Your feathered friend has quite a personality and he wants to spend his time with you. While he needs some “me-time” in his cage, he shouldn’t spend every moment of his day behind bars. Train him to be out of his cage with you, having fun.
Have a Conversation
Your cockatiel buddy has the capability to learn how to talk and imitate whistles. No matter what the naysayers tell you, it is possible. Your bird might be better at learning to imitate various whistles than saying short phrases.
When he’s in a happy mood, approach his cage and whistle repeatedly. You may need to try different types of sounds, because your little guy will only begin to imitate those sounds that he likes. If he hears a sound he doesn’t like -- he’s going to stay stubbornly quiet. When you happen on a sound he likes, work with your bird for 10 minutes at a time. The key is repetition so he learns to get the sound into his head, then imitate it.
Walk Up Steps
Use your little bird’s natural behaviors to find activities you can participate in together. As you train him to step onto your finger, tell him, “Step up! Step up!” Once he’s gotten this down, begin teaching him to “walk up the steps.” That is, show him how to hop from one finger to another finger positioned just a little bit higher. Or you can train him to step down. When you take your bird out of his cage, your goal is to make his time with you fun, so he begins to look forward to those times when you open his cage door.
Your bird is a pretty little guy, and he knows this! He’ll spread his wings out and display the colors on his feathers. Just like you would do with other activities he enjoys, take this activity and “go dancing” with him. Find a phrase that he can connect to his wing-spreading and repeat it every time he spreads his wings. This could be “go dancing” or “let’s dance.”
When you catch him in a natural behavior, this could be because he’s feeling relaxed and happy. These are the best times for you to train him to learn something fun that the two of you can do together.
Go For a Walk
Give your feathery family member some time out of his cage and allow him to settle on your shoulder. Take him for a walk inside your house as you move about, taking care of the tasks you have on your daily list. Before you take him from his cage, go through the house and make sure all doors and windows are closed first.
Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.