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Training Mistakes

two cockatiel on a tree

Let’s face it. Even with the plethora of parrot training advice sites, manuals, books, and videos out there many pet owners still have trouble training their parrots. Why is this so? It’s because while following the best advice many owners still commit a number of training mistakes.

Wrong expectations or too high expectations

Many pet owners purchase their birds after seeing some tame well-trained parrot on a live show or on TV and think that it’ll be wonderful and so fun to have a parrot for a pet. Although it is true that parrots make wonderful pets they usually are not yet tame nor trained when they are sold. So when the pet owner goes home he does not get the parrot he expects. As for trying to tame and train parrots most people also think that parrots are very easy to tame and train. Though parrots are intelligent creatures it still takes the proper knowledge, skill, and attitude to train a parrot. Having unrealistic expectations will surely frustrate any owner and possibly affect the owner’s attitude during training making training sessions less effective and even more frustrating.

Generalizing your parrot

Although parrot training advice is based on actual observations and experiences some advice might not work for your parrot. Most advice comes with a footnote or warning that parrots differ and that each parrot responds to training differently. However, after seeing the success of professional trainers and other parrot owners many pet owners forget this clause and are surprised (unpleasantly at that) when their parrot seems harder to train or doesn’t seem to respond. Do not fall for this mistake. Try to see you parrot as a child and like any parent you’ll see just how different it is with each child.

Trying to pet and train a newly purchased bird right away

Unless you are sure that the bird you have purchased has been tamed do not try to pet it right away or try to get it to do tricks. Many new pet owners end up with bloody fingers by being too familiar too soon. Spend time getting acquainted with your bird before venturing to touch it much less getting it to obey you. By getting acquainted with your bird you are actually starting to train it through taming.

Screaming or hitting your parrot

Some pet owners try to train their birds using both positive reinforcement and punishment. You will not achieve anything positive by screaming at your parrot or hitting it to get it to obey you. You parrot won’t understand the motive behind your actions but will simply feel threatened and frightened. You might force your parrot to submission but it will become an unhappy and stressed parrot and will most probably end up with unwanted behaviors. Abused and mistreated parrots are the ones that often turn out to be aggressive and unmanageable. Instead of training you parrot you’ll probably end up with a neurotic bird.