How to Train Your Parrot to Step Up

Learn how to train your parrot to step up from Parrot Wizard Michael Sazhin in this Howcast video.

So, we already learned about the requisites of the clicker training, the treats, and the target stick. Now, it’s a matter of putting those altogether to have the parrot step up onto our hand.

So, go ahead and hold your hand up in front of the bird at a reasonable distance, a little further, so you’re going to start at a distance where the bird cannot bite you. You’re going to bring up your target stick and show it in front. You’re going to advance the two together with the tip pointing toward the bird, and you’re going to bring them all closer together. And keep bringing it closer, and have the target stick in front of him so he’s reaching toward it. And click and give him a treat, because he did the right thing right now. We can give him that sunflower seed. That’s good.

So, we’re going to first overcome the shyness a little bit to get the bird accustomed to new people, and then once we can get past that, then he’ll follow the target stick onto the hand to get the treat. So, go ahead and hold your hand in front of the bird, and bring that target stick behind. Bring your hand higher, because the bird only step up, not down, bring it closer. Bring your hand closer, and show him the target stick so he can just reach and he has to get on your hand to get it. Very good.

Now you can give him that treat. That’s good. He can step off your hand. We’re going to try that again. So, just remember you want him to be aiming for the tip of the stick, and you want to have your treat ready so that as soon as he steps on your hand, you can click and give him that treat without much delay. He’s not a bitey bird, but if you had a vicious bird that’s not used to stepping on hands yet, you want to get that beak focused. Focus on the target stick first, and then focus on the treats so that he never bites your skin in the process.

So, let’s try that again. Now remember, the way I want you to do it is to approach not from below, not from above, I want you to have the target stick in front, and your hand, and travel together so they’re at the same distance, he has to get on that hand to touch the stick. So, it’s like this stick is glued to the hand, but just at a distance, that he has to be on your hand to reach the stick.

So, give that a try. That’s great. Just back a little more on the stick so he has to step on your hand. Just keep bringing your hand closer and show him the target stick. Truman, target. Truman, target.

Now, what you’re going to do is you’re going to wait. You don’t chase him with your hand because you don’t want to set up any kind of fear. You don’t want him to want to get away from your hand. So, take everything away and we’re going to try it again.

He’s got to want to come on your hand. Alright. So, go ahead and approach everything at the same time again. Truman, you’re going to target, okay? So, go ahead and bring everything in gently. That’s very good. Just keep bringing in closer and closer. Good. There we go. Good bird. Very good.

Alright. I want you to try one more time. This time we’re going to have the bird on your hand. We’re going to take your hand a little bit away from the perch so he can stay on your hand. Okay. So, go ahead and bring your hands in, same time together, very good. Just keep coming closer until he steps up. That’s good, and just keep coming closer.

Hold your stick a little further back so he has to get on your hand to do it, that’s good, and now take your hand up and away a little bit so he can stay on your hand, and give him that treat. Very good. And that’s how to teach a parrot to step up on our hands for the first time, or to teach your parrot to step up on strangers’ hands if you want to direct a stranger to be able to pick up your bird as well.