of his flock activities.
I like to think of birds as little "Love Banks" that can only withdraw the love that has been put in. What do I mean by this? Well, I feel that every interaction with a bird should give the bird feelings of love. The more love you put into the bird, the more you can safely make a withdrawal and leave the bird for short periods of time without the bird becoming traumatized.
Teaching birds that "we'll be back" is essential in having a non-stressed little friend. I have very specific ways of teaching my birds when we'll do anything which keeps them happy and relaxed.
If you need help, you can turn to our video for starters. It's great for birds and their owners!
Thanks for your time! Jenifer