Birds are clever animals and are good companion pets. They can be taught easily with the right training preparation and techniques. Being able to teach a pet a new trick is a very rewarding experience for its owner. Training animals will not just make them smarter. It is also a good ground to build a trusting relationship with them and to eventually understand them better.
The first thing to remember when training a bird is to be realistic with your goals. Just like any other animals, a bird has its own nature and character. You must always remember that they also have good days and bad days. There are times when they seem so sharp and can be easily trained. However, there are also occasions wherein they will not follow commands despite of your extreme effort. The important thing is to learn their cues and to understand their moods. Birds have short attention span. Therefore, it is best to train them for just 15 minutes per session. You can do this for 2-3 times a day.
The most basic thing that your bird should learn is how to step-up on your finger. When teaching this trick, make sure to always position yourself above your pet and never below. You should always look higher or taller from your pet’s point of view. This position tells it that you are its master and no one else. This will teach your bird that you have the authority and that it should focus.
To teach your pet to step on your finger, you may use the command “step-up”. What you need to do is to position your finger against the lower breast of your bird, a litter higher than its feet. Talk with it through your magic words and persuade it to step on your finger. When it obeys, you can reward it with praises or treats. You can say “good job”. Repeat the stepping-up trick and the verbal commands until your bird has the interest. But make sure to end it when it starts to show boredom cues.
Towel training is very important for your bird to learn. Training your bird to be familiar to towels is important because you will be utilizing towels for different petting situations. Towels are used in giving medication, hygiene or when treating an injury. During the towel training, make sure to only use white colored towel and nothing else. Bright colored towels may frighten your pet and affect its concentration. For your bird to get accustomed to the towel, you can start by placing treats on the cloth to entice your pet to step on it and eventually to become comfortable with it. Once it is already accustomed with it, you can try wrapping its behind and placing your other hand’s thumb and middle finger at the sides of the neck and the index finger on the top of its head to stabilize the neck.
Teaching birds what not to bite is also a useful trick. You can use a biting stick to teach your bird what is appropriate to bite and what is not. Chopsticks can be used as biting sticks. Position the stick within the bird’s reach and encourage it to bite. When the bird obeys, praise it and give it some treats. This will give your bird the idea that only the biting stick is allowed to be bitten. Veterinary approved deterrent called bitter apple spray can also be used to safeguard your furniture from your pet’s biting tendencies. You just have to spray it to the things that you do not want to be bitten by your pet.
Training pets requires a lot of patience and commitment. Start with the most basic and progress to more complex ones as time goes by. Mutual trust and respect is built between the owner and the pet along the training sessions. Rewarding them with their favorite treats from time to time will help you to motivate them and win their focus.
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By Anthony Dee