Everyone loves a talking parrot. How could you not? They’re an endless source of entertainment, and training your parrot to speak is a rewarding accomplishment. It can be difficult to get started, but once you get going, the options are limitless! It may seem impossible, at first, to teach your parrot to talk. Don’t lose hope! There is a simple way to encourage your parrot to speak: bribes!
No, you can’t bribe your parrot in the traditional sense of the word. They won’t be swayed by promises to take them out later or monetary rewards. However, there is a powerful tool available that will convince them to talk every time—treats. Food is a major motivator for parrots, and you can use this to your advantage when training.
Positive reinforcement is very important when training any animal, especially parrots. Building a trusting relationship with your bird takes time and patience. Raising your voice, banging on the cage, or physical punishment of any kind will break the trust that your parrot has in you, and you may never gain it again. Be gentle, and offer rewards for positive behaviors.
Once your bird has begun to mimic sounds during your training sessions, be sure to give them a treat each time. Even if you cannot understand what word they are trying to say, it’s critical that you praise them. This shows the parrot that you like this behavior, and it will encourage them to continue. You’ll notice that your parrot will start to “practice” its speech. Any time that you hear this, even if it’s not during a training session, praise your bird and offer it a treat.
Many foods can be used as rewards for speech. A particular favorite among smaller birds are sunflower seeds. Millet spray is a popular treat, as are fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. Each parrot has a distinct personality, and not all of them will like the same types of foods. Experiment with different seeds, fruits, and vegetables to find out what your parrot enjoys. Offering them pieces of apples won’t yield very good results if they prefer oranges. Be sure that you are knowledgeable about what is safe for birds to eat and what is not before trying new foods.
Parrots love to please. If you consistently offer praise and rewards to your parrot each time they attempt human language, you’ll not only teach them to speak effectively, you’ll continue to build a trusting and loving relationship. Rewards work wonders!