Step Up / Down Training


The step up and step down training is perhaps the most crucial component of any parrot’s training, and all owners should regard it as part of the homing process.

In the long term, step up and down training will benefit both you and your bird. You will need to stick to a rigid schedule and stick to a strict programme.
Of course, if your bird already tries to walk up and down, the training will be much simpler. I’ve discovered that hand-reared baby parrots are the simplest to teach.

While flying birds may land on your shoulder, you should not allow the bird to stay there and instead instead instruct it to walk on your hand and carry it about on your hand rather than your shoulder. Most shoulder birds will refuse to be trained, will bite their owner, and/or will go lost if the owner forgets about the bird and wanders outside with the bird on the shoulder. The bird then takes off.
Throughout any training sessions, you should have a calm and confident demeanour. This is essential for the bird to learn new things from you.

The First Lesson

If the cage is moveable, you may transport it to the training room with the bird inside and let it out. Otherwise, if the bird is prone to biting, you may need to remove it from its cage using a towel to trap it in. Before any training may begin, the bird’s cage must be removed from the training room. A modest extra bedroom works well as a training space. However, everything higher than your chest height that the bird may perch on, such as photos, decorations, and tall furniture, must be removed. The room will require a chair for the bird to sit on, and the floor should be carpeted. All perching locations should be lower than human chest height, allowing YOU to constantly LOOK DOWN ON THE BIRD. Birds should not be allowed unrestricted access to your shoulder. Flying birds may land there, but must be quickly removed with the “Step up” command. No bird should be permitted to walk up your arm and onto your shoulder. The bird is only challenging your stance. You will be unable to teach birds that see you as inferior. o Once in the training room, open the cage door and either take the bird out or wait for it to come out before removing the cage.

The initial instruction, “Step up,” instructs the bird to land on your finger or hand. Step up by placing your finger or palm extremely near to the bird’s lower belly and softly caressing it there. The bird may refuse to take a step forward, fly to another perch, or bite. If it resists, repeat the order while softly pressing the bird on its lower belly. If it bites, try not to react and quickly repeat the order.

If the bird falls to the ground, wait a few seconds for it to settle down, then approach it, position your palm nearly touching it in the same spot, and repeat the order. Reacting to being bitten will simply encourage the bird to bite again. The bird has no defence against someone who is calm and unfazed. The bird will usually step up on your palm after three or four tries at Step up.

When it occurs, it is critical that you lavishly congratulate the bird. What you say is less essential than the tone of your voice. Allow it to linger on you for no more than a few seconds. Then say “Go Down” and place the bird back in the chair.

Every time the bird follows an order, you must reward him with something he knows he enjoys. This may be in the form of verbal praise, a head scratch, or even a little food reward.

Training should be no more than five minutes and should be done twice a day, every day, until the bird is comfortable accepting directions.

Except for the training, keep your bird in its cage for the first three or four days. When the bird can effortlessly walk on and off your palm, continue on to the next lesson.

The initial instruction, “Step up,” instructs the bird to land on your finger or hand. Step up by placing your finger or palm extremely near to the bird’s lower belly and softly caressing it there. The bird may refuse to take a step forward, fly to another perch, or bite. If it resists, repeat the order while softly pressing the bird on its lower belly. If it bites, try not to react and quickly repeat the order.

If the bird falls to the ground, wait a few seconds for it to settle down, then approach it, position your palm nearly touching it in the same spot, and repeat the order. Reacting to being bitten will simply encourage the bird to bite again. The bird has no defence against someone who is calm and unfazed. The bird will usually step up on your palm after three or four tries at Step up.

When it occurs, it is critical that you lavishly congratulate the bird. What you say is less essential than the tone of your voice. Allow it to linger on you for no more than a few seconds. Then say “Go Down” and place the bird back in the chair.

Every time the bird follows an order, you must reward him with something he knows he enjoys. This may be in the form of verbal praise, a head scratch, or even a little food reward. Training should be no more than five minutes and should be done twice a day, every day, until the bird is comfortable accepting directions.

Except for the training, keep your bird in its cage for the first three or four days. When the bird can effortlessly walk on and off your palm, continue on to the next lesson.

Lesson No. 2

This is the same as lesson one, but in the same room, with the exception that there should be two seats. Tell the bird to “Step up” onto your finger/hand before transferring it from one chair to another. When this has been established without trouble, move it from the chair to the windowsill. All transfers in the training area should be from one piece of furniture to another, always to furniture lower than your chest. It will assist the bird if you touch whatever new area you are telling the bird to go down on to with your other free hand first, then say “Go down or Step down”.

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