As much as we like a playful, spirited pet, it’s also important to teach our birds to be obedient. Teaching them basic tricks like sitting on your finger, shoulder or moving to a perch you like is something you should absolutely do. There are also some cool tricks you can teach your pet bird while you’re at it.
While flashy tricks like training your bird to say “hello” or making them wave are pretty standard, you can also teach them something that’ll make your life easier, like potty training your bird. Knowing how to train a bird is also beneficial if it’s the only bird you have. It’ll enrich its life.
In today’s blog post, I will start by letting you know what sort of environment and situations you should provide your bird with before proceeding with the training. Also, before you teach your bird tricks, it’s important to teach basic things like finger training and not biting.
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Prepare for Training
Just like you would provide a stress-free, quiet environment for training a dog, a similar environment is needed for training your bird. You can’t teach a bird tricks that are frightened or otherwise upset. Here’s how to set up the ideal training scenario-
A bird-proof room is necessary for the training. Make sure the room is adequately locked so your bird cannot escape. If you’re going to encourage your bird to fly at some point of the training, ensure enough perches.
Thinking logically, it’s best to pick the room where the bird’s cage is situated. Many bird cages have an open-top or play-top design, which you can use for training. Another vital consideration is noise. Ensure the space is free of children or other pets that could make noise and spook the bird during the training.
The fact that we’re choosing a stress-free location for the training should already tell you that it’s essential to make sure the bird is in a good mood. I’d say it’s best to start training once you have somewhat of a good bond with the bird. This way, you can gauge your bird’s mood.
If you feel like your bird is fidgety or agitated, it’s best to postpone the training session. I introduce new training to birds first thing in the morning. The bird is more agreeable after resting and hungry enough that it’ll be eager to learn new things in exchange for treats.
Make sure you have these essentials before you attempt training:
- Treats (fruits/nuts)
- Handheld perch
- Any other accessories needed for an individual training
While teaching your bird tricks, you can’t keep at it for hours and expect the bird to pick up the trick faster. Birds can focus their attention on this sort of task for 10-15 minutes at a time. After that time, your bird will lose interest and get distracted. So don’t run training sessions any longer.
On the other hand, you should hold training sessions daily, or even twice a day. If you follow a consistent schedule, there will be less chance of your bird forgetting the trick you taught it.
Before you proceed with teaching your bird any tricks, make sure it is finger-trained. This is fundamental training that any bird parent should perform. The concept is relatively simple.
You put a treat on the joint between your thumb and index finger and then extend your pointer finger. This would entice the bird to use your finger as a perch. This is essential training, and there are quite a few cool tricks that you can’t teach your pet bird unless it is finger-trained.
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Some birds learn to talk very quickly and clearly, whereas others might be more adept at learning how to fetch objects. It would help if you learned about the bird species and what it’s naturally capable of and then teach adjacent tricks. Then the process will be easier on both parties.
Cool Tricks You Can Teach Your Pet Bird
“Step-up” or “up” is a fairly basic trick that you can teach your pet bird right after finger training. In fact, this is an essential skill and not a fancy trick. So it makes sense to start with this. You’re going to need a handheld perch, a clicker, and some treats.
First, hover the handheld perch in front of your bird and see if it steps onto the new perch. You can lightly rub the perch right about the bird’s legs to prompt this. Once your bird steps onto the new perch, sound the clicker once and praise your bird verbally and with treats.
Keep reinforcing the behavior this way. Once your bird knows stepping onto the perch gets him rewards, it will keep doing so. Continue by moving the perch further and further away, to a point where your bird will have to fly to get to the new perch.
Instead of the clicker, you could also prompt the bird with verbal commands such as “step-up” or “up.” This is the basic trick you’ll need if you want your bird to do other tricks, such as climbing a ladder or doing skateboarding.
2. Wave Hello
This trick is one of the more popular tricks for birds. Make sure your bird is well familiar with the “step-up” command before you attempt this bit. Start by putting it on its favorite perch. Make sure it’s comfortable. Then, clearly say “wave” and offer your finger as a perch. If your bird is trained to “step-up,” it will try to step onto your finger.
However, just as your bird lifts its foot to step onto your finger, move your finger away gently, and give it verbal praise and a treat. Repeat these steps for 10-15 minutes. Keep up for a few more sessions, and soon your bird will raise its feet to “wave” when you give the command.
3. Saying “Hello”
If you’re looking to teach your bird to speak, this should be the first thing you teach. Some birds might be able to learn this quickly. They are:
To start, make sure to say “hello” to your bird frequently and with enthusiasm. For example, when you see your bird in the morning or walk past its cage, make sure you say hello clearly, in a gentle voice, and with enthusiasm. These birds like to imitate human sounds, so your bird might start saying back to you even without any more prompting.
However, you might need to try out training sessions, where you specifically prompt your bird to say the word. If the bird says something that sounds close, reward it with a treat and keep trying. Practicing often and regularly will help your bird say the work clearly. After this, you can move onto other words and eventually easy phrases.
4. Potty Train
This training is similar to how you would potty train a cat, a dog, or even a human child. First, pay attention to your bird’s potty habits. Birds tend to exhibit some tells before it excretes, such as ruffling feathers, turning in place, or some other specific posture.
Moreover, there also might be a time pattern that you might notice. So when you know your bird is about to excrete, carry it to the location you want it to excrete. When your bird uses the designated place to excrete, praise it and give it a treat, and continue practicing till the command is perfected.
5. Clicker Training Other Tricks
Once your bird has got the hang of the abovementioned tricks, you can take a further step and teach it more complicated tricks. Trained birds can do tricks such as dancing, head bobbing, fetching, turning around, playing dead, climbing a ladder, and many more.
Dancing comes naturally to many birds. Turn on some groovy music and see if your bird is swaying or stepping around to the beat. If it is doing so, praise the behavior. Keep at it, and your bird will get used to the command and the dancing.
Fetch is another thing that might be easy to teach, as birds tend to pick up things with their beak to play. From there, it’s a matter of training the bird to relinquish the item to you as commanded. Tricks like climbing a ladder or riding a skateboard will be easier to manage once you’ve taught your bird the “step-up” command.
So, that was some cool tricks you can teach your pet bird! You can see right away that some of them are pretty straightforward. In fact, if you’ve ever had to train a dog, you will probably find training a bird easy peasy. You can start training your bird right away!
Now that you know how to train birds, I might have to remind you at this point that you can’t teach all birds the same tricks. Some birds might not be able to pick up tricks at all. Make sure to learn more about your bird’s species and whether members of that species have been seen to pick up the trick you’re trying to teach.