Lately, Léa's new thing has been to go on the ground. I really started to believe that it's because she knows I don't want her there and she generally gets quite a reaction out of me when she does it repetitively.
Same thing with "chewing" on the computer monitor - she does the gesture and scratches the plastic a little with her beak but no big damage. Initially I thought it was because I stopped her before but then I wasn't so sure anymore.
See, before she does the "bad" thing, she always looks my way and then, when eye contact is established, she goes ahead.
Today I tried an experiment when she first got out of her cage for her afternoon time out with me. Her first thing was to go on the ground. No reaction. After looking at me (I kept her in the corner of my eye but was in no way giving her the sought after eye contact) she proceeded to the door stop, something I'm always very quick to stop. Once she got there, she stood very close to me and yet again tried to get me to look at her. No dice.
Funnily enough, she had enough of that and moved onto the computer desk.
She immediately went for the computer screen. Fake chewing (she could do lots of damage fast if she really intended to) at the front, again, I don't look at her directly.
You could see this was really starting to annoy her.
She proceeded to move behind the monitor, something I normally am very quick to prevent - after all, there's all those big tempting cables behind here. She stood there, waiting for her immediate removal but it didn't come. She actually peeked at me from beneath the monitor to see if I was looking at her (again, never directly). She then decided to make some noise, after all, that would generally guarantee me going up and arms but still nothing. She was peeking more and more frequently from the side or under the screen. It was all noise and no damage...
After a few minutes, she got annoyed with that and moved onto the leather chair's armrest. Now, she could do quite a bit of damage quickly to the leather so I removed her promptly. However, I did this by offering my arm and not looking straight at her and I didn't say a thing.
Boy was she puzzled.
Her next move was a smart one, although I doubt she thought of it. She took a random piece of wood and started playing with it.
And I started to praise her. A lot. Verbally and with the much prized head scratches.
She was quite delighted!
I kept this up for a few minutes and then stopped. But now we are starting from scratch. She's back on the ground and I'm back at ignoring her.
I know I was rewarding "bad" behaviours in the past, by trying to keep her busy by scratching her in between "bad" things. I know the drama reaction she got sometimes was exactly what she wanted. To be honest, the Fall has been really rough for other reasons and my patience was limited (still kinda is) and it was just easier to react without thought than it is right now. And I know I need to keep this up, but it is much much MUCH easier said than done.
She's currently making all kinds of noises, be it from her or by dropping things, to try and get a reaction out of me. But, so far, she's failing. And I can, from the corner of my eye, see that she's working very hard at what to do next. Hopefully she'll start playing with something she's supposed to so I can reward her some more.