To start with teaching a macaw you need to have a strong bond with your bird. Try spending some extra time with your pet if that trust is missing. A frightened parrot who does not trust you will stay quiet and far from you. No matter how hard you try they will not repeat your words. A macaw has keen eyesight and observes the environment that it is kept in.
BE IT’S CENTER OF ATTRACTION
They appear to be happy if kept in a colorful, brightly lit area with sunshine. Big areas filled with air and family activities happening around the macaw parrot. If you want your bird to learn you need to be its center of attraction. A learning macaw will listen and look at you closely when you speak to it. It will constantly dilate its pupils while trying to grasp what you say. Sound the word in a loud and clear voice, hesitating slightly between repetitions.
Basic Training Rules for a Macaw
- Never hit your bird. If you do so, you might as well just take the bird back to the store and get a new one, because you broke the trust.
- Always use positive reinforcement. If your macaw doesn’t do what he or she was asked to do, simply say nothing and don’t offer a treat.
- Make sure all your movements are slow and deliberate. Never sneak up on your bird. By making your movements slow, your macaw will be able to follow and learn quicker.
- Keep sessions short. 15–20 minutes of training is plenty. Feel free to do two sessions a day; just make sure you spread them out.
- Try not to take a day off. Trick-training relies on consistent training every day
- Your reward treat should be easy to eat. If your reward treat is a huge walnut, the time you must wait for your feathery friend to break it and eat is wasted. Use something that does not have to be cracked and is easily broken into small pieces.
- Make eye contact. Seems silly, but it works. This doesn’t mean have a staring contest, but your bird will try harder to impress you by doing the trick if he or she sees your eyes.
- Train on a perch or table in a room with no windows and, if possible, very few decorations on the wall. Basically, keep the distractions down to a minimum. Don’t blast music. Turn the TV off. If you don’t have a windowless room, at least roll the shades down on the windows. The training will happen more easily if your bird is 100% focused on you.
- Give praise for effort, and praise + treat for success. Training guides say to hold your tongue when the macaw doesn’t do the trick. I disagree. In my experience, giving a little “atta boy!” is a well-needed pick-me-up. Remember to really make a huge deal when your feathery friend finally does the trick; make it well-known he or she did it!
- Only work on one trick at a time. Your feathery friend is smart, but not that smart.
KEEP THEM BUSY BE SOCIAL
Macaws are extremely social and loneliness and boredom is not easily accepted by them. If you find a flock of macaws in the wild, the easiest way to spot them is through the loud screeching and squawking sounds they make. So when we bring them home, we can hardly change what is inherent of their nature. They enjoy communicating with others so at your home it begins to do what it would have naturally done in the wild – learn the different communication calls of its flock.
CHOOSE THEM WISELY
Choose a macaw with the right temperament and your work will be half done. A fearful or a shy macaw may not be very open to training. The same goes for aggressive macaws as well. While there is no doubt that these macaws retain their talking abilities as well, training them can be a daunting task.