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Tricks to Click with Cockatiels
With a bit of practice and the right click, cockatiel and owner can have lots of fun.

Tricks to Click: A Bit of Training for Cockatiels

Smart cockatiels that wave with their wings or push a small toy car – do they only exist in films? Not at all! With a bit of practice and the right click, cockatiel and owner can have lots of fun together and learn fantastic tricks.

"Clickertraining works with every cockatiel that loves coming to its owner to take a treat, no matter what age or gender," says certified biologist and parrot specialist Hildegard Niemann.

The right conditioning:

With little effort, the fun for owners and their feathered friends can start. All you need is a Clicker, a device that produces an accoustic signal - the click, and a pointer, a so-called Target-Stick. The expert recommends: "Bird owners should not use clickers intended for dogs. Their sound is too loud for sensitive bird ears. More quiet clickers with integrated target sticks are a better choice, as they leave you a hand free for the treats." Get good advice in specialist pet shops to find the right equipment.

Now you are ready to start: As the first step, your cockatiel needs to be conditioned to the clicker. It needs to learn that every click means something good. "Timing is of foremost importance. Parrots - cockatiels are a species of parrots - can think really quickly. In order to connect the click with a treat, both have to come at the same time," the expert continues.

Do not demand too much of your feathered friend. Several small training units are much more effective than one long training session. Therefore Niemann recommends: "End the training after a maximum of two minutes. That is the right time for your cockatiel to have fun and be eager for the next session."

Tricks for beginners and more advanced trainers:

The expert recommends a simple trick to start with: "In order to teach the cockatiels to turn around in a circle, move the treat in circular movements below the perch. Once the bird follows your movement , click and reward it."

Bird lovers can do more and more tricks together with their birds. "At the start, you can teach the cockatiel to follow the target or to lift a foot or a wing. More advanced clicker fans add small toys to the training. That way, the cockatiel learns to fetch small light objects or to push a miniature pram," the expert explains.

Building trust:

Training your cockatiel with a clicker is not only a fun activity. "By being successful together, owner and cockatiel form a closer relationship. Mutual trust grows and this creates a great basis for living together in harmony." You can find video examples e.g. on YouTube, search for "cockatiels" and "clickertraining".

Source: IVH (German Industrial Association for Pet Supplies)