Is Your Parrot Ignoring Your Training Efforts?
So, you adopted a pet parrot and things were going swell with the training and getting your parrot used to the home. Now, all of a sudden your parrot is ignoring your training techniques and methods. You are losing your cool and you may not know what to do. You may even be to the point where you are thinking about getting rid of your bird. However, this would be cruel and it is important to realize that as a pet bird owner, you may be teaching your parrot to ignore you.
Are You Reinforcing Your Most Wanted Behaviors ?
Its very simple. When a bird gets what it wants with a certain behavior, they'll repeat it over and over.
There are many ways to train a bird. In addition, there are many ways in which a bird owner reinforces the most wanted behaviors yet also accidentally provides the parrot attention or stimulation when it is misbehaving. As a parrot owner we must know the difference between the two of these things and be really attentive to "accidental training."
Are you reinforcing your most wanted behaviors in your bird? The most wanted behaviors that you may have for your bird might include:
- Stepping Up On Your Hand To Get In Or Out Of Cage
- Staying On Their Play Stand
- Using An Inside Voice
- Not Biting You
How can you make sure you are reinforcing those wanted behaviors? Through proper training of your bird you can reinforce the most wanted behaviors. Work on training your bird using positive methods like Clicker Training on a consistent basis so that your parrot is used to learning and develops a pattern of listening and doing for a reward.
As a parrot owner, you may also be providing attention or stimulation when your bird is misbehaving, even if you are unaware of it or not doing it on purpose. Have you ever found yourself talking or even yelling at your bird when it screams or having a really animated response to a nip? Hmm. Polly got the attention she wanted! Birds love any form of attention and they especially love animated responses. They're not so good at interpreting the emotion behind your spirited responses, though. So, if you jerk back your hand and yell "OUCH" with a nip, Polly gets a real charge!
How Fast Do You Need to Reinforce or Correct Wanted Behavior?
You are in the middle of training your bird and all of a sudden you realize that your bird is displaying unexpected behaviors. What to do from there? When your parrot is displaying behaviors that you are not alright with it is important to totally ignore the inappropriate behavior and lavish attention on the right behavior as soon as your bird does it. So, say you're training for "Step Up."
- Polly acts like she's going to nip you.
- IMMEDIATELY STOP talking and looking at the bird.
- As soon as the bird calms down, try again.
- Repeat stopping as needed - maybe even take a short break to give Polly time to chill.
- The very first time your bird steps up as expected, click & treat immediately, and excitedly let Polly know what a good girl she is.
See, the whole trick is training yourself to not respond to unwanted behavior but IMMEDIATELY respond to wanted behavior. How would you craft this technique with screaming?
Choosing Training Techniques YOUR Bird Will Respond To
Training a bird can get confusing at times and choosing the right training techniques that your bird will respond to may be difficult. So how can you choose proven training methods that will work? You can take recommendations from experts such as these ones:
- Use Clicker Training
- Buy or download Training DVDs
- Train Using Bird Props
All of these training methods have been proven to work time and time again for parrots all over the world. Give them a try for your parrot right away especially if your parrot is ignoring your training methods.
Slow & Steady: Tracking Your Progress
Bird training is not the easiest thing in the world however it does not have to be the hardest either. If you just train slowly and steadily you will be able to get your parrot back on track or on track in the first place. By training your parrot slow and steadily you will be able to do multiple things including but not limited to:
- Seeing and Measuring Growth on a Chart
- Knowing that Your Bird is Responding to Your Hard Work
- Get Your Parrot to Quit Ignoring Your Training Methods
- Correct Unwanted Behaviors Faster
- Improve the frequency of Wanted Behaviors
Training your parrot should be fun and stress free. If your parrot is ignoring your training methods then trying something new seems like it should be the right choice and it often is. Sometimes parrots just get stubborn and other times the parrot owners are teaching their pet parrot to ignore their training techniques. If you are unsure try the training techniques tips above and see what you can do to bring your parrot up to speed. Bird training varies from bird to bird and owner to owner so choose the training method that works for not only your bird but yourself as well.
- Diane Burroughs