As with all other pets you might have, a parrot’s training is based on the reward/ignore/punish method. However, you’ll have to apply some specific training strategies that only work for our colorful friends, strategies that have proven to be extremely effective in numerous training programs. We’ve set up a list of short tips and tricks that could help you train and shape your parrot the way you want him. It should be noted that most of these tips work best if the parrot is still at a young age and hasn’t yet had the chance to “grow habits”, but with a little hard work, they can be adapted to adult parrots as well.
So here it goes:
1. Reward your parrot
Whenever you want to teach your parrot something new and you see him doing it right, reward him with his favorite food treat, a pat on the head and a congratulation, a short play session or whatever you see fit as a reward. Although he won’t know what’s happening at first, as most pets do, he will soon adapt and correlate his reward with the action he took. Make sure you don’t exaggerate with the rewards and also make sure the rewards are relatively unique, meaning that you should have some food treats that you will only feed him as a reward, making them special.
2. Ignore instead of punishing
Parrots don’t take punishing too lightly and they’re also not very susceptible to it as other pets are. Sure, you can give your pet dog a mild slap to the back when he poops in the house, but how are you going to apply that to your parrot? It’s best if you ignore your parrot’s wrong doings as much as possible and focus on his good deeds, rewarding him. If he notices he gets rewards for certain actions, he’ll contain himself from performing the actions that bring him a painful ignorance.
3. Make your training sessions frequent and short
With cats or dogs, it’s recommended that training sessions take longer, but then again cats and dogs have the ability to stay focused to such training for longer periods of time. Parrots are often more distractible and they might get bored quickly if they have to perform a single action for a longer time period. That’s why it’s best to keep training sessions short (10-20 minutes) but make sure they are performed regularly, 2 or 3 times a day.
4. Don’t over-reward your parrot
Parrots catch on really quickly and you’ll most likely be forced to give them a lot of praise and treats for their good deeds, in a short amount of time. In this case, the problem of over-rewarding can soon become a problem. That’s why you need to make sure that you don’t feed your parrot a treat with each good action and simply give him a word of praise from time to time. This is done in order for him not to get too used to the reward technique and “blackmail” you into a treat, by only performing the rewarded action when you have a treat handy.