Cockatiels are intelligent, trainable and enjoy the occasional game of fetch. Teach your feathered friend verbal commands to let him know its playtime. Bird games help to motivate cockatiels to step off their perch and get active. Schedule at least a half hour of interaction with your cockatiel each day.
Your cockatiel may not resemble your Labrador, but he may love playing fetch just as much. Use a small, lightweight toy and throw it in the direction you’d like your cockatiel to fetch. Use voice commands to teach fetch, such as “fetch!” If your bird runs and picks up the toy, praise him with a “good boy!” Once your bird has mastered the art of going to and picking up the toy, motivate him to bring the toy back to you by offering a treat or a scratch on the head.
Cockatiels enjoy the occasional challenge. Set up a bird maze out of cardboard, large Legos or any sturdy material. Begin with a brief maze and make it more difficult as your cockatiel easily makes his way to the exit. It may be necessary to coax your feathery buddy through the maze with a treat or toy. Always give your cockatiel praise when he successfully completes the maze. If your cockatiel is apprehensive about walking through the maze, place a treat every 1-2 inches throughout the maze for motivation.
Bring out your inner child with a game of hide-and-seek with your cockatiel. To make it more challenging, bring your bird into an unfamiliar room. Put the cockatiel down on the floor and hide several feet away. Give your bird pal hints by calling out his name or peeking your head out. Once you and your cockatiel have formed a bond, he will come looking to find you. If your cockatiel succeeds in finding you, reward him with a tasty treat and a scratch on the head.
Similar to baby mats, activity mats for birds allow for hours of fun and play. Make your own activity mat for your cockatiel by adding different textures, shapes and materials to an old blanket or towel. Sew on large beads, buttons and bells or strips of leather fabric or plastic keys. Make sure that the materials are well attached to the blanket to avoid any eating mishaps. Providing your clever cockatiel with an activity mat is a smart way to encourage independent play while promoting exercise.
Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for YourFreelanceWritingCareer.com. Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including eHow.com. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.