When we brought our first large parrot into our lives 20 years ago, Marshmellow our Umbrella Cockatoo, we tried to harness train her but she never liked it……this does not mean that harnesses are not good. They are a great idea for those that want to take their bird outside without fear of losing them.
Harness training your parrot offers a host of benefits. It can open up new doors for you and your bird to share a variety of experiences outside the four walls of your home. Here are just a few of the benefits of harness training:
It enables your Feathered Friend to enjoy the fresh air. We all know that parrots frighten easily. A sudden movement or sound can cause them to flee. For this reason, many parrot owners don’t allow their bird outside. A harness can keep your bird safe while they explore the great outdoors.
It allows you and your bird to enjoy a variety of activities together. Want to get your feathered friend out of the house? Thinking about joining your neighbor for a picnic? A harness will enable you to take your bird along. You can let your parrot enjoy a variety of summer social activities without the fear of him escaping.
Patience, Patience, Patience
Harness training your bird may not be as simple as you think. While teaching your bird to step on and off his bird stand, or how to pick up their bird toys can be relatively simple, harness training is another story. You will need to invest a tremendous amount of time and patience to help your bird master this technique. The most important thing is to go at your bird’s pace. If it takes 9 months for your bird to get comfortable with the harness, allow for that time.
Here are a few simple tips for getting started:
- Allow your parrot to select his favorite color. Be sure to use a harness that your bird is comfortable with. Letting your parrot choose the color for his harness may be a fun way to start the training.
- Help your parrot get use to the harness slowly. The first step is to help your bird get use to seeing the harness. As they are playing with their bird toys, lay the harness on the floor nearby and let him look at it. Next, help your parrot get use to the sound of the harness. Bird harnesses have several buckles and straps. Thirdly, help your parrot get use to the feel of the harness. As you are playing with your bird, let the harness brush up against him. Help him understand it is nothing to be afraid of. Finally, when it comes time to help your parrot wear the harness, move slowly. At first, your bird may only tolerate wearing it for 30 seconds. Always reward your parrot for his efforts using positive reinforcement.
Over time and with lots of patience, your parrot can be well-trained on how to wear a harness. This will enable you to take summer walks together and enjoy family picnics outside. Good luck!!! Don’t give up hope. I have recently started harness training with our birds again. It has been a slow process thus far.