parrot trust issues

How To Regain A Parrot’s Trust

Parrots are affectionate, friendly pets when they’re socialized from an early age. However, it takes time and effort to build a special bond. If you break your parrot’s trust, you’ll need to work hard to regain it.

To regain your parrot’s trust, spend time together, moving quietly and speaking gently. This will show your parrot that you’re not a threat. Observe and copy your parrot’s body language to communicate with it.

Getting a parrot to trust you again requires time and patience. However, it’s possible to rebuild your bond if you work at it and act carefully to avoid upsetting them again.

How To Know if a Parrot Hates You

If you’ve done something to upset your parrot, it’ll start behaving negatively towards you.

Until you build your trust, you’re likely to experience the cold shoulder from your parrot. Parrot trust issues aren’t something you should ignore, and they can manifest in the following ways:

Aggression

Distrustful parrots become angry and aggressive, even more so when they see you approaching. Your parrot may bite you, which is a sign of stress and fear, or it may lunge at you to protect itself.

Screaming

Screaming is a sign your parrot’s angry with you. Most parrots make a loud noise when they’re unhappy, but larger parrots will be louder. Parrots also make the following sounds when they’re unhappy:

  • Hissing
  • Screeching
  • Crying

Pay attention to the sounds your parrot makes each time you approach, as it reveals a lot about its mood.

Decreased Vocalizations

Some parrots go the other way and stop vocalizing as often as usual. While decreased vocalizations are easy to ignore, they indicate that your parrot’s unhappy. If you’ve upset your parrot, the unhappiness is likely because of you.

Crouching

Crouching is one of the most extreme signs of anger and unhappiness and is reserved for owners who have upset their parrot. The neck feathers will also become ruffled.

Stereotypical Behaviors

In the most extreme circumstances when your parrot’s unhappy with you, it may start to develop stereotypical behaviors, including:

As described by Avian Biology Research, captive parrots engage in feather plucking when they’re stressed. This behavior isn’t seen in the wild, as parrots aren’t exposed to the same triggers.

how to gain your parrot’s trust

Negative Wing Posture

Pay attention to your parrot’s wings if you suspect it’s unhappy with you.

It will hold them away from its body, which is a sign of aggression. Similarly, opened wings indicate that your parrot’s trying to scare you away. That’s because it’s attempting to make itself look bigger and scarier so that you back off.

Alternatively, frightened parrots hold their wings and feathers tightly to their bodies. They also hold them out in a horizontal position, quivering them. This indicates that your parrot’s ready to fly away from you.

How To Get Your Parrot To Trust You

As mentioned, building your parrot’s trust isn’t an easy feat as parrots have good long-term memories.

Parrots have medial spiriform nuclei, which gives them their advanced intelligence. Your parrot likely remembers the reason for the lack of trust. 

That being said, all isn’t lost. There’s still a chance to rebuild your trust if you work for it.

Therefore, learn how to gain your parrot’s trust with these steps:

Spend Time Around Your Parrot

Even though you might have upset your bird and lost its trust, parrots are social creatures that enjoy company. Without it, they become bored and stressed.

That’s why you should spend as much time around your parrot as possible, sitting next to the cage so that it becomes comfortable in your presence once more. You could:

  • Quietly read a book
  • Speak to your parrot in a quiet, gentle tone
  • Give your parrot the occasional treat

As soon as your parrot realizes that you’re not a threat and don’t mean it any harm, it’ll begin to trust you again.  

Communicate with Body Language 

Even though some species can mimic human words and phrases, parrots don’t understand languages.

Communicating with your parrot through body language is something your parrot will understand, allowing you to regain trust and build a strong bond.

While some parrot behaviors are universal, pay attention to your parrot’s movements and copy them. Your parrot will make some more than others, so they’ll respond more favorably if you copy them.

If your parrot greets you by bowing its head, lower yours in return. If it lifts its wing to get your attention, raise your arm. These actions will go a long way in getting your parrot to trust you again.

Feed Treats

Nothing builds trust quicker than feeding your parrot its favorite treats. If you need to forge a strong bond with your parrot, pay attention to the foods it likes and offer them.

Hand-feeding is a great way to build trust. Parrots are vulnerable to predators when they eat in the wild, so accepting food from their owners shows trust in them.

Teach Your Parrot to Step Up

Teach your parrot to step up to get it comfortable sitting on your hand.

To teach the step-up command:

  1. Choose a quiet spot in your home that’s free from distractions
  2. Put your index finger in front of the parrot
  3. Say “step up”
  4. If your parrot doesn’t respond, gently nudge its legs with your finger
  5. Continue pressing if your bird doesn’t get the idea. It’s normal for it to step back once or twice 
  6. Eventually, your parrot will step up on your finger instead of backing away
  7. After a few steady nudges, the bird will be compelled to step up rather than back away
  8. Give your parrot a couple of treats
  9. Encourage the bird to dismount and try the process again

If your parrot seems comfortable around you, you can progress to other tricks, such as:

  • Shaking hands
  • Waving
  • Talking
  • Playing dead
  • Dancing
  • Fetching
  • Turning around

This is a fun way to build and improve your bond.

getting a parrot to trust you

How To Maintain Trust With Your Parrot

Once you’ve regained your parrot’s trust, you must maintain it. That’s why you shouldn’t:

  • Force your bird to do anything it doesn’t want to do
  • Shout or scream at your parrot
  • Using physical force as a form of discipline
  • Trick your parrot
  • Use unclear commands
  • Refuse to give your parrot space, especially if it’s upset
  • Ignore your parrot for long periods of time

As mentioned, parrots have good long-term memories, so it’s likely your bird will remember how you’ve lost its trust. If you make the same mistakes too frequently, you may lose your chance to rebuild trust entirely.

Signs Your Parrot Trusts You

Once you’ve regained your parrot’s trust, it’ll display several signs to show you:

  • Cuddling up to you
  • Shrinking or enlarging irises
  • Positive vocalizations (Singing, talking, and whistling)
  • Preening your hair
  • Wing flapping, which indicates happiness
  • Tail flapping
  • Head bowing to make you scratch its head
  • Mimicking your words and actions
  • Relaxed postures

Your parrot may not display all of these signs, especially not at once, but as long as it shows some of them when it’s around you, you can be confident that it’s starting to trust you.

Following these steps lays a solid foundation to regain your parrot’s trust. Learn from your mistakes, and don’t do anything that makes your parrot scared or wary of you.