Parrot Tricks: The Wave

Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Holland America Cruise Line Waving: Rose Breasted Cockatoo “Bondi”

Training your bird to wave with his foot can be done by using your bird’s natural behavior or by using touch training (aka target training) along with various other methods. Some birds take on to certain methods more than others:   Behavior Shaping With my rose breasted cockatoo (pictured above) I would train the wave using her natural behavior because she often lifts up her feet one at a time that resembles the wave. If your bird is the same way, you can also use “behavior shaping” which is just taking a behavior your bird already naturally does, and shaping it to put it on cue.   Tricking Your Bird via The Step Up If your bird does not naturally do this but knows how to step up, then you can in a sense “trick” your bird into learning the wave by partly cueing it to “step up” but rewarding when it lifts its foot just before it is actually able to step up. Touch Training Say your bird doesn’t fit either of these molds – you can use the touch training method to touch train your bird to a chopstick using his foot instead of his beak. By doing this, you then slowly move the chopstick (or other touch training tool) farther away so the bird gets rewarded for merely lifting his foot vs. grabbing the chopstick.   More on trick training

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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