Birds get to learn by observation and imitation. You have to put much time and effort into their training for them to learn because what your bird learns depends on this.
Perhaps you have been called ‘bird brain?’ Does it say a whole lot about the bird’s intelligence? Scientific studies have revealed that birds are really quite intelligent and can be taught various basic and advanced tricks.
This is our favourite bird training tips for beginners that will help make ‘Molly’ the center of attention at your next gathering.
MOLLY WANTS A CRACKER?
Teaching Molly to talk is one of the more difficult things to teach her and it will surely take time and persistence. Ensure consistency in your method and be calm and clear when talking to her.
Step 1 – Be exact and don’t forget to repeat the same word or phrase every time. Molly should be taught one word per phrase at a time to make sure she doesn’t get confused. For example, you can start with ‘hello’ or use her name till she understands the word; this is a lot easier than rushing her with a string of words all at once. You should say the words often and try to use the same tone so she gets used to the word and how you say it.
Step 2 – Make sure Molly is in front of you when you are teaching her to speak so she can watch you speak. As pointed out earlier, one of the ways pet birds learn to talk is through visual learning and imitation. This is a perfect way to get her attention!
Step 3 – Ensure that you use the same facial expressions and sound excitement when you’re training Molly as this is more likely to get her attention.
Step 4 – You need to be patient because teaching her to speak can take days, weeks or even months! Some pet birds may never talk, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a little longer than you expected. Persistence and patience are fundamental. Come up with a routine and stick to it. For instance, having 2 lessons a day at 5-10 minutes at a time is more effective than having ad-hoc training sessions once every few days. If you are not consistent, she will forget what you are trying to teach her.
Step 5 –You Tube videos or other birds that are able to talk will go a long way to help the process. Many birds have been known to watch You Tube videos and start talking!
Step 6 – Shower Molly with affection and treats when she puts up the correct behavior!
DOES MOLLY WANT THE POTTY?
If you can toilet train your cats and dogs, you can do that for your bird too. This skill can be quite handy if taught correctly. This will be time consuming and will require routine and getting to know your bird’s habits!
Step 1 – Get accustomed with Molly’s habits. When does she use the bathroom? How often? Where? What signs does she exhibit? The following are very good signs that your bird ready to do its thing:
- A certain facial expression/head movements
- Circling/ scratching
- Ruffling of feathers
- Certain posture
- Times (minutes in between their business)
Birds tend to do their thing in short intervals. Between 5-15 minutes is generally expected, but your bird may be different, and that is the reason you have to watch and understand his or her habits!
Step 2 – Frequency- You have to be aware of Molly’s movements, this will help you to know when to get prepared. You should take a few days to monitor her habits and watch where she tends to do her thing.
Step 3 – Look for a particular spot where you’d like her to do her thing and stick with it. Just like a cat or dog, change and inconsistency can throw him or her, so it’s important that you stick with the one spot so your bird can get used to it and do its business.
Step 4 – Take Molly over to your chosen spot and wait! Wait for a few minutes and if she has not done her thing, take her away from the spot and let her go about her business. After 5-10 minutes, move her back to the same spot and try again. You have to be patient because this may take days or even weeks to achieve, so don’t feel disappointed if she is yet to understand what you are trying to do!
Step 5 – When she eventually does her thing, be sure you praise your bird friend verbally and with treats!
Step 6 – You have to keep repeating the training a couple of times a day and don’t forget to speak gently and softly. Remember to offer positive reinforcements.
MOLLY’S TIME TO STEP UP
You can teach Molly the ‘stepping up’ or ‘up’ playful trick after she is conversant and comfortable with you. This trick also takes some time, like other tricks!
Step 1 – Make sure Molly is used to you and her surroundings. This is important to establish before attempting to teach her the trick. Take her cage away from loud noises and put it in an environment where she can hear and see you and others often. It is a good habit getting Molly to be familiar with humans and general noises.
Step 2 – You should spend time throughout the day next to her cage and talk to her so she can recognize your voice and get used to your tone and pitch.
Step 3 – Start moving slowly in front of the cage and if Molly doesn’t hold back, open her cage and put your hand inside and offer her some Millet Spray. Remember that she may get afraid, which is absolutely a normal occurrence, especially if she is a baby or young bird. If she attempts to fly away or doesn’t come to you, keep trying until she finally comes to you. This aspect of the process can take a few days to achieve, so be patient!
Step 4 – When Molly is used to your hand, slowly move a perch towards her and press gently on her tummy and say ‘Up’ or ‘Step Up!’ Continue practicing for the next few days until she can associate the action with word/phrase. Furthermore ensure that you stick with the same word/phrase so you don’t get her confused.
Step 5 – When Molly eventually ‘Step up’ remember to praise her and give her a yummy treat for her efforts!
Step 6 – When she is used to stepping up on the perch, keep practicing ‘Step Up’ by putting your finger on top of the perch.
Step 7 – You should take away the perch and ask her to ‘Step up’ onto your finger when she is able to do this with your finger on the perch,
Step 8 – When Molly has gotten used to this, you should take her out of her cage and try the trick somewhere else. But before you do this, make sure you close all windows and doors and make sure the area is free of loud noises and hazards!
MOLLY WANTS TO DANCE?
You think your bird has talent? The better way to prove it is to teach her how to dance!
Step 1 – Get a dance space and stick with it. Any flat surface or a bench will be a good idea! Don’t forget to keep using the same spot so Molly can get used to the spot as her dance floor!
Step 2 – You should play her some medium to fast tempo music and see what she dances to. Be patient, this may take few attempts. Once you notice her reaction to a particular song, use the song to teach her! You may realize that birds tend to respond to rhythmic and upbeat tunes.
Step 3 – You should show your bird your moves. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Bopping your head or swaying will teach her to dance, birds learn visually and through imitation.
Step 4 – Don’t overlook her achievements, reward positive behaviors!
TRAINING BASICS for BIRDs
Now you know birds are not as dumb as they have formerly been said to be. Teaching any pet takes time and practice so keep this in mind and don’t expect too much from him or her! Below are few tips that will make things quite easier:
- Don’t force her. She has to be in the mood to learn, if not, she will not be the best student. Don’t forget to remove her from her training area and place her back in her cage. Let her be on her own for 10-15 minutes and try again if she seems focused.
- Ensure your training spots are safe and away from any loud noises, so she can feel safe. She is more likely to learn if she is relaxed and familiar with her surroundings. Don’t forget to keep the training in the same spot so she could get used to it and associate that place with the behavior being taught.
- You must not raise your voice or yell at your bird! This can get them confused as birds do not consider that as a corrective thing. This could promote wrong behaviors because they can get confused and believe that you are excited. This can scare the bird which can cause disinterest and fear in learning tricks.
- You should not reward the wrong behaviors! Reward the right behaviors with treats, patting and verbal reinforcements.
- And remember to shower Molly with love and affection! It is important.