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Bird Training: Teaching Your Bird To Step Up

A Bird in the Hand: Image by Furryscaly, FlickrA Bird in the Hand: Image by Furryscaly, FlickrHaving troubles getting your bird to step up? With the right training methods, he should not only be stepping up, but responding well to your hands. Keep reading to learn how to teach your bird to step up.

Choose A Training Area

When you're ready to begin training your bird, pick a training area with little distractions and no windows (closed windows if this isn't an option). Train with just the two of you in the room, so your bird will keep his attention on you as you're trying to train him. This will not only help the bird feel safe, but it will help keep him safe should he decide to jump or fly off his perch. 

Make Your Bird Feel Safe

Because your bird is a companion, you probably want to feel like he's your friend. Your bird will want to feel the same way. To make sure your bird feels safe, give him praise when he does what you want him to, but don't force your bird to do anything he doesn't want to. Be sure not to scold, or physically punish your bird either. He'll feel scared, which will make him want to bite. 

Get Him Used To Your Hands

It's best to get the bird used to your hands while he's still in his cage. Do this by feeding your bird his favorite treat from your hand without removing him from his cage. This will help your bird to realize that hands aren't such a scary thing. When you're doing this, approach your bird slowly with your hand, and make it clear that you have a treat.

Treat Him

DSC00380: Image by Fvanrenterghem, FlickrDSC00380: Image by Fvanrenterghem, FlickrTreats are your friend during training time because of their ability to help your bird realize that your hands are a good place to be. To help this process along, take the bird to your training area and try placing your hand near the bird. On his perch, for example, several inches away from him. Leave your hand there for ten seconds or so. If he doesn't bite your hand, you can reward him with a treat from your other hand. If he reacts well to this, try moving your hand a little closer and repeat the process. If he bites you, move both of your hands away and don't give him a treat. Wait a few minutes before placing your hand back in its starting position. Keep doing this until your bird is tolerant of your hands.

Give Praise

Be sure to give your bird lots of praise during the training process. Use a happy, positive tone. Birds like this, and they should react well. Praise your bird whenever he is exhibiting good behavior and not biting you. However, remember not to scold him when he does bite. Simply remove your hands for a few minutes and start over.

Time To "Step Up"

Once your bird is acting more comfortable with your hand, you can try asking him to step up. Slowly move your hand toward the bird with your finger extended. If he seems comfortable with this, gently push your finger against his abdomen. Say "step up" in a gentle, positive tone. If he does, praise and reward him with a treat. 

With some patience and time, your bird will be stepping up in no time. Do you own a bird? What methods have you used to get him to step up?

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