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Dancing Senegal Parrot

Kili

Type: Senegal Parrot
Genus: Poicephalus
Species: Senegalus
Subspecies: Mesotypus
Sex: Female
Weight: 120 grams
Height: 9 inches
Age: 13 years, 11 months
Caped Cape Parrot

Truman

Type: Cape Parrot
Genus: Poicephalus
Species:Robustus
Subspecies: Fuscicollis
Sex: Male
Weight: 330 grams
Height: 13 inches
Age: 12 years, 2 months
Blue and Gold Macaw

Rachel

Type: Blue & Gold Macaw
Genus: Ara
Species:ararauna
Sex: Female
Weight: 850 grams
Height: 26 inches
Age: 9 years, 11 months
Trick Training Guides
Taming & Training Guide
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Go through Tube
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Flighted Fetch
Slide
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Nod
Bowling
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Climb Rope
Ring Toss
Flip
Puzzle
Additional Top Articles
Stop Parrot Biting
Getting Your First Parrot
Treat Selection
Evolution of Flight
Clipping Wings
How to Put Parrot In Cage
Kili's Stroller Trick
Camping Parrots
Socialization
Truman's Tree
Parrot Wizard Seminar
Kili on David Letterman
Cape Parrot Review
Roudybush Pellets

List of Common Parrots:

Parakeets:
Budgerigar (Budgie)
Alexandrine Parakeet
African Ringneck
Indian Ringneck
Monk Parakeet (Quaker Parrot)

Parrotlets:
Mexican Parrotlet
Green Rumped Parrotlet
Blue Winged Parrotlet
Spectacled Parrotlet
Dusky Billed Parrotlet
Pacific Parrotlet
Yellow Faced Parrotlet

Lovebirds:
Peach Faced Lovebird
Masked Lovebird
Fischer's Lovebird
Lilian's (Nyasa) Lovebird
Black Cheeked Lovebird
Madagascar Lovebird
Abyssinian Lovebird
Red Faced Lovebird
Swindern's Lovebird

Lories and Lorikeets:
Rainbow Lorikeet

Conures:
Sun Conure
Jenday Conure
Cherry Headed Conure
Blue Crowned Conure
Mitred Conure
Patagonian Conure
Green Cheeked Conure
Nanday Conure

Caiques:
Black Headed Caique
White Bellied Caique

Poicephalus Parrots:
Senegal Parrot
Meyer's Parrot
Red Bellied Parrot
Brown Headed Parrot
Jardine's Parrot
Cape Parrot
Ruppell's Parrot

Eclectus:
Eclectus Parrot

African Greys:
Congo African Grey (CAG)
Timneh African Grey (TAG)

Amazons:
Blue Fronted Amazon
Yellow Naped Amazon
Yellow Headed Amazon
Orange Winged Amazon
Yellow Crowned Amazon

Cockatoos:
Cockatiel
Galah (Rose Breasted) Cockatoo
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Umbrella Cockatoo
Moluccan Cockatoo
Bare Eyed Cockatoo
Goffin's Cockatoo

Macaws:
Red Shouldered (Hahn's) Macaw
Severe Macaw
Blue And Gold Macaw
Blue Throated Macaw
Military Macaw
Red Fronted Macaw
Scarlet Macaw
Green Winged Macaw
Hyacinth Macaw

Glossary of Common Parrot Terms

How to Teach Parrot Shake Head No Bird Trick

Comments (4)

By Michael Sazhin

Thursday September 23rd, 2010

This free training guide is about how to train a parrot to shake its head no on cue. The trick involves the trainer shaking a finger or saying shake to the parrot and then the bird shakes its head in response. The trick is intended for parrots and trainers of all levels, including beginners. It can be taught to any sized parrot from a budgie to a macaw, however, it tends to be easier to teach to all but the smallest parrots. This can be taught as the first trick, however, I suggest teaching at least one or two tricks prior.

The behavior I used for the shake trick on both Kili and Truman is reflexive and innate. By blowing across the parrot's face, particularly the nostrils, it makes the bird shake its head much the same way it does to shake off food, dirt, or bugs. Therefore, unlike the wave trick, there is no need to shape the behavior itself. It is merely a matter of inducing the behavior and capturing it on cue.

For some reason, this technique doesn't seem to work for smaller parrots like budgerigars, parrotlets, lovebirds, and cockatiels. You can still try by blowing across the face from different directions and see if you can get them to shake. If not, you can either use a clicker and capture when they shake their head naturally or you can follow the procedures for shaping the nod trick but instead do it from side to side.

To teach your parrot to shake, simply blow on its face and when it shakes its head, click and reward. If you are having trouble getting the shaking action, just switch the direction you blow. Try the cheek, nostril, eyes, etc, until you can find a place that gets it to shake every time. I had made an attempt to teach Truman to shake over a month prior but it didn't seem to be working so I gave up. But recently I tried again and it worked. I probably just wasn't hitting the right spot last time. So definitely be patient and try blowing in different places around the head before you give up.

I suggest teaching the trick out and away from the cage. Most preferable is a training perch because it keeps the parrot at a convenient height and distraction free. Otherwise you can try doing this on a chair back or table. Although it can be taught with the parrot on one hand, it is really preferable to have both hands free. This way you can use one hand for displaying the cue (shaking your finger or whatever you want it to be) and then use the other hand to hold the clicker and the treat. I like to say the cue, shake my finger, and then blow. I both say the command and show the visual command to the parrot so that it can learn both cues together. Eventually I can use one or the other to cue the trick.

The more important, and somewhat more difficult part, is reducing the reliance on inducing the shake by blowing and having it come from the cue. Primarily it is going to rely on extended quantity of repetitions and motivation. Just keep practicing the trick while showing the cue and blowing simultaneously until the bird catches on. From time to time don't blow to see if the bird will offer to shake its head without blowing on it. Usually this will happen after a bit of a break between training and high motivation. The parrot will get impatient and offer the trick after seeing the cue and before you can blow on it.



If you are following my training program, the order I taught tricks to Truman is as follows:

1) Flight Recall
2) Target
3) Wave
4) Fetch
5) Shake

The exact order you train in isn't critical but my order is such for specific reasons. Since my parrot is flighted, flying to me was a necessary requisite skill. Then I proceeded to click condition Truman and teach him to target as his first behavior. Then I taught him to wave as his first cued trick. Next I switched to a prop based trick and taught him to fetch. Shake is a good trick to follow since it is actually a very easy behavior to teach. In fact, shake is easier to train than wave. This makes it a good follow up trick because interference from the other trick is likely and working on an easier behavior to teach cue differentiation is most important.

The biggest reason I like shake as the second cue based trick is because it can be forced. If wave is the first trick and the parrot is waving instead of nodding, I can "force" the bird to do the second trick by blowing on it. The bird will shake and I can reward. This way I can force the trick to be performed for the sake of rewarding it. If it's a more voluntary behavior, it may be hard to get the bird to do it, especially if it is confused and trying to do the wrong trick.

By the second major training session, Truman was already shaking his head on cue. Unfortunately I reintroduced him to wave the same day so he began getting confused. Wave has been causing interference ever since and he often waves instead of shaking. The only way to solve this is to continue practicing both tricks and reteaching, using the original training methods, whichever trick he is doing incorrectly. Nothing can help here beyond patience and lots of practice. Eventually the bird will just get it. For these reasons, if you are teaching shake as the second cue based trick, it won't be the method of teaching the tricks that will be the challenge but rather differentiating it from the first trick and teaching the parrot to watch for the specific cue.

How to Train Parrot the Fetch Trick - Truman Cape Parrot

Comments (6)

By Michael Sazhin

Monday August 16th, 2010

This article is about how to teach a parrot to fetch. I will only cover the bare basics and get into more advanced object retrieves another time. The basic fetch trick involves giving an object to a parrot, saying fetch, and then the parrot carries the object and drops it into a receptacle. In a later update I will cover how to get the parrot to go to retrieve the object on its own but this most basic version simply involves handing it to the parrot.

