Thursday, March 24, 2011

Training Your Parrot to Like a Towel

Does your parrot high tail it out of town when a towel is in sight? More than likely it means at some point in his life something scary happened with a towel. Perhaps your bird had to be captured and restrained for a medical emergency. In a moment like that your veterinarian may have to take action right away.

However if your bird is healthy and not in need of immediate medical attention consider taking some time to train your parrot to LOVE towels. I say love because my birds have become obsessed with them thanks to some positive reinforcement training.

Delbert my yellow naped Amazon parrot will fly across the room to land on one. And as you can see in this clip of Blu Lu the blue throated macaw I hardly get to sit down before she lands on the towel in my lap. That is because she knows it means she gets to roll around on her back and get showered with head scratches. (I think it is adorable that she rolls over on her back all by herself.)

I also take advantage of this time to do things a veterinarian might need to do. These include wrapping her in the towel and moving her. It also means feeling her chest, looking at her vent and stretching out her wings. I also trim her toe nails when she is comfortably resting on her back on the towel.

To her it is all fun. I sometimes incorporate foot toys for her to juggle with her feet and beak. To me this is what it means to play with your bird in a towel.

An important part of this is that she is empowered to leave if she wants to. You’ll notice she sticks around for more. That is a good sign. A skilled flyer like her will just leave if the activity is not to her liking.

If you can’t get a towel even in the same room with your bird I do have a DVD that shows you how to train the behavior step by step. It is called Train Your Parrot for the Veterinary Exam. The birds in the video are mostly rescued birds with some bad experiences in their past. You will see even a bird with a questionable past can learn that towels now result in good consequences. There is also information on how to train your parrot to step on a scale, step onto strangers, enter a transport cage and more. (All of these are behaviors that can make life a little less stressful when it is time to visit your avian veterinarian.)

Having Blu Lu trained for toweling gives me peace of mind. I feel confident we have a good chance of keeping her next vet visit super positive.

To help you get inspired to train your parrot for a medical behavior I have a very special gift for readers of this blog. Just click on "free parrot training resource" and enter the code PARROTRX when you check out. It should let you get a free eBook on how to train your parrot to take oral medication.

Every parrot owner should train their birds for this behavior before illness strikes. It is an easy behavior to train and will avoid you having to grab and restrain your bird to give medication, which can cause your bird to lose trust in you. Train this behavior ASAP…you will be glad you did.

Barbara Heidenreich
Copyright Good Bird Inc 2011
For quality information on parrot training visit

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our B&G thinks she owns every towel, sheet, and sock in the house. She immediately gets aggressively "nesty" when she sees laundry, and she once attacked our Amazon when we toweled her in her presence - like I said, she owns all the towels!