Fetch is lots of fun and it’s quite easy to teach. It’s also the basis for so many other tricks, including: fetching objects to a shopping trolley, getting them to put hoops on pegs, shape colour sorting in a box and so much more. Your bird can even learn to flying fetch with a light object in their beak.
Breaking down the trick
Objective: Teach your Parrot to play fetch (get your Parrot to move with a ball in their mouth to put it in a bowl)
You will need:
- A ball - Sara likes waffle balls, you can get with the basketball set or buy individually . But you can use any object a Parrot will hold. A wooden bead from a toy works well).
- A bowl (a Parrot metal food bowl works well or a larger bowl works better to start with)
- A chair (or any place you can stand a Parrot so you can hold a bowl in front and below them).
How to train fetch:
1) Place your Parrot on a surface where you can hold a bowl below their beak (back of a chair, training perch cage door, edge of table etc.)
2) Hold the bowl below their beak (around their feet)
3) Hand them the ball
4) When they drop it (which is very likely), say good or click a clicker
5) Reward them
6) When they get confident, start moving the bowl slightly and repeat the steps above.
First off, don't be scared by this trick. A lot of people think it's complicated to teach a Parrot to fetch. Fetch looks really impressive, but the basics of the trick are actually quite simple! It just takes lots and lots of repetition for your bird to understand what the game is.
The key to this is a HIGH reward rate. Don't rush to move the bowl - just keep repeating this a lot.
Can you get your Parrot to play basketball and slam dunk 3 balls in a row?
I started moving the bowl but now my Parrot keeps dropping it on the floor:
Go back to holding the bowl underneath them and keep working on that. Move the bowl very slightly to the point where it may sometimes fall in and sometimes fall out. They will soon work out that when it doesn’t fall in, they don’t get a treat.
My Parrot won’t drop the ball:
Either use an object they won’t start chewing on (as they grow bored with it) or start by offering them a treat that makes them drop the ball. Then say good when it drops into the bowl and give them a treat.
In no time your Parrot will be running around with their ball to put it in the bowl. You can then teach them basketball by switching out the bowl and holding the basket underneath them. I then increase the height until you can get them to fetch it into the basketball net when it’s free standing.
Remember to share your training videos with @northernparrots and use the hashtag #northernparrotstrickacademy
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