Basic bird training is an important and fundamental issue for bird owners. With any pet bird or parrot, you must build a strong, positive relationship with excellent communication, and the most crucial aspect of this process is training your bird. The initial level of training will be to show you how to form a link between a culinary reward and an audio marker. In this article, we will discuss some basic bird training that you may need.
Basic bird training
You will need the following items for this training session:
- Your bird
Although you can use your voice (“Good boy/girl”), a clicker or whistle (the behavioral marker or bridge) is preferred.
As a treat, give your bird’s favorite food.
You should evaluate your current relationship with your bird before beginning training. Things will certainly move much faster if your bird is hand-reared, pleasant, and receptive to you than if you have a parent-reared, fearful bird who is afraid of you.
First, figure out what your bird’s favorite foods are so you can set them aside as a treat. Combine a few objects and offer them to your bird several times to observe which ones are consistently taken.
Once you’ve figured out what your favorite snacks are, keep a few on hand for training sessions. Just make sure they’re little.
You want to keep the initial training session short and sweet. All that is required is for the food treat and the marker to be linked together.
For instance, if we’re using the clicker as a marker, we’ll give the bird a treat and then click the clicker when the bird takes it from your hand. The timing is crucial; if the click occurs before or after the behavior, the effect will be different.
If your parrot is frightened and won’t take food from your hand, leave a reward nearby and wait for the bird to come over and take it, clicking once more at the exact instant the treat is taken up.
Based on the variety and individual, this could take one or twenty sessions. Every bird learns at a different pace. The more precise the time of the click, however, the faster the change will be.
Keep an eye out for tiny changes in behavior when giving treats. If your bird is moving away from you, don’t give them the treat until they return your attention.
This is true of both tame hand-reared birds and frightened parent-reared birds. If there is any aggression directed at you, you should wait for a time before rewarding such action with a treat.
Constantly keep in mind that when you offer the bird a treat, you are praising the bird’s current behavior. Always reward positive behavior and avoid reacting to negative behavior.
The purpose of creating this link between the marker and a treat is so that when you’re training other behaviors with your bird, your marker will inform you exactly what you’ve done correctly at exactly the right time, allowing you to learn the behaviors much faster.
This is a really pleasant process, and once your bird discovers that rewards and mental stimulation are involved, it will respond exceptionally well to you.
Training should always be enjoyable for both of you, so make sure sessions are brief and great behavior is rewarded.
It’s time to move on to some fun, basic training once your bird understands that the click, whistle, or vocalization denotes ‘reward.’ It may take several sessions for your bird to grasp the concept.
The ideal technique is to conduct a test, utilize your marker, and observe your bird’s physical response. Most birds become agitated as they begin to associate the noise with a reward.
After that, it’s time to start training some habits!
Step-up training, either on your hand or on a hand-held perch, is one of the first things I would recommend teaching your bird.
Some things to keep in mind before attempting this:
Aim for short, frequent workouts at all times (ideally 1-5 minutes)
It is preferable to quit the training session if you become agitated or frustrated.
Always strive to end a training session on a positive note; if your bird isn’t comprehending anything, go back to a previously reinforced behavior.
Make certain that the behavior is only taught by one person. Have all members of the family try it under your observation and direction once your bird has had some practice and is regularly offering the behavior. The importance of consistency cannot be overstated.
Once your bird has acquired the step-up skill, performing it in a relaxing and enjoyable manner is a fantastic approach to show your bird that you care.
How to Teach Your Bird to Take a Step Forward
Decide on the verbal cue you’ll employ. It doesn’t matter the word or phrase you choose; what matters is that you stay consistent.
Choose a period when there are no distractions – a bird that is preening or eating will not be receptive to instruction.
Hold your finger, hand, or handheld perch in front of the bird, level with the abdomen and feet. Make sure you’re close enough for your bird to take a simple step.
Any movement towards the perch should be reinforced, therefore if your bird approaches you and the perch, use your marker and give your bird a treat.
The goal is to get your bird to use its feet to make contact with the perch. If you make contact with the perch, you should get a bigger prize. If your bird raises afoot, this should also be noted and rewarded.
When a desirable behavior is presented, always utilize your marker at the same moment it is offered, working your way up to a full step up onto the porch. Give your bird lots of praise and reinforcement as he or she steps up with one or both feet.
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