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Dear Parrots magazine,

House training?

The number one negative comment I hear from non-bird owners for disliking pet birds is that “birds are dirty”.  What they mean is that most pet birds, when outside their cage, defecate on the furniture, floor or even people.  These people say that their dogs notify them that they have to go outside, when they have to relieve themselves.  In other words, their dogs are ‘house broken’.

I have owned many dogs, and Max (my Moluccan Cockatoo) is far more intelligent than any dog I have owned. So if a dog can be ‘house broken’, then why can’t a bird notify its owner that it wants to return to the cage to void?  Max gives me a signal that he wants to return to his cage, and he gets a kiss.  Then he defecates, and he returns to the door of his cage to come out, and he gets another kiss.  I have never read about anyone ‘house breaking’ their pet bird, but Max is ‘house broken’ with the reward of a kiss.  When non-bird owners see how Max is ‘house broken’ they say they never thought that birds were smart enough to be ‘house broken’, and they say that they are just amazed.

Dr Allen M Dresher - USA



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