Parrot Tricks: Running on Cue

Recently I thought that it would super cute if I could train my Camelot Macaw, Comet, to run to me on command. The command I wanted to be my finger like you would tell someone to come here. Since Comet is already recall trained, it made it really easy to put the running on cue. He has done the running thing more naturally than any of the other birds and sometimes goes too fast and tends to fall, or ends up going sideways. Either way, it's really funny and cute and I wanted a way to ask him to do it for me. As he would already be running to me, I'd say, "Comet!" and wiggle my finger, then reward him once he got to my moving finger. I didn't use a clicker for this behavior, but you can and it would probably help. I started training it on a whim so I didn't use one because he was getting on without it. It took about a week of doing it randomly when I thought about it, and then making a couple training sessions out of it, for him to get it. It could have happened faster if I would have focused on it as only training sessions and not during other things but I liked doing it in between other things I was doing with the birds to keep it interesting. Anyway, I think it's darn cute and hope you do too! This is also a behavior that once taught to one bird, others will learn via observational learning like touch training so take advantage of that if you have more than one bird! It could be a race!

Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.

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