When clicker training your bird, you should teach at least three prop behaviors before you work on non-prop behaviors (to avoid having the bird use his first and strongest behavior as way to beg for treats or attention). A training prop could be anything, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but sometimes it’s just easier to buy a prop specifically designed for bird training.
Since finding parrot training props isn’t as easy as it should be, I’ve gathered together various links I’ve bookmarked where you can find trick training toys for birds. If you know of other good sources for clicker training props, please leave a comment and and I’ll add it to the list. If you’d like to share your shopping experience with any of the parrot supply stores below, I’d welcome that as well since I haven’t tried all these sites out myself.
Parrot Clicker Training Kit
- “Getting Started” Clicker Training for Birds” Kit includes the definitive book on the subject, a clicker, a target stick and training treats!!
Ring Toss Toys and Props
Scooters/Skateboards for Cockatiels and Bigger Birds
Bird-Sized Roller Skates
And if money is no object for your feathered genius, check out this bicycle built for parrots.
Obviously some of these parrot tricks are much harder to teach than others, and your bird would have to be macaw-sized to operate anything as complicated as a bicycle, but don’t get discouraged — some of the behaviors are actually not that complicated to teach! Ring toss and basketball are only one step removed from retrieve (teaching your bird to fetch), which is one the first prop tricks to teach a beginner bird anyway. (Stewie’s first real trick was to put a ball in a cup, and I’m a terrible trainer. If we can do it, anyone with a little patience and a lot of humor can do the same.)
The obvious disclaimer: buy from these online parrot toy stores at your own risk. I’m not vouching for them.
Should-be-obvious statement #2: “Because they do cool tricks” is not a good reason to run out and buy a parrot. Tigers jump through hoops of fire – doesn’t mean you just run out and get one because of that. Ok, enough preaching.
For your viewing pleasure: A Macaw Parrot Riding a Bicycle, among other things: