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two parrotlets on a tree

You need to begin training the moment you buy your parrotlet. It’s easier to train a hand-fed bird, because it’s used to being around humans. Younger birds are also less likely to have deeply ingrained habits—those take a lot of patience and reinforcement to break.

Some say that male parrotlets also learn tricks or words faster than females, but technically, all birds have the capacity to learn. While some may take longer than others to master a new skill, here are some tips to make the training process more effective.

Parrotlet Training-A happy parrot is a smart parrot

First of all, you should only hold training sessions when you are relaxed. Schedule it at a time when you have rested, or will not be interrupted by household chores or problems at work.

You should also make sure that your parrotlet isn’t scared, over stimulated, or upset. Watch the bird’s body language. Is it preening? Is it hopping nervously from one end of the cage to another? Are its feathers fluffed up? Has it been sick recently? An animal that is distressed will be in no mood for a training session.

You need its undivided attention. You can help it relax by holding your training session in a quiet room. Lock the door, close the windows and curtains, and turn off the television and radio. Then, spend the first few minutes talking to it in a calm, soothing voice. Give it a treat, or whisper affectionate words. If it remains agitated, drop the lesson for the day and just “bond” with your pet.

Parrotlet Training-Find out which treats work

Different parrotlets have different preferences. Find out which treats get the most positive response, then offer these only during training sessions. Then, cut the treats up into small, bite sized pieces so that the birds don’t become so busy eating that they lose interest in the trick!

Make training fun

Don’t yell at your parrotlet if it can’t master a trick. If it becomes scared of you, it will stop listening and just put all of its efforts into getting away from you. The secret is positive reinforcement. Instead of punishing it when it fails, reward it when it succeeds. Lavish praise, give favorite treats, and make it feel that these tricks are “fun”—the best motivation of all!

Parrotlet Training-Keep sessions short

Parrotlets can’t concentrate for long periods of time. Limit sessions to just 20 minutes a day. You can hold them twice a day, or once a day—as long as you are consistent and don’t allow several days to lapse without a “refresher course”.