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Harness Training

Discuss topics associated with teaching birds to fly. Training parrots recall flight, target flying, and other flying exercises.

Re: Harness Training

Postby Michael » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:22 pm

Pajarita wrote:I wouldn't put a harness on any of the small aviary species. There is no benefit to them - only stress and discomfort.


I have no idea what a "small aviary species" is. All parrots can be trained to wear a harness and not be stressed or uncomfortable. Training isn't the issue and species isn't the issue. The issues are that most people don't give adequate love, training, and expense to the smaller birds so they come off as wild. However, if someone would spend the effort hand feeding, raising, and training a lovebird as they do a macaw, it wouldn't be much different. The other issue is just a scale issue. Our hands are proportionately bigger to a lovebird than to a macaw. Likewise, the manmade harness straps, buckles, and materials are huge to the small bird. The harnesses are not properly scaled down for size. They are just taking a big bird harness and making the collar smaller while the thickness of the material is the same. Therefore it's like a toddler trying to wear a man's Tshirt. It's out of proportion. Last issue is that the small birds live at a much quicker pace. It's hard for us to keep up with them when it comes to training and particularly something like harness training. In the 1 second of approaching with harness, the bird has looked in ten different directions and ran back and forth on the perch. Our scale of time just makes it a very strong burden on the trainer to move quickly and efficiently to keep up with the bird and to have the dexterity and gentleness in our hands to work with the scale. Otherwise, I don't see them as just aviary birds or anything less. It's our fault, not theirs.
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Michael
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Re: Harness Training

Postby sofiacb » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:30 pm

Michael wrote:
Pajarita wrote:I wouldn't put a harness on any of the small aviary species. There is no benefit to them - only stress and discomfort.


I have no idea what a "small aviary species" is. All parrots can be trained to wear a harness and not be stressed or uncomfortable. Training isn't the issue and species isn't the issue. The issues are that most people don't give adequate love, training, and expense to the smaller birds so they come off as wild. However, if someone would spend the effort hand feeding, raising, and training a lovebird as they do a macaw, it wouldn't be much different. The other issue is just a scale issue. Our hands are proportionately bigger to a lovebird than to a macaw. Likewise, the manmade harness straps, buckles, and materials are huge to the small bird. The harnesses are not properly scaled down for size. They are just taking a big bird harness and making the collar smaller while the thickness of the material is the same. Therefore it's like a toddler trying to wear a man's Tshirt. It's out of proportion. Last issue is that the small birds live at a much quicker pace. It's hard for us to keep up with them when it comes to training and particularly something like harness training. In the 1 second of approaching with harness, the bird has looked in ten different directions and ran back and forth on the perch. Our scale of time just makes it a very strong burden on the trainer to move quickly and efficiently to keep up with the bird and to have the dexterity and gentleness in our hands to work with the scale. Otherwise, I don't see them as just aviary birds or anything less. It's our fault, not theirs.


Wow, I completely agree. I must say, I just started training Ivy a few weeks ago and I already see progress when it comes to my relationship with her. Although she was handfed, she has started to trust me more and be more eager to come out of her cage.
I wish I would have started earlier...
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Re: Harness Training

Postby ParrotsForLife » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:33 pm

Michael wrote:
Pajarita wrote:I wouldn't put a harness on any of the small aviary species. There is no benefit to them - only stress and discomfort.


I have no idea what a "small aviary species" is. All parrots can be trained to wear a harness and not be stressed or uncomfortable. Training isn't the issue and species isn't the issue. The issues are that most people don't give adequate love, training, and expense to the smaller birds so they come off as wild. However, if someone would spend the effort hand feeding, raising, and training a lovebird as they do a macaw, it wouldn't be much different. The other issue is just a scale issue. Our hands are proportionately bigger to a lovebird than to a macaw. Likewise, the manmade harness straps, buckles, and materials are huge to the small bird. The harnesses are not properly scaled down for size. They are just taking a big bird harness and making the collar smaller while the thickness of the material is the same. Therefore it's like a toddler trying to wear a man's Tshirt. It's out of proportion. Last issue is that the small birds live at a much quicker pace. It's hard for us to keep up with them when it comes to training and particularly something like harness training. In the 1 second of approaching with harness, the bird has looked in ten different directions and ran back and forth on the perch. Our scale of time just makes it a very strong burden on the trainer to move quickly and efficiently to keep up with the bird and to have the dexterity and gentleness in our hands to work with the scale. Otherwise, I don't see them as just aviary birds or anything less. It's our fault, not theirs.

