By Rebecca K. O’Connor
Here we go again! The cockatoo is shrieking at the top of his seemingly bottomless lungs. The Senegal is flapping and spinning like a maniac. The racket and the dust is unnerving on a normal day, but you have company coming in 15 minutes and the beginnings of a massive headache. There must be a way to calm everyone down, but how?
Unfortunately, parrots don’t have off switches. (Not unlike children and spouses!) There may not be a quick fix but, with a little forethought and effort, you can teach your parrot to calm down quickly and encourage longer periods of quiet activity. The best part is that molding a calmer bird is fun for both you and your feathered friend. It’s all about learning to read each other and have a “conversation” about your likes and dislikes.
A conversation?” you ask. Yes, training is really about learning to have a conversation with your bird. Your bird learns that when he whistles to you instead of screaming, plays quietly or lifts his foot when you say “Wave” that he gets a treat, a toy or your attention. You’ve explained your favorite things to him.
In return your parrot may teach you to recognize when he wants to be left alone, when he is no longer interested in your newest game or when he really wants you to come over and give him a scratch and a cuddle. He’s given subtle cues about the language of feathers and hopefully you’ve listened. Learning to read behavior, especially body language, is a conversation, and you and your bird learn to read one another when you spend time conversing.
**For the full article, pick up the March 2008 issue of BIRD TALK**
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