There are few things more entertaining than hearing a parrot talk. You may think that teaching your parrot to talk is impossible. It’s not! Despite what many people think, speech training is actually a very simple process. Follow these five easy steps, and your parrot will be chattering away in no time!
Step 1: Earn Trust. Any good parrot training regimen begins by earning the trust of your bird. It’s imperative that you lay a solid foundation for your relationship. Bonding with your bird takes time and patience, it’s not something that can be hurriedly accomplished. Move slowly. Allow your parrot as much time as is needed to feel comfortable in your presence. Once you bond with your parrot, he will strive to please you.
Step 2: Choose a Word. Choosing a good word or phrase to start with is key to the speech training process. Try to pick something that is not too difficult for your bird to pronounce. It’s easiest for parrots to make hard “B”, “D”, and “P” sounds, and more difficult for “S” and “M” sounds. So, for example, you might start with “Pretty Bird” rather than “Mommy”. Starting out with a word or phrase that can be more quickly picked up by your parrot is encouraging to both of you.
Step 3: Daily Training Sessions. Repetition, repetition, repetition! Spend at least one hour per day doing training sessions. During these sessions, spend quality time with your parrot, and repeat the word or phrase that you’re trying to teach them very often. Each parrot learns at its own pace, so it may take quite a few sessions to see progress. Be patient, and be sure to conduct your sessions in the same way each day. Speak in low and calm tones, and be sure not to do anything to startle your bird.
Step 4: Rewards. When your parrot does make his first attempt at speaking in your presence, reward him! Show him that you are very proud of him, and heap on praise. Food treats are great motivators as well, so you can offer a little tidbit of a favorite food. It’s essential to reward your parrot each and every time, to encourage speaking as a habit.
Step 5: Build Vocabulary. Once your bird begins talking, your options are limitless! Continue your daily sessions, introducing a new word or phrase each time the parrot masters the previous one. Continue to give rewards, not only for the new words, but for the previously learned words as well. If you’d like to extend your training further but do not have time in your day to have longer training sessions, there are CDs available commercially that you can play by your bird’s cage at low volume, specifically designed to teach them new words and phrases. Remember, however, that they are not a replacement for one-on-one interaction.