How to Train Your ESA Parrot: 10 Easy Tricks
7 min read
Love and support is the most essential thing your ESA animal can give you but learning a couple of funny or useful tricks doesn’t hurt too, especially when training process is total fun both for the owner and the animal. And it’s not like dogs are the only ones who can get trained — parrots are quick-learners too. Give it a little time and you two will become the life of the party or will have more ways to have fun together, whatever you prefer.
On this page, we’ve gathered 10 easy tricks to teach your ESA — some are super-simple, some will take a little bit more effort but all of them are worth trying.
Reward your parrot for the successful completion of every command.
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Stepping up is the first trick to teach your ESA parrot as it’s the easiest one and besides can be quite useful when you need your bird to leave the cage and step up on your hand so that you can clean it, for example. Besides, stepping from one perch to another is the natural parrot behavior so there won’t be any problems mastering it — you don’t really need to master what you already know. To teach it, just offer your finger or palm to your ESA parrot and most of them will instinctively step on it. Add the “step-up” command and reward your bird with a small treat after every successful step.
One more easy trick to teach your ESA parrot is turning around with the wave of your hand or a simple command. While a bird is sitting on a perch, take a tasty treat and place it at the eye level but quite far so it can’t be reached. Slowly move the treat around the parrot while saying “turn around” or any other command you like. Don’t forget to give your parrot the well-deserved reward when the turn is made. Give this trick a few tries and soon a parrot will be able to turn around even without the treats at sight (but reward him/her anyway).
You can turn this command into a "hi" greeting.
Want your ESA parrot to great you or your guests with a wave? It’s easier than it sounds, especially when your bird already knows the step-up command. What you need to do is to offer your finger to a bird while saying “wave” and them slowly move it away, without letting a bird step on it. Be quick now: while the parrot’s foot is still up in the air, reward a bird with a treat. Soon, your bird will respond to the “wave” command with a funny leg-lifting. You can even make it “hi!” instead of “wave” for the complete greeting experience.
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Take a Bow
If you want to feel a bit like a prince or princess, you can teach your ESA parrot to take a bow. The trick is just as easy as the “turning around” one and is taught the same way with the only difference being that you don’t move a treat around a bird but move it down, keeping out of the parrot’s reach.
Here comes a more complicated trick yet probably the most entertaining one as here you can teach your ESA parrot to pick an object and put it in your hand, just like a dog would do with a ball. It can be a very calming and bonding experience for your two, as long as you are ready to spend some time on training. So, what do you do?
- First of all, choose the object you’ll use for your training sessions — it should be small enough to fit into the parrot’s beak and bright enough to catch the bird’s interest. It can be a button, a bell or a small glass ball.
- Offer it to the bird and wait until he/she takes it into the beam. At this moment, say “fetch”.
- When the bird drops the object, say “drop it” and give your parrot a treat.
- Let the bird take the object from the floor or table, don’t forget the “fetch command”.
- Try to catch the falling object so that the bird can associate the treat with the moment the object drops into your palm.
- The final part is to put the object on a distance from both of you and say “fetch” as soon as you see the bird moving closer to it. If everything went right, the parrot should have already understood that bringing the object to you will be followed by a treat. If not — don’t get upset and continue training. Some birds (and owners) require more time to learn a trick but most of them will succeed sooner or later.
It's good to turn on the music you like and start dancing - your parrot may repeat some moves.
You don’t need a dance partner when you have your ESA parrot and teaching someone to dance has never been this easy. Just turn on your favorite song and start dancing around. Eventually, your bird will follow you with their own kind of dance (usually, it looks like stepping from one leg to another and shaking their head). If you are not the best dancer and the bird just can’t get what’s happening there, you can try to turn on some Youtube video of the dancing parrots and show it to yours.
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It’s not like playing dead is the most useful ESA parrot trick out there but it’s just fun. It all starts the same, with the “step up” trick. When it’s mastered, offer your finger to a parrot on his side. When the bird steps on your finger with one leg, slowly move your finger up and around a parrot so that he happens to lay on his back. Don’t forget the two most important things: the treat and the command of your choice. Be careful and gentle. It will definitely be confusing for a bird at the beginning, but sooner or later the parrot will get that falling on the back will bring him some tasty treats.
Sit on a Shoulder
We believe that playing a pirate is a vital part of owning an ESA parrot. Luckily, you don’t need to lose your hand or eyeball to do it (though a little bit of rum won’t hurt). Teaching your parrot to sit on your shoulder will do the thing. To do it, choose the command (yo ho ho might work) and carefully place your bird on your shoulder. When the bird is comfortable, you can add some moving, giving him a treat after every 4-5 steps. Walk slowly and avoid loud noises and sudden movements.
Repetition is a key to success for parrots - just keep saying the same words multiple times.
The first thing to understand here is that you can’t teach your parrot to talk, you can only help a bit. All the parrots are different and not all of them will talk — and that’s completely ok. You don’t always want to talk too, don’t you? To increase your chances of getting a winged talker, you can try repeating simple words or phrases when the bird is around. Follow every noise the bird makes with a treat. Repeat and repeat again.
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And Whatever Else You Can Imagine
Parrots are smart birds and can catch everything you give them, literally and figuratively. When you are done with simple tricks, you can move forward to the more difficult ones or can even invent your own tricks. It can be skateboarding, shaking “yes” and “no”, kissing, and even playing basketball.
Whatever trick you choose, remember that the main aim of teaching and learning here is to have fun so make sure both of you are comfortable and don’t get tired or bored. Stock enough treats, think of the commands you’d like to use, and get started!