Tips for Training Cockatiels
Training cockatiels can be fun and easy as long as you go about it with the proper attitude and a bit of patience. In general, cockatiels are quite agreeable as pets. They are friendly, not very temperamental and fairly simple to take care of. Just provide some food, water and a decent cleaning on a regular basis, and you will most likely have a happy bird.
As with any animal, your pet cockatiel may have a few habits that are not so agreeable for indoor life. Screeching comes to mind here, as does nipping of the fingers and being antisocial with other family members. Luckily, training cockatiels to stop these annoying habits is possible. With a bit more effort, you can teach your cockatiel to talk too.
Top Training Methods
Animal training is most effective and humane when using training tools that reinforce good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Positive reinforcement simply means that you reward your cockatiel when it behaves in the way you want it to behave. In the case of trying to break your bird of bad habits – like nipping at your fingers – you ignore the negative behavior and only give the bird a treat when they refrain from biting (or whatever activity you are trying to discourage).
One of the most important aspects of training cockatiels is consistency. It is vital to stick with the same program throughout the training process. Your bird will become confused if you reinforce or ignore certain behaviors sometimes but not at other times, and this will prevent your pet cockatiel from learning anything. Stick with a system of positively encouraging the behaviors you seek, and the bird will be much easier to train.
Stopping the Screeching
Cockatiels are birds, and birds sometimes screech and scream. It’s just a fact of life that birds will make loud squawking noises when they want attention. The trick is to get their noisemaking under control.
The first step in training cockatiels to stop screeching is to ignore them when they do it. Do not respond to them in any way until they stop squawking. Because the screech comes naturally, the bird will try to use it to communicate with you. For example, the bird may screech and scream at you to let you know when they want to be let out of the cage. The only way to get them to stop doing this is by ignoring their screeches.
Don’t even look at them unless you think they are screeching because of some type of distress. When you respond to your bird’s screech, you teach them that this is the way to get your attention. Never give a treat when the bird is behaving badly, either, because this is seen as a reward for their actions.
Stopping the Nipping
As with the screeching, the best way to teach your cockatiel to stop biting is to ignore the bad behavior. Cockatiels may give you a little nip to send a message. When this happens, do not receive that message. Continue on and do not let the biting stop you from completing your task. For example, if your bird bites to let you know they are not ready to go back in their cage, do not give in and let them stay out. Simply ignore the bite and put the bird into the cage as you had planned.
As with all animal training, using positive reinforcement to teach your cockatiel how to behave takes both time and patience. With a little of both, you can be successful.