How to Teach a Pet Cockatiel to Talk

Written by ehow pets editor
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A talking pet cockatiel can be an impressive addition to your household. However, teaching your pet cockatiel how to talk can be a bit difficult at first. Establish a lesson schedule and use treats to coax simple words out of your pet cockatiel.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Decide on a schedule to teach your pet cockatiel. Prepare to devote at least four 10-minute sessions a day to teaching your pet cockatiel how to talk. Pet cockatiels, like many other animals, need repetition when learning.

  2. 2

    Take your pet cockatiel out of its cage. Removing your pet cockatiel from its cage and holding it may reduce the distractions that could come between your pet cockatiel and its talking lesson. Make sure that your pet cockatiel can clearly see your lips and hear your words.

  3. 3

    Start by repeating one simple word to your pet cockatiel. Words that have only one syllable are a good starting point. Repeat the word throughout the duration of the sessions. If the word is the name of an object, show the pet cockatiel the item. If the word is an action, demonstrate the action as you repeat the word.

  4. 4

    Give your pet cockatiel a treat every time it shows an interest in the words you speak and the sounds you make. Encourage your pet cockatiel if it seems like it is examining your lips and mouth while you repeat the word. Providing treats to your pet cockatiel is positive reinforcement and encourages your pet cockatiel to listen.

  5. 5

    Repeat the words in a sing-song or high-pitched tone. Pet cockatiels are more likely to assimilate words and their meanings if you present them in an interesting manner.

  6. 6

    Listen to your pet cockatiel. Your cockatiel's first attempts at repeating a word may be garbled. Reward your pet cockatiel for trying and continue to encourage it through soft tones, positive reinforcements and treats until it satisfactorily repeats the word.

Tips and warnings

  • Teach your pet cockatiel one word at a time. Do not move on to a new word unless you are absolutely certain that your pet cockatiel has mastered the first word.
  • Approach teaching your pet cockatiel speech like you would a small and curious child.
  • Be patient with your pet cockatiel. Every cockatiel has a distinct personality and not all cockatiels are interested in learning how to talk. While consistency and persistence are essential to teaching your pet cockatiel how to talk, don't punish your pet cockatiel if it fails to show an interest. It could take months before your pet cockatiel will show signs of speech.
  • Don't attempt to talk over your pet cockatiel. Make sure that your pet cockatiel is silent before saying words. If your pet cockatiel is busy talking, it may not be listening to what you have to say.
  • You'll probably have the best luck trying to teach male pet cockatiels how to talk.

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