The use of harnesses on bird pets like cockatiel is usual when they are out of the bird cages. So how to train a cockatiel on a harness?
When you want to let your cockatiel go out, but still worry about whether it can fly away, a harness is a solution. However, your untrained bird certainly will resist wearing some robes on its body. Some people force their birds to take the harness and make the bird uncomfortable and scared. But you should not do that because you are totally able to train your bird to voluntarily wear the material. What you need is patience and a step-by-step guideline.
Let’s go into more details and find your way to put a harness on your bird properly.
How to put a harness on a cockatiel?
The harness training can start with having the cockatiel get used to the harness. Then, you will move the harness around, touching the bird’s body while giving it a treat. After that, put the bird’s head through the collar and then two wings. You should do step by step, don’t force the bird and make it scared, just do what your bird feels comfortable with.
First of all, it is important to introduce the harness with your bird naturally. You should never try to resist having the harness put on when the material still scares the bird. An easy way is to gently put the harness material just near the bird and give it a treat. You can gradually move forward to touching the bird with the harness without any depression, and also give it a treat. This process can take a few days to a week to make the cockatiel completely feel comfortable with the harness.
After this period, the bird will stay still and might not resist having the harness put on. Then you can drape your hand around it to stimulate the action of putting it on the bird. You need to touch your bird a lot, so make sure it is comfortable with your hands.
Putting on the harness
First, you start to teach the bird to put its head through the collar. You should make the bird feel like this is just a practice and volunteer to do that. It is better than forcing your bird to put on it. You can use a stick to target the bird’s head to go exactly through the collar. Keep practicing this to have it stick its head through the collar, give it a treat, and take it back off. The point here is to let your bird know that it will not stick to the collar forever. After that, you can leave it on the collar longer while it chews the treat, showing it there is nothing bad happening.
After the process of practicing having the collar on and off, it is ready for you to put the harness on all the way. You put the collar on the bird’s head and treat it as normal. Then while it is eating, you can gently bring the harness over and put the first wing through, then the second one. At the same time, give the cockatiel a treat to keep it busy and you can easily tighten up the harness.
It is also important to know how to take off the harness. Imagine the whole process is in reverse.
Some advice for cockatiel harness training
- Leaving the harness in the bird’s cage or aviary to help the bird feel comfortable with the material.
- Before starting harness training, you should make sure that you are able to grab your bird, touch its whole body, and be able to open its wings.
- Training before feeding time to motivate the bird with the treats. You can also put on the harness just before feeding time and take it off after that. Doing this practice once or twice a day makes the cockatiel associate the harness quickly thanks to the worthwhile reward.
- Keeps the training sessions short to not make the bird too tired. You can start with 15 minutes, then adjust the time longer and shorter depending on how the bird responds. If it shows a positive attitude, you can do more practice. Otherwise, it is better to keep it as a shirt playing time.
- Choose a harness in shade echoing the bird’s feather color if your bird is already clicker trained.
- Don’t be in a hurry. Your cockatiel might worry about something weird on its body. So it takes you more days to get the harness training successful. But the final result is worth it.
- Keep this train process fun for your cockatiel. When it shows any stress, stop what you are doing. Once the harness is a frightening thing to your bird, the task becomes harder and you might never get success.
- It is really helpful to have an older cockatiel to set an example. It will know that nothing happens with that practice.
- Prepare its favorite treats to reward it when it does the right things. Treats are a must so the bird will leave you to handle the harness.
Putting a harness on your bird can be more difficult than other training. But you can do this with most cockatiels as long as you have confidence, patience, a proper method, and a positive attitude. I hope this short article has given a whole content about how to put a harness on your cockatiel. With enough practice, you will certainly get success.