Teaching Your Bird Tricks

Birds are one of the most intelligent animals on earth. They can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, such as playing fetch! In this blog post, we will discuss how to train your bird and other games you can play with them.

Do you have a pet bird? Have you ever wanted to teach it something new or just want to play some fun games? You’re in luck because we’ll walk you through the steps on how to train your bird and give you ideas to make your playtime with your bird more enjoyable. These six games include: teaching your bird to use their perch, teaching them tricks like ‘retrieve’, ‘dance’, and ‘hello’.

Know the Basics

Before you begin training any animal, make sure it’s relaxed and comfortable. Don’t train the bird into a new space because in addition to being uncomfortable they can get afraid, and may injure themselves.

Be sure you have things around to grab your bird’s attention. Things like food, toys (that they might like), or physical affection.

Bird trainers use a variety of methods to teach their birds new behaviors. The best way is by rewarding desired actions with something good, like delivering treats or toys for those who participate in an action. This method creates eager participants as well as fosters trust because the bird has been empowered enough that it can choose whether it wants something or not.

A bird’s comfort level and skill in interpreting cues from its trainer have a lot to do with how easily it can learn new behaviors. Some behaviors can be taught to your bird in as little as one 20-minute session, but some behaviors may require regular coaching.

As a newbie to training, avoid frustration by starting with the easiest tasks. Almost all animal training begins with target training, this is a very simple behavior and involves teaching an animal to orient their body part towards something. Once they’ve mastered the task we can move on to more complicated tasks.

Here are three tricks for beginner trainers to teach their birds.

1- Retrieve

Put the bird on a small perch and offer it a small toy like a bead. Birds are curious, so typically they will try to pick it up with their beaks. To encourage your bird, you can hide a treat behind the bead, so the bird has to touch the bead before reaching the treat.

When the bird touches the bead, say ‘good’ to reinforce the behavior. Repeat this a few times, with short intervals. Hold a bowl underneath the beak of the bird. Eventually, your bird will get tired and drop the bead. As soon as the bead drops, say ‘ good’ and offer a treat to your bird immediately.

After several repetitions, move the bowl slightly to one side. The bird will probably not drop the bead in it and that’s what you want. Every time your bird misses, withhold giving it any treats. After doing this for a while, revert to the original technique.

Go back and forth with these two techniques, until the bird finds the bowl in both of them, offering them treats at every successful deposit. With enough repetition, your bird will understand that dropping the bead in the bowl, leads to treats.

After your bird gets used to this, you can gradually increase the distance of the bowl.

2- Hello

Once again, pay attention to your bird’s actions. When you notice that he picks up his foot, immediately reward him/her with a treat. Once he’s mastered picking up his foot for a treat, move on to having him hold it up before receiving treats.

Follow these two steps until your bird understands that to receive treats he/she needs to raise their foot.

3- Dance

Start by paying attention to what your bird does. Turn on some music and notice whether he/she moves or starts swaying in place. If so, praise him/her — either through food or by verbally saying “good job”. Praise your bird every time you turn the music on and your bird starts swaying or dancing. Do this for a few weeks.

Eventually, you can get rid of the food treat and simply use a verbal cue to make your bird dance.

Once this positive behavior is reinforced, your bird should start dancing whenever music is played.

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