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Training Birds

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Training Methods

Getting started training birds is a very wise decision. It creates a fantastic relationship between you and your bird, a trusting relationship. It creates a structure which makes your bird feel comfortable and secure.

It eliminates bad behaviors and prevents potential behaviors from rearing their ugly heads.

However, getting started training birds isn’t as simple as pointing your finger and saying “sit”, there are a few steps you must take first to get it right.

Choose the right program. There are three basic schools of thought on animal training.

They are: negative reinforcement, positive punishment and positive reinforcement.

Dave Womach Training his bird Cressi







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Birds, and most animals, respond most favorably to positive reinforcement. It produces the longest lasting results and the best relationship between you and your bird. Therefore your first consideration is to choose the program which focuses on using positive reinforcement techniques.

Why Train Birds?

Decide why you want to train. Your second step in getting started with training is to decide why you want to train. For example, have you just adopted a parrot from an abusive situation and need to train them to be less fearful? Do you need to train away a screaming behavior? Decide why you want to train before you get started training birds.

Bird Training Equipment

Get the right equipment. Once you’ve settled on why you’re training and the training philosophy you’re going to follow it’s time to gather the equipment necessary. Your first important piece of equipment, unless you have experience training birds, is to find a book or video with step by step instructions.

Remember this program must use both positive reinforcement techniques and help you achieve your training goals. Our Taming Training Tricks program is great for beginners all the way to intermediate trainers. You can sign up for our e-mail newsletter and get a free training video delivered to your inbox.

Your second piece of equipment will likely be a clicker. These can be purchased at any pet store for only a few dollars. They’re an important piece of equipment because they enable you to signal to your bird when they’ve done something right.

Training Birds On A Schedule

Create a training schedule. Consistency is important to a bird. They like to know what to expect. The most effective training schedules are short and occur before your bird has their meal. They’re motivated for food and they’ll be more inclined to pay attention and responsive to your commands.

However, it’s important to not over train too. Too much training or sessions which are too long will actually slow the training process – or even stop it all together. Consider training for only a few minutes each morning before their first meal and before dinnertime.

Commit to a training routine. Training birds requires patience, persistence, and a commitment to the program especially if you're taming wild birds. If you’re unable to follow through your bird will pick up on it. It will set your training program back. This is very important.

For example, your bird is fearful of a prop – this happens often whether your bird is new to training or experience – if you lose your patience and force the bird too close to the prop it’s going to take you several days if not several weeks to overcome the trauma. Patience, persistence and commitment are imperative.

Training With Rewards

Find the right reward. The easiest reward for training birds is food. This is particularly effective if you can time your training correctly and if you find the right food. How do you find the right food? Prepare a bowl of food with every imaginable item under the sun. Nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, everything you can think of.

Place that bowl of goodies in front of your bird and watch carefully. What does he eat first? Now he may pick up one or two items – that’s not what you’re paying attention to. You’re looking for what he’s eating.

Bird’s are not good at delayed gratification and will choose their favorites first. This is what you want to use as a reward when you’re training. Don’t give it to him any other time. The favorites are saved for training and only training.

Training birds doesn’t have to be complicated however it does call for careful attention to a few key steps. Get them right and you and your bird will be on the road to a happier future.

Training Birds