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8:50 AM   August 27, 2014
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Treat-Training Advice

Treat-training birds to respond to simple commands resembles the same process used for training dogs and other pets. Though any pet’s main indicator of success is their motivation for their favorite food, birds learn best with a few specific techniques.

For customers in the market for fun ways to interact and bond with their parrots, treat training fits the bill. Send them home with a few appropriate treat items and a tip sheet to help them get started.

  • Selecting treats for rewarding parrot behavior depends on the animal’s motivation and exercise habits. An older, sedentary bird with a taste for sweet, high-calorie treats could be at high risk for obesity when trained with dried fruits, for example. That same parrot might be better off with low-calorie, high-fiber vegetable-based treats.
  • Keep it fun. Birds sense frustration in their owner’s voice and behaviors. If training sessions get wild, take a breather and get back to it when the activity seems fun for everyone.
  • Don’t offer the treat as a reward, every time. As your pet catches on, transition to verbal praise until you’re offering just verbal praise in return for desirable behaviors. You may not always have a treat handy.
  • Wait until your bird is sitting quietly to begin a training session. Don’t interrupt behaviors like preening, climbing or other activities.
  • Keep it short. Several quick sessions throughout the day are far more effective with parrots than infrequent, long training periods.
  • Always end positively. Parrots are particularly prone to developing phobias associated with negative experiences. If even a single training session ends badly, you may have missed your chance for success at future sessions.
  • Obesity in the domestic parrot should always be a concern whenever food is involved. Their high metabolisms and cravings for sweets, fatty seeds and other high calorie food items puts them at risk for becoming overweight.

Before beginning any treat-training regimen, make sure to have your pet weighed and evaluated for obesity. You can conduct an evaluation on your own by palpating your bird’s breast bone. If you are not able to easily feel the keel bone in the animal’s chest with gentle pressure, chances are they are carrying around too many extra ounces. <HOME>

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