How to train your parrot pet

Achieving positive behavior is a must for your parrot pet as it is for you. Parrots are intelligent birds, meaning that they have the ability to learn and reproduce the behavior, so they will respond to what is called instructional interaction.

Using some simple tricks you can help your parrot learn positive behavior. You should know that it is important for parrots to learn in their early lives, and their learning is mostly based on social interaction.

Without stimulation and interactivity, some parrots can delay their development. And a good relationship with a companion parrot is one based on learning and recompense.

Parrot training for all ages

A parrot can be trained at any age; he is never too old to learn. Still, it is a little more difficult and a different approach is needed when it comes to training an adult parrot. You have to start by interacting with him and becoming familiar with him. Building trust and redirecting his old behavior is a first must, and it has to start at the first meeting. Your interaction should be based on verbal and non-verbal communication. A close interaction may not be immediately accepted.

Make sure you are doing small steps and learning his body language. In the beginning, be happy when you can feed him by hand without being bit. Don’t forget that a bird who did change many homes needs time to get used to a new environment and might have accumulated a lot of behaviors. Take your time, work in stages, with small steps – eventually, you’ll have a life together to learn and know each other. It is important to find out what kind of food he prefers, help him to know the surroundings by taking him to see different places in your house, play with him and give him different toys to play with.

The training steps for an adult parrot are almost the same as for a baby parrot, only you have to keep in mind he already has baggage behind and needs more time and patience to familiarize himself with a new situation and the learning process might be very slow. When you have decided what tricks you want to teach him, help him get familiarized with the props without allowing him to play with them. Talk a lot with him and help him to make connections about what you say.

This can be done by showing the things you talk about. Being an adult who didn’t live from the beginning with you, the parrot might have undesirable words in his speech. All you can do is ignore those, while you recompense the new or desirable words he says.

The same trick can be used with negative and positive behavior. Don’t forget that giving attention and interacting with a parrot is the biggest recompense, and the fundament for every change or good behavior. Anyhow, a training plan should be applied for a parrot with behavior problems only when his negative behavior has changed. In conclusion, before training tricks on your adult parrot, focus on behavior.

Parrot training should start in early life

You should start interacting and training your baby parrot immediately when it’s taken from his parents, during hand feeding.

The ideal period to start the training is between 3 – 8 months. This is the ideal situation which obviously is not always possible. In this case, the training should start from the moment the baby parrot is yours.

You should know that every interaction with your parrot is part of the training. It is important to play with him and spend time with him as long as it is possible, especially provide him with physical contact: touch his feet, hold his wings, and feed him by hand.  Parrot potty training is more successful at this age.

Early life is also a great moment to teach your parrot to talk, as for wild baby parrots this is the time when they learn their group call. It is also the moment for feeding training, which starts by introducing all kinds of nutritious food into its diet. To increase its confidence it is the moment to let him fly – the baby parrot will learn to handle its body, safely fly and land, and get used to the environment.

It is known that for a parrot changing the environment is confusing and usually, they don’t get easily used to new spaces. Playing training for baby parrots is helpful at this age. As they learn fast by reproducing other behavior, playing training is more effective. You should not only give him toys to play with alone, but you must interact with the baby parrot, so he can learn how to play.

In conclusion, parrot training should start early, from the moment you’ve got it and it should include many aspects of you. This process should be based on social interaction and behavior imitation. This simple trick will result in a good relationship between you and your parrot pet, making life easier for you and your parrot too. While every bird is different so its evolution will be. Make sure you have enough time, patience, and attention to understand and communicate with your parrot. 

Parrot training area

Where is the best place to train my parrot? Well, first you have to have in mind a quiet place, free of any disturbance and noises. Also, it is very important that the training takes place outside of the parrot’s cage. You shouldn’t change the training place before the parrot understands what the training is about and makes the first progress.

Parrot training rewards

The idea of this method is simple and useful for parrots as for any other pet. Known as positive reinforcement the method is based on immediately rewarding the positive or desirable behavior while ignoring the negative and undesirable behavior of your parrot pet. In this way, a recompensed behavior will be repeated. For knowing what reward works, pay attention to your parrot, and see what he mostly likes to receive: it may be his favorite food – in this case give him little pieces for every progress he made in listening to your instructions. Other useful rewards which work with parrots are giving attention and admiration. Anyhow, you can try different things as a reward but always a reward has to be given to repeat a certain behavior that you are trying to teach him.

Parrot feeding as a training tool

When it comes to food rewards in the parrot training process take into consideration only the moments before a meal. The only motivation for your parrot to repeat what you are trying to teach him is the reward. If so, a parrot who has just eaten will not respond to a food reward in the same way as if he is a bit hungry (not starving). The best moment for training is before meals. For instance, if you plan the training during the morning, do it before breakfast. And it is also important to eliminate the food you use to give him during the training from his regular diet. And keep in mind that you should never starve your parrot for this reason, feed him normally and correctly while not planning his training sessions when he is bellyful. See more about parrot feeding.

Parrot training planning

Maybe you are asking about how long or how often a training session should last. How long and how often should you and your parrot hold training sessions?

Well, there are no strict rules. Take it as fun. It is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? The main purpose of a training trick is to spend a good time with your companion parrot and get to know each other. Well, it is said that it is better to have a few short sessions than a very long one on a day because a parrot’s attention span is quite short. But this is not a rule.

More important is to be sure that a session is relaxing and fun, for both you and the parrot. Each day can be different. You might have one day less time available than in another, or you might feel one session is more relaxing and find training more delightful. It is not good to have a strict schedule. It will be no good for a parrot to get used to spending every morning at 10 o’clock at a training session with you, and one day you’ll have another important appointment, or simply feel tired that day. You’ll get a disjointed parrot, and maybe a confused one too.

Another reason for planning the sessions at various times is precisely the purpose of them: you don’t want your parrot trained for an exact hour, but you want him to perform anytime you will ask him to do that. If he’ll get used to 10 o’clock training he will only perform at 10 o’clock. Also, by having a very strict timetable for training your parrot, it will become very demanding, and it is you the one that has to control this process, isn’t it?

For maintaining your parrot’s interest in learning, change from time to time the training place. But only do that when you are sure he had got the idea. It is recommended to change the place for every trick you are teaching him several times, so he gets accommodated with the trick, not with the place.

The trick should be alternatively introduced, for diversity. Don’t expect him to perform perfectly one trick insisting on it. Instead, concentrate on this in one single session, and alternate the tricks, otherwise, he will get bored and tired. And the whole process is compromised. Don’t begin with long sessions and try to play or socialize with your parrot during training sessions. This will make your parrot not only love the training but to want more of it.

Parrot trick training – How to begin?

In the first lesson try to introduce 3 tricks: turn around, shake hands, and wave. Don’t focus on perfection, be happy if he will get the idea, and you will come back at this trick later. Don’t plan it to be too long; 30 to 45 minutes are enough at the beginning. Anyway, consider even your time. Your parrot might want more, but you should be the one who decides this. A parrot can easily transform into a little dictator if you allow him. Eventually, the idea is to have respect and a good behavior-based relationship.

Scroll to Top