Sit. Stay. Speak. These are all things that we teach our dogs from a young age, but what about our parrots?
There’s little doubt that parrots are extremely intelligent. In fact, some parrots like the African Grey can speak up to 1000 words. This is why so many people teach their parrots to talk.
Are there other tricks that we can teach our parrots to do too?
Of course there are! And today we’re going to countdown the top 25 tricks to teach your parrot – so let’s have at it.
- 2 Teaching your Parrot to Talk
- 4 Teaching your Parrot to Wave
- 6 Teaching your Parrot Step up
- 8 Teaching your Parrot to Turn around
- 10 Teaching your Parrot to Dance
- 11 Teaching your Parrot to Head Bob
- 12 Teaching your Parrot to Wing Stretch
- 13 Teaching your Parrot to Head Dip
- 14 Teaching your Parrot to Shake Hands
- 15 Teaching your parrot to use a designated potty area
- 16 Teaching your parrot to fetch or retrieve
- 17 Teaching your parrot the Cup and Marble Trick
- 18 Teaching your parrot to click their tongue
- 19 Teaching your Parrot to Whistle
- 21 Teaching your Parrot to Ride on your Shoulder
- 22 Teaching your Parrot to take a bow
- 23 Teaching your Parrot to play dead
- 24 Teaching your Parrot to climb a ladder
- 25 Teaching your Parrot to ride a skateboard
- 26 Teaching your Parrot to Shake your head “no”
- 28 Teaching your Parrot to Kiss
- 29 Teaching your parrot to fly laps
- 30 Teaching your parrot to drop it
- 31 Teaching your parrot to play basketball
- 32 Teaching your parrot to hang
Teaching your Parrot to Talk
Okay, let’s just get this one out of the way. While not all species of parrots can talk, there are many that can.
As we just mentioned, the African Grey can learn up to 1000 words.
Other species of parrot that have been known to have quite the vocabulary include budgies, Indian Ringneck Parakeets, Quaker Parrots, and Macaws (to name just a few).
For many parrots, speech comes naturally – they simply mimic their human owners. But if there are certain words that you want to know, you can train them too. The more social you are with your parrot, the more words that they will be able to learn.
Teaching your Parrot to Wave
Teaching your parrot to say hello isn’t the only way you can get them to say hello – you can teach them to wave too.
Of course, they don’t have any hands to wave quite like we do, but they certainly can wave their claws/feet.
To teach your parrot to wave, all you need to do is say “wave” and get them to raise their foot to step on your finger.
Before they actually step onto your finger, pull your finger away and praise your parrot for raising their foot! Then, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Teaching your Parrot Step up
If you want to teach your parrot to wave, the best way to do so is by first teaching them the “step up” command.
If you have a parrot that isn’t shy, this shouldn’t be too hard to do. Parrots love spending time with their owners, so teaching them to hop onto your finger really isn’t a difficult thing to do.
With that being said, some parrots are more timid than others and may be more reluctant to “step up” onto your hand or finger. In such a case, you may need to spend more time on this command, working at a pace that your parrot is comfortable with.
Teaching your Parrot to Turn around
Want to teach your bird to do the hokey pokey? It starts with learning the turn yourself around command.
Luckily, teaching your parrot to turn around is quite simple and can be done using a few small treats.
Select one of your parrots favorite foods and hold it in your hand. Once you have their attention, tell them to “turn around” and move the treat in the direction you want them to spin.
Once the bird completes their spin, they get the treat – it’s that simple! Eventually, with repetition, the bird will be able to learn the command without the treat in hand.
Teaching your Parrot to Dance
Did you know that parrots actually display their own musical tastes? And if you have ever looked up “dancing parrots” on YouTube, you’ll know that parrots are better dancers than most humans.
In fact, they are one of the only other creatures on the planet that can hold a beat.
While capturing a beat comes naturally to make parrots like Snowball the dancing parrot, you can also teach your parrots dance on command.
How? By first teaching them tricks #6, #7, and #8.
Teaching your Parrot to Head Bob
Head bobbing is a simple move to teach your parrot and is a staple of any parrot dance routine.
A parrots head bobbing is much like our head banging, but a little less intense (although parrots can headbang pretty intensely too).
You can teach your parrot to head bob in two different ways.
Firstly, you can train them through mimicking behavior.
When you have your parrots full attention, start bobbing your head. Praise them when they do the same.
