Contact me at

Contact me at










Our goal is to be able to provide our services to animal owners and caretakers all over the world. Most of our services are on-line but not limited to. See below for our list of services on-line, in your home, or at our center. E-mail us with questions.





A Day With The Trainer

Events & Schedule

  1. May 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    If you don’t see your comment here, it is because it is sent to my e-mail where I view it and return a personal e-mail. I look forward to touching base.

  2. January 24, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Hi, Lara! My boyfriend and I have just re-homed a lovely Senegal boy named Maverick. In his previous home he was loved and well cared for, and rarely bit. Here in his new home, though, he is testing us. To start, we’ve spent a good amount of time by his cage reading aloud to him, saying his name, watching his body language, and offering treats – which he’s confident about accepting. His body language seems relaxed, generally, but he does hiss sometimes and I haven’t figured out exactly why.

    The real issue is that Maverick desperately wants out with us, but as as soon as we take him from the cage, he becomes extremely nippy. It’s mostly not wanting to step up. I assume that he’s testing the boundaries, and am desperate to make sure that we don’t reinforce any bad behaviour. The bites have happened several times now.

    In his previous environment he was extremely well trained, so we want to set down the boundaries clearly and get him back to behaving as he did there.

    At the moment, we’re trying to make sure we don’t overstimulate him… giving maybe 15 minutes out of cage, 40 minutes in – plenty of quiet time and attention in equal measures. He’s on a fantastic diet, has lots of toys that he loves, no known health issues, and gets plenty of sleep. When he does bite, we ignore it and place him back on a perch, whereupon we turn our bodies away from him for about 15 seconds; this worked well with our parrotlet and ‘tiel. We do also give Mavi a choice: if I notice his body language change as I’m moving in to step him up, I don’t push it. He knows that he has the right to refuse nicely. When requesting a step-up, he may also do this motion where he drops his head as if to ask for a scratch. He’s not, but he’s essentially blocking his feet. Push it, and he’ll bite.

    How should we react to the head-block? Would you say we are reacting the right way when an actual bite happens? Is there anything else you’d recommend?

    His owners think that he’ll settle with time – but in the meantime, we don’t want to get him into any bad habits!

    Many thanks!
    S. and Maverick.

    • January 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

      It sounds as though Maverick is not comfortable with a few things in his environment if the nipping is occurring and you are observing his behavior of dropping his head as block his feet. If these are accurate observations, you may want to take a few steps back and work on making him comfortable with coming out of his cage and stepping onto your hand.

      There is an area on my blog where people enter questions and I pick a question and respond. I try to respond to as many as I can. Have you read through this section on my blog? I try to answer questions that I think the majority of readers could benefit from. Here is one I think will help you greatly. Also, don’t forget to take a look at my website

      Here is the link to the blog entry I was referring to: bird attacking question

  3. Nancie
    March 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Lara,
    I have a male TAG approx. 8 years old. His name is Otis.
    I I got him from a woman that needed to find him a home. She didn’t think she would have the time to spend with him that he desperately needed.
    I took him on as a challenge, as I knew he wasn’t hand tame and he had been pretty cage bound.
    I have a problem with ten step up with him. He’s an unusual boy. He loves head scratches, I can rub his beak a little. He will let me know when I have gone to far. I have a perch attached to the outside of his cage. It leads to the couch. He will come to the edge and slam his face into the couch for scratches, (did I say he is an unusual boy?).
    So what do I do, oblige him with a scratch. Then I ask him for step up, he runs away, or he tries to nip.
    I’m so confused here. I see all these videos and trainers talk about the step up, and their bird is sitting on a T stand or training table. Then they show you how to get the bird closer to your hand, the volia, they step up.
    How do you get them to the T stand or training table if they won’t step up in the first place?
    He’s not my first bird…as a matter of fact I have 3. A 17 yr old B&G and a 7 yr old Senegal.. All which are hand tame,
    I do what to say that in the three yrs that Otis has been in my house, he has become less cage bound. He will come to the couch and sometimes get on the arm of the couch. Every so often he feels he needs to go on walk about. So he goes to the floor and wanders the premises. I can’t get him to come to me or step up from the floor either.. When he is done, he goes back to his cage and climbs back up.
    He has plenty of toys. He’s very timid so a toy has to be introduced over months at a time before he will play with it. I try to keep him challenged, cause he is way smart.
    Do you have any suggestions to try. How do I get him to a T stand so I can work with Him?
    He has a play stand…he’s has been on it a few times. Once by accident.
    It’s not that he has a fear of hands…he has a fear of being handled.

