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I think of Parrot training like a recipe – you have to follow a step by step guide to training and if you miss a step it doesnt always work out the way you planned!

SO firstly we will start with ingredients, or in other words the tools you need to start training your Parrot.

1 – A training perch – this perch should be dedicated to training time and should be at an appropraite height for you and your bird to communicate

2 – Treats! Treats can consist of almost any food your bird really loves. Zazu is very fond of walnuts which I break into smaller pieces for training.

3 – A clicker or an idea of what you want to use as a ‘bridge’. A bridge is a noise that is used immediately after your bird does the desired response. It acts as a bridge between doing the desired behaviour and recieving the treat. This helps your bird make the connection between the behaviour and the treat as the bridge can be done very quickly. An easy bridge is the word “good” said in the same tone each time.

4 – A bird!

Once you have all that set up we can begin the training process. Teaching your bird to wave is a lot easier if your bird already knows how to step-up as you can convert the step-up signal to a wave when they lift their leg.

1 – Have your bird on the perch and offer him a treat so he is aware you have them and training has started. This will also help keep his attention on you

2 – Say the word ‘wave’ (or what ever youd like your cue word to be, maybe even hello) and then do the signal (I use a finger wave). Once you have said and done the ‘cue’ move your finger towards the bird and gently touch them on the chest above the leg you want them to wave with. Most birds will naturally lift their leg.

3 – As soon as the leg is lifted give your bridge noise

4 – Then offer a treat

5 – Repeat this step a few times so your bird gets the hang of the fact that when he lifts his leg he hears a noise then he gets a treat.

6 – After this step has been repeated slowly start doing the wave signal 1cm away from your bird body. If they don’t lift their leg go back a step and repeat again.

7 – Eventually move your finger further and further away until you are eventually standing in front of your bird saying “wave” and making the cue signal (finger wave in my case).

Some handy tips:

Repeat this trick for a few training sessions. While Zazu learnt to wave in one 15 minute session the next day it took a few goes for him to remember the trick. And just like us if the trick isn’t repeated every now and then they will forget it.

If your bird isn’t that interested in the treats try taking his food away for half an hour before the training session starts so he isnt full-up.

Start simple and slowly work your way up! And don’t get disheartened if they take a few goes to catch on, training is very rewarding way to increase the bond you and your bird share.

I have attached a photo of Zazu on his training perch. If you’d like to see a short video clip of Zazu learning to wave follow the links on the website to our youtube page.

Stay tuned for more training tricks and tips!

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