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7 Tips To Train Your Parrot Right

What's the best way to train your pet bird? By having fun. Here's 7 games that your bird will love, and also train her.

Sally Blanchard

 

On top of training your bird, you can also teach her how to talk.

Want a great way to train your parrot? Use games! Here are 7 games you can play with your bird that will help train her at the same time.

1) Peek-A-Boo
Everyone knows this game, but it can be a great way to interact with your parrot. Plus, it gets your bird used to being handled in a towel.

How To:

  • Place a neutral-colored towel on a bed or couch before your bird is in the room.
  • Bring the parrot into the room and place her on the towel. Parrots are rarely afraid of a towel that is flat on a surface — it is being approached with a towel that causes fear in some birds.
  • Get down to your bird’s level and raise one corner of the towel so it covers your face.
  • Say "Peek-a-boo” and then move the towel away from your face.
  • Do this a few times and then gently cover part of your bird’s head and say "Peek-a-boo.”

Many parrots learn this game after a few times and some will actually create their own games using the words.

2) Towel Acrobat
Once your parrot is used to playing in a towel, you can use it as a play prop. She can climb up it and you can gently swing her. Do this over a bed in the beginning, in case she decides to let go. You can also have her go from one hand to the other using the towel as a tightrope. Raise one hand until she gets to it and then raise the other one so she will go back and forth. This towel exercise really helps a baby bird learn her balance skills.


3) Real Estate Agent
Take your parrot on a tour of the house, and enthusiastically talk to her about such things as the décor and the furniture. It really doesn’t matter what you say, but she will enjoy you pointing out various aspects of each room. This game gets the parrot used to new adventures and changes in the house.


4) Warm Potato
This is a great game to get your parrot to accept handling from everybody in the family.

  • Everyone who wants to be a part of the parrot’s life should sit in a circle around a table or in the living room.
  • The first person has the bird on her hand and does something special, like giving a little treat, good head skritch, singing or whistling a song or teaching the bird a new behavior.
  • After about a minute or so, the next person asks the bird to sit on his or her hand and does something else fun with the parrot. This is repeated until the bird goes from person to person a few times.

Note: If the bird starts to get too stimulated, the game can be discontinued until she calms down. The best way to have a parrot bond with everyone in the family is to continue to play this game throughout the bird’s life.


Blue-headed Pionus

A great way to train your bird is to play "Real Estate." In this game, you take your bird around your house, using a happy, excited voice to show her new things.


5) Picnic Time
Place a sheet on the floor and place some toys on it. Sit down with the parrot and play with her toys almost like you would with a puppy. If the parrot starts to move beyond the sheet, call her back and praise her when she comes to you. This game teaches a parrot boundaries when she is on the floor and if you establish a cue for her to come to you, it can also teach her to come to you when you want her to.

6) This Little Piggy & Eagle Boy
Making a fun game of playing with your parrot’s toes can make her toenails a lot easier to groom. You can also lift her wings and say "Eagle Boy/Girl” to get her used to having her wings handled. Once she learns this game, it can also be used as a distraction to change negative behaviors into a positive behavior.

A variation of this game that I play with my African grey, Whoodee, is what I call "raspberry delight.” I taught him to raise his wing so I can give him a raspberry on his side. I ask him the silly question, "Do you want your air sacs cleaned?” and he lifts his wing for a raspberry. Even if he is in a grouchy mood, this helps him get over it pretty fast.

7) Gonna Getchew
Some parrots have never been sprayed with water, and they don’t like it. I think it is because it seems as if the spray bottle is on "stun” and the birds are sprayed too directly. I find that they actually don’t mind a fine mist sprayed indirectly to their side. This gets them used to the bottle and being sprayed. My grey, Bongo Marie, hated being sprayed, but gradually got used to it and "gonna getchew” became her favorite game. I came up to her with the bottle and she leaned forward and said, "Gonna getchew.” Then I shot a stream of water onto her chest and she exclaimed, "Oh, oh ya’ got me.”

These are just a few ideas of ways to teach and socialize your parrot through games. You can think of your own games as long as they are safe. With many parrots, you may have to go slowly at first until your bird realizes that you are playing a friendly game. Once you start playing games, you and your parrot will probably come up with games to play with each other. Just make sure when she makes up a game that you understand the rules.

Like this article? Want more tips on how to train your bird?

Pet Bird Training Tips For Owners
Right On Target: Target Training For Pet Birds


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7 Tips To Train Your Parrot Right

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Reader Comments
Good ideas & fun!
Terry, Houston, TX
Posted: 7/16/2014 11:26:25 AM
funny! good fun ideas!
stephanie, no smithfield, RI
Posted: 7/15/2014 9:47:59 AM
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