Fetch is a basic trick that can be trained to any parrot. Even parakeets can learn how to fetch. The time span for teaching this trick can vary from a few minutes to a few weeks. Typically it should take 3-7 training sessions to get the most basic version of the trick learned. It is beneficial but not absolutely necessary that the parrot knows some basic tricks like target and wave prior to learning the retrieve.

To teach the parrot to fetch is pretty straightforward and simple. You give the parrot an object to hold and then place a bowl underneath and wait for the parrot to drop it. Catch the object in the bowl, click, and reward the parrot. Over many repetitions of this process, the parrot will learn that dropping the object earns it a treat. To teach the parrot specifically to drop the object into the bowl rather than just anywhere, let it miss the bowl when it drops the object from time to time and don't reward. This narrows down the demands specifically to dropping the object into the bowl.

While the first few training sessions simply involve dropping the object straight down or a slight turn of the head, you should eventually work on having the parrot walk across a perch to take the object from you and then to walk some more to drop it. I highly recommend using Parrot Training Perches for the initial training of this trick. By using this kind of stand you can eliminate distractions and alternate paths of travel. The parrot can pay attention to you and since it can only walk in two directions, increases the likelihood that it will bring the object toward the bowl rather than run off with it.

Here is video footage of the original training sessions of how I taught Truman the basics of fetch in just 3 training sessions:



One problem that I encountered while training Truman is that he really enjoyed playing with the objects I gave him. In fact he enjoyed playing with them more than performing the trick. There are several methods for dealing with this kind of situation. First off, let the parrot get it out of its system. Let it play with the objects a bunch so that they become less novel. The parrot still has to be interested enough in the object to grab it but not wanting to play with it all day. Another thing you can do with a parrot that doesn't seem to want to drop the object is to offer it an even better toy to play with in return for dropping it. Often times just showing the parrot a cooler toy will make it drop what it is holding to take the new one. The new one becomes the positive reinforcement reward. The method is differential reinforcement where the new object has more value than the old one so it is worth working harder for the better object.

I did not run into this problem here but I know other people will. On the flip side of a parrot that won't let go of an object is one that won't hold it in the first place. Those parrots require a somewhat different approach. First try to experiment with different objects and see if you can find at least something that the bird will hold on to. If all fails, then try this. Use the target training method to teach the bird to target to the fetching object. Play target with the object a bit and let the parrot get used to going for the object. As the parrot puts its beak on the object, let go a bit and let it pull it out of your fingers. Click and reward this. So at first teach the parrot to pull the object out of your hand. Then start rewarding the times the bird holds the object for longer. At first it might just be a quarter second, then a half. Always reward the best times and ignore the worst ones. If the parrot at least holds the object long enough to fling it, you can use the fetch training method mentioned above (reward falling in bowl, ignore miss). The parrot will begin to learn to hold the object at least long enough to get it to the bowl.

Another issue you may run into is the parrot dropping the objects on purpose. It is important not to reinforce this. Don't immediately bend over to pick up what it dropped and try again. This can turn into a game where the parrot drops the object just to watch you picking it up again. Whenever the parrot drops an object or misses the bowl, turn around and ignore the bird briefly. It is best not to bend over and pick up the object but rather pull out a spare. Pick up the dropped object a bit later.

Once your parrot learns to take the object from you, walk over to the bowl, and drop it, it will have learned the simplest basics of fetch. However, do not stop here. Continue challenging your bird. Use alternative objects for the parrot to fetch as well as alternative receptacles. I recommend starting out with a very large bowl so it's hard to miss but then narrowing down to smaller and smaller ones to develop accuracy. Also change the direction where the parrot has to go to fetch. Don't let it get in a habit of walk left to pick up, right to drop. The parrot might not learn the actual concept then and would just be repeating motions. Instead, keep mixing up the direction but keep the concept of dropping objects into bowl the goal. I begin saying "fetch" from the first time I introduce the trick to the parrot. The earlier you start using the cue, the sooner the bird will pick it up. While it may seem strange to say "fetch" when the bird has no idea what the trick is and just holds the object to play, it just sets the training up and prepares it for hearing that cue once it catches on to the behavior.

