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Dancing Senegal Parrot


Type: Senegal Parrot
Genus: Poicephalus
Species: Senegalus
Subspecies: Mesotypus
Sex: Female
Weight: 120 grams
Height: 9 inches
Age: 16 years
Caped Cape Parrot


Type: Cape Parrot
Genus: Poicephalus
Subspecies: Fuscicollis
Sex: Male
Weight: 330 grams
Height: 13 inches
Age: 14 years, 4 months
Blue and Gold Macaw


Type: Blue & Gold Macaw
Genus: Ara
Sex: Female
Weight: 850 grams
Height: 26 inches
Age: 12 years
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Stop Parrot Biting
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How to Put Parrot In Cage
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List of Common Parrots:

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

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

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

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

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 Parrot

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

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

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

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 Train Parrot the Fetch Trick - Truman Cape Parrot

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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.

Part of: Taming & Basic Training, Parrot Trick Training, Cape Parrots
Truman Cape Parrot How To Train Teach Fetch Retrieve
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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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