Basic education

Tips to Train a Pet Lovebird

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. December 21, 2016
Tips to Train a Pet Lovebird

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.

You may also be interested in: Tips to Train a German Shepherd
  1. Patience in training lovebirds
  2. Tips to start training a lovebird
  3. 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 Train a Pet Lovebird - Patience in training lovebirds

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:

  1. Get hold of some treats or food that it likes.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.
Tips to Train a Pet Lovebird - Tips to start training a lovebird

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.
Tips to Train a Pet Lovebird - Keeping a pet lovebird happy and healthy

If you want to read similar articles to Tips to Train a Pet Lovebird, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.

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Ananya Adusumilli
Should we train the lovebirds together or apart
Administrador AnimalWised
If they cooperate better together, you shouldn't need to separate them. Only separate to train them if they are hindering each other.
Ananya Adusumilli
What if the bird goes onto the fan?
Ananya Adusumilli
Can you please teach me some love bird girl or boy names ?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Ananya,

We have an article on some ideas and suggestions for bird names which might help you:

Stay tuned for some lovebird-specific suggestions sometime in the future!
Cheryl Clarke
i bought 2 young> baby Lovebirds I'm not sure if I have 1 female and a male or 2 males but anyways they are both in the same cage, when it comes to training them should i train them together? or separately? I noticed that one of the lovebird is more dominate than the other. I do believe that the white and blue lovebird might be a female, the other lovebird is just a tad smaller and i do believe that it is a male but I'm not 100% sure. when i purchased them i bought a cage that i thought would be big enough for the both of them, until i read that lovebirds need 2 square feet of cage space for each bird, so as of now the cage they are in is to small so I'm in the process of getting a larger cage. please let me know how I should go about training the 2 birds together or separate. thank you
Hi, my lovebird eats from my hand in the cage but when he comes out he just flies to a curtain pole and sits up there. I try to entice him with treats but he just shuffles away. Am I doing something wrong? My problem now is If I feed him his treats in the cage there’s no incentive to come to me outside but I feel guilty if I deny him.
Any ideas?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Reggie,

You need to give him time. Even if you have treats, you can end up scaring him off if you try to force interaction. You need to let him get comfortable and be relaxed.
how to train a love bird for foot ball
I always try to keep the surroundings calm. She loves to watch and chirp at my dog though. I think maybe she is fear bitting, also she is really territorial of her toys and cage. She loves to burrow in her newspaper in her cage, I figured its no problem since wild lovebirds make nests in cactus. If its not do let me know how to correct this behavior. Thanks
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Crystal,

It is a tricky one. Other animals in the home can cause birds stress as they fear they are being predated upon, but there could be other reasons. Maybe this article might help you assess the situation:

It shows the importance of environmental enrichment in birds which might help. However, if you think they are stressed, speaking to a veterinarian with experience in birds is the best course of action.
My female lovebird will NOT let me touch her. She likes outside cage time, but its pretty hard to get her back in her cage because she bites. When she bites I never go Ouch! But just pull away. I've had her less than a year and she still bites.. She's territorial of her toys and cage. And is not hand raised. Is there any hope for Taming her? Thanks
Administrador AnimalWised

Is there anything else which might be affecting the bird? Is it possible they are stressed by another issue such as other pets in the house, loud noise or other factors?
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Tips to Train a Pet Lovebird