Training Your Bird
Sadly, many parrot care books still advocate wing-clipping and ‘dominating’ your bird as part of its so-called ‘training’ but such practices can cause even more problems! Reward-based training and safe flying are of great benefit for parrots. Unlike other pet parrot books, you’ll find details in Breaking Bad Habits in Parrots of how to teach your bird some basic flight requests and guidance on how to keep companion parrots safely without wing-clipping them. My earlier self-published book Pet Parrots Advice Direct also has similar details.
The training methods I use are based on applied behaviour analysis (ABA). ABA is the science of behaviour change and is the most bird-friendly way to work with your parrot. It relies on offering rewards and incentives for your bird to learn the requests you are teaching him while working at a pace which is comfortable for your bird. Advice where trainers claim to be ‘parrot whisperers’ with instant results use cruel methods of ‘training’ and these can cause much suffering.
The use of sound methods based on behaviour analysis, combined with teaching flight requests is explained in Breaking Bad Habits in Parrots. This is an effective, bird-friendly approach to training. With this, in addition to the usual ‘step up’ request, you should be able to teach your bird to:
- “Stay”. This means please do not approach me or fly to me for the moment.
- “Go”. This means please fly off me to some other place such as your cage or stand etc.
- “On here”. This means please fly to me.
- “Off there”. This means please fly from your present place as it is not suitable/safe for you to be there.
If you are having a particular problem with your bird’s behaviour I can help by offering phone and e-mail consultations or a home visit if you are in south-west England or south-east Wales. But I would first suggest you read Breaking Bad Habits in Parrots as this should certainly help to reduce or solve the problem. A consultation is more useful if you first complete my questionnaire so I have details of the problem. Once you send me the completed questionnaire we can arrange a suitable time for a phone consultation or I can email you a detailed programme of recommendations. E-mail consultations may be easier if you do not live in the UK. Just contact me for more details.
Talks And Courses
I also run one-day courses on companion parroAmazon Parrot with a puzzle toy and a close up of a Cockateilt care. I usually bring some of my birds to these courses to demonstrate how to carry out the training, including teaching flight requests. I am also available to give talks on parrot behaviour and welfare issues to the veterinary profession, educational establishments and professional bodies.