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3 Easy Tricks to Teach Your Parrot!
Teaching tricks to your parrot is something that you can both bond from. It is important to note that it isn't just about entertainment. A trained parrot views the 'performance' as a social interaction and learning experience. This will assist both with his/her tameness and general well being. The tricks and games you teach him/her will be part of the bond that cement your friendship with your companion parrot. 

We have sought out a professional trainers opinion on a few simple tricks that you can teach your parrot. 

Our good friend Gee has been successful at teaching Koa and Tekin many tricks over the years. Gee has had over 25 years of experience in bird ownership and uses training as a way to really connect with her birds. She teaches through positive reinforcement focusing on love and respect.

The trio has performed at multiple shows including but not limited to retirement homes, expos, art museums, schools and many more. Gee's sun conure Koa was awarded Canada's Cleverest Pet at the Canadian National Cage Bird Show two years in a row and was most recently featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not - "Mind Blown".

You can follow their adventures on instagram @koa_tiko


Now it's time to learn a few new tricks....


The best place to teach tricks is a neutral spot, away from the parrot's cage and away from distractions. You will need a stand alone perch or a training perch. This will be the starting point for all of the tricks. 


A few key tips before you start any training session:

- Remember to talk in a calming and slow tone. Birds can sense your frustration
- Find healthy treats that your bird love and will work for. You will be giving them lots of treats so it's best to ensure they are healthy. Little pieces of sliced almonds work well
- Know when to stop when they are frustrated
- Training is best done with an easy going bird. If there is a behaviour problem then that has to be dealt with first
- Keep your sessions short. Sometimes you may only get 2-3 minutes of their attention
- Repetition is key to success. Training at the same time (ie: mornings typically work best as opposed to when they are ready for bed and not as focused)


TRICK #1: STEP UP

Although this doesn't seem like much of a trick, this will be your starting point that leads into the high five.

1) All training sessions should start with a cue - ie: Do you want to come do some tricks and get some treats?. This will let your bird know that it's time to learn
2) Place your bird on the training perch
3) When you touch your birds foot or rub their belly they automatically pick up their foot
4) With all tricks there needs to be a verbal gesture and a hand gesture. You can say step up and at the same time you can touch their foot or rub their belly
5) If your bird is not understanding, you can pick up your birds foot and place it on your finger. Make sure you give them a reward and praise them in an excited/happy voice
6) Repetition is key, this may take several sessions for your bird to understand
7) Once they step up give them a bigger treat and praise them for their accomplishment

*Teaching your bird to step up also comes in handy in cases of emergency and vet visits.

In the below video, Tekin shows off his stepping up trick...especially for his favourite treats


   

TRICK #2: HIGH FIVE

Now that you have taught your bird to step up, we can move onto high fives.

1) Again, start your training session with your cue - ie: Do you want to come do some tricks and get some treats?
2) Place your bird on the training perch
3) Touch your birds foot. Once your bird raises their foot as if they are going to step up - you would use a verbal command such as hello, wave or high five. Followed with your hand gesture - ie: hand straight up in the air. Then you can tap your birds foot and give them a praise with a treat
4) Repetition and patience is key for all tricks and may take several weeks to accomplish. If your bird is not focused, try shortening the training sessions

In the below video, Koa shows how to give a high five and the Howie 'fist pump'

 


TRICK #3: SPIN

Once your bird has mastered the step up and high fives, it's time to move onto the spin!

1) Again, start your training session with your cue - ie: Do you want to come do some tricks and get some treats?
2) Place your bird on the training perch. This trick will be done in 3 separate steps to complete a full rotation. Working on one step at a time only 
3) Hold the treat at eye level but well out of reach
4) Position the treat at the shoulder, using your command word. This can be turn around, spin or can you turn around? then praise. Repeat this step a few times
5) Position the treat at their back, using the words turn around, spin or can you turn around? then praise. Repeat this step a few times
6) Position the treat to their other shoulder, using the words turn around, spin or can you turn around? then praise. Repeat this step a few times
7) After several times, your parrot will turn around on command for his/her reward
8) Repetition and patience is always key. If your bird seems frustrated and not focused it is best to stop and try the next day

In the below video, Tekin shows us how to spin...





Written by The Parrot Shop in collaboration with Gee @koa_tiko


Have you taught your parrots tricks? Let us know in the comments below!







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