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Right Age for Parrot Training.

Discuss the methods and techniques of clicker training, target training and bonding. These are usually the first steps in training a young parrot.

Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby frozengirl » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:44 pm

:hatching: What is roughly the right age to start formal training on a cockatiel? :greycockatiel:
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby Pajarita » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:09 am

I already answered that question on your other thread but the generic answer would be once the bird is a juvenile. But it also depends on what you consider 'formal' training...
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby frozengirl » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:00 pm

formal training : when the bird is food motivated . Right now my baby cockatiel is 2 months 1 week old, and she will target the stick for millet about 2-4 times then look for a toy to play with. She has been weaned for 3 weeks onto solid foods , and does not want formula or soft foods anymore. She won't even eat mash anymore, and prefers raw veges.
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby Pajarita » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:08 pm

Well, formal training does not equal food motivation. Parrots are always food motivated but that doesn't necessarily translate into formal training. I don't know if anybody else shares my understanding of it but, to me, 'formal training' implies regular, daily sessions in which the bird is trained through rewards to do things that it doesn't really want to do :lol: like target training as you are doing. Step up and down is not something that you need to teach a handfed bird because it will do it out of its own initiative - even flight recall. I don't ever do any training sessions, I don't use a target stick, a clicker or food rewards but all my birds are VERY well behaved and know and obey a large number of commands. I teach them the same way one would teach a child, basically...
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby stevesjk » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:32 am

I thought i was alone in having absolutely zero interest in formally training my birds :lol:
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby Pajarita » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:24 am

Actually, Steven, I think that, when it comes to formally training birds, there are three kinds of people:
1] the professionals who do it all the time
2] the people who never do it
3] the people who do it at the beginning and stop after a number of months

I've just never had the need for training sessions. For one thing, I couldn't care less if my animals do any kind of trick, if they are smart or dumb, or if they are pretty or ugly - I love and enjoy all of them in the same degree. And, for another, my animals are all very well behaved, know a large number of commands and obey them 99 times out of 100 and, when they don't, it doesn't bother me one single bit! :lol: All my dogs came to me with behavioral issues and some take longer than others to learn their 'good manners' but even the ones that might never learn something [like Chicho -and most likely Oggie, too- which still hasn't learned NOT to pee inside] are OK by me [that's why they invented diapers, belly bands and wee-wee pads!]
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby jackblack » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:19 pm

I have a 5 month old Senegal named Oscar who does tricks. I’ve had her for about 2 months now and she is already reterieving objects for me. In my opinion you can start training them directly and indirectly as soon as they are fully weaned. With Oscar I would take 5-10 minutes training her everyday for a week until she could retrieve objects. She’s a smart one.
Also, just a side note, when you are trying to teach them to do something but you don’t see results or your parrot doesn’t seem interested or isn’t meeting your expectation, don’t give up. I was losing hope as well but in a instant she picked up the object and started walking towards my hand. It really surprised me. Right after that she continued walking towards my hand with the object.
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby Michael » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:48 am

frozengirl wrote::hatching: What is roughly the right age to start formal training on a cockatiel? :greycockatiel:


It's a gradual transition from the sort of informal or limited training with the baby to when it is a bit older. But if you take it easy, you can start by 6 months old. Earlier but with less rigor/demand.
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Re: Right Age for Parrot Training.

Postby Pajarita » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:01 am

jackblack wrote:I have a 5 month old Senegal named Oscar who does tricks. I’ve had her for about 2 months now and she is already reterieving objects for me. In my opinion you can start training them directly and indirectly as soon as they are fully weaned. With Oscar I would take 5-10 minutes training her everyday for a week until she could retrieve objects. She’s a smart one.
Also, just a side note, when you are trying to teach them to do something but you don’t see results or your parrot doesn’t seem interested or isn’t meeting your expectation, don’t give up. I was losing hope as well but in a instant she picked up the object and started walking towards my hand. It really surprised me. Right after that she continued walking towards my hand with the object.


Welcome to the forum! I am afraid that you rushed things way too much for poor Oscar... You see, the issue is not whether a baby bird would or would not learn, of course it would! The problem is 'burn up'. Baby animals need to bond with their owners first [otherwise, they grow up disaffected and end up biting their owners when they are adults]. They also need to learn life lessons just as Nature intended - things like step up and step down, going back to their cage, mastering flight, landing, turns, etc, not to chew on things you don't want them to chew, to play with toys so they develop their spatial and motor skills, etc. Think of puppies, colts and human babies. None of them even start their training until they are juveniles but that doesn't mean that they are not learning all the time, they are! Puppies would start learning useful commands for living -like not to pee/poop inside the house, not to jump on people, not to chew on shoes, not to torment the cat, to come when called, to go back to their bed to eat their treat, etc. Then, by the time they are about 7 or 8 months old, the formal training starts. Same thing with human babies... There was a trend, years ago, to start teaching babies with cards - and the babies excelled at it! By the time they were three years old, they knew things that an 8 or a 9 year old did not! But these same babies did not grow to be as well-adjusted socially as the babies that were just allowed to play with toys AND they did not end up smarter or more learned than them, either. Nature has timelines in terms of development, both physical and psychological. Timelines that were developed and fine-tuned to exactness over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and it doesn't do to think that we know better. We don't.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way because I am not trying to criticize you or make you feel bad but I have to ask you to please, stop the training and just bond with your bird. It might no longer work by now because with bonding, as with everything else, there are windows of opportunity and, if you miss it, you are screwed up but parrots are highly social and very loving animals and you might get lucky. And I use the word 'lucky' because, as somebody who has been on the receiving end of aggression from a disaffected Senegal, believe me when I tell you that you do not want to go through it! Senegals might be small in size but they are fearless and extremely aggressive when they decide they don't like you.
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