Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Exchange information about how to teach specific tricks to parrots. Most of these techniques should apply to all bird species. Share your success stories.

Can you teach an old bird new tricks?

Yes (I have been able to teach tricks to an older parrot)
9
100%
No (no matter how much I try, young ones learn but old ones don't)
0
No votes
Neither (never taught a trick or only to young birds)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 9

Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby Michael » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:23 pm

I don't know why I often get asked "is it possible to teach tricks to an older parrot?" but it's a common question. I wonder if anyone has ever encountered (with the exception of health reasons) a parrot that is too old to learn tricks? Has anyone disproved this by teaching an old (possibly rescue) parrot lots of new tricks?
User avatar
Michael
Macaw
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 6199
Location: New York
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot, Cape Parrot, Green-Winged Macaw
Flight: Yes

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby pennyandrocky » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:42 pm

i think they can always learn somthing new if they want to. i taught my :amazon: to fly when he was 16 and trained him for outdoor freeflight when he was almost 20.when he was past 30 my :gcc: taught him to give me kisses.
pennyandmya
pennyandrocky
Amazon
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 915
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: green cheek conure,ducorps cockatoo
Flight: Yes

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby marie83 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:50 am

Older as in how old? Most animals have an optimal age for learning new stuff but just like people they never stop learning. As animals age, learning slows, just like it does with people. I think for a pet parrot the decline in learning ability would be alot slower with a bird that is continiously learning new things (like you two) than a bird which has been cooped up in a cage then put in a situation that mean it needs to learn new things.

You can teach an old parrot new tricks (provided its physically capable of course) but it will take longer.
User avatar
marie83
Cockatoo
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 3565
Location: Midlands, UK
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Yellow sided Green Cheek Conure
Pineapple Green Cheek Conure
Flight: Yes

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby Pricey_boy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:39 pm

yum yum/yummy our rescued rainbow lorikeet who has plucked his feathers and is about 8 years old i taught to jump tom my hand ,step up, and spin in 2 days
Pricey_boy
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 347
Number of Birds Owned: 8
Types of Birds Owned: 3 galah cockatoos
Grey and white weiro
Long billed corella
mutation scaly breasted lorikeet
rainbow lorikeet
Flight: Yes

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby friend2parrots » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:39 pm

i have been able to succesfully teach my bird new commands, including the wait command, even though he is five years old - I agree with marie, the older birds still learn well, its just that it may take them a tad bit longer. but i would venture to guess that an extremely motivated adult bird can learn just as fast as a young bird, maybe faster if they are used to a lifetime of training. I think the birds learn that learning new things is fun when they provided regular training sessions as part of their lives, and this creates a whole new mindset in the older bird - it creates a bird that is really just supermotivated to learn new tricks.

also -

pennyandrocky wrote:i taught my to fly when he was 16 and trained him for outdoor freeflight when he was almost 20.


pennyandrocky, after learning from another post of yours what this poor bird went through in his earlier years before you rescued him, this brought tears to my eyes. what a wonderful caregiver you must have been for him.
Ringo - Green Cheek Conure
Toby - Bourke Parakeet
friend2parrots
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 491
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: green cheek conure
bourke parakeet
Flight: Yes

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby nagelsan » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:27 pm

We thought our african grey who allready was twelfe when we got him, a few tricks.
I'm certain i can teach him a lot more, but he keeps giving up food and because of some personal issues i could not put him on a training diet.
Soon i will be able to do so again.
But in a short time i lurned him to turn around, wave, kiss and wings (not entirely), so i do beleive you can teach an old parrot new tricks.
Ofcourse twelfe isnt very old.
I had a friend wich had a amazon, wich was 37 when she got him.
He has had two strokes and was totally blind and scared of everything and everyone.
She has given him faith again and thought him how to play.
Maybe thats not much, but for a parrot who has never played in his life and wich was so scared of everything since he got blind, i beleive it is a lot.
He also learned to ask if he could go on when he was climbing.
He would ask Yes? And his owner would say yes, he would go on. If she said no, he would stop and turn around.
So, learning can be done, i beleive they can learn until they die.
nagelsan
Lovebird
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 49
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: African Grey, Senegal Parrot, White cockatoo
Flight: No

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby Wayne361 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:27 pm

Its my belief that as long as there is motivation provided (treats, head scratches etc) then the bird can/will learn new tricks. Oscar basically only knew "step up" when i got him, that was it, other than being reasonably socialized. He was 8 when I got him from a re-homed situation off of Kijiji. In a year he has been able to learn a lot. Tricks are only one of the things he has learned. He is also getting more adept at verbally communicating his desires (as I reward him when he properly cues me). One example is when flight training, after he has been rewarded for his last flight he will tell me when he is ready to go again by saying "hey buddy". If i am preoccupied with something else i.e. wife talking to me etc, he will repeat "hey buddy" till I cue him to do next trick/flight recall. When he is hungry he will tell me "yum yums" When he wants me to take him to perch for potty he will often say "step up" before going onto my hand. I could go on. Not bragging, just proving a point that training is not only for young birds. Again if there is motivation, change can and will be observed. In fact I think Oscars learning curve is getting steeper as he ages, meaning he tends to pick up new things faster now than before and is expanding his vocabulary more now than before. I realize that this is probably due to his increased comfort level and improved socialization since i have owned him, but again he isnt getting any younger.

Wayne
Wayne361
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 219
Location: Oshawa, Ontario
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot
Flight: Yes

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby terri » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:23 pm

Wayne ,thanks for sharing :D I cant help but think how much happier he must be with you .Are older birds are probably craving the attention ,and have led such simple boring lifes.Making an effort to enrich their lives shouldnt be over looked.
User avatar
terri
Poicephalus
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 410
Number of Birds Owned: 12
Types of Birds Owned: catalina macaw,RB2,LS2,Hawkhead,Congo grey,2Blk Hd caiques,yellowstreaked lorry,yellowsided greencheek,Blue fnt amazon ,goffin2
Flight: Yes

Re: Can't Teach an Old Bird New Tricks (True or False?)

Postby Wayne361 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:28 pm

Thanks Terri I appreciate your words. It has been a steep, yet fun, learning curve for both of us I'm sure. I knew ZERO about bird ownership before getting Oscar. I knew i wanted a bird and didnt want to go through a breeder or pet-store. Once I seen Oscar i instantly knew I wanted him and could see he wasnt getting the attention he needed. Upon many, many, many hours of reading, asking questions, reading some more, trial and error, i think we have both come a long way. Once i understood the basics of positive re-inforcement it all came together quite well. What I like about bird ownership is one has to be proactive in ones thinking to ensure bad/undesired behaviours are not re-enforced. I was reminded of this the other day while flight training Oscar (made my own flight stands ;) he flew to me when I cued him to fly to the opposing perch. I then put him on the opposing perch and rewarded. Next time I cued him to go to opposing perch he flew to me and I put him on the perch and rewarded. I was thinking that it is strange behaviour cause he always flys to the opposing perches on command. Then it struck me that I am rewarding him for flying to me and being put back on perch. Now I will put back on the perch and not reward till he has performed cued behaviour. A few times of doing this and he realized he wasnt going to be rewarded for flying to me outside of cue. Anyhow long story but point is I am constantly learning and becoming a better bird owner as time progresses. Again thanks for your words.

Wayne
Wayne361
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 219
Location: Oshawa, Ontario
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal Parrot
Flight: Yes


Return to Parrot Trick Training

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store