Why Training Your Parakeet Can Help You Bond With Your Pet
Should I train my parakeet to do tricks? The answer is yes! Training is beneficial for mental stimulation, preventing boredom, encouraging physical activity, and for creating and nurturing a bond between parakeet and owner. Parakeets are one of the most underestimated pet birds. They are capable of learning thousands of words and plenty of tricks.
Learning tricks can be a great opportunity to earn your pet’s trust! Plus, reinforcing positive behaviors that keep them active and stimulated is key to ensuring your pet bird is happy.
Fun Fact: In the USA, budgies (budgerigars, originally native to Australia) are commonly called parakeets. Technically, while all budgies are parakeets, not every parakeet is a budgie. Do you know what species your parakeet is? Write it in the comments below.
How to Train Your Parakeet to do Tricks
Training a parakeet to do tricks isn’t an overnight commitment. It takes patience and consistency. If you’ve got the free time and want to see your parakeet being that much cuter, here’s the right way to go about teaching it tricks.
Start with the basics
Before jumping into advanced tricks, start with the basics, like teaching your parakeet to step onto your finger or a perch. The trick-naming department got really creative with this one and decided to call it the “step up” trick. This skill will help build trust between you and your parakeet and set the foundation for more complicated tricks.
Teaching Your Parakeet to Step Up
Here's a few easy, repeatable steps to train your parakeet to do the "step up" trick:
Hold your finger or a perch near your parakeet, just below their belly.
Say "step up" or another command of your choice. (Just be consistent.)
Gently push against your parakeet's belly with your finger or perch, encouraging them to step up onto it.
When your parakeet steps up, reward them with a treat or some praise.
Repeat this process several times a day until your parakeet is comfortable stepping up onto your finger or perch on command.
What Tricks Can You Teach Your Parakeet?
Once you’ve got the basics, you’re ready to move on… but to what? If you want to keep your parakeet mentally active and healthy, here is a list of tricks you can have fun teaching him or her:
Wave: Teach your parakeet to wave hello by holding a treat just out of their reach. When they lift their foot to reach for the treat, say "wave" and reward them with the treat.
Spin: Teach your parakeet to spin around in a circle by holding a treat on one side of their body. When they turn to reach for the treat, say "spin" and reward them with the treat. Gradually move the treat to the other side of their body to encourage them to spin in a full circle.
Target: Teach your parakeet to touch a target (such as a stick or a finger) by holding the target near them and saying "target". When they touch the target with their beak, reward them with a treat.
Play dead: Teach your parakeet to play dead by gently holding them on their back and saying "play dead". When they lie still, reward them with a treat.
Retrieve: Teach your parakeet to retrieve small objects by placing the object in front of them and saying "retrieve." When they pick up the object with their beak, reward them with a treat.
Training tips for every parakeet trick
Whatever trick you want to teach your pet parakeet, there are a few tips and principles to keep in mind:
Use positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is key to training your parakeet. Offer treats, praise, and attention when your parakeet does something right, but don't punish them for making mistakes. Punishment will only discourage your parakeet and make them less likely to want to learn.
Be patient: Parakeets learn at their own pace. Take things slow and be patient. If your parakeet doesn't seem to be making progress, take a break and come back to training later.
Keep training sessions short: Parakeets have short attention spans, so it's important to keep training sessions short and sweet. Aim for 10-15 minute sessions once or twice a day.
Use a clicker: A clicker is a small, handheld device that makes a clicking sound. You can use a clicker to mark the moment when your parakeet does something right. This will help your parakeet understand what behavior is being rewarded and make the learning process faster.
Make it fun: Training should be fun for both you and your parakeet. Use toys, treats, and games to keep things interesting and engaging.
Practice regularly: Consistency is key when it comes to training your parakeet. Practice regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes each day. This will help reinforce the behaviors you're trying to teach and make training more effective.
Fun Fact: One budgie on record learned more than 1,700 words. Are you teaching your parakeet new words?
With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to training your pet parakeet to do all sorts of fun and entertaining tricks. Just remember to be patient, use positive reinforcement and make it a fun experience for both you and your feathered friend.
Want to learn more about how to care for your parakeet? Read our comprehensive budgie care guide.
Whatever you do, make sure your parakeet is safe and healthy. Read why parrots and parakeets need annual checkups, too.
Due for a checkup?