Thoughts on Dominance
My own little ball of feathers, well it weighs 70g, measures 30cm, and personally, I consider it to be a real angel of patience with an extraordinary capacity for adaptation!
Does she “stubbornly” and “stand up to me”?
Yes. Everyday. Regularly.
So is she “stubborn” and “dominant”?
Nah. Not at all!
We are in relation. Any relationship involves dialogue and regular adjustments to successfully strike a balance between our needs and those of our partner. Ideally, we should be able to feel free to express our opinions and our discontent in complete safety, without fear that the bond between us and each other will collapse if we cannot get along perfectly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The parrot is a little companion who excels at the art of asserting himself in his relationships! And that’s good!
If there is room in his head to question the rules of conduct and negotiate, that’s great! Because it means that there is always room for learning, for change, and for the evolution of the dynamics that we have with our feather duster.
This means that if I have made educational mistakes in the past with this one, there is still a very good hope that I can correct them and develop with him healthier and more effective ways of communicating.
This means that the rules, in my little parrot’s mind, remain open, flexible, and adaptable. So if new proposed rules make more sense and are more beneficial to him, he may be very open to adopting them and abandoning certain more dysfunctional modes of communication that no longer bring him anything.
Willow persists with me, lets me know her displeasure, tests my limits, and quite naturally expects to be listened to and his arguments taken into consideration.
As an active member of his small community, he seeks to contribute to the proper functioning of his social group.
But in terms of the number of daily efforts to be made to live in this community and adapt to it, Willow wins the prize, hands down!
Think about it right… Imagine living in an environment where, as soon as you come out of your cage, you are watched 24/7. An environment where another creature, much larger, powerful, and imposing than you, constantly dictates your routine, your diet, decides on the places and objects to which you are allowed or not, etc.
Imagine seeing her spend hours happily strumming on a keyboard… But when YOU, you want to show her how to use it even more effectively, teach her that the keys she stupidly taps for hours REMOVE. and GET STARTED (this is way more fun and entertaining! ), well she says “no” to you, disapproves, takes you out of there, and insists on continuing to monopolize that item ONLY.
The same goes for the knife she doesn’t want to let you lick ( but it shines! And there’s another bird watching me in it! ).
The same goes for the sewing machine, which refuses to let you approach the moving parts, while IT runs its hands very close to them and manipulates them for hours!
The same goes for the hairdryer cable that she doesn’t want you to nibble on …
Or the soapnuts that you can’t taste …
This huge creature, who should act as your equal within your social group, decides everything! She controls everything! She gives herself all rights over you! She restricts your access to a lot of things that she happily allows herself to use! She leaves home for hours, then comes back to see you whenever she wants!
She dominates you all day long!
But, like a parrot, your instincts don’t make you dominate or submit to someone who acts as dominant as she is. They push you to seek collaboration and reciprocity within the social group. They push you to connect with other members and team up as needed.
So, when the little 70g ball of feathers suddenly becomes aggressive “for no reason” for a “normal” and “usual” request that you make of it …
When she puffs up her feathers, you do her little dance of intimidation, and “opposes your will” …
Do you REALLY believe that she has the slightest desire to dominate you?
Is she trying to take control over your daily life, over your life, dictate a routine, a way of driving, rules to follow, and to decide everything to what you have the right or not in the house that you share??
Or would it be at all possible that by that day his ability to bend to your every whim had already been achieved and that additional “usual demand” was simply perceived as “one too many requests?”
If your little feather duster is getting big and imposing, is it so hard to believe that it can feel threatened by your “instinct for dominance” and your directive behavior? And that he tries to PREVENT you from getting the upper hand over HIM.
And that, if you welcome his reaction by making you even more imposing, YOU, he will have no other choice but to continue to defend himself against his attacker and to redouble his aggressiveness?
By being systematically more firm, directive, authoritarian and inflexible in response to his behavior, you are playing a game of strength which he does not understand the rules.
