What you need to know to teach your Cockatiel to talk and more.

We want a pet bird to train it to do all the fun tricks we see birds do on those cute animal YouTube videos. We like birds that sing, dance, and repeat funny phrases. While some birds are more trainable than others, cockatiels are common captive birds that are trained to do various things. 

Cockatiels are some of the most trainable pets, and we are here to tell you how to do it. 

How to teach a cockatiel? It doesn’t matter what you want to train your cockatiel to do; the key to getting the lesson through to them is with constant repetition and a lot of patience. If you have both of those, then we have a list of fun tricks to teach your cockatiel with practically the same steps and techniques.

How to teach a cockatiel its name. When you first get your cockatiel, you’ll want to give it a name. If she already has a name, knows it, and you like it, then we suggest not changing the name at all. But you may have a young cockatiel or one that has no name. No matter, to teach the cockatiel to recognize his name is as follows. 

Step 1: Get some treats. Cockatiels learn well with positive reinforcement and reward. They don’t respond well to punishment or any hostile attempts at learning. They’ll likely learn less if you take that approach so get ready to reward them with something healthy. 

Step 2: Say the name you have chosen to the bird. 

Step 3: Reward her with a treat. 

Step 4: Repeat steps two and three for fifteen-minute intervals. 

Step 5: Give it a rest. You don’t want your bird to get fat, so fifteen minutes of treats, limited of course, is enough. 

Step 6: Repeat three or four times daily until they respond to the name you have chosen. 

How to teach a cockatiel to talk. Now that your beautiful bird know’s his name, you can start teaching him to speak. Take note that cockatiels aren’t the easiest birds to get chatting, but they do with the two ingredients we mentioned earlier: patience and repetition. 

Step 1: Choose simple single or double syllable words to start. 

Step 2: When you say the chosen word or phrase to your bird, be sure to say it in a loud and upbeat way. Suppose you listen closely to the sounds, your cockatiel makes, it would behoove you to say the chosen phrase or word in the same manner. It will be easier for them to understand, and you’ll have a better chance at success. 

Step 3: Grab the treats and start saying the phrase to your bird. If they say the word, or something close to it, reward your bird with a treat. If you haven’t guessed by now, this part is similar to the steps in how to teach your cockatiel its name. The only difference is the response you are looking for. 

Step 4: Don’t forget to rest after fifteen minutes and repeat the process several times every day. Another reward, besides treats, is an enthusiastic “good” or “good birdy.” 

What are some other tricks I can teach my cockatiel? With the same type of positive reinforcement and reward that we’ve been discussing you can teach your cockatiel to do a ton of fun tricks. These include “turn around”, to say their name, flex their wings, high five, whistle songs, somersault, fly on command, and shake their head. 

How to train a cockatiel to talk. Repetition, emotion, and reward are the three key ingredients to train a cockatiel to talk. The reason why emotion is mentioned is because birds tend to pick up words that we put feeling behind. That’s why a bird who is around swearing is likely to pick it up. Because, when we cuss, it’s typically an emotional reaction. 

Say the word/phrase you want repeated and say it with feeling. Reward your bird when she repeats what you are trying to teach her. 

How to train a cockatiel to fly to you. It may start to get old or sound repetitive but the key to teaching your cockatiel to do anything is repetition. You will see this trend and we move on to other teachable tricks. 

Rewards are essential as well, which we mentioned earlier. To get your cockatiel to fly to you put a treat in your hand. The best time to do this is right before you feed him so your bird will be hungry.

Show the cockatiel the treat. Then gesture to your shoulder. When you first do this you don’t want to be too far away from your friend but far enough away so they could fly to you. When they do what you want reward them right away. This may take time so don’t leave your patience at the door. 

How to train a cockatiel to step up. This is a basic trick that birds learn. When you approach your cockatiel make sure your eye level is slightly above his so that he knows you are in charge. Also, make sure you have treats in hand. 

At first let the bird get used to your hand in her cage with a treat. When your cockatiel gets used to taking treats from your hand then you can extend a finger for her to step on. When she does it say, “Step up” and reward her with a treat. 

It’s important to remember that no training session with your cockatiel should last longer than fifteen minutes. That’s a long enough time for treats and your bird will need to digest a bit before carrying on. 

How to train a cockatiel not to bite. This is possibly the most important training you can give your cockatiel because the last thing you want is a bird that is comfortable biting you or anyone else. It’s not safe to let your bird bite your hand because he could break the skin and injure you and you might have something toxic on your hand that you don’t want in the birds mouth. 

Biting is a bad habit and here are some tips on how to stop it. The first step is to never reward or give a treat to a cockatiel that has bitten you. Positive reinforcement is strong so don’t give them the wrong idea. 

When your bird bites don’t yell and scream. Remember, they don’t understand words and can be frightened by your emotions. Instead say “NO” sternly. If you are holding a perch that they are on then jostle their balance for a minute as you say “NO.” They should associate the jostling with “NO.”

How long does it take to train a cockatiel? The length of time it takes to train a cockatiel to do anything depends on several factors. How old is the cockatiel? How long have you had this cockatiel? What is the temperament of your cockatiel?

As with any animal, or human for that matter, if your bird is young it will take less time to teach them than if they were older. Our guy is rather old and set in his ways. Luckily he was trained when he was young. 

If your bird is old but new to you then you might find training a bit more challenging. Finally, every cockatiel is different from another. They all have their own temperaments and personalities. If yours is agreeable then your time spent training will not be long, but if your cockatiel is stubborn or possibly a rescue that wasn’t handled well then you will have to put in the time. 

Conclusion Cockatiels are very trainable if you stick with the rules of training. Repetition, rewards, patience, and a positive attitude are all that is required when you want to teach your cockatiel. You may be tempted to make it more fun or less monotonous but that will only confuse your cockatiel. Stick with the plan and you will see results. 

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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