Training Your Human
Purging old files off your computer is like cleaning out your closet. Sometimes you find a “golden oldie” that you forgot about—and it brings a big smile to your face.
The other day, I was deleting files on my computer to save space, and I rediscovered this gem. It’s a satire on us humans as seen through the eyes of our parrots—forwarded to me years ago by a fellow parrot lover—and it was so funny (and so true) that I just had to keep it. The author’s name was not given, so I am unable to give credit to whoever wrote it—but it was clearly written by someone who has lots of experience with parrots and understands them well. If by chance you know who wrote it, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due—and also thank the author for making us laugh.
Congratulations on the adoption of your new human!
Humans can provide you with hours of fun and entertainment, and an almost unlimited source of tasty things to eat. However, your new human needs love, attention and, above all, training. Remember, a well-trained human is a happy human, and a happy human is much easier for a bird to live with. And manipulate.
First of all, let’s go over a quick checklist of things you need for your new human:
GreenPapers or Plasticy-Card-Things. These items provide much needed amusement for humans. They will spend hours playing with them, worrying about them, and caressing them. Most important, though, are the many tricks you can train your human to perform with them. A well-trained human can learn to trade all of her GreenPapers for an entire sack of treats, given proper training.
Moving Den. A moving den is vital to the well being of all humans, as it gives them a place to yell at other humans from behind the safety of their glass windshields. Unlike us parrots, humans can be shy about yelling at each other from behind the fence or front door, so the moving den (or car/truck/van, as humans like to call them) provides a valuable place for your new human to let off steam. Your human can also be taught to transport you to parks, cafes and pet treat emporiums with just a little bit of work on your part.
Plastic Yelling Toy. A plastic yelling toy, or ‘phone’, as humans like to call it, is essential to your new human. They will spend hours using it to extoll your beauty to all of the other members of their pack. Remember, though, that humans can become so absorbed in their talking toy that they might neglect you, or ignore their training lessons. Learn to pull the cord from the wall with your beak if this happens.
Plastic Yelling Box (aka ‘Computer’). See Plastic Yelling Toy for details.
Now, let’s move on to basic training. The first thing you need to do is teach your human to respond to basic commands.
Mastering “The Stare” is the foundation of all good human training. Practice it, and the world is your oyster. Few humans have proven to be immune to this technique, but if you happen to find yourself saddled with one who is, feel free to trade them in for a more tractable example of the breed.
Basic technique for the S T A R E is as follows: Corner human some place where they have limited opportunity for movement. For example, try using the S T A R E when your human is distracted by their plastic yelling box, or the large-hot-thing-which-makes-food. Gaze unblinkingly into your human’s eyes. Do NOT break eye contact — this is vital. When you are certain the human has your full attention, signal your intent to them with a long, soft, quietly drawn out peep. The peep combined with the S T A R E should by now have your human fully mesmerized. Since humans are, believe it or not, actually quite eager to learn, yours should by now be trying out various options to see just what action it is you want them to perform. In short order, they will usually begin to list off “Wanna come out?” “Are you hungry?” and other inquisitive statements.
When they finally arrive at the trick you require them to perform, signal your approval with a series of wiggles, spins and dashes in the direction to which you would like your human to go.
Be patient! Unlike us, humans can take a while to learn to respond immediately with what you had in mind. The human ‘mind’ is not as evolved as ours, so frequent and prolonged repetition of the training session will be required. I have managed to train some in as little as one hour, whereas it once took an entire month to train a male human to cook me food at 4 am.
Remember, being a parrot is a state of mind. It is being able to convey to your human with merely a whimper the statement : “You may walk upright, but we both know who makes the rules around here, don’t we?”