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Who let the…birds out?

While all animals benefit from training, birds in particular have high behavioral needs due to their high intelligence. They can sometimes resort to screaming, biting, or other undesirable behaviors to get what they want. A good training program can help curb those behaviors, create positive bonds with humans, and give them something to do with those big, bird brains. 

Keep reading for some amazing tips from Heather, Training Expert from Pawsitive Reinforcement!

Build Trust

Birds of all shapes and sizes build relationships with humans based on trust. A trusting parrot will approach their human and solicit positive interactions while a non-trusting one may shy away or bite out of fear. 

Every time we have a positive interaction with the bird, like giving it a loved treat or a head scratch, we increase their trust. Every time we have a negative interaction, like forcing it to step up against its will or creating a loud scary noise, we lose a bit of that trust.

Train Targeted Behavior

With bird training, it’s best to start with behaviors that are easy and natural. One of the best behaviors is to start with a target, or training a bird to grab onto something. This can be a fun game, as you can ask your parrot to move around their enclosure, spin in a circle, or reach high or low in order to get to the target. 

Start by presenting a chopstick (or something similar) towards your bird. Most parrots are naturally curious and will bite onto it experimentally. As soon as it does, tell it what a good bird it is and give it one of it’s favorite treats, taking the stick away as it eats its treat. Increase the distance it needs to move to get to the target just a little until your bird will happily move around in order to bite the stick and get their tasty treat reward.

Keep It Fun

After you’ve mastered the target, it’s important to move on to other behaviors. Birds are incredibly intelligent and love to learn new things, so repeating a target over and over will get boring quickly. 

Mix up the treats that you use and try training in different locations. You want to make sure it is always a good experience and that you end on a positive note so that your bird will be excited to train in the future. With time and practice, you can even train your bird to sit still for scary things like nail trims and vet visits to help turn negative interactions into positive ones!

About the Author

Heather is a certified bird trainer, featured in the International Avian Bird Training Certification Board newsletter. Are you looking for help training your feathered friend? Pawsitive Reinforcement wants to be your Bird Training information choice.  For more information, visit their website here