This is just the very first stage of teaching the retrieve. Stay tuned for more updates about how to teach a parrot to fetch objects. I have been successful in using this method to train a Budgerigar, Senegal Parrot, and Cape Parrot to learn to fetch. I couldn't see why a Cockatiel, Conure, Amazon, or Macaw couldn't learn to fetch the same exact way. If you have any further questions, feel free to post in the comments or join the discussion on the parrot forum.

How to Hold a Parrot - Step Up and Grab Methods

Comments (13)

By Michael Sazhin

Saturday July 31st, 2010

Here is an article for the very beginners. This is not an article about actually teaching a parrot to step up, refer to this one for more information about actually training this. This one is about the actual approach to requesting a trained parrot to step up. This is great for members of a household that has a parrot that steps up but want to know how to hold it, folks who bought a tame baby parrot and want it to step up, and just anyone wondering about good ways to hold them.

I've watched videos online, seen people (who claim to be parrot owners) try to pick my birds up, and watched people at the bird store trying to handle the birds. I have amassed many observations of people approaching parrots the wrong way and it won't step up or even bites. Meanwhile I could reach for the same parrot and it steps right up. It's not because the parrot has a specific thing for me and not them but rather because I've developed a universal approach to picking up parrots whether mine or other. I was very disappointed not to have an article like this available to teach me how to hold a parrot when I bought my first and had no prior experience so I would like to share what I've learned with you.

First and foremost, you don't want to leave a bad first impression on the parrot. Avoid making any sudden moves anywhere in the presence of the parrot. This includes both within sight and earshot. If you slam the door, even though your parrot may not have seen it, it may be in a nervous/jumpy mood and picking it up will be more difficult. Always err on the side of being too cautious because if you succeed in interaction, you can slowly be more and more abrupt/normal and it won't bother the parrot, but if you leave a bad first impression it may develop a fear of you. Give the parrot time to adjust at first sight. Don't go straight for the parrot after entering the room. Go about and do some things on your own and slowly work your way closer to the parrot. Of course if you have an existing relationship this may not be necessary but if you are visiting someone else's parrot or this one is new to you, these are definitely things you'll want to do.

Now, once you have established a calm presence in front of the parrot, you can approach for the step up. At this stage the parrot might be on a stand, in the cage, or on someone's hand. It doesn't particularly matter what it is actually standing on as your approach should be roughly the same. Slowly walk toward the parrot watching for any signs of fear or aggression. Assuming the parrot is calm, proceed closer and closer. Stop and stand at half an arm's length from the parrot and reach your arm (right/left handedness doesn't matter, use what is convenient) away from the parrot at first. For small parrots reach out your index finger and tuck the rest of your fingers down. For a larger parrot use your wrist or entire arm. Aim the back of your hand toward the parrot so there is less available to bite or nip. Now from a distance your parrot will already see the cue for stepping up and it will come as no surprise that it is what you want. If the parrot is adamantly against this, you will know before your fingers are close enough to get chomped because you are taking your time approaching the parrot.

Move the hand toward the parrot at a slow but steady pace. This way the parrot has time to think and act. Aim for just above the legs but don't hold your hand at beak height as that will encourage nipping. Parrots don't step down well so definitely don't aim at the feet or below. Once you are within beak length from the parrot, there is no backing down. Bite or not, at this point you have to bring the hand close enough for it to step up. If you back off at this point, the parrot will learn to bite whenever it doesn't feel like stepping up and you'll have a much bigger problem. The time for changing your mind was before you got close enough if the parrot was showing any aggressive body language. If the parrot does start to bite, keep pressing in toward the parrot and that will force it to step up and stop biting. By leaning into the bite you overwhelm the parrot and it should relax the bite. Assuming the parrot doesn't bite, once your hand is close enough it should step up. If it does not, continue moving your hand toward the parrot and gently press on the belly until it begins to lose its balance and is forced to step up. Once the bird is on your hand, be sure to move your arm slowly and gently the rest of the time because you don't want the parrot to develop a terrible association of being on you.

