Lovebirds (Agapornis) are very popular pets that are native of Africa. Many people decide to adopt a lovebird, whether for their vivid colors or for their happy and playful personality.
As their name suggests, lovebirds are very sociable and loving birds who famously enjoy being surrounded by members of their own species and finding a partner to spend their life with, as they are one of the most faithful animals to their mates.
Lovebirds also have several skills owing to the versatility in their legs, which makes them able to manipulate objects. For this reason, many people take young lovebirds into their home in order to train them. Keep reading this AnimalWised article and find out our tips to train a pet lovebird.
- Patience in training lovebirds
- Tips to start training a lovebird
- Keeping a pet lovebird happy and healthy
Patience in training lovebirds
No matter their species, birds are complicated creatures to train - more so than a dog or a cat. This is why you need to be clear that, whilst it is possible to train a lovebird, you'll need to have lots of patience and always use positive reinforcement.
If you have a hand-raised lovebird (i.e., that still feeds on baby bird formula) the task will be easier, since it's very likely that the bird will be used to you and won't have any qualms in interacting with you.
Get your pet lovebird to trust you
Before starting to train a pet lovebird, you must make sure it feels comfortable with you. Otherwise, you won't get any results. Get your lovebird to trust you by speaking softly, playing soft music and giving it fruit; your goal is to create an environment in which the two of you can connect.
Your pet lovebird must be used to seeing you and hearing your voice; it's essential that you start training it without it feeling scared of you. It is very dangerous to shout during this process, since birds are very sensitive animals which easily change upon hearing sudden noises. Whistle softly to it to get your lovebird's attention. It will probably reply to you.
Be persistent in training your lovebird
It's highly likely that the lovebird won't want to interact with you in the first few times. On the other hand, if you pay attention to it every day and make an effort to socialize it, your pet lovebird will gradually be more confident and relaxed in your presence.
Use your imagination to stimulate your lovebird with toys, music and even images that it likes. Remember that they are intelligent birds notable for their curiosity and affection.
Tips to start training a lovebird
If your pet lovebird already knows you and is calm in your presence, you can start the training.
Firstly, for roughly one week, start by putting your hand in the cage. Do so in a relaxed manner and don't touch the bird; simply leave it where it is and try to offer it some kind of fruit or treat that it likes. Don't worry if the lovebird doesn't accept the treat at first, as this is normal. Keep trying to interact with it but never pressure it.
Remember that birds are sensitive and delicate creatures who need to be given time, just as you would if you were in their situation. Try to be friendly with your pet.
Has your bird eaten out of your hand?
Does it jump up onto your finger?
Only in these cases can you start the training. The lovebird must show that it trusts you, so this is a very important step. Few people have the patience and sensitivity to train a bird - if you got to this step, you have what it takes. Now comes the actual training:
- Get hold of some treats or food that it likes.
- Choose an enclosed space, such as the living room. Draw the curtains so that the lovebird doesn't fly into the windows and remove any sharp or potentially dangerous objects from the area that could hurt it.
- Leave the lovebird's cage in the same room, supplied with food and water. Get ready to be in the room for a long period of time, if necessary.
- Put your hand inside the cage and, when the lovebird jumps up onto your finger, let it out. Don't worry if it flies; as long as the windows are covered there is no reason why it would hurt itself.
- Give it time to enjoy flying freely. Your pet lovebird will appreciate these moments in which it can develop its muscles and investigate on its own behalf. It goes without saying that you need to be present and keep an eye on its behavior. Lovebirds have a tendency to be somewhat destructive when they go crazy over certain objects, so make sure that no damage is done.
- Don't pick the lovebird up! Try to get it to come back to you using gentle words, treats or whatever technique that you employ in your relationship. Don't worry if it doesn't do so, and be prepared to be in the room for a while. It will return to its cage once it is hungry or thirsty.
Keeping a pet lovebird happy and healthy
Remember that a pet lovebird isn't a toy, so you need to treat it carefully and be patient with its training. Don't force it or be persistent, as you are directly responsible for its well-being. Little by little, on a basis of confidence and trust, your lovebird will learn to perform various tricks or behave as you want it to outside of the cage.
Other tips to train a pet lovebird:
- Don't give it too many treats, as it can get fat it if eats too much. Instead you should use kisses, strokes and praise as a reward.
- Don't make the training sessions too long. 20 minutes is a good amount of time so that your pet lovebird doesn't get exhausted. Practice on a daily basis so that it feels happy in your presence.
- If the bird pecks you during the first few steps, don't take your hand away. If you do so, it will understand that it has a powerful weapon in its beak. Next time, use flesh-colored gloves.
- If it pecks you during the basic training phase, use the word "no" and return it to the cage.
- Lovebirds are sensitive animals which can detect your nervousness. As such, you should always be relaxed when you interact with it.
- Don't shout at your lovebird or harm it, as this will only cause distrust and fear in the animal.
- It's important for your lovebird to remain in its cage. Don't let it spend all day out of it, since with one lapse of concentration it will be able to escape, and it won't know how to return.
- They like to talk. You can teach them to talk by always repeating the same phrases to it.