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This guide discusses how to train a parrot. So, whether you have a new parrot that you want to train, or an older parrot that is getting out of control, this guide is for you.
When you get your parrot home, let it settle into the new cage for a few hours. He (or she) might seem a little quiet and bewildered, but he will soon come out of his shell. This is the first time the parrot has been away from its parents and the new home will seem confusing at first. Speak to your parrot in the cage and let him get used to you. The way into a parrot's heart is with treats! Give him a few through the cage bars. This is a great way to get to know each other. When you think the parrot has settled into its new home, let him out of the cage and onto a stand or your hand and gently stroke him. A baby parrot will be very easy to handle and probably won't bite you. It is a wonderful surprise when your new parrot suddenly puts its head down for a tickle. This is when you know your parrot trusts you.
It is best to keep a close watch on your parrot's eyes and behaviour to gauge its mood before and during a training session. For some breeds of parrots, like Amazons, they can become over exited and bite. Parrots pinpoint their eyes when you talk to them, which shows they are excited and interested in the attention. When they ruffle up their feathers and fan out their tails they are displaying. This means they are very excited. At this point, stop training and give the parrot half an hour of timeout, before continuing. Not all parrots are the same. Get to know your parrot, watch its eyes and displaying behaviour so that you understand when it needs a timeout period. Start training young. It is recommended not to let a parrot sit on your shoulder. It's up to you, but parrots should be held at height lower than you. As soon as they are higher than you, they think they are the boss and can get out of control. Hold them lower when training so they know you are the dominate person.
This is the first lesson every parrot should learn. The bird's instinct is to climb up, and you will find that your parrot will often climb up to your shoulder. The hand is the best place for the bird, because you can keep it lower, and it can grip onto your fingers. You need to be able to get your parrot to step up without biting. If your parrot is a bit nippy, wear gloves. If they bite, wobble them to make them let go. Use a perch to train them. Hold the perch in front of them and gently touch their chest. Say 'Up'. Their natural instinct will be to step onto the perch. As soon as he steps onto the perch, praise the parrot. Continue for five minutes a day and then progress to doing the same with your finger. Say 'Up, before touching the chest, the parrot will understand what you are doing with your finger and not bite it. Progress the training by making your parrot step up from hand-to-hand. He should always remember this command.
Parrots start by learning words and repeating them. It often sounds like baby babble as they go through their daily repertoire and words gradually become clearer. You can teach parrots to talk by repeating words and phrases. They will pick up your most common sayings and even join in with a phone call. You can teach your parrot to wave hello and goodbye, just by doing it. One amusing thing to teach them is say, 'I'm a monster' and then growl. Eventually, they will repeat the whole phrase and growl or just growl when you say it.
Parrots can be lazy. They love to eat so it is a good idea to train them to fly to you. The best way to do this is to walk away when the parrot is standing on top of the stand or cage. Whistle and shout 'come on' and clap your hands. They should fly to you, but if not, get your parrot to step up and then hold him under the wings (if he will allow it) and make him flap to where you are standing. This is also good exercise, but only recommended for young hand tame parrots! If your parrot is not so tame, but steps up, then call him, pick him up carry him to where you were standing. Then, praise him. He should understand that he is supposed to fly to your hand. You and your parrot can have great fun with flying. Try going to other rooms and longer distances.
A parrot is a wild animal and not domesticated like a cat or dog. They occasionally develop behaviour problems and it is best to nip these in the bud straight away. If they bite, do not reinforce this behaviour by scolding the parrot. It is best to ignore it. Don't even put the parrot back in the cage if possible. Parrots scream for attention. This is a natural behaviour as they are in constant contact with their flock and want to know where they are at all times. Do not run back to the parrot if it screams as that reinforces the behaviour. He will only scream more often. It's best to ignore the screaming. If it is a real problem, wait until he has stopped screaming for at least ten minutes, then go to the parrot and give him some attention. He will eventually learn that he gets attention when he is quiet. Another option is to turn the scream into something more desirable. Try answering his scream with a wolf whistle or a hello. If he whistles or says hello to keep in contact with you, it is so much easier on the ears! Always reward your parrot for good behaviour and never reinforce bad behaviour.
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