An Introduction to Positive Reinforcement Training For Birds

Bring out the intelligence of birds with clicker training

Bring out the intelligence of birds with clicker training

Macaws on bicycle.  Cockatoos raising flags. Conures snatching dollar notes from audience members. This is probably what you think of when you think of bird training.  Sure, those are the bird tricks that we see at zoo shows, but you can teach similar bird tricks at home.

Positive Reinforcement For A Smart, Well Behaved Bird

Tons of research has been done on how to train both exotic and domesticated animals.  Just go to your local book store and see how many dog training books there are.  It used to be that an animal was punished or deprived of something in order to train them, but an animal that behaves out of fear is dangerous and unreliable.  Research and experience shows that when you win your animals trust and admiration with positive reinforcement of desired behaviors, it will gladly perform a requested behavior.  The key word here is T-R-U-S-T.

Bird Training Is Science Based

While bird lovers have been training falcons and parrots for centuries, understanding the science behind training, “behavioral analysis” is relatively new.  This science focuses on “HOW” animals learn.  Studies in captive environments and in the field show that a kind, gentle, positive approach yields quick, yet lasting results while negative or punishing techniques including raised voices, mean tones, fear or deprivation only gain short term cooperation to relieve fear.

Birds perform expected or desired behaviors when they trust you!

Depending on ho you were raised, using positive, short- but sweet training techniques may actually be an art.  The goal of effective bird training is to break a “trick” down into the tiniest steps. Preferably in the order that the steps need to be performed so that you can easily sequence the steps together to appear as a trick.  You bird may need to learn 15 or 20 steps to do one bird trick.

Let us know about your bird training experiences in the comments below.

About Diane Burroughs

Diane Burroughs, founded 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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