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Speech Training

men holds a parrot on his finger

A real talking parrot able to respond is what many parrot owner’s dream of. Parrots are excellent mimic due to their excellent hearing and their unique physiology. However, some parrots do not ever learn to speak. If you plan to buy a parrot solely for the purpose of training one to speak, then forget it. Your expectations might not be met and you’ll end up frustrated while your parrot ends up unwanted. For the most part though, many parrots learn to speak at least a word or two even without formal training.

Training Your Parrot to Talk

Most parrots that learn to speak fall in at least one of the three categories below:

1. Parrots kept alone with humans
2. Parrots kept with other parrots that already talk
3. Members of the following species: Yellow-Naped Amazon, Mexican Double Yellow-Head Amazon, African Gray Parrot, Yellow Fronted Amazon, Yellow-Crowned Amazon, Blue Fronted Amazon

There are two types of speech training – imitative speech and responsive speech. Imitative speech is when the trainer says a word and the parrot says it back. Responsive speech is when the trainer asks a questions and the parrot answers that questions. Although responsive speech is way cooler it is also way harder to teach.

Teaching your parrot to speak

1. When trying to teach your bird to speak you have to always start with imitative speech.

2. Choose a simple word, usually with one or two syllables, and start teaching your parrot that word.

3. Do not try to teach you parrot multiple words immediately because it will only confuse the bird.

4. Begin with a simple “Hi” or whatever word you want. The important thing is to stick to your chosen word.

5. Repeat the word firmly, slowly, and distinctly every few seconds until your bird makes a sound in response.

6. Reward your bird with a treat as soon as it makes a sound. The sound doesn’t even have to sound like the word you are trying to teach.

7. Repeat this process as you work closer to making it sound more like the word you are teaching. The parrot will eventually attach the reward with its imitation and will perform to get the reward.

8. Lavish it with praise especially for imitations that get closer to the sound you’re aiming for. Learning a new word can take just a few sessions for some birds while it can take a couple of months and even more for some.

9. Once your parrot has learned to repeat one word consistently then you can start on a new word and keep on doing it until his vocabulary gets bigger.

10. Do not jump to big words at once though teach your parrot simple words at first and go for bigger ones only after he has learned several easy ones.

Teaching your parrot to respond

1. If you wish to teach your bird to respond, teach it to imitate the response or the answer first.

2. Once it has mastered the response then its time to begin asking the question.

3. Prompt your bird to say the response and reward it for a proper answer.

4. Repeat the process until your parrot consistently responds with the right answer every time the question is asked.

* Remember that this is much harder to learn and will probably take a longer time for your parrot to get it right. If your parrot seems to be having a real hard time learning just a couple of words then it would be unrealistic to expect it to learn responsive speech.