What’s Wrong With The Bird Step Up Command?

Step Up command

Bird Step up Training

It has been reiterated for years in the companion parrot literature … your parrot must learn to obey the bird step up command for a safe and satisfying relationship with you.  Your bird should learn to respect the pecking order of your relationship with it!” Obey and “command”  carry strong implications. Your parrot has a choice about whether to step up or not.  It could easily choose to fly off or bite.  Just like a toddler refuses to comply.

I visualize a parrot with no desire to step up onto the hand yet being forced to comply as a parrot owner problem, NOT a parrot problem.  We need to use gentle hand movements accompanied by quickly administered rewards when parrots step up as expected.  By doing the expected behavior our bird feels great bonding.

The step up training technique used to involve maneuvers such as a hand pushing into a bird’s chest, quickly scooping a bird onto the hand, or peeling toes off of a perch.  Parrots don’t like their body shoved around any more than  you do.   This is where teaching the step up command becomes controversial.

You can persuade or motivate you parrot to “step-up” on it’s terms by using proven Clicker Training for Birds techniques that reward expected behavior. Or, you can man-handle your bird by pushing a finger or wrist into is chest for force it to step up.  Positive bird training techniques as so much less stressful while on the same token, they work quickly to get your parrot to behave as expected while encouraging trust and enhancing your bond with your pet.

For a positive reinforcement trainer such as myself, forcing my parrot to step up is not encouraging an intrinsic reward to do what is expected.  Pushing is a very unpleasant bird training technique that actually pushes your parrot AWAY from any desire to do what you want it to do.

Good bird training means you reward your bird when it does what you want it to do.  These positive bird training techniques enhance the chances that your bird will trust you enough to look for cues about what it can do to please you.

About Diane Burroughs

Diane Burroughs, founded BirdSupplies.com in 1998. A bird lover who is owned by African Grey's, a Moluccan, a Parrotlet and a Red-Bellied Parrot, Diane is dedicated to improving the lives of pet birds with vet-approved parrot tested supplies and expert bird care articles.

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