As for grabbing a parrot, once again assuming the behavior is already learned by the parrot and it is strictly a matter of transferring to another person, use the same approach as for step up except swinging your arm from behind and slightly above the parrot. Keep your hand open with the thumb swung out to form a cradle that the parrot will be grabbed in. When you grab, squeeze from the sides onto the wings/shoulders but never hold by the belly because that will restrict breathing. Alternatively you can grab by the neck by holding your thumb to index finger together just under the beak. Not only does this keep the parrot firmly in your hand, it also prevents biting. This is a good grip to use for maintenance behaviors such as clipping nails or checking the wings. Don't actually squeeze the neck but rather make a circle between the thumb and index finger to keep the parrot from sliding out because the head is thicker than the neck.

In conclusion, it is about having a collected and deliberate approach to holding the parrot. If the parrot is not afraid of you and senses that you will be picking it up no matter what, it is much less likely to refuse to step up than if you are shaky and uncertain. The parrot can tell all of this by how you move and act so be confident in yourself and don't be scared and you will be surprised by how much more cooperative the parrot will actually become.

Here is a video where I demonstrate these methods and different ways of holding small and medium sized parrots:

How to Train Parrot the Wave Trick - Truman Cape Parrot

Comments (15)

By Michael Sazhin

Sunday July 18th, 2010

This article is about how to teach a parrot the wave trick. The trick involves the trainer cuing the parrot to wave by either waving at the parrot or saying wave and then the parrot picks up its foot to wave at the audience. Before you can teach your parrot the wave trick, it must already be familiar with taking treats from your hand and should ideally by clicker/target trained as well. The parrot will understand that you are trying to teach it a behavior much quicker if it has already learned the basics of learning by doing the target trick previously. So if your parrot is not hand tame or does not know the target trick, here is a helpful article so that you can teach that prior to beginning training wave. However, an essential requisite of this trick is that the parrot knows how to step up already.

Training the wave trick believe it or not is quite simple. Any parrot can learn to wave including small parakeets such as budgerigars. The number one training tool required to teach this trick is patience. Some parrots might pick it up in a day and it could take months to teach others. If you practice this trick consistently every day with your parrot, I guarantee you that eventually it will learn it. Also you will need treats, a training perch, and a clicker is optional. I found that a clicker is helpful toward the end of the wave training but mostly a burden in the beginning. I started out by using the clicker the first few tries I did to teach wave to Truman and it was more trouble than it was worth. The clicker can be used once your hands are freed up but best left out of the first portion unless you have someone else to help you.

The actual mechanism for teaching the trick is very simple. You pretend like you are asking the parrot to step up by approaching your extended finger to it and just as it lifts its foot, you retract your finger and reward the bird. This comes as a two step process. The first step is to get the parrot to learn to pick its foot up at the sight of your extended finger and the second step is to teach it to do that when you wave your hand instead. Therefore the first cue that is taught is only temporary until the main cue can be learned. You are going to need to decide which foot you want your parrot to wave with. It has been my preference to teach the parrot to wave with the opposite of its dominant foot. This is because they often lift their dominant foot up to eat so it looks more impressive when they wave with one and then eat with the other rather than going up and down with the same foot twice. Remember to be consistent about training wave only to a single foot or the parrot will get confused.

Start by having your parrot on a perch (ideally a training stand). Have it just below eye level and stand facing the bird. You will need to ask the parrot to step up with the hand that is closest to the foot you have chosen for the parrot to wave with. Truman is left footed so I wanted to teach him to wave his right foot. When I am facing him, it's like a mirror image so I need to use my left hand to get him to pick up his right foot. Therefore my right hand is free to wave at him while I approach him with my left hand. The hand used for lifting the foot is aimed with the pointer finger parallel to the perch upon which the parrot is standing. Do not let the parrot actual step onto your hand but approach the finger as close as necessary to have it lift its foot. As soon as the foot starts coming up, back that finger away just a bit so that it cannot actually grab on and step up. Immediately praise and reward the parrot with a treat. Practice this for a few training sessions.

