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How to Pet a Parrot

Learn how to pet a parrot from Parrot Wizard Michael Sazhin in this Howcast video.


This video is about how to pet your parrot. And many people don't realize that birds can actually be really cuddly animals and they can enjoy head scratches. But, unlike a dog, they like it in a slightly different way.

So, come on over here, birdy. They like to be pet against their feathers like this. And what I like to call this is petting etiquette. Instead of just petting your bird whenever it wants and letting it use its beak to dictate where and when you pet it, I teach them petting etiquette, where I keep their beak between my fingers while I pet their head. This wa,y if I hit a spot that they don't like, they can't bite me and they can't be bossy about which spots I do and don't.

They have to take all or nothing. So, if they enjoy the petting, then they're going to just keep their beak between my fingers and let me scratch them all over their heads. They also really enjoy getting scratched behind the ears. Birds do have ears, they're just covered by feathers. They're right over here, and they love getting theirs ears scratched.

Keep in mind that some birds aren't accustomed to petting. They might not even like being touched on the head. So, you can use some of the training techniques that are outlined in my book and throughout these video series to get your bird to be accustomed to being touched. And once a bird is accustomed to being touched, you can pet its head.

And then, if it learns to like it, if the bird gets the chance to realize how good it feels, then this can become its own positive reinforcement and you can use the petting as a reward for good behavior. So, here's some tips on petting your bird. Just remember that they like having their feathers stroked in the opposite direction. It's a good idea to hold their beak so they can't get too bossy and it's also a sign that they like to be pet.

My birds, when they want petting they'll come over and put their beak between my fingers, rather than bite me, because that's the way I've always taught them to ask for it. Petting your bird is just a great way to build a relationship with your bird and teach them to like being on hands and being around people.

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