What the Power Pause can do for Your Bird

Dear Parrot Lover,

Teaching a parrot to talk requires equal doses of both patience and repetition. Contrary to popular belief, both male and female parrots can be trained to talk. However, the one main caveat here is that before a parrot will even attempt to say its first word or sing its first tune, it must feel absolutely comfortable being around the person who is going to be doing all of the training. There has to be complete trust on both sides.

If you don’t trust your parrot or are worried that he or she may try to bite you during your training sessions, then you will need to work out those issues prior to beginning such training. Likewise, if your parrot is wary of you and tries to run away or hide, or even tries to lash out at you whenever you come near his or her cage, then you will have zero success at teaching your parrot to talk. Your parrot will be more focused on his fear of you and will not learn a word. This may cause you to become stressed and frustrated, which your parrot will pick up on and it will make him or her more fearful of you. Do you see how not having adequate trust between the two of you can lead to a defeating circle?

A couple of weeks before you wish to start training your parrot you should instead start to hang around your parrot more often. Spend time sitting next to your parrot’s cage. Let him or her get used to your body language, movements and voice. Allow your parrot to spend supervised time outside his or her cage – at least two hours per day. Allow his or her confidence in their surroundings to grow naturally.

When trust is no longer an issue, you can then begin teaching your parrot to talk. Make sure that the training sessions are at least 15 minutes, but no longer. You should aim to conduct one training session in the morning and another one in the evening.

Most importantly is to make sure that you have your parrot’s undivided attention, and that he or she has yours as well. You can accomplish this by removing any distractions and sources of noise from your training room. You should repeat the same word over and over again until your parrot has mastered it. Once your parrot is pronouncing the word clearly enough, then you can move on to a new word or phrase.

What the Power Pause can do for Your Bird

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Birds can become very fearful of being approached or touched, and many react with biting your fingers or hands. It’s a normal reaction in birds since their beak is the only tool they have to try to keep you away.

The only way to help overcome this fearful reaction to being approached or handled is to teach the bird that there is nothing to fear from you. You have to systematically work on making him feel calmer and more comfortable. This takes time, but it can be broken down using the power pause technique.

Click here to learn more about biting in birds

Working through his fears

When you work with your bird and introduce the idea of the power pause, what you are doing is rewarding his calm behavior. Approach your bird and stop several feet short of the bird. As soon as he stops talking and closes his mouth and settles down (and definitely doesn’t try to bite), walk away. His reward is actually having you move away from him. Once he no longer reacts at this distance, you move closer. By working in incremental levels that the bird is comfortable with, you can teach him that you approaching (and eventually touching) is a good thing. You can ultimately stop his biting with this technique.

Click here to learn how to avoid being bitten in parrot training

Additional things to consider

The severity of your bird’s reaction is going to be a big part of the equation. If the bird is a little frightened but settles down fairly quickly, you may be able to give an additional food reward and then retreat. In cases of high levels of fear or anxiety from the bird, you may only be able to retreat (and add food rewards into the equation later).

A clicker is a common training tool that can also be added into your bird training to help with sending your bird a consistent message. It lets the bird know the moment his behavior is correct. In this case, you’d click the bird for remaining calm before retreating. The power pause technique by Bird Tricks utilizes a clicker because the clicker is so useful in training.

Click here to learn more about the Power Pause and Bird Tricks

Regards,
Nathalie Roberts

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