If you haven’t heard, a pet bird such as a Macaw can be one of the best pets you can ever have in your life. They are amazingly beautiful creatures that are equally beautiful in terms of personality and habits. Macaws are compassionate, intelligent, fun, silly, and very playful types of parrots that won’t keep you bored. They can even be the life of the party if you have guests around.
However, you probably will only end up with an amazingly talented and fun Macaw if you trained it properly. The thing is that it will take some time and effort on your part to go through the entire training process. Of course, it is also equally important that you actually know how to train your Macaw. That is why we are here to help you succeed in training your Macaw.
Before the actual training begins, you have to abide by these basic rules first if you want to succeed in training your pet Macaw:
- Never ever hit your Macaw or do anything that can antagonize or even physically or emotionally hurt it. Macaws are sensitive animals that also have an emphatic side. Hurting them will only make them hate you.
- Always reinforce positively and never negatively if you want to succeed. Positive reinforcement can be done by trying to encourage your Macaw to perform some tasks.
- Don’t do things rushed and try to train your Macaw in a slow and steady manner so that it will understand what you are trying to teach it.
- Try to maintain the training session short. You may want to allot about 15 to 20 minutes twice a day when you are training your Macaw.
- When you are reinforcing positively, make sure that the reward is easy to eat and not something that may take some time for the Macaw to consume. Soft treats are great. Try avoiding nuts because of how it might take time for the bird to break them.
- Consistency is key until your Macaw gets it. Never try to take any days off when training your Macaw because there is a chance that it will forget what you taught it if you take a day off.
- Train the Macaw on a perch in a room with no nearby windows so as to make it safer and easier for you to train your bird. Windows might end up becoming too distracting and will even entice the bird to try to escape. Meanwhile, you should also try avoiding placing decorations on the wall for safety purposes.
- Always praise the bird for any kind of success. Praising can be done by giving it its favorite treats. Doing so will allow the bird to remember to do the same tricks over and over again in the hopes of getting some praise from you.
- Only teach it one trick at a time so that it won’t get confused.
Training the Macaw to speak
In case you haven’t heard, Macaws are parrots that know how to mimic sounds and even learn certain words and phrases. But teaching the Macaw how to speak certain words and even short phrases won’t be easy. Here are some tips that can help you in that endeavor:
Consistency is key. What that means is that you should try to remain consistent in the way you teach your bird yow to speak. Macaws will only associate certain words with the way you delivered it to them. So, if you taught it how to say “hi” using a low-pitched voice, it won’t learn how to say it if you used a high-pitched voice the next day.
Stick to one word at a time. We cannot overemphasize how important this is because the Macaw won’t be able to process more than one word at a time. After it learns a word or two in a single phrase, it will be much easier for you to teach it the next few words.
Be patient because the Macaw might need a few days or even a week to master a certain word. Teaching it phrases will take a long time.
Choose what kind of words you are using carefully because the Macaw will remember those words for the rest of its life. Stick to words you know will be delightful to hear for the entire span of your Macaw’s life.
Always use your voice and not a voice recorder. The reason for that is because birds won’t be able to feel relaxed if they do not know where the sound is coming from. Voice recorders might confuse your Macaw if it does not know that the sound is coming from your phone or some other tool you are using.
Teaching how to play basketball
Birdy basketball is arguably one of the most entertaining tricks you can teach your Macaw. However, it certainly is too challenging for a lot of pet owners. But if done correctly, you will certainly realize how fun the trick is. It also will be one of the many things you can show to your guests if you want to entertain them.
- You will need a lot of materials such as whiffle balls and a small basketball hoop made for pet birds. The balls must of the same color so that the Macaw will associate the balls to that one single color. Treats are also essential because this is your way of reinforcing the behavior.
- Get your bird to adjust to the ball by throwing one or two into its cage on a daily basis. There is a good chance that the Macaw will shred the balls into pieces, but that is perfectly fine. If you do this regularly, it will learn to love the balls. You may want to put treats inside the ball if you want your Macaw to adjust to them.
- Place treats inside a bowl. Give your Macaw a ball and then show the bowl with treats in them. The bird will eventually drop the ball once it sees its treats. If that is the case, get the bowl again and move it to the other side of the table. Give the bird the ball again and try showing it the bowl. It will repeatedly drop the ball over and over again, but you still have to give it the treat after a few unsuccessful attempts. If you do this too often, the Macaw will begin to start thinking that the fastest way for it to get the treat is for it to drop the ball inside the food bowl.
- Once the Macaw is already used to dropping the ball inside the food bowl, it will become a pattern, and it will always try to drop the ball inside the bowl regardless of the situation. This is when you should add a basketball hoop. Place the bowl right below the hoop so that the bird will try to drop the ball through the hoop. Do this repeatedly until the bird associates the basketball hoop with the ball.
The final step is to remove the bowl altogether so that the Macaw will only try to associate the ball with the hoop. If it messes up and drops the ball, do not give it a treat so that it will work harder to try to get the ball through the hoop. Once it masters this step, the Macaw is now a master in the art of birdie basketball.