    Nancie Abdallah

    • March 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Hi Nancie. I will enter this into my pool of e-mails to respond to as far as weekly behavior questions. In the meantime, I think there are several posts here on my blog that will already address many of your questions.

  4. cathy urbanski
    May 19, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Lara, all three of my birds (lovebird, cockatiel, and Jenday conure) are gaga over popcorn. Is this okay for a reinforcer? I have an air popper, so there is no salt or butter on it. I just don’t want to constantly feed them something that is unhealthy.

    I also wanted to say that this site is phenomenal. I’m learning so much as I read through all the Q&A. Your passion and compassion for birds is unmatched, and I’m referring you to all my bird-loving friends. We can’t thank you enough!


  5. May 21, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Popcorn is a favorite of Rocky, my moluccan and Suki, my amazon. I use them both as positive reinforcers for going back into their cages and pretty much at no other time. That way this reinforcer stays very strong and is a great communicator of requests of behavior.

    I’m glad you like my blog. I need to sit down and write more on it. I’m trying to get things organized here so I can spend more time on here. I love to share and help when I can.

    Thank you for referring me to your friends. I appreciate it. Feel free to let them know I hold workshops here at The Animal Behavior Center also. 😉

  6. Karen
    September 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Laura,

    This past Sunday, I experienced some very aggressive behavior from my blue-front amazon. I had her sitting out of the cage, as I’ve done for the four years that I’ve had her. She’s always friendly towards me. She likes to crawl around on my back when I clean her cage and change her food and water. Long to short, Sunday I was doing something close to her cage and she flew to me and attacked me. She bit my hand to the point that she drew blood. I put her back in her cage for about an hour. When I let her out, she attacked me again. This time, she grabbed my nose and would not let go. I had to forcefully grab her to get her to let go. Then she bit my hand again………HARD. I had to spray water on her to get her to let go. I put her back in her cage for the rest of the day. When I took her out the next day, she was back-to-normal. What happened? Again, that has NEVER happened in the four years I’ve had her.

    • September 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Karen. Without seeing the behavior first-hand, it is hard for me to say what happened. The key point here is that it did happen and take note of any difference you may have seen. These subtle differences could help you in identifying these behaviors in the future. Do you keep a behavior journal on her? If not, I would suggest doing so along with the date and her weight. I keep a journal on each animal here and it helps immensely the next year in noting changes in behavior and at what times of year.

  7. Lauren Pond
    July 23, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Hi Lara! My name is Lauren. I rescued my first bird 3 years ago, a lost homing pigeon, and have been utterly fascinated with birds and all things avian ever since. I now have that pigeon and two green cheek conures.

    Recently I decided to pursue a career path to become a parrot behavior specialist since I find my greatest joy is helping others understand and build a better relationship with their feathered babies. I absolutely love working with both people and parrots and I’m very excited about this prospect.

    You are very well known and respected in the bird community and I see that you might even live in Ohio? (I live just across the river from Cincinnati in Florence KY) I was just hoping to reach out to you and see if you had any mentorship opportunities (I’d love the chance to see how you do what you do!) or if you’d even just be willing to let me pick your brain a bit about the field and what it takes to become a parrot behavior consultant/specialist.
    Thank you Lara!

    • July 23, 2015 at 11:53 am

      Hi Lauren. This is so great to hear!!!! I love it when people are interested in bird behavior and working with birds. Have you seen our website? This is what we do here. We teach people about behavior, the ‘whys’ ‘hows’ application, interactive training, on-line and physical. I just had someone in for three days that also wants to be a professional bird trainer. Take a look at our A Day With The Trainer program. I think that might be what you are looking for. We also have a national event coming up October 3rd and 4th full of speakers for the two days. First day is application to all animals, 2nd day is focused on birds. Here’s our website: and here is the 2-day event: Let me know if you have questions and I’m so excited you are coming into this field.

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