He tells you “NO! STOP! I HAVE ENOUGH! You are too big and you take up too much space! I need you to listen to me too! I feel assaulted, anxious and I try to protect!”
And you, you react with “HA! HA! You are trying to impose your will on me! You will see! I am going to put you in your place! I will show you who is the master!”
It doesn’t make any sense.
Rather than allowing him to take the means, he needs to feel more secure ( ex: perch high up, take a physical distance from you … ), offer him a break to make him feel safer, speak to him gently to comfort him, distract him with positive reinforcement, and make sure he is calmer and more receptive before you repeat your request … Well, you redouble your efforts to crush him.
The TRUTH About Parrots on Shoulders & Height Dominance
Count the number of times you say “no” and impose your will and rules on your parrot in a day. The number of times you decide for him. Yes, anything that is “routine” falls into this category, if that routine has been established and taught by you.
Once that is done, can you really look me in the eye and say that it is your parrot who thinks he is the “boss of the household”?
Personally, the number of times Willow agrees to abide by my decisions, my rules, to be told “no” in an “unfair” way ( ie for things that I allow myself to do, but not him! ), and to collaborate with me in spite of everything on a daily basis is simply amazing!
That I often “dominate” him with the aim of protecting him from the risks of his environment does not change the fact that, from his point of view, it is I who impose on him what he has the right to do. or not.
I am in perfect control of the rules of his social group and of the application of these.
In contrast, how many times have I been forced to bow to his will?
If the parrot naturally expects to be able to show leadership, to be reassured about its skills, its role, and the place it occupies within its group. If he seeks to establish and maintain equitable relational bonds, and mutually beneficial.
Revolt, if we do not at least allow it the illusion of decision-making power is, in my opinion, inevitable.
In this context, from my point of view, parrots are therefore extremely patient, conciliatory, capable of a lot of reciprocity, and have a strong desire to collaborate.
It is the human companion who seems more difficult to manage the need to have to develop and maintain a relationship with his parrot, rather than being treated as king and master of the household.
He seems to forget that as a partner in a position of absolute power, his role is not to use this absolute power to gain blind obedience from his bird and gain the upper hand.
It is to realize that in the eyes of his bird, such a level of power on his part is not normal, certainly not healthy, and can quickly be perceived as a threat.
So, as long as you continue to approach him from a position of “omnipotence” if he cannot run away from you and withdraw from this situation, he will defend himself and seek to restore balance. of power between you with the means that it possesses.
It may not be his life that you are putting at risk, but his autonomy, his integrity, the way he sees himself within his social group, and the privileges that it is reasonable for him to enjoy. ‘wait to receive.
It is therefore your responsibility to put yourself at his level. It is up to you to make yourself smaller in his eyes than you really are and to create opportunities where the parrot will feel in control, valued, listened to, and will emerge a winner from your arguments!
It may well jump with both feet on your head, a parrot will never be able to crush you. You will never be dominated by him. It doesn’t make any sense.
The parrot’s adaptive capacities are already stretched to the maximum by the simple fact that it is forced to live in an environment that is not naturally adapted to its needs.
No matter how goodwill you are, the parrot will always go out of its way to make your relationship successful than you.
So, the least we can do in return is to ensure that we meet the needs that he is unable to meet himself, to listen to him, to respect his autonomy, to guide him through this universe which is ours. To be for him a source of comfort, security, and the opportunity to assert himself.
Help him grow, flourish and “stand on his own feet” as best he can, even in captivity.
The idea, in my opinion, is to become for him a reference figure and a teammate whom he will have enough confidence to lean on. Not a tyrant who leads him by the tip of his beak and accepts no opposition.
I would rather live with a small parrot who expresses all the richness of his personality, take risks ( ideally calculated ), openly persists with me, and confront me when something is wrong with him than to live with a small parrot who would have learned to obey me only because he has given up all hope of healthy communication between us, fears my anger and feels helpless in the face of my attacks.
Neither he nor I would come out a winner in this case.
Do Parrots Show Height Dominance?