Parrot Training

Think of training your parrot this way; every interaction you have with your bird is a training session, whether you like it or not. In that time you are either doing something to increase the likelihood your bird is going to repeat that current behavior it's showing or decrease the likelihood through your actions.

For example, if every time your bird comes out with person A and always goes back into the cage with person B, it's likely the bird will be eager to see person A and bond more strongly to that person than person B. It's also likely the bird will begin to resist going to person B by ignoring or running/flying away and later that behavior escalates to lunging and biting.

With a basic understanding in parrot training person B could easily avoid or repair this situation with any of the following training methods:

When people are just getting started in training their bird, there's two important tools we ask them to master first.

  1. Clicker training
  2. Touch or target training

You will use these again and again, they're more powerful than I can express. Make sure these are trained to 100% consistency because these will be the foundation of your training.

There's one thing that gives most parrot owners a hang up on training and that's finding the proper reward (remember, it doesn't have to be food and variety is the key to success!) so lets talk about food motivation.

Once you are armed with your 3 fundamental tools of your bird's favorite treat (one he/she is willing to work for), your clicker (and your bird's understanding of its meaning) and your target stick - you are fully capable of "adding and deleting" behaviors your bird displays.

If you want to see that behavior repeated, reward it!

If you don't want to see that behavior again, ignore it.

These are the basics. You can get into things like shaping a behavior - which means to take a behavior like a bird who scratches its head and shape it into a bird who waves on cue. Here's an example of this with an Alexandrian parrot I trained using this very method (and still in the training phase in the video!)

For more parrot training, trouble shooting and advanced parrot training resources:

18 comments

Judith Mica

I have a 4 month old baby Quaker like to teach it some tricks .Can you lead me in right way.

Judith Mica
kate

I was wondering, do you do consultations before someone gets a parrot? I am thinking of getting a Macaw and know a lot goes into taking care of them and making sure they are happy and healthy. I was wondering if you do meetings where an inexperienced handler could come to a training class or something to get some experience on handling parrots before buying/adopting one. (I don’t live close to a shelter that takes birds so sadly voleenteering is not fesible for me)

kate
Joey

I’ve been working with my B&G macaw named Angel with target training/clicker training. She likes to hang out on my forearm and not my hand and the treats we give her (pine nuts) she likes to hold it in a foot when eating. My next goal with her is to get her to feel comfortable on my hand but I dont want her to take her foot off my hand to eat her nut. Do you have a suggestion on a softer treat that she could eat without using her feet?

Joey
Joseph Brickman

blue and gold macaw that has started lunging and trying to bite the owner and loves the girl friend

Joseph Brickman
Ellen

Does the 2 – 5 minutes of training include needing to leave the room when my parrot gets overestimated or aroused? Thank you for all your training tips!

Ellen
Linda Jones

I have a very sweet sun conure that plays really rough. He bites during his play and sometimes it’s too hard. Which lessons address this?

Linda Jones
janie hall

What’s the best way to start indoor recall training

janie hall
Dolores Lozano

Hi I like to prepare food for my parrot and learn to train it.many years in the cage. She or he is pulling the feather. To me I find her slimmer. I have her for 17 years. Can I still Stan a chance to train it. Please advise. I’m taken her on Tuesday to cut the wings she hasn’t been out many years.it bites. Thank you

Dolores Lozano
Desirae Laviolette Brown

Hey I am trying to figure out the best treat to use to start training my African grey. She loves roasted cashews, but I don’t want to give them to her in too high of a quantity, do you have any suggestions for other treats?

Desirae Laviolette Brown
Greta

Need some help in my significant other & I with our parrotlet bird. He (Oolong) screams a lot while in cage just to get our attention. We have to cover cage in order to get him to go silent. But being so smart he has now learned that even when getting covered he can get a little chirp instead of screaming. Significant other (Paul) has said it is my fault cause of me running to him to keep quiet. Well he does as well by giving him food to get quiet. Don’t know how to handle this situation. I don’t like using clicker training.

Greta
Pete Scott

I had 2 blue and golds for 30 yrs. Each was obtained at different times from unscrupulous merchants. Both came with diseases and eventually succumbed to them. I live in a Canada and the US government took my money but never came through with travel documents. My birds were under the care of an exotic bird vet and deemed healthy to travel. I would love to get another macaw but only if I can go back and forth across the border since I go south for the winter every year. Have things improved with the travel documents?

Pete Scott
Juan

Hi, We have a young toucan at home since 1 year ago, it is very docile, but few months ago it started screaming at early morning and whenever no-one is on sight from the cage. Do you recommend the course Stop screaming to correct this behavior or the Basic training Course instead. Thank you

Juan
Maren Haugen Haugen

Horror Mones Video is beyond a five star course. Finally some clarity on whether or not to cover the cage. Light really triggers the hormonal behavior and their suggestions are so easy to do. We recently got a cockatiel we call Rascal and he hasn’t quite discovered his sexual side, but I don’t want him to be overly stimulated when he does. Cockatiels are wonderful snuggly little birds, and it is so easy to stimulate them so I really needed help. This video covers more than just the basics. The music is great and the steps of the presentation are really helpful for a bird owner to see the need to train and communicate with the bird. Also, the importance of keeping a healthy bird and not an angry bird. This video is a must for a bird owner who wants a long term friendship, not as a mate with their bird. It really helps one understand the bird’s behavior. Thank you so much, Maren

Maren Haugen Haugen
Seno The

Hi I had a question if you maybe had a video on how to train an amazon (double yellow head) parrot to reply to sentences like; ‘’how are you?’ ’’good’’ And also how to repeat words. Or perhaps you maybe have an online training course for purchase for my questions. Thank you for your time.

Seno The
Alex

What is the best treat for training a Quaker parrot? I have used sunflower seeds Any other suggestions ?

Alex
Karla Capes

Hi i think i have watched every video on u tube you have ever done. But i will be bringing home a baby hand reared yna soon and wish to ask dos and dont when i bring him/her home. Do i put in cage and leave or try to bond although been arround humans the breader grabbed him out the cage for me to see amd hold but i don’t like how it was brought out the cage i want my bird to step out not be grabbed

Karla Capes
Ladye Martin

Absolutely love your videos and knowledge about birds. Later in life I’ve come into possession of a Sun Conure who was living in a difficult situation. She lives with me now. I search YouTube for information and found bird tricks. Thank you thank you thank you. When I was younger I trained horses and the methods are the same the parent behavior is a little different. I’m learning to read the body language. However my bird just like my horses startled at things New and different or an item they are familiar with that was in a different place and had to be desensitized or just be around the object and learn that it wouldn’t hurt them. This bird, like my horses, just wants to be safe and happy. Once At clinic, we did an exercise and at the end observed which horse is returned to their owner. Tthe horses that returned to their owners went back to the leader of the herd and the person they felt safe with. In my experience, thus far, it may be the same thing with birds. I can tell when my sun conure, Lily, is becoming frightened or apprehensive by her body movements. I could talk all day about training birds and horses but let me just say thank you thank you thank you for all of your videos. I will be buying product in the near future. I have not found a better resource. I think you are a rockstar‘s in the parrot world and your star stars will climb higher and higher because you’ve got the knowledge experience and continue to learn. By the way your daughter is precious I enjoyed just watching her interact with the birds also. Thank you! Lady LADYE@ROCKETMAIL.COM

Ladye Martin
Balaji Bala

I love birds

Balaji Bala

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