Pionus Parrot Target Training

November 12, 2008

Here’s our most recent video of Mika demonstrating target training. As I’ve mentioned numerous times (as I learned from the Bird Click group), targeting is the best first prop trick to teach a parrot. It’s easy because it requires almost no chaining, and can be used to teach subsequent tricks.

To be honest, doing clicker training with Mika hasn’t been a high priority. I started clicker training Stewie a year ago mostly to tame him – he was pretty aggressive and I needed a fun, positive way to interact with him. In my mind, THE biggest benefit to training was that it turned him into a tame and loving bird. Since Mika came to me already tamed and affectionate, teaching her to do tricks never had the same urgency. Thank goodness Mika forgives me for being lazy. However, I do intend to get her caught up – at the very least she should be able to do the same tricks Stewie does. It’s only fair.

The next step is to keep working with Mika on fetching a big pink ring. We’ve done a couple of sessions and it never clicked with her what I wanted her to do, so my current tactic involves letting her watch Stewie as he demonstrates retrieve. (In interviews with Dr. Pepperberg, she describes this method of teaching Alex the African Grey as the “rivaling technique”.) Hopefully I’ll have some videos of Mika retrieving soon.



  1. Looks like Mika is doing pretty good, she really seems to be enjoying herself! I am about the same with with training, some get a lot of it (Frank, a quaker, who needs constant mental stimulation) and some just get a moderate form a training. Meaning, I teach them tricks and behaviors when I am playing with them, like I say wave every time they lift their foot, showoff when they flap their wings, etc. It actually works pretty well, all my birds know “tricks” on cue and Frank is the only one that had ever gotten “formal training.” I suppose this method does depend a great deal on the fact that all my birds think praise (read: compliments) is a great reward!

  2. I’ve been the same way with being a bit lazy lately on the training. I’ve been feeling guilt for not getting our newer congo doing the same tricks as my timneh. Must start working on this more. Thanks for the push 🙂

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