Parents, let’s be honest. You probably were a little horrified, but a lot amused, the first time your kid dropped the f-bomb or said “shit.” It’s not that you want your kid to be a potty mouth, but isn’t it hilariously adorable to see a pint-size person say an expletive? The same probably goes for parrot owners, who may have inadvertently taught their feathered friend to curse.
But according to professional animal trainer Barbara Heidenreich, this reaction is probably not a good idea, if you don’t want your kid or bird to make foul language a habit.
Like kids, parrots learn to associate curse words with a strong reaction. They hear us using them with lots of emotion, which makes the words stand out from others. On top of that, it doesn’t help when we react to swearing birds with laughter and joy. It’s positive reinforcement.
So unless you want your parrot to sound like it was raised by pirates, the simple way to correct a potty-mouthed bird? Ignore it when it uses four-letter words and give him/her positive reinforcement when s/he uses appropriate language/sounds. Talking birds are especially intelligent, and they’ll learn quickly that they will not be rewarded for using expletives.
Learn more about positive reinforcement with training parrots on GoodBirdInc.com. Or, if you still think cursing parrots are funny, watch this video below.