The pigeon is a unique animal in the sense that it is very comfortable with human beings. It is from the same family as with the doves. In fact, both of them are treated to be symbols of peace and love. Like athletes, these birds are molded to compete. That is why, they are trained to become racing pigeons.
Like any other creature, pigeons also have that sense of wanting to belong. The bird can't stand being away from its habitat. In cases when there is a loft assigned to it since its young age, it will always come back no matter what happens. This ability of the pigeon to return to its nesting places despite great distances is what is taken advantage of by the pigeon racing enthusiasts.
Training a Young Bird
The basic training of a youngster must be done by the handler himself. It is about familiarizing the bird with its handler. Later on, as the handler executes the commands, the bird learns to obey. This is also the time to build the bird's confidence regarding a direct contact with a human being.
Training needs a schedule. You must have that effect on the bird to let it understand that you are working on a certain schedule. Likewise, constancy of action is very important. Never ever confuse the bird by making command variations or interchanging them. With regards to the schedule, the racing pigeons become fully aware of what to expect from you at different times of the day. They will know when they will fly, when they will be fed, when the loft will be cleaned, when the water will be changed, and so on.
You will be surprised to find out that these birds are smart enough to adapt to your daily routine. If it is time to fly, you will see them sitting on the entrance of their lofts waiting for you.
Instilling Good Habits while Young
Like a child, the racing pigeons should also be disciplined. The best time to do it is when they are still young. A tender age is a great opportunity to curb any unwanted behavior. The good habits that they acquire will be brought on until they become adults. Discourage any display of bad behavior and give rewards or treats for good behavior.
The Role of Basket Training
Sure enough, the birds will be flying around their loft. The next step is to basket train them. That means, taking them out of the loft and then releasing them to fly just outside the loft. Be sure to start it off in groups. Release them all at the same time. The younger ones often get scared at first and panic when they are no longer in one group.
Give them the idea that they train so they will be fed. Before releasing them, they should be hungry. They know that there is food and water in the loft so their tendency is to make it home fast. Other treats should also be available to add to their excitement.
Overall, the goal of training the racing pigeons is to enhance their so called natural navigation system as well as develop in them the habit of returning to the loft at a faster travel rate.