Sunday, November 28, 2010

Training a Parrot to Recall Only When Cued

I love a flighted parrot. Flighted parrots challenge my training skills. When a bird is flighted he can choose to fly wherever he wants to. And if I have done my job well training with positive reinforcement usually the bird chooses to fly to me…….again and again and again. This is fabulous until I realize the parrot is launching himself at me every second he can. On the one hand my training strategy has made my bird eager to come to me. On the other I may have created a monster! If you are working with a flighted parrot and you find yourself dodging a bird who keeps flinging himself at you it’s time to put your trainers hat on and get to work!

Training a parrot to recall (come to your hand) is an important behavior for flighted parrots. With a skilled, confident flyer it can usually be trained very quickly, usually within one session. However another important step in training this behavior is teaching your parrot to fly to you only when cued, not just randomly.

A Review of Basic Recall Training
If your bird does not know how to come to your hand, here is a brief review of the basic steps. I highly the entire article in a free sample ofthe all new digital Good Bird Magazine. Just visit

Learn about all the features in the new Good Bird Magazine including instructional parrot training videos at the Good Bird Magazine/WingNutz Club page.

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright Good Bird Inc 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lecture on Parrot Behavior Problems

I was going through some old video footage and I found a lecture I gave at Parrot Festival 2010. The lecture was on Addressing Parrot Behavior Problems. It was a particularly interesting lecture because about three quarters of the way through the power went out! It turned out the entire grid had gone down. For about fifteen minutes I fielded questions on parrot behavior in complete darkness. The room we were in had no windows. What an experience!

It actually turned out to be pretty fun and I was amazed that most people stayed engaged in the Q & A and were still in attendance when the lights came back on and I was able to finish my lecture. I even got a special “The Show Must Go On Award” at the final banquet. It sits proudly on the bookshelf in my office.

I thought I would share a part of that video footage with everyone. It will give you a taste of what it is like to attend a parrot training event. Here are some of the main points the lecture covered.

• Parrot behavior (good and bad) happens for a reason.

• Changing the environment is one good strategy to address a parrot behavior problem.

• Make it irresistible to your parrot to do something else, instead of the undesired behavior.

• It is important to avoid using force, coercion or aversives with your parrot.

• Sometimes solving parrot behavior problems requires creative thinking.

• Instead of focuses on stopping bad behavior, focus on training your parrot to do what it is you want.

• 10 common parrot training mistakes.

The player will show in this paragraph

I should remind everyone that Parrot Festival is coming up again in January 2011. I will be there again as well as Robin Shewokis of the Leather Elves. Both she and I are offering a special 10% discount on online purchases made between November 21, 2010 and December 3, 2010.


To get your discount on parrot training products from Good Bird Inc just visit the Good Bird Inc website. When you are ready to checkout enter the code GBHDZE10. This should show a 10% discount off your order (discount does not apply to shipping or taxes)

To get your discount on parrot toys and enrichment information visit The Leather Elves website. When you are ready to check out enter the code BIRDBF. This should show a 10% discount off your order (discount does not apply to shipping or taxes)

Orders placed in the US by December 3rd will be shipped in time for the Holidays.

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright 2010 Good Bird Inc

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Good Start to a Good Bird. Raising and Training a Great Companion Parrot

There is plenty of data that supports that value of having animals in our lives. As the third most popular pet, birds obviously hold a special place in many people’s hearts. However a common statement about parrots is that they are bad or challenging pets. Really? I have cohabitated with parrots for over twenty three years and really can’t think of a moment when I thought to myself “Uh oh. This was a mistake” In fact I credit my parrots for helping become the kind of pet owner all animals deserve.

More importantly having a personal connection with individual parrots has helped me become aware and concerned for parrot species in the wild. As technology takes over and more people become disconnected from nature, pets may be the only animals future generations experience. By fostering a connection and giving caregivers the tools to live successfully with parrots we are doing so much more than making great pets. We are creating deep bonds that can benefit individual birds and their wild counterparts.

Are Parrots Difficult Pets?
In my experience parrots are neither inherently good companion animals nor inherently bad companion animals. The behaviors parrots choose to exhibit are the result of what earns them reinforcers or what will cause an aversive stimulus to go away. In other words parrot behavior is the result of our behavior. If we choose to reinforce behaviors we like, we will see those behaviors exhibited more often. If we try to control parrots through unpleasant experiences we are likely to create aggressive behavior or fear responses.

The bottom line is parrot caregivers who are armed with tools and information on training their parrots with positive reinforcement are likely to have great success with a parrot in their home. Those who rely on coercion are sure to encounter problems and sadly miss out on the incredible relationship based on trust one can have with a parrot. The methods we choose to influence parrot behavior determine the outcome, not the genetics of the parrot. I have been fortunate to see successful parrot and caregiver relationships over and over again in my travels. Those who succeed have embraced the positive reinforcement approach to parrot behavior.

A Successful Start
Parrots are learning machines from a very young age. If you are planning on acquiring a parrot from a breeder I recommend the rest of the article in our free sample of Good Bird Magazine.

Barbara Heidenreich
Good Bird Inc
Copyright 2010 Good Bird Inc