Teaching Wave


New member
Jul 28, 2020
One loud green boy - Zim the Ekkie
Hi all, I'm trying to teach my 10yo eclectus parrot wave - I'm having problems however because when initiating the step up part, he either steps right on up to my finger too quickly, or, if I start with my finger further away, he grabs it with his beak to drag it closer before stepping on with his foot. There is no point at which I can bring my finger away while his foot is in the air. Has anyone else dealt with this?


New member
May 24, 2018
Cairo the Ekkie!
Everyone has a different approach to teaching 'wave'.

We taught 'shake' first, then modified it to become 'wave'.
Whereas 'step up' uses the whole hand, I would only show my index finger and say, 'shake'. It would trigger a step up motion, but the moment one foot went onto my finger, I immediately praised and gave treat, interrupting the step up movement. Once he learned 'shake', I would show my index finger and say, 'wave', and immediately wiggle my index finger so his attempt to shake my finger made his foot wiggle slightly. Immediately, praise and treat. Once you're consistent with the cues, both verbal and physical (step up - full hand, shake - index finger, wave - wiggle then full blown wave), they pick up pretty quickly that you're asking for different things.


Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Yep, thats a key point to remember when teaching any trick or action. Be Consistent in how you ask for the action, and have a unique hand and verbal signal to request it. Reward when there is even a little progress, and reward immediately, so there is a connection with the request, the action and the treat.


Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2010
Maryland - USA
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Charmed is right, everyone has their own method of training this one.

I used step up personally. Held my hand out for step up, then as he *JUST* barely started raising his foot, I used the same hand and waved at him (pulled it away, almost like a "Psych, too slow, let me wave at you!"), giving the verbal cue "Wave". He picked it up really quickly.

Key with this method here is never actually say the word step up, so you don't confuse him by requesting a step up then faking him out.

Theres a common thread between my method, Charmed's method, and anyone else who taught it a different way than us. Its all the same basic principle of "do whatever you have to to get him to NATURALLY do the behavior you want, so that you can capture it." Cairo was triggered to lift his foot with the intermediate step of shaking; Parker offers up his legs without asking if I simply extend my hand in his general direction.

Find the situation in which your bird will freely offer to raise up a foot, and capture that with clicker training.
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Aug 29, 2012
Shropshire, UK
Orange-winged Amazon - RIP Charlie,
Spock - Common Mynah,
McCoy - Alexandrine
I captured a head scratch, as in, he scratched his head with his foot and I clicked the clicker. I started to clicked just as he lifted his foot so he didn't get it to his head by the time I was offering him the treat. Makes it simple because he wasn't affecting another trick and getting confused.

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