• Test

Training Parrots

Published on Friday, 6th January 2017

We’re all accustomed to the fact that dogs need training. Over the years innovation has brought an abundance of training products to help owners train their dogs and other pets more easily and affectively.
Training has a similar effect on Parrots. Without proper training and stimulation these intelligent animals easily become bored, which often cause challenging unwanted behaviours. Let’s not forget Parrots have an equivalent intelligence to at least a four-year-old child.
Animal training experts around the world widely recommend using positive reinforcement training methods. Meaning, each time the Parrot does the desired trick, activity or behaviour, they are rewarded with praise or a small edible reward.

There are two different reasons why your customers want to train their Parrots. The first is to teach the bird to follow commands such as go into a crate, stepping up and taking medicines; these all make living with a Parrot easier.
Then there is training that makes life more entertaining rather than easier, although they do help to keep a Parrot’s clever mind occupied.
A Parrot can learn to count, identify colours and numbers, skate and learn complex words and phrases with the correct training.
The right training can also help Parrot owner’s toilet train their birds. Being able to train their Parrot to ‘go poop’ in a dedicated place saves a lot of time cleaning!
Parrots are notorious for being scared of anything new or changes to their environment – training can help reduce the effect.
There’s an ever increasing range of training products available on the market for pet bird and Parrot owners, many rely on using positive reinforcement training methods to establish the best results.

Let’s take a look at some products you could be stocking that have a positive impact on the lives of your Parrot keeping customers and their feathered companions.
Speech Training
One of the reasons your customers chose a Parrot is because of their ability to imitate sounds and they learn to talk. Parrots are one of the best mimics in the animal world, so it’s important your customers teach words they want them to say, and not the ones they don’t!
Training devices like the Mimic Me make teaching new words so easy. Record a word or short phrase onto the device, and then set it to play back at a timed interval throughout the day.
The Birdy Babble Ball is a fun interactive toy that makes interesting sounds when a Parrot plays with it. Teaching their bird to talk makes life more entertaining and means greater interaction between bird and owner.
There’s even a DVD to help Parrot owners teach their bird to talk by the well-respected professional animal trainer Barbara Heidenreich. It’s often easier for your customers to see someone else demonstrating the correct training techniques first, before trying them out for themselves.
DVD’s from professional animal trainers such as Barbara show how using positive reinforcement methods can yield amazing results.
You may already sell clickers, as many puppy and dog owners use them. A clicker is a small device that makes a clicking noise when activated.

Being able to make a consistent sound each and every time a wanted behaviour happens (like stepping up) prevents confusion and makes training a lot easier. Trainers call this a bridge because it connects the desired behaviour with the reward.
Some clickers have an adjustable volume control which is useful as some birds can be frightened by loud noises.
Training Perches
‘Stepping up’ onto the hand is often one of the most important behaviours many bird owners train their bird to do. Used for getting their bird out of the cage, off play gym stands or even down from curtain rails!
For both bird and owner this can be quite a stressful time, the bird has a large hand thrust towards them, whilst many owners are wary about being bitten by a Parrot’s sharp beak.

This is where a training perch such as The Percher can have a positive impact. Incredibly versatile, it can be used in seven different ways, including as a hand held ‘T’ perch – offering the bird a place to stand whilst protecting the owner’s hand. This allows both bird and owner to learn and grow in confidence and trust.

Activity and Trick Toys   
This kind of training is much more fun and based around play. Teaching and learning new skills not only helps owners and birds to spend time together, cementing the bond between them, it provides vital mental stimulation.
The more puzzles a Parrot can learn and solve, the more enriched their lives are. Consider stocking activity and trick toys like roller skates, shape stackers, colour stackers, shape puzzles, basketball sets, scooters and miniature shopping trolleys.
When a Parrot shows the desired behaviour is vitally important they are rewarded straightaway. When training a Parrot, food is a great motivator, they’ll happily follow commands and show the desired behaviour in return for a piece of their favourite food or treat.
So the next time your birdie customers are in store, despairing as they struggle to control their Parrot’s behaviour, having no luck getting them to talk or are weary from trying to satisfy their bird’s child-like mind, you can show them you understand and point them in the right direction.

I hope I’ve enlightened you in to the dilemmas your bird keeping customers face, and on the solutions available for you to offer them? Remember training should remain positive and always be fun!

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