One of the best ways to spend time with your cockatiel is to teach her to do simple tricks. Your bird will come to expect and enjoy the extra attention you give her during training sessions, and you will see a stronger bond develop between you and your bird as the training progresses.
Before you begin to teach your cockatiel tricks, make sure you have the patience and perseverance to undertake training sessions. Birds sometimes behave as we expect them to, but sometimes they want to do what they want to
do, and it’s up to you not to become frustrated or angry with your pet when she does not behave as you expect. Anger and frustration can damage the relationship you have with your bird, so be sure to be patient and cheerful during each training session.
As you begin to plan what tricks you will teach your cockatiel, notice what your bird likes to do and make it part of her trick training. You will soon find it’s much easier to expand on one or more of your bird’s natural behaviors, and that will make trick training easier and more enjoyable for both of you. For example, some cockatiels like to climb while others may enjoy holding their wings in the air and stretching (this can be turned into an eagle pose without too much effort). Others amuse themselves by using their beaks to examine a wide variety of items in their environment, and you can teach them to touch objects as you name them.
Tips for Better Training
To make the most of your parrot training sessions, keep the following points in mind. Know what your bird likes and dislikes. If your bird is naturally playful, she will be a better candidate to learn tricks than a bird who is content to sit on her owner’s hand for head scratching. Provide several short training sessions each day. Pet birds have short attention spans, and they tend to become cranky if you try to teach them something once you’ve exceeded that attention span. Ten minutes or less, several times a day, is usually more effective than one longer session.
Make the sessions fun. Remember that these training sessions are supposed to be enjoyable for both you and your bird, and immediately end any session that is not going well. Reward your bird’s good behavior with a combination of food treats, verbal praise, petting, or cuddling. If your bird loves to have her head nape scratched, for instance, give this area extra attention when your bird performs her trick correctly. This way she will learn to respond to different types of rewards, rather than just waiting for a favorite food treat to come her way.
Appreciate your bird for the unique individual she is. Love your bird because she is your pet, not because of the tricks she can do. Some birds are natural show-offs, while others are more reserved. If you have a quick trick learner, teach the bird tricks and add to her repertoire over time. If your bird doesn’t seem to enjoy learning tricks, don’t force the issue. Appreciate your bird for all of her other wonderful qualities and love her as your pet.