It’s not as difficult to get started with training your Quaker Parrot as you might think. You can start by teaching your Quaker a few basics, and this is true whether your pet has been with you a few days or a few years. In my opinion, one of the best things you can teach your bird is to have a reliable step up response. What this means is that your Quaker will step up immediately onto your hand when you give it the command to “step up.”
Why is this important? For one, it allows you to remove the Quaker Parrot easily from its cage. It also helps when trying to remove it from a shoulder – either your own or someone else’s. Some Quakers will try to bite when being removed from a shoulder, but this is less of an issue with a bird that is well-trained to step up. You will find that a QP that has learned the step-up command is easier to handle in unfamiliar or even dangerous situations such as if the bird would ever escape your home accidentally. Plus, it teaches your bird to cooperate with you, which as you can imagine is an important advantage as well. So all in all, the step-up command is a great place to start when first beginning to train your Quaker.
Quaker Step-ups 101
The step-up command is an easy behavior to teach your pet bird. You simply place your finger in front of the bird’s feet and say “step up.” At first your Quaker is not going to understand what you want it to do, so you may need to gently press your finger against the lower belly area which will cause the bird’s balance to shift backwards. In most cases, the QP will step onto your finger as you give this gentle push. Be sure to enthusiastically praise your bird when he steps up correctly. You can then practice a few more times asking your bird to step-up from finger to finger.
Instead of stepping up, some Quakers will cling to the perch for dear life. Who knows what is going on inside their heads, but this is how you handle this situation. Keep your finger in front of the feet as described above, but take your other hand and move it around behind the bird like you are going to scoop it up from behind. This presents the parrot with a choice – either step up to the hand in front or be scooped up from behind. Nine times out of ten, your bird will choose to step up. Again, wildly praise your pet for being smart enough to know that stepping up was the better choice. LOL!
Keep on Stepping!
Keep practicing step-up with your Quaker on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to practice daily at first. But even throughout the bird’s lifetime, it’s still helpful to occasionally practice step-up just to reinforce the behavior. If more Quaker Parrot owners did this, they would find that their birds would be much more cooperative with them, and even the “terrible twos” are easier on a bird and owner who have learned the step-up command together.