GET READY TO TRAIN YOUR PARROT
Before you have a training session here are a few tips to help make sure you have a great session.
1. Have a stash of favorite treats and toys on hand. When we train a new behavior or trick it is important that something good happens when your bird does what you request. Usually favorite foods are the perfect thing to use to reward your parrot. Try to have tiny pieces of food prepared before you start training. This means you may have to spend some time breaking up pieces of peanut, almond or sunflower seeds before your training session. It is nice to have lots of extra treats on hand in case your session goes really well. You don’t want to run out of goodies! If your parrot likes toys, you can gather a stash of small toys for training. Have lots of different toys to choose from so your bird will stay interested.
2. Pick a location to train. Training is fun if both you and your parrot are relaxed and comfortable. Try to find a place that your parrot enjoys being. This may be in or near his enclosure or another place he frequently visits such as the couch or a play stand. You also want to make sure the location you choose is comfortable for you. You don’t want your parrot perched someplace that is difficult for you to reach. Sometimes trainers end up in some funny positions while they wait patiently for the bird to respond. If this position is uncomfortable you won’t be able to be wait for very long. Also try to pick an area that is calm and quiet. Too much activity can cause your parrot to focus on everything else except you and the training session.
3. Have a plan. Before you bring your parrot to your training location think about what you would like to teach your bird to do. You will also want to think about the steps you are going to take to train your parrot to do the behavior. Thinking about the steps will help you decide what props and set up will be needed to train the trick. For example if you want to train your parrot to turn around in a circle, you may need to have a target stick and a perch that allows you to easily move your hand underneath the bird.
4. Make sure your bird is ready for a training session. Two things are very important for training. Your bird needs to be relaxed and comfortable and he also needs to beinterested in the treats or toys you have to offer. Try to choose a time of day when your parrot seems to be eager to interact with you and is also happy to have some treats or attention. For many parrots this can be in the morning after they wake up and before they get breakfast.
5. Have fun! When you follow steps one through four you can expect to have a great time training your parrot. If you or your parrot is not in the mood for a training session, it is OK to stop the session and try again later. This helps make sure both of you are enjoying training. It is a very exciting moment when your parrot understands what you are trying to teach him do. This is what makes training so fun. Try these tips with your parrot at home and you will find your training sessions will be very successful.
Steps to a Better Relationship with Your Parrot
- Ensure your companion bird lives in a sufficiently large cage, allowing it lots of room for exuberant wing-flapping exercise and energetic play; allow it daily out-of-cage time on play stations other than just the cage to minimize territorial behaviors. Encouraging healthy exercise can decrease problem behaviors like excessive screaming, since a tired parrot is a quiet parrot.
- Ensure your companion bird is healthy by doing annual check-ups and routine diagnostics with your experienced avian veterinarian. Since birds hide the obvious signs of illness, allowing basic annual testing is critical to the early detection of medical problems
- Make your companion bird a member of the family, since it is a
flock animal and extremely social. Single birds should not be housed in
rooms by themselves.
- Socialize your parrot to family and trusted friends, thereby teaching it to adapt to the society in which it lives. It should be comfortable interacting with and being handled by other people. Do not allow it to become over-bonded to one person.
- Establish trust with your companion bird by teaching it that it is safe with you. Consistency is critical to establishing trust, as your parrot learns what to expect from you and what you expect from it.Accept your parrot for what it is, not what you want it to be.
Training Young Pet BirdsTraining your bird at a young age is ideal when compared to re-training or correcting the bad habits of an older bird. Some pet owners can become sidetracked by the freshness of having a new bird and enjoying their cuteness while they’re still baby birds; however, you must remember that in order to set the stage for the future, it is important to socialize your bird, work on good communication, and establish trust at a young age. Just as human babies need to learn to eat with a spoon and play well with others before they tackle long division, baby birds need to start with the basics. Spend time with your young bird developing trust and teaching the basics of good bird behavior. For example:
Body handling. If you help your baby bird become accustomed to being gently handled now, you will prevent many problems later. For example, gently playing with your bird’s feet and toes will help it tolerate toenail filing. Gently lift its wings, so a trip to the groomer doesn’t become a nightmare later on.
Toweling: Start using the towel as part of your play with your baby bird, gradually working into wrapping your bird up in the towel. When you or your vet need to wrap the bird in the towel for its own safety, the experience will be much less stressful.
Beaking: Baby birds use their beaks to explore, but now is the time to let your bird know that anything beyond gentle nibbles is unacceptable. Frown and tell your bird “No,” and leave it alone for a minute or two, so it associates biting with being put in “time-out.”
Harness: It can take some time before a bird accepts wearing a harness or flight suit, but things will go more smoothly if you start when the bird is young. Once you get your bird into the harness, take it outside, at least briefly, so it learns why the harness is worth the bother. It’s also a good time to try out the carrier. Take short car rides that don’t end at the vet each time, and your bird might look forward to them.
You will begin to notice better communication between you and your baby bird. Working with your bird frequently allows you to become familiar with the body language and preferences of the bird, making it easier to know what your pet wants and how to respond to its actions. By taking time to teach your bird new tricks, you are encouraging desired behavior. Your bird will begin to demonstrate the favorable behavior because it learns it receives your attention then, as opposed to misbehaving. The stimulation training provides your bird is also very important to cater to their intelligence and appease their curiosity.
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