Teaching Your Companion Bird to Step Up

Training your Parrot

The step-up command begins with a bird that is comfortable around you. If this is not so, the first step would be to socialize with your bird.

  1. Talk to your bird: Spend some time talking to your bird. Your voice should be calm and soothing.

  2. Offer a treat to start the session on a positive note: Although treats are usually used as a reward, a small treat at the beginning of the training session will be an effective tool in gaining your bird's cooperation.


Actual Training Session:

Once you and your bird are comfortably settled, it's time to begin working on the actual stepping-up command. Remember to keep your voice calm and remain positive throughout the session. Smile as you talk to your pet. Birds easily pick up on negative emotions and stress, and are far less likely to cooperate if they do so.

Training Sequence provided by Petra Hewett:

Training through Positive Reinforcement:

  1. Hold your bird's favorite treat in one hand and put out the other arm / hand close to your bird - close enough for him to be able to step up should he or she choose to. The hand with your treat should be held close to the "step-up" arm or hand (depending on the size of the bird, you would either offer the hand or the arm.)

  2. The bird is likely to stretch his head out to grab the treat . Give it to him and praise him. Wait until he is ready again and then put your hand up for him to step up on and show the treat, and ask him to step up.

  3. Your bird is likely to stretch out again for the treat and if so, give it to him and praise him. Eventually, he will put one foot on your arm / hand to more easily get to the treat. When he does so, praise him.

  4. The next step will be for your pet to step up with both feet - when this happens, give him a "jackpot" of praise and treats.

  5. Put him back on the perch. Place your hand / arm ready for the bird to step up on again and ask him to step up showing him the treat.

  6. Repeat these training sessions using small steps at each stage. Be aware of your pet's body language. Earn your pet's love and trust before trying to get him to step up.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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