The next step is to begin to recede the step up cue. In the beginning the parrot is merely responding to step up and trying to do that. It will never learn to wave as long as it is focused on the concept of stepping up. So every so often while practicing the above steps. Hold the outstretched finger further from the parrot and see if it responds. It may be learning quicker than you think but if you keep approaching closely with the finger, you won't get to find out. So try holding the finger six inches away, then fours, two, etc. If it is not responding unless up close, then practice up close a few more times. Eventually test the parrot again in this same fashion. Eventually it will surprise you because it realized what to do. Remember to keep training sessions reasonably short and end on a good note. When you have made some consistent progress, end things while they are good rather than letting your parrot's attention dwindle and frustration build up.

Eventually you'll get to a point where picking the foot up is all the parrot wants to do. It begins anticipating the treat and lifting its foot when you haven't even asked. This is the golden opportunity to get it to learn it on the proper cue. It starts getting in the habit of lifting its foot and getting treats repeatedly. Now one time you just skip the finger cue and just do the waving hand cue and the parrot will pick up its foot anyway from the inertia of repetition built up from prior training sessions. Now finally this becomes a parrot trick. After this point it will just be a matter of practice. There is the possibility of the parrot forgetting again but a quick reminder with the finger cue will get it back to doing the trick properly. I suggest showing the waving hand cue right from the very start and saying "wave" (or whatever you want the verbal cue to be) immediately from the start. This lets the parrot get used to seeing/hearing the proper cue earlier and becoming aware of its simultaneous presence to the outstretched finger cue. In the beginning I hold the treat between my fingers of the hand I wave with so that I can offer the treat as soon as the bird picks its foot up but once the parrot is doing the trick on cue, I put a clicker/treat in the hand I'm not waving with.

I taught Truman to wave in a total of five training sessions. The reason I label them by session rather than day is because some days I did two sessions. So while it took five sessions, they spanned a total of four days. I did a few micro sessions in between to keep his mind on wave but they did not bring forth and progress worth mention. Basically I'd practice whatever stage of wave training I was at at different times of the day on top of normal training. This helps expedite things just a little bit. The first session was mostly dedicated to getting him used to picking his foot up. The second and third session was about him seeing the finger cue for lifting his foot up. The fourth session reduced the importance of the finger cue by holding it progressively further and further away. And then finally by the fifth session it dawned on Truman that he actually has to lift his foot up when he sees the waving hand cue rather than the finger. I am going to continue practicing the wave with him until he is very consistent with the trick and then I won't wait any longer before introducing him to a new trick. I don't want him to get so used to wave that he becomes resistant to learning other tricks.

Here is a video of the actual training sessions where I taught Truman how to wave. The video illustrates the techniques mentioned above for training. It is a bit long but it accurately depicts the progression of learning for the trick. The video is not in actual time. I probably spent closer to 3 hours training Truman and I would estimate that I had performed the trick at least 50 times until he began doing it off of the proper wave cue.



Here are some additional tips for teaching the wave. Don't seek perfection from the very start. In the beginning it is important that the parrot make any positive motion to lift its foot to your outstretched finger on its own. Even if it is lifting it briefly and not very high, that's ok. The important thing is to teach it the motion. Then once it learns the trick and is picking its foot up on cue, you can start rejecting the worst ones and rewarding the best instances. So at first it might be waving for 1/4 of a second so you don't reward the 1/8 second waves but you do the 1/4. Then you start rewarding only 1/2 second, etc. Same things goes for height. At first you reward any motion to pick the foot up even if it's only a tiny bit off the ground. Eventually you start rewarding the best ones of the capability of the parrot at that particular stage in training. A good rule of thumb is to always reward the best 4 out of 5. Don't reward the worst one. Even if the 4 aren't up to your desired standards, it will certainly improve because at least the worst ones are being discarded and the parrot is learning how to favor the better ones. This will take time but it will improve results. Not rewarding too many trials will only discourage the parrot from waving in the first place so be sure to reward the effort as much as possible.

