Below are articles on a variety of topics related to parrots and their care. Some files are in (PDF) format.
This information is for educational purposes only. Always refer to your avian vet when in doubt.
The Quickest Way To Train Parrots
Parrots are intelligent animals. Some studies have proven that certain species of parrots have intelligence levels comparable to that of a four year old child! Yet it's glaringly obvious that people have no idea how to harness a parrot's ability to learn. So I thought Id shed a little light on how I've adopted some dog training techniques to get parrots to respond to training much quicker than traditional methods.
This technique is called shaping. Shaping is a training method that trains parrots to think. It doesn't lure them with food, or punish parrots for doing a behavior incorrectly. Instead it works on this principal?
Parrots will continue to do behaviors that bring them pleasure, with greater and greater frequency and continue to do so until the behavior no longer brings them pleasure?
When I'm training one of my parrots to learn to step up onto my hand, I don't just shove my hand in front of them and force them off their perch. After all, the parrot might not want to step up. The parrot might be sleepy, upset, not want to be taken away from his food bowl, or a whole host of other reasons.
So instead, I like to reward parrots for coming to me on their own free will. I like to let the parrot train himself that coming to me brings him pleasure. Here's what I mean.
Let's say that our parrot is happily playing on the top of his cage, and you want him to train him to step up onto your hand. To do this place your hand about 12-24 inches from your parrot, and observe what he does. Does he back away even further? If so you should back up also, until you're far enough away that your parrot is showing relaxed body language.
Then start watching for tiny movements your parrot starts to make towards your hand. At first, parrots will usually do nothing. But be patient and start small. Look for your parrot to look at your hand. When he does say good?, and reward with a favorite treat of his.
Parrots will catch on pretty quick and realize that all they have to do to get a treat is look at your hand. When your parrot gets to this stage, demand more from your parrot for a treat. Make your parrot take a step towards your hand? even a small step, tell him ?good? and reward him again.
Continue to slowly demand your parrot get closer and closer to your hand before giving him his treats, until he's actually stepping onto your hand. But be careful, parrots can tend to not trust you. So the first time your parrot steps on your hand, don't think the training is done. Parrots will feel betrayed if you coax them onto your hand and them pick them up fast.
Instead let your parrot step on your hand without picking him up, and gradually work on rewarding your parrot for letting you pick him an inch of the ground, then two, three, four etc. Until every time you walk over to his cage, he'll run over to you expecting that he can step up onto your hand to get his treat.
Training parrots in this way teaches parrots to problem solve. It teaches them to figure out what you want them to do, and makes training other behaviors in the future much easier.
Copyright 2006 Womach Brother Productions - African Grey Parrots
This article was written by Chet Womach a parrot trainer who's helped thousands of people owners overcome behavior problems in their parrots, by using positive reinforcement training techniques.
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