Parrot Training 101

Basic life skills your parrot needs to know!

African Grey Parrot

Parents generally don’t think twice about the need to teach their children basic skills and obedience that in an emergency could save their lives. Things like “look before you cross the road”, “look at me when I talk to you”, “learning off by heart to recite where you live and what your telephone number is” and the like.


Well it is no different for your parrot. The skills they need to learn to ensure their well-being may be different but are no less essential ( Although there have been cases where recovered stolen parrots have been reunited with their owners because the parrot could recite the telephone number).


Dogs have owners, cats have people they live with and parrots have guardians. You are your parrot’s guardian and this position comes with similar responsibilities as being a child’s guardian. Here are some of the basic things your parrot should know.



When you say “step up” to your parrot the bird should automatically lift a foot up and step on to your hand. As long as your parrot knows this command and obeys it you will be able to get him out of any dangerous or awkward situation he may find himself in.


Step On To A Stick

After learning how to step-up teach your bird to step up on to a stick. This will be useful if a stranger ever has to handle your bird and is worried about getting bitten or your bird gets into places you cannot reach with your hands.


The Carrier Box or Cage

If you ever need to go anywhere in a hurry with your bird or you need to take your bird to the vet having a smaller cage or box you can put your bird in without any fuss will save you a whole heap of time and trouble. The earlier you can familiarize your bird with this the better. It’s a good idea to let your bird play in and with the carrier so he can see that there is nothing to be scared of.


Beware of Windows and Mirrors

Flighted birds or a startled bird that takes off from its cage can have a nasty accident by flying into a window or mirror thinking these are just a gateway to open spaces. Take your bird around your home showing him all the mirrors and windows. Tap the glass with your finger and let your bird tap it with his beak. While not foolproof this will give your bird some idea of the nature of these things. Parrots are intelligent birds after all.


It may be a good idea to put stickers on the windows and mirrors as well so your bird is able to see the difference between what’s on the glass and what is behind it.


Teach Your Parrot Your Name and Phone Number

This obviously only applies to those parrots that talk. If your bird really takes to this teach her your address as well. Then if your parrot becomes lost having flown out of your window or is stolen and then recovered you have a good chance of getting her back.


Teach Your Bird To Take Medicines

There will inevitably be a time when your parrot will need some form of medication. You don’t want to wait until then however before you have a way of giving it to him.


Encouraging your bird to eat a little baby cereal in the mornings will allow you to add medicines or tonics to it when necessary. You will then know your bird is getting what he needs.


You could also try giving some baby food or juice to your bird with a plastic syringe. Make this a fun exercise and your bird will have a great time doing it. Then when you need to give some medicine your bird will take it without thinking twice about it.


Healthy Diet

Parrots should not live on seed alone. From a very early age you should be encouraging your bird to broaden his tastes by offering a growing range of foods, raw and cooked. It will sometimes take several weeks for a bird to get the hang of a new taste so persevere. If your pet just turfs the stuff out of his dish at first just keep trying especially if you know the new food is particularly good for him.



Parrots, just like children, will get into all sorts of mischief so a little discipline is needed.


Never, ever hit your parrot. Apart from the fact your bird will definitely not understand its downright cruel. A short sharp NO will get his attention and enable you to remove him from the problem area – like ripping your furniture to pieces for instance.


Use the word NO rather than STOP IT. Stop it can sound like step-up to your bird. And don’t use your bird’s name as a reprimand. Your bird should associate his name with praise and positive things.


Develop Trust

You are all your bird has. You are his best friend, his ally and above all his guardian. And you can only be those things through TRUST. Your bird needs to trust you.


So, how can you build that? By being consistent. Everything to do with your pet needs to be based on routine and reliability. Understand that your bird is an individual and has his own likes, dislikes and needs. He is not just an ornament gracing your living area – and if he is then you got yourself the wrong pet.

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