This trick is suitable as a first trick (assuming reasonable tameness and step up) for any parrot including parakeet, cockatiel, lovebird, parrotlet, conure, poicephalus, african grey, amazon, cockatoo, or macaw. This is a wonderful beginner trick that anyone can train their parrot with just a bit of patience. I hope you find this article helpful and wish you luck training your parrot. If you have any questions please use the link below to post them through the parrot forum.

Early Taming Steps About How to Tame a New Parrot

Comments (16)

By Michael Sazhin

Tuesday July 13th, 2010

Fortunately Truman is quite tame from the breeder. He already steps up and allows touching. However, there are some additional taming exercises that I must do with him in order to prepare him for some tricks that I would like to teach him down the line. Furthermore these taming behaviors make maintenance easier as well. The two things I am working on are laying on his back in my hand and letting me pull his wings open.

I have been using a combination of modeling, flooding, positive, and negative reinforcement to begin taming these behaviors. The modeling involves having Truman watch me hold Kili on her back and open her wings. Kili doesn't mind these at all and I don't have to give her treats but I do just so Truman can see he can get treats for it too. Flooding involves the fact that I just do it. I flip him on his back or open his wings whether he wants to or not. He just has to get used to it happening to him. The negative reinforcement is that I flip him back up or let go of his wing when he relaxes and stops resisting me. The positive reinforcement is that I give him a treat upon completion of each behavior.

By using all methods of training in combination, not only can I catalyze learning but also prevent over use of any one method. While I don't want to be too forceful by using flooding and make him phobic, I also do not want him to be overly treat dependent and refuse otherwise. Here is a step by step guide for how to tame a parrot to let you roll it on its back or open its wings:

Rolling parrot on back:

1) The parrot must already know how to step up and be comfortable with you touching it
2) Put your hand on its back and slowly roll it back
3) Stop when the bird starts getting uncomfortable (even if it is not full reclined)
4) Hold that position briefly
5) Upright the parrot and reward
6) Repeat with incremental increase of angle and duration


Opening parrot's wings:

1) The parrot must already know how to step up and be comfortable with you touching it
2) Put your hand under the parrot's wing and press it up slightly to raise the wing under armpit
3) Hold briefly, release and reward
4) Pull gently by the solid front part of the tip of the wing and hold open briefly, release and reward
5) Repeat and progressively open further and hold longer


Here is a video of a taming session with Truman. The video is quite long but I recommend watching it through entirely because I demonstrate different things throughout the video and provide helpful tips as I go. This is a real training session in progress. There are no final results yet but even by the end of the taming session Truman is less resistant to the exercises.


Taming your parrot to lay on its back is not only useful for teaching the play dead trick but also to be able to hold it to trim its nails and to be able to carry it from place to place. Taming the parrot to open its wings is not only useful for training the wings trick but also can be used to inspect wings for broken feathers, clipping, and putting on a harness. Remember that this can be a long gradual process that requires a lot of patience and practice. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or months before you see results. However, if you practice these taming behaviors a few times a day over a long period of time, the parrot will get used to this and allow you to do it even without treats. Once your taming is complete, be sure to practice these behaviors on occasion so that the tameness is not lost.

Finally I'd like to mention that Kili and Truman are beginning to get along much better to the point that they were sitting together on a 12 inch perch and not even fighting.
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Trained Parrot is a blog about how to train tricks to all parrots and parakeets. Read about how I teach tricks to Truman the Brown Necked Cape Parrot including flight recall, shake, wave, nod, turn around, fetch, wings, and play dead. Learn how you can train tricks to your Parrot, Parrotlet, Parakeet, Lovebird, Cockatiel, Conure, African Grey, Amazon, Cockatoo or Macaw. This blog is better than books or DVDs because the information is real, live, and completely free of charge. If you want to know how to teach your parrot tricks then you will enjoy this free parrot training tutorial.
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