Parrot Training Pace and Results!

Something we often see crop up when it comes to working with and training our parrots is the expectation and drive for quick results. It’s something we as humans can be guilty of and every parrot trainer out there has had moments where they wanted or expected training or bonding to go quickly.

Given the expectations placed upon us as humans, and the way our whole society functions, it’s no surprise at all that this transfers onto our interactions with our parrots. We are often expected to produce quick results, adapt to change instantly, learn things instantly and reproduce outcomes at a very fast pace.

It’s unfair on us as humans and extra unfair on our parrots. Sadly, society often doesn’t allow us the flexibility to take things at a fair pace, not if we want to pay our bills! But in our interactions with our parrots, there aren’t any targets or restrictions, which allows us a much greater flexibility to do things right.

Now if you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking that this article is about slamming society, pointing fingers at parrot owners/trainers and generally moaning! However, we wrote this from a place of understanding. Living with parrots can be hard, especially when there are challenging behaviours to deal with. Heck, being human and existing can be hard enough at times!

We want the best for our parrots; we want them to be happy and have awesome lives with us. We want to interact with them, enjoy their company and do all the rewarding things that we see from others in the parrot community.

So it’s important to remember that training our parrots doesn’t have to be a race. We can take our time with it. Be it training a complex behaviour with small successive approximations, converting a parrot from an all seed diet to a healthier one, bonding with a nervous bird, or dealing with a biting issue.

It’s as much about being kind to ourselves during the training process and not blaming ourselves, comparing our progress to others, taking our time and respecting our limits as well as our parrots. Quick results are awesome if circumstances allow, but often it’s the long road that yields better dividends.

Kipling, one of our latest additions to the flock is the perfect example of this. He’s an exceptionally reactive and nervous bird. He had difficulties in his very first home and has a biting issue. The day we first let him out of the cage, he bit David several times very painfully. This biting behaviour continued despite interactions and training for some time.

However, with a patient approach and taking lots of time, his behaviour has improved immeasurably. David is now at the point now where he can train with him and interact outside of the cage more normally. He actively takes treats from him without any aggression and is happy to just be near him and mind his own business. Even though there’s plenty more work to be done, the results are so rewarding to see.

This is all due to taking a steady and measured approach. We did not rush; we took extra time and showed as much patience as we humanly could. We dropped the expectation of instant results and just kept putting consistent work in. If we had rushed this process, Kipling would likely either be fearful of us or still biting excessively.

This same lesson can be applied to all our interactions with our parrots. Taking things at our parrot’s pace, being consistent, being patient, all end up helping so much more in the long run than forcing an interaction or pushing a bird beyond its limits.

So remember, the next time you feel the pressure for a quick result, or see a video online saying that “THIS TRAINING NEEDS TO BE DONE IN THIS TIMESCALE,” take a step back, remind yourself how awesome a trainer you are and then keep going at the pace your bird’s comfortable with, not what the caps lock title says it should be!

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