How to Teach Your Parrot to Turn Around

Learn how to teach your parrot to turn around from Parrot Wizard Michael Sazhin in this Howcast video.

This is Truman, my Cape parrot, and I’m going to show you how I taught my parrot to turn around using a clicker and a target stick.

The first step is to just remind your parrot what targeting is like. Good boy. Very good. Truman, target. Good bird. You’re going to want to make sure that his targeting skills are up to speed, because the rest of the trick is all about following that target stick around in a circle. Truman, target. Good.

We’re going to just start getting the parrot to learn to turn his head in a motion to follow the stick at least 90 degrees at first. Truman, target. Good. The choice is yours, whether you target the bird from above or beneath. Some birds are afraid of things approaching from above. You can target them from below. Truman, target. Good boy.

We’re going to start targeting him in a 180-degree motion, and by getting him to turn the other way to touch the stick, and then we’re going to use the tree to get him to come back around for the rest of it. And then we can go for a 270-degree motion. Truman, target. Good. Truman, target. Target. Good.

I’m going to just make a 360-degree motion with the target stick above or beneath him, to have him follow the stick to learn the turning motion. Truman, target. He didn’t follow all the way, so I’m not going to reward him. I’m going to try again. Truman, target. Target. Good boy. We got him to follow that 360-degree motion, following the target stick.

Then the next step, once your parrot’s following the target stick around 360 degrees, you’re going to start showing your finger with the target stick and that’s going to teach your parrot to follow your finger instead. I’m going to have him, Truman, target. Target. Good boy.

And now that he’s getting better at following the target stick, the next step is to start implementing your cue that’s going to tell your bird to spin or to turn around. Now’s a good time to start say them instead of targeting, because he already knows to follow the stick. Turn. Good.

What I’m going to continue doing is progress to holding the tip of the target stick closer and closer to my finger, so he learns to follow my finger instead of the stick. Truman, spin. Spin. Good boy. Then, you even get to a point where your parrot’s so used to following your finger with the target stick, that you can put the target stick away and just have him follow your finger. Truman, spin. Good boy. Very good.

Turn around is one of the easiest tricks you can teach your parrot, whether it’s a budgie or a Macaw. Any parrot can learn to follow a target stick in a circular motion, and pick up the trick. And that’s how you teach your parrot to turn around.