Have you just brought home a new parrot? If so, there’s no better time than now to start learning about parrot training. You can start by teaching your bird a few basics, and this is true whether your pet has been with you a few days or a few years. One of the best ways to get started with training your parrot is to teach it to step up to your hand on command. So by following the instructions in this article, you will be able to tell your parrot to “step up” and it will immediately step onto your finger or hand.
You may be wondering why this is the first thing you should train your parrot to do. To start, removing your bird from a cage becomes much easier once it knows the step-up command. It also helps when trying to remove the bird from a shoulder – either your own or someone else’s. Some parrots will try to bite when being removed from a shoulder, but this is less of an issue with a bird that is well-trained to step up. You will find that a bird that has learned the step-up command is easier to handle in unfamiliar or even dangerous situations such as if the bird would ever escape your home accidentally. It’s important that your bird learn to cooperate with you, and teaching step up is an excellent way to do that. In summary, teaching a parrot to step up is a great behavior to begin its training with.
OK, Let’s Get Started
Let’s now take a look at the steps used to teach your bird to step onto your hand. You slowly place your hand so that it is in front of your bird at around the height of its feet and in a normal speaking tone, give the command to “step up.” Remember that your bird doesn’t understand our language, so it will learn what these words mean over time. For now, you can gently push your finger against your bird’s lower stomach area to push it backwards just a little. As you give a gentle nudge, your bird should willingly step onto your finger. Don’t forget to praise your bird enthusiastically once it has stepped up onto your finger. Continue to work with your bird by asking it to “step up” from one hand to the other several times.
Troubleshooting the Step-up Command
Sometimes a parrot will cling to the perch for dear life. Who knows what is going on inside their heads, but this is how you handle this situation. Keep your one hand in front of the bird and move your other hand behind just a few inches away. Most parrots don’t like to be picked up this way, and this action gives the bird a choice of either that or stepping up to your hand. For most parrots, the choice is an easy one since it would rather step up than be picked up in this manner. Always remember to enthusiastically praise your bird when it does the correct behavior.
Daily Practice is Best
Be sure to keep up the practice with your parrot. It’s really best to practice every day at the beginning. Even after the bird has this command down, you should reinforce the behavior with occasional practice sessions throughout its life. If you do this, you’ll find your bird is easier to handle and it won’t be nearly as bad when the “terrible twos” hit. And there you go! You’ve just taken your first step (pun intended) towards becoming a parrot training expert.