Bird training for the "step up" command is very important for maintaining a long term relationship with your pet bird. There are some that say that we need to just let our parrot be. But, when you consider how many parrots are re-homed each year for inability to follow basic bird training commands, you'll appreciate having a parrot that listens and follow your directives and allows you to place it in a location that you need it to be in. Bird training is not about being an officer or commando to your parrot. It's about using positive methods to develop and preserve the loving bond that you have with your pet bird through parrot adolescence and over the course of a very long life time. Small parrots live 15 to 20 years while medium and large parrots will live with you for the remainder of your adult life. So, train and maintain "fun to be around" parrot behavior by teaching and maintaining the bird "step-up" command.
The best starting point for any baby or rehomed parrot is to teach the "Step-Up" command. You must be able to expect that when you reach your hand in the parrot cage, attempt to pick your bird up off of the floor or choose to put your bird to bed at night that it respects you as the leader of the flock without biting or running off. Even more important, if you are ever in a position in which you need take your bird to the vet quickly or evacuate, your bird is compelled to cooperate.
The "Step Up Command" can be used to teach your bird to step up on your finger, your arm or even a Finger Saver Perch like The Percher. It's a starting point in terms of not only trustingly establishing yourself as the flock leader, but bird training to follow through with expectations that result in both insuring bird safety and bird training for a fun pet bird to be around.
Before you attempt bird training, try to determine what bird treats motivate your parrot. Some parrots love sunflower seeds. Chopped peanuts, chopped grapes or fresh kernals of corn are easy to serve up bird treats, too. Small, bite sized treats that can be consumed really fast work best. We've had the most success with a bowl of Goldenfeast Tropical Fruit and serving up the reward in a teaspoon.
Using a clicker, train your parrot to know that the "click" of the clicker means a yummy bird treat that it will get quickly. Of course, you'll have to train yourself to click at the exact moment! Break bird tricks or your behavioral expectations down into small, one step sequences. See our Clicker Training for Birds Kit for help. You'll learn how to "load the clicker" first and then break down bird tricks and behavioral expectations into small, easy to teach steps.
You are training your bird to respond to a command > hearing the clicker > and get an immediate reward with a bird treat.
Our smart parrots quickly learn that when they do what we like, they get a pay off. You can move on to the next step in your bird training sequence once your parrot recognizes that it will get a treat when it hears the click of the clicker training device.
You must only do bird training exercises when you have the presence of mind to immediately recognize and reward desired behavior. Keep in mind that each expectation that you wish your parrot to perform must be broken down in to really small bird training steps. So, say your parrot knows that when it hears the clicker, it will get a reward, the next micro-step is to teach your parrot to put it's foot on your finger. Click and treat. Sounds like a lot of work, but most birds learn this little step in about 5 minutes!
Step Up Steps for Bird Training:
While all birds are individuals and learn at different rates, this simple yet important command is generally mastered by most birds within the first few training sessions. You may be amazed to find that your pet is quite the little scholar!