How To Teach a Parrot to Talk

Parrots are natural talkers. They easily pick up words to the delight of many pet owners. Although most parrots have the ability to produce sounds like human speech, there are specific species that are absolutely brilliant in mimicking human speech and responding when talked to. These are the double yellow-headed, yellow-naped, and blue-fronted Amazon parrots. Also, the younger the parrot is, the easier it is to teach.

Parrots also learn to talk in numerous ways. Experts say that parrots, which are kept alone with owners who talk a lot, and those kept with other parrots that talk, are the ones that are more susceptible to learning.

  • Know your pet. Before trying to teach your parrot, you have to decide the level of talking you wish your pet to learn. Parrots can learn how to imitate human speech. They can also learn how to respond when asked set questions. The latter, however, requires that the parrot should be taught first. Teaching your pet parrot to respond is much more difficult to do and it also needs a lot of patience from the trainer. So if you believe that learning how to mimic is good enough for your pet, then that is where the trainer should focus.

    You have to do some research first on your parrot's particular specie to know the extent of training it should undergo. This will set your expectations, and it will help you find the perfect training method for your pet.

  • Establish a bond between you and your pet. This is the next important thing to do. Remember that a healthy and happy parrot will be more eager to communicate with its owner. If it's a new pet, allow it time to get settled in its new home. Constantly talk to it in a soft tone until both of you have become comfortable with each other.
  • Set a daily training routine. This will help your pet get accustomed to being taught. Two 15-minute sessions, once in the morning and once in the afternoon would be great.
  • Choose a simple word or a simple phrase. Teaching a bird's own name is always a good start. Other choices can be, "Hi," "Good morning," "Hello," "Bye-bye," etc. Stick to these word until the bird learns them. Always teach your pet one thing at a time in order not to confuse it. State the word slowly and clearly.
  • Use a happy and enthusiastic tone. Birds pick up on the emotion behind the spoken word. The more emotion used when speaking a word, the more impact it has on the bird. Repeat this until your pet responds by making a sound. At this point, the sound doesn't have to be similar to the word. Praise it and give it a treat every time it responds with a noise. Do this until your pet is able to perfectly say the word. This can take weeks to months. Don't get frustrated. CDs and other audio tools can also be used, but these should never substitute for live interaction.

Once your parrot has developed an extensive vocabulary, decide if you think training can move on to cover "responding." To train your pet parrot how to respond, teach the answer first, like you would with the technique above. Once it learns to mimic the response, prompt it by asking the question. Repeat prompting until it calls out the correct answer. Reward your pet when it does this. Repeat until the response becomes consistent.


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