Alternatively, you can wait for the behavior to occur naturally. Put on some good dancing music and when your parrot starts to bob their head, give them a treat.
Combine the praise/treat with the word “bob” and soon your parrot will be head bobbing on command.
Teaching your Parrot to Wing Stretch
The wing stretch is another move that you can use in a parrot dance routine.
Again, if you can get your parrot to do this naturally and then praise them accordingly, that is one way to teach this behavior.
The other way is through mimicking. But because our anatomy is different from that of a parrot, you can’t just flap your arms and expect them to do the same.
Rather, tuck in your arms as if you were about to do the chicken dance and then start flapping them. Once your parrot mimics the behavior, praise them with a treat.
Teaching your Parrot to Head Dip
The head dip is somewhat similar to the bob, except instead of bobbing up and down quicky, the parrot dips it head forward slowly before raising it up again.
The best way to teach your parrot this move is through mimicking.
Hold your arms as if you were teaching your parrot to do the chicken dance, then dip your body forward.
Wait for your parrot to mimic the behavior and then praise them with a pet and a treat.
Teaching your Parrot to Shake Hands
Teaching your parrot to shake your hand is similar to teaching them to step up or wave, except instead of actually having them step onto your hand, you’re simply going to have them put their foot into your hand.
Like dogs, you can also teach your parrot to shake a particular claw (right or left).
The command you choose to use for this action is up to you. “Shake a hand”, “Shake a claw”, “Gimme your hand”, all work.
Teaching your parrot to use a designated potty area
Bet you didn’t know that you could potty train your parrot?
If you can teach your dog to pee and poop in a designated spot, then why can’t you teach your parrot?
This trick comes in particularly handy if you allow your parrot to roam around freely out of their cage often (you won’t want them pooping all over your carpet).
Training your parrot to use a designated potty area is similar to training your dog.
Each time you see your parrot make a mess, move them to the designated spot so they can start associating that spot with their bathroom needs.
Anytime your parrot moves to the spot to use the bathroom, reward them with a treat.
Be prepared though – this trick takes a lot of patience and will require a great deal of your attention to work.
Teaching your parrot to fetch or retrieve
Fetch is a great game to play with your parrot and can keep them entertained for a long period of time.
With that being said, teaching them to fetch will take some practice.
Start by holding the item you would like to see them retrieve in your hand.
Reach your hand out to them.
Nine times out of time, your parrot will grab the item out of your hand.
Reward them when they do so.
As soon as they get the hang of “fetch the carrot” (or other object), start moving the object farther away.
Eventually, with lots of practice, the object won’t even need to be in sight for your parrot to start searching for it.
Teaching your parrot the Cup and Marble Trick
We know you’ve played this game with your human companions – stick a marble under one of three cups, move the cups around, and see if your companion can find the cup that the marble is under.
Well, parrots have an uncanny ability to play this game well.
Start with three cups.
Put a marble under one of them.
Move the cups around (make sure your parrot is paying attention) and then get them to choose a cup with their foot or beak.
Only reward them with a treat if they choose the cup that the marble is under.
Eventually, they will catch on and will start paying very close attention to where that marble went!
Teaching your parrot to click their tongue
There are some behaviors that parrots do naturally as a form of communication.
In fact, much of what a parrot tries to communicate comes through their body language.
Tongue clicking is one form of communication that parrots use.
For most parrots, tongue clicking is a positive behavior that means “I like you and I don’t want to hurt you”.
Unfortunately, you can’t always force your parrot to like someone, but you can teach them to click their tongue on command.
Again, it comes down to rewarding their natural behavior when it occurs, or encouraging mimicking behavior by clicking your own tongue.
Teaching your Parrot to Whistle
Not only can you teach your parrot to talk or click their tongue, but you can teach them to make other noises like whistling too.
The best way to encourage your parrot to whistle is by whistling yourself.
They will mimic your behavior.
When they do, give them a treat.
Teaching your Parrot to Ride on your Shoulder
Many parrots will sit on your shoulder naturally simply because they want to be around you.
If your parrot doesn’t have its wings clipped, teaching them to sit on your shoulder without flying away can be a more difficult task.
It can also be a little trickier if your parrot is timid, but the more trust you build and the greater your bond, the easier it will become to teach them.
Start with small steps.
Have the parrot perch on your finger or arm first.
Then, once comfortable, gently move them to your shoulder.
Reward them each time you take a step.
Eventually, they will become comfortable with walking around on your shoulder.
