Sunday, April 13, 2008

Training your Parrot: Step Up, Step Down


The Step up and Step down Training is probably the most important part of any Parrots training and all owners should consider doing this as part of homing a new bird.

Step up and down training will benefit both you and your bird in the long run. You will need to keep to a strict regime and be quite strict with your routine.

Of course if your bird already attempts to step and down this will make the training all the easier. I have found that new born hand reared parrots are the easiest to train.

While flying birds may be allowed to land on your shoulder, you should not allow the bird to remain there but tell it to step on to your hand, and carry it around on your hand not your shoulder. Most shoulder birds will reject training, bite their owner and/or be lost as the owner forgets about the bird and walks outdoors with the bird on the shoulder. The bird then flies away.

You should always appear calm and confident throughout any training sessions. This is the key to the bird learning new things from you.

Lesson One

If the cage is portable you can take this, with the bird in it, to the training room and let the bird out. Otherwise you may need to remove the bird from its cage using a towel to catch it in if it is inclined to bit. It is vital that the bird¹s cage is removed from the training room before any training is started. A small spare bedroom makes a good training room. However you must remove anything that the bird may perch on that is hither than your chest height, such as pictures, ornaments and tall furniture. You will need a chair in the room for the bird to perch on and the floor should be carpeted. All perching places should be lower than human chest height, so that YOU always LOOK DOWN ON the bird. Birds should not have free access to your shoulder. Flying birds can land there but must be taken down immediately with the "Step up" command. On no account should any bird be allowed to walk up your arm on to your shoulder. This is simply the bird¹s challenge to your position. You will not be able to train birds that treat you as an inferior. Once in the training room, open the cage door and take the bird out or wait until it comes out, then remove the cage from the room.

The first command is "Step up" which tells the bird to get on to your finger or hand. Put your finger or hand very close to the birds lower belly, gently touching it there and say "Step up." The bird may refuse to step up, or fly to another perch or bite. If it refuses, repeat the command, pushing the bird gently on its lower belly. If it bites, try to show NO REACTION to this and repeat the command immediately.

If the bird goes to the floor, wait a few moments so it is calm, then approach it, place your hand so that you are almost touching it in the same place and repeat the command. If you react to being bitten, this will only stimulate the bird to bite again. The bird has no defence against a person who remains calm and unflustered. Usually after three or four attempts at Step up the bird will step up on to your hand.

When it does, it is vital that you praise the bird enthusiastically. Your TONE of voice is more important than what you actually say. Don't let it stay on you for more than a few seconds. Then say "Go Down" and return the bird to the chair back. Every time the bird obeys a command, you must reward him with something you know it really likes. This can be verbal praise, having a head scratch or even a small food treat. Training should not last more than five minutes can be done twice a day, each day, until the bird is good with taking the commands.

For the first three or four days keep your bird in its cage except for the lessons. When the bird is stepping on and off your hand easily, move on to the next lesson.

The first command is "Step up" which tells the bird to get on to your finger or hand. Put your finger or hand very close to the bird's lower belly, gently touching it there and say "Step up." The bird may refuse to step up, or fly to another perch or bite. If it refuses, repeat the command, pushing the bird gently on its lower belly. If it bites, try to show NO REACTION to this and repeat the command immediately.

If the bird goes to the floor, wait a few moments so it is calm, then approach it, place your hand so that you are almost touching it in the same place and repeat the command. If you react to being bitten, this will only stimulate the bird to bite again. The bird has no defence against a person who remains calm and unflustered. Usually after three or four attempts at Step up the bird will step up on to your hand.

When it does, it is vital that you praise the bird enthusiastically. Your TONE of voice is more important than what you actually say. Don¹t let it stay on you for more than a few seconds. Then say "Go Down" and return the bird to the chair back.

Every time the bird obeys a command, you must reward him with something you know it really likes. This can be verbal praise, having a head scratch or even a small food treat. Training should not last more than five minutes can be done twice a day, each day, until the bird is good with taking the commands. For the first three or four days keep your bird in its cage except for the lessons. When the bird is stepping on and off your hand easily, move on to the next lesson.

Lesson Two

This is the same as lesson one, in the same room, except that there should be two chairs in the room. Tell the bird "Step up" on to your finger/hand, then transfer it from one chair to another. Then when this is established without difficulty, transfer it from the chair, or to the windowsill. All these transfers should be from one piece of furniture to another, in the training room, always to furniture which is lower than your chest. It will help the bird if you touch any new place you are asking the bird to go down on to with your other free hand first, then say "Go down or Step down".

© Paul Hallissey. For further information visit http://www.pricelessparrots.com/

1 comment:

Laura said...

Really useufl for me. Because I have Untrained Parrot.