Potty Mouthed Parrots and Children
AUSTIN, Texas, July 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Delbert is a yellow naped Amazon parrot, a species of bird famous for its ability to mimic human sounds. Delbert is no exception. He sings "Happy Birthday" shouts "Yee Haw" and even learned to copy the sound of someone sneezing. He also sings "Old Macdonald had a Farm." The day he sang "with a buck, buck here and a buck, buck there" using the letter F instead of B, was the day his owner, professional animal trainer Barbara Heidenreich, knew someone had been using some expletives around her bird.
"The reason it is so common for parrots to pick up swear words, is because we often say them with such gusto and emotion. This makes them stand out from our everyday conversation" says Heidenreich. She adds "people often react to a swearing parrot with enthusiasm and laughter. For many parrots this reinforces the behavior." This means the bird will continue to curse to get a desired reaction.
Parents may see the similarity in how young children learn to swear. Hearing a three year old say a four letter word may be shocking to some, but hilarious to others. If a parent reacts with a smile and laughter there is a good chance the child will use this adult vocabulary again.
Addressing foul language in parrots and children involves the same strategies. The goal is to ignore the utterance of four letter words and heavily reinforce the use of appropriate language or sounds. This will make it more likely acceptable words will be used, and the bad words will be dropped from the repertoire.
If an expletive slips out, the loss of desired attention or fun activity immediately after the word is uttered can also help decrease its use. However this technique works best when paired with heavily reinforcing the bird or child for saying suitable words.
Heidenreich was successful in training Delbert to drop the "fowl" words and focus on fun phrases such as "I love you" and "Yabba Dabba Do." "Thanks to positive reinforcement training, every morning I am serenaded with songs, cute quips and bizarre sound effects" says Heidenreich. See some samples of Delbert singing and talking at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPruq3zyPwk&feature=youtu.be and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFao6LNbYpw&feature=youtu.be
Heidenreich' s DVD Train Your Parrot to Talk gives parrot owners the tools they need to reform potty mouthed parrots into polite birds with exquisite and extensive vocabularies. You can learn more about parrots and how to train them at www.GoodBirdInc.com
About Good Bird Inc:
Good Bird Inc provides behavior and training products for the companion parrot and small mammal communities. These products include Good Bird Magazine, books, videos and animal training workshops. Discover kind and gentle ways to train your exotic animal companions to be well-behaved, interactive and fun. Visit www.GoodBirdInc.com and www.BunnyTraining.com for more information
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