Teaching your Parrot to take a bow
There’s no doubt that your parrot can do a lot of impressive tricks if you take the time to teach them.
So why not take some time to show them how to bow after they put on a show?
To do this, hold a treat in your hand at eye level.
Then, move the treat towards the ground until your parrot bows.
Reward with a treat.
Repeat this process until you no longer have to use a treat to lure your parrot.
Teaching your Parrot to play dead
If your parrot knows how to step from one perch to another, you can also teach them to play dead.
To teach, offer your finger to your parrot as a perch. Once they attempt to step up, move your finger away.
This will cause your parrot to end up on their back.
Yes, it sounds cruel, but your parrot won’t be hurt with a short fall, and with a lot of praise and treats they won’t hold a grudge either.
If you want, you can put your fingers in the shape of a gun, or use the words “bang bang” instead of play dead, but some people think this is in bad taste.
Teaching your Parrot to climb a ladder
Like play dead, teaching your parrot to climb a ladder first requires them to know the “step up” trick.
If they do, teaching them to climb a ladder will be simple.
Of course, this can’t be a human size ladder.
But if you can find a parrot size ladder or one that fits onto the side of their cage, you can teach them to climb it on command by using the “step up” command over and over until they reach the top.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also teach them to “step down” and climb down the ladder.
Teaching your Parrot to ride a skateboard
Want to really impress your friends and family?
What better way to do so than to teach your parrot to ride a skateboard?
It sounds difficult, but it’s actually easier than you may think.
Again, this is just a variation of the “step up” trick.
Of course, you’ll have to get your parrot comfortable with the idea of standing on a skateboard before you actually push it.
But once they are comfortable with standing on it, all you have to do is teach them to “step up”, stay on, and ride away!
Teaching your Parrot to Shake your head “no”
Parrots can pick up on the word “no” easily, and many of them know how to use it in the right context too.
You can also teach your parrot to shake their head no or nod their head yes.
To do so, just hold a treat in your hand and move it in the direction you want their head to go.
To teach them no, say “no” and move the treat back and forth.
To teach them yes, say “yes” and move the treat up and down.
Teaching your Parrot to Kiss
When most people think of parrots, they don’t think of them as being overly affectionate.
This isn’t always the case.
In fact, parrots are extremely social creatures and they love being around their humans.
Many parrots even like to be cuddled and some will purr when they are being held!
But in addition to snuggling with your parrot, you can also teach them to kiss – just be careful that you teach them not to bite first!
Teaching your parrot to fly laps
If you have ever been to a bird show, you’ve probably seen parrots or other birds flying laps around the room and straight back to their owners hand.
Parrots are generally more loyal to one particular person, this isn’t an overly difficult trick to teach – especially if you have a good bond.
Once your parrot starts to fly around the room, just pull out a treat and entice them to come back to your hand.
Of course, you can only teach this trick if the wings aren’t clipped!
Teaching your parrot to drop it
As a general rule of thumb, if you can teach a trick to your dog, you can also teach it to your parrot.
The “drop it” command is no different and just as it comes in handy when your dog is up to no good, it also comes in handy when your parrot is up to no good – and trust me, your parrot will get up to no good!
Teach your parrot the “drop it” command as a game, and use it later on when they have picked up something that they shouldn’t be into!
Teaching your parrot to play basketball
Sure, you won’t be able to teach your parrot to dunk a human size basketball, but if you can create your own mini-net, your parrot can play.
All you need is a homemade basketball net (parrot size) and a parrot size ball.
Teach your parrot to pick up the ball and show them how to put it in the net.
Each time they do it without help, reward them with a treat.
Eventually, they’ll be dunking their ball without any help at all – look out Michael Jordan!
Teaching your parrot to hang
While parrots can do almost any trick that a dog can do, the same isn’t true the other way around.
After all, you can’t teach your dog to hang like a bat, but you can teach your parrot!
It’s recommended that you teach your parrot to do this trick while perched on your hand.
This way you can support their back and prevent them from falling while they are learning the trick.
Once they have learned, however, you can teach them to hang from your hand, from their perch, or from any other surface that will allow them to latch on with their feet.
So there you have it – the top 25 tricks to teach your parrot!
Parrots are extremely intelligent birds and you can teach them to do a lot of things. Use training time as bonding time.
You will know you are training your parrot, but your parrot will see it as game time with their favorite person. And remember – positive reinforcement is the best training method.