How To Teach Your Parrot To Play Dead (Step-By-Step)

Teaching your parrot tricks can be very rewarding. Parrots are companionable, intelligent birds that take well to training sessions.

But can you teach your parrot to play dead?

To teach your parrot to play dead, start to slowly encourage your bird to step up onto your finger with either the left or the right leg (not both). Then, move your finger up and over the parrot, guiding it into a laid-down position. Use a verbal command as you do and offer a treat afterward.

The Best Way To Teach Your Parrot To Play Dead

When you’re teaching your parrot any trick, you need to walk your bird through the process step by step, rewarding the behavior you want to see. To teach your parrot to play dead, follow these steps:

  1. Teach your parrot to step up onto your finger when you offer it by presenting your finger and rewarding a step up with a treat.
  2. Once your parrot knows how to use your finger as a perch, offer a finger on the left or the right side, and encourage your parrot to step up with one leg. 
  3. Once your parrot has taken a step onto your finger, bring your finger up and over your parrot, moving it onto its back. Use a phrase like “play dead” while you’re doing this. 
  4. Give your parrot a treat immediately after placing your parrot on its back so that it learns to associate the reward with your parrot.
  5. After your parrot has become comfortable with this procedure, try using the command on its own. 

Other Tricks To Teach Your Parrot

Parrots require some patience to train, but they are very capable of picking up lessons, and there are many tricks that you can teach your parrot.

Below are some neat tricks that you can teach your parrot. Maybe at your next gathering, it can be a new form of entertainment. 

Teach Your Parrot to Bow

You can teach your parrot to bow by guiding its head with a treat. Simply approach your perched parrot with a treat, then move the treat from eye level down to the level of the perch.

Your parrot will follow this movement, performing a bowing motion. 

Give a command as you do this so that your parrot will learn to associate the sound with the movement.

Your Parrot Can Learn How to Wave

To teach your parrot to wave, start when your parrot is sitting still on a perch, and offer your finger while giving a verbal command.

As your parrot reaches out for your hand, pull your finger away slowly so that it moves its foot but doesn’t step up. Reward your parrot with a treat when it does this. 

Turn Around

Teach your parrot to turn around by giving a verbal command while moving a treat slowly around the bird while it’s on its perch.

It will naturally follow you until it’s turned its whole body to reach the treat.

When you’re first teaching this skill, stop when the bird has turned with its back toward you, and then progress to turning in a full circle. 

Parrots Can Learn How to Dance

Dancing is one of the easiest tricks that you can teach your parrot because it will learn by copying you.

Simply put on some music and start moving around to it, and your parrot will likely join you by bobbing its head and stepping back and forth.

Teach Your Parrot to Fetch Like a Dog

Fetch is one of the most difficult tricks to teach your parrot but makes for a great bonding activity once your parrot learns how to play.

To teach your parrot to fetch, follow these steps:

  1. Offer your bird an attractive item, like a brightly colored button, and then say “fetch” when it grabs the item with its beak. 
  2. Let your parrot play with the object.
  3. When it drops the object, say “drop it.”
  4. Repeat, and place your hand under the object palm up to catch it next time your parrot drops it. (Alternatively, you can catch the object in a bowl.) When you catch the object, offer a treat.
  5. Toss the object about a yard away, then say “fetch” once you see it moving toward the object. Your parrot should then come back to you, expecting to drop the object in your palm or bowl for a treat.

Your Parrot Can Learn How to Sit On Your Shoulder

Another trick you can teach your parrot is sitting on your shoulder.

You can teach this by allowing your parrot to perch on your hand and then transferring the bird to your shoulder, encouraging it, and rewarding it with treats as you do. 

Gradually, you can start moving around with your parrot on your shoulder, much like a pirate of the old legends.

Tips for Training a Parrot to Play Dead and Other Tricks

No matter what you’re training your parrot to do, there are a few tips and tricks that you should take into account. These include the following:

  • Teach your parrot in a neutral spot, separated from distractions and away from the cage.
  • Do short but frequent training sessions, about ten to fifteen minutes each session two or three times a day. 
  • Watch your bird’s mood, and end the training session if your parrot isn’t enjoying it.
  • Move slowly and gently through the training process.
  • Make sure that training isn’t interrupted by any loud noises or other pets.
  • Ensure that the treats you use are something special, like fruits or nuts, not the same food that you feed your parrot for meals. 
  • Be realistic about your expectations, and don’t push your bird too far.
  • Always stay over the bird and not under the bird, which places you in a position of authority.
  • Use phrases as rewards, as well as treats. You can use an encouraging phrase like “good bird” in many different contexts. 

Why Are Parrots Easy To Train?

Parrots are easy to train because they are companion birds and have a lot of intelligence.

Put together, this means that parrots have an easy time understanding what you want them to do, and they have the motivation to try to do it. 

Parrots Provide Companionship

Parrots are companion birds and enjoy human interactions. For this reason, they enjoy training sessions and are very willing to learn tricks, which is especially true when a parrot has been raised by humans from a very young age.

They Are Intelligent Birds

Parrots are also very intelligent birds that have an easy time understanding cause and effect.

Parrots can even understand sophisticated mathematical concepts like addition and subtraction and can communicate what they want effectively.

Parrots are so intelligent that they become bored when they aren’t mentally stimulated, so training is not only possible for them but also very healthy.

How To Teach Your Parrot Not To Bite

Teaching your parrot not to do certain behaviors is as important as teaching them positive tricks. Thankfully, teaching your bird not to do something is fairly simple.

You can use negative words like “no” and gestures like a palm to the face to discourage biting and other signs of aggression.

Timeouts are not shown to be effective, however, and you should never scream at your parrot.

You can also use calm words to bring your bird’s energy down if it starts becoming aggressive. Ignoring your bird isn’t a good idea, and neither is standing down. 

If your bird is actively biting you and won’t let go, try breathing a puff of air into its face to force it to let go. 


To teach your parrot to play dead, work slowly in steps, offering treats and giving verbal cues as you move the parrot through the process of lying down, which is one of many tricks that you can teach parrots.

Parrots make for intelligent companions and enjoy learning and performing tricks like this one.