Ways & How

How to Train a Parakeet to Do Tricks

How to Train a Parakeet to Do Tricks

Parakeets, or budgies, are small parrots that are very social and friendly with humans. Stocked in most pet stores and much cheaper than other species of parrots, they make a great first pet for children who are eager to have a companion. They are fairly resilient and, with time and patience, can learn to do a number of tricks.

If you have yet to pick a parakeet to be trained, pick a young male that is already tamed. Although young female budgies can also be quick learners, males seem to respond a little better to rewards. Parakeets learn tricks faster when trained alone, rather than in groups or pairs.

The most challenging part of training your parakeet is getting your bird used to your voice and touch. It should be tame enough to spend an hour or so outside its cage without trying to fly off to a high perch. Your budgie should trust you enough to allow itself to be handled and fed from your hand, and this is a process that you cannot hurry. Once you have its trust, follow these steps on how to train a parakeet to do tricks.

  1. First, teach your parakeet that every time he does what you ask, he will get a treat as a reward.

    Spray millet is commonly used for this purpose. Make sure that you only feed your bird spray millet when he is being trained. Do not make it a regular part of his diet, or it will lose its appeal as a reward. You will also need to buy a clicker—a small, handheld device that makes a clicking sound when you press a button—from the pet supply store. Keep it in your hand as you train your parakeet, and whenever your pet performs the desired action, press it to signal that he has earned a reward. Timing is everything here. You should press the clicker immediately after the action, and a treat should immediately follow the sound. Teaching your parakeet to do a trick greatly depends on how consistently you are able to associate a certain action with the click and the reward.

  2. It’s best to train your parakeet about one or two hours after his last feeding. This way, he will be more eager to earn rewards. Keep your training sessions short to avoid stressing your pet. Do not go beyond 15-20 minutes at a time.

  3. To teach your bird to associate the clicker with a reward, make a few clicks and offer him a bite of spray millet. Keep the rest of the millet completely out of sight and only produce a small amount when you press the clicker. Repeat this several times until he understands that clicks equals treats. You know you’ve succeeded when he comes expectantly seeking your hand when he hears a click. You can then move on to the next step, which is touch training.

  4. Touch training is a basic technique that will allow you to guide your parakeet through more complicated movements. To teach your parakeet this trick, you will need an unused chopstick, and of course, the clicker and the spray millet. Hold the chopstick in your hand and encourage your bird to touch his beak to the end of the stick. You will need to do this in steps. Hold the clicker close to the stick and use it to call his attention. (Don’t forget to produce a reward when you click.) Give him another reward as he moves his face closer to the end of the stick. Give him two clicks once he finally touches his beak to the end of the stick.

  5. Once he has earned the double reward, only give him a single reward whenever he touches his beak to the end of the stick. He gets no reward if he touches any other part of the stick. This teaches your parakeet that he needs to produce specific actions in order to get a treat. It may take quite a while before your pet understands this principle, so be very patient. Once your parakeet has mastered touch training, you can guide your pet through motions like running through a toilet tube roll. As you and your bird learn how to communicate better, the tricks can become increasingly more complex.

Persistence is an indispensable part of learning how to train your parakeet to do tricks. Training your pet should be an enjoyable experience for both of you. If you allow yourself to get frustrated, your bird will just pick up on your emotions and get anxious himself. Moreover, if your bird does not seem to want to train, do not force it to engage. Scolding or withholding treats will only cause your pet to lose trust in you and undo all the progress you have made.


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