Aviator Harness Training

by Anna
(Melbourne, Australia)

I've been attempting to train my 1 year old Sun Conure, Fig, with an Aviator Harness for the past few of months. I was slowly introducing it, letting him play with it and holding food out so that he would put his head through.

After a while, it seemed he was comfortable enough with it so after he put his head through, i slowly put his wings through and got it clipped up. Once it was on, he absolutely hated it, began screeching and trying to get it off- he was really distressed. I immediately pulled it off (I felt terrible!).

I've tried to continue re-introducing the harness, but this bad experience means he is absolutely terrified of it immediately moves away from it as soon as he sees it. I don't know what to do now because I was so patient over a number of months in getting him comfortable and gradually introducing it and now it seems all the hard work has gone out the window.

I would love Fig to be able to come outside with me on occasion however I simply can't do it without having him trained with a harness. Can someone PLEASE help me with some advice on how to conquer Fig's fear of the harness? I don't know what else to do but keep trying to introduce it to him. Thank you :)

Comments for Aviator Harness Training

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Jan 10, 2012
by: Jez

It is never easy getting a bird used to a harness. We have a very tame Macaw and she took quite a while to get her used to the harness.

Even now 3 years on she doesn't like having it put on and try to hide if she sees it. Bit the benefits of taking her out far outweigh the negatives.

I dont think you will ever get your bird to accept the harness on her own terms, you will need to force her to wear it but reward her with treats and a trip outside when it is on.

Jan 09, 2012
Bird scared of harness
by: Tracie

Ugh! I am sorry for both of you. I had a similar situation with my bird trying a flight suit. I honestly gave up when I started reading about predator birds coming from nowhere and snatching up birds off shoulders. (We live where there are sparrow hawks, red tailed hawks etc.)

The only thing I can think to suggest, is to start the training from scratch, but add a special treat to the mix. When the bird lets you place it next to the cage, give it a treat. When you see it is comfortable with you doing that two days in a row, then try putting it in the cage or draped on your arm with your bird on your hand etc.

Eventually, try holding up the leash so that the bird needs to put it's head through the loop to get a treat. Once it does that a few times, then maybe try holding the bird with the loop over it's head for a couple of days in a row. (Not for a long time, just a minute and then treat or praise as treat, however you train your bird.)

Hopefully you can work toward the straps around the belly and be good to go.

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