Guide to target training your parrot

Guide to target training your parrot

This is an old tutorial I made a couple of years ago when I was still new to filming and editing, so the sound quality isn’t the best. The information still holds up though, and it’s a quick, easily understandable guide to what is most often the first thing we teach our parrots to do!



Here are some additional tips for training success:


  • If you’re using food treats, use small pieces that the bird can finish quickly. Combined with dividing the behavior into very small steps as explained in the video, this enables you to hand out treats frequently, which in turn will give momentum to your training, prevent boredom/frustration, as well as help you make quick progress
  • In the beginning, try to position the stick so that your parrot can only reach the very. tip. This prevents chewing, and also helps teaching that it is in fact the tip of the stick you want your bird to be touching.
  • Don’t move the target around while teaching this behavior. Later on in the training you can of course teach your parrot to follow a moving target as well. Doing so in the beginning stages, however, will only make your bird frustrated and mess up the training.
  • You do not have to use a “training stand”. In fact, i often recommend you start training wherever your parrot feels comfortable, especially if he or she has a tendency to be fearful or is not flighted. The bird should be able to easily move away from you anytime as this is an indicator to you that it does not want to participate right now. Being comfortable also helps the bird focus on the fun training.
  • Just make sure the environment is calm and quiet. Sometimes it can be a good idea to remove some environmental distractions, like toys, too. Although that is not always necessary as you can see in the video.


Good luck, and have fun training! 🙂

About the author

Stephanie Edlund administrator

Stephanie is the owner of Understanding Parrots. She works professionally as a zookeeper and bird trainer and is a certified parrot behavior consultant with the IAABC, where she is also the chairperson of the parrot division.

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