Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coffee Is My Friend

My name is Robin - and I'm a coffee-holic!

I admit it; I love coffee! Not just any cup; the good stuff. Preferably freshly ground beans. The kinds that tend to be more expensive per pound than a filet mignon.
There are worse vices; as far as I know, this is my only vice. And I do indulge myself!

My mug holds nearly 3 cups. On average, I drink 3 a day. I know, it might seem like a lot to some. But looking at it from a glass half-full perspective, I'm getting a lot of antioxidant value too!

After a number of years of watching my patterns, I theorized that Coco learned that the last thing I did in the morning, before leaving for work, was pick up my cup and leave the bird room. Throughout the morning, I would come and go, but the cup would remain. Until I was leaving for the day.

I could sit with the cup, drink out of it with her on my shoulder, and there were no problems.

Until one day, she flew to me when the cup and I were leaving. Doing her best to land on the edge of it, she proceeded to unleash a fury of aggression the likes of which I had never seen. The cup survived the episode, but it was admittedly traumatized.

In living with my birds, I wish to promote a mutually beneficial relationship - - one that enables both of us to exercise choice, and where compromise is not one-sided. I need to be able to leave the room with the cup without thinking that she may launch an aerial attack on it (or possibly me!). Likewise, I did not want her to live in an environment where my actions or behaviors were aversive to her.

I began by leaving the cup out of the room for several weeks. Before anything else, I wanted to change my pattern, as best I could, to no discernible pattern.

In addition to carefully observing her behaviors, I spent time doing the same with my own. The last thing I wanted to risk was creating another pattern. (Such as, for example, picking up the remote control to turn the radio on right before leaving for the day.)

During this time, when entering and/or exiting the room, I would give a treat on an intermittent basis.

After several weeks, I began bringing the cup into the room again. There are two doors, one leading to the hallway and the other to a walk-in closet that leads to the bathroom and out into the same hallway.

When leaving time is 15 to 20 minutes away, I move the cup to a bookshelf near the closet door. A few minutes later, I walk to the door. At that point she is usually heading for her swing. If she is not on her swing already, she is making a beeline for it when she sees my hand on the treat jar. I allow her to select a nut (and she usually grabs the largest one she can find).

I walk over and pick up the cup, take it out of the room, and then return. Thereafter, I move in and out of the room (many more times than necessary) for another 10 to 15 minutes more before leaving for the day. Throughout the entire morning time the doors remain open. My husband closes them after I'm long gone.

Each time, Coco has chosen to continue eating the nut rather than to drop it and fly across the room to attack the cup.

Who knows - maybe she will begin to associate the cup with something good!

Each morning is a mini-training session; working toward a solution has been time well spent. And - no caffeine withdrawals for me! Yeah!

(... yes, I am drinking coffee while I am typing this post... but you already knew that, right?)!



Jim Stewart said...

Nice! You paint such a clear picture with your words I feel like I'm there watching all this.

wolfgirl1987 said...

Awesome! Glad to hear some progress has been made!

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