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How to Teach Your Bird to Retrieve Toys


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Teach Tricks With Toys he retrieve is a fun, challenging trick that bonds you and your bird while you play interactively. The goal of retrieve is to get your bird to fetch a toy, bring it to you, and drop it into your outstretched hand. Taught in a series of steps, your bird will learn each step before you put them together in sequence.
Wooden ShapesTo get started, you will need small treat rewards (seeds work well) and a toy your bird can pick up with his beak. Whiffle Rattle and Acrylic Shapes are ideal. Plastic coins from the Teach Box & Bank will also work; size them appropriately for your bird.

Allow your bird to first handle the toy you choose to use for training. When you see your bird drop the item, say "drop." Then praise and reward your bird. Repeat this action until your bird associates the word "drop" with the action. As he gets better at dropping the object after you say "drop," place your hand out for your bird to use as a target.

Next, teach your bird to go get the item. Toss the item a few feet from your bird and tell him to "go get it." Praise and reward your bird when he goes after the item, and continue this step until you are sure your bird understands "go get it" means to chase after the item.

The final step of retrieve is your bird bringing the toy back to you. Toss the item, say "go get it," have your bird chase it, and then tell your bird "bring it to me." Reward your bird only when he makes his way toward you with the toy. Repeat "bring it to me" until your bird learns this step. Once he does, add the beginning step, the "drop" step.

Put all of the steps together now; reward your bird after successful completion of each step. During training, it's important to use toys that won't distract your bird to chew. After your bird learns retrieve thoroughly, you can use just about any toy appropriately sized for your bird's mouth.

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