I see what you mean I never thought of it like that, As for Aviary birds I can see how Pajarita might use that word to separate certain species from the others which are rarely kept as companions for example here Lovebirds would be bred to live in Aviaries but rarely as pets, Same like Mango would have been bred for that purpose.
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Re: Harness Training

Postby Pajarita » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:51 pm

Michael wrote:
Pajarita wrote:I wouldn't put a harness on any of the small aviary species. There is no benefit to them - only stress and discomfort.


I have no idea what a "small aviary species" is. All parrots can be trained to wear a harness and not be stressed or uncomfortable. Training isn't the issue and species isn't the issue. The issues are that most people don't give adequate love, training, and expense to the smaller birds so they come off as wild. However, if someone would spend the effort hand feeding, raising, and training a lovebird as they do a macaw, it wouldn't be much different. The other issue is just a scale issue. Our hands are proportionately bigger to a lovebird than to a macaw. Likewise, the manmade harness straps, buckles, and materials are huge to the small bird. The harnesses are not properly scaled down for size. They are just taking a big bird harness and making the collar smaller while the thickness of the material is the same. Therefore it's like a toddler trying to wear a man's Tshirt. It's out of proportion. Last issue is that the small birds live at a much quicker pace. It's hard for us to keep up with them when it comes to training and particularly something like harness training. In the 1 second of approaching with harness, the bird has looked in ten different directions and ran back and forth on the perch. Our scale of time just makes it a very strong burden on the trainer to move quickly and efficiently to keep up with the bird and to have the dexterity and gentleness in our hands to work with the scale. Otherwise, I don't see them as just aviary birds or anything less. It's our fault, not theirs.


You are, actually, describing the reason why I would not use a harness in a small aviary species (budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds, beebees, plets, etc). They are too flighty for them (the quicker pace you mention). Even hand-fed aviary birds become real flighty once they reach the age of sexual activity and that makes it dangerous for them to be leashed in any way. Can it be done? I would assume that if one knows VERY well what one is doing (highly improbable for any normal owner) and has all the time and patience in the world, it can be done without a whole lot of stress. But the question is: does it benefit the bird? I don't think so. Flight does benefit them but flight for a little one does not require a harness, all you have to do is open the cage and let them out for four or five hours every day and the bird will get all the exercise it needs. Can it be dangerous? Yes, it can. Therefore, I would not do it and I would not recommend anybody they do it, either.
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Re: Harness Training

Postby ParrotsForLife » Sat Feb 18, 2017 2:17 pm

Pajarita you are right about that I even see Free flyers say it, They recommend flying larger birds because the reason you said and larger birds don't have much space to fly indoors.My purpose on the little guys with the harness is so they can just sit on their swing in the garden which is now gone because the workers building the new houses are putting concrete in the gardens and making them bigger and I use the flight suits which are not meant for flight so they can come to the park during the warmer days, I have experienced the risks with the harnesses which is why I don't use them for flight.Oscar for now is just getting used to being outdoors and when he is comfortable I am gonna start recall training and then we can do some long recalled flights at the park.
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Tiko, African grey, Oscar, BFA
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Re: Harness Training

Postby Michael » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:50 am

Pajarita wrote:Can it be done? I would assume that if one knows VERY well what one is doing (highly improbable for any normal owner) and has all the time and patience in the world, it can be done without a whole lot of stress.


Same applies for big birds and harnesses. Nothing unique here about little birds. If anything, I think the big birds get more stressed out over poor handling than the little ones. Anyone who wants to use a harness, has to approach it seriously and do all of the necessary harness training.

Pajarita wrote:But the question is: does it benefit the bird? I don't think so.


Of course it does. No less than "out of cage time" in the house. If the bird has no problem with wearing the harness and is properly socialized to the outdoors, if nothing else, it's just a chance to spend more time with the owner. You can't deny that's a great thing. Furthermore, the bird gets fresh air, direct sunlight, socialization, and a chance to meet strangers.

Just due to the scaling problem of harnesses, human hands, and life-pace, harnesses for the smallest parrots are not as good as for bigger parrots. The good news is that those birds are so small, that they can EASILY be taken around outside in a lunchbox sized carrier and enjoy most of the benefits of being outdoors. A larger parrot such as a grey or macaw would require such a huge cage that it would be impractical for the owner to take it places in a cage. Taking it unrestrained is downright stupid (even if it's clipped, it can still fly away or hop into the street). So using a harness is the best/safest way to get that bird around and about with the owner. It's the grandest sort of out of cage time and interaction with the owner. It just has to be done right.



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Flight: Yes

Re: Harness Training

Postby ParrotsForLife » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:38 am

It didn't take long for Oscar to accept the harness and he loves being outdoors and meeting new people and he does not say hello to everybody so he must have liked that Woman who works at the pet store lol, I am still working with the Flight suit as putting it on involves touching his legs which confuses him and he wants to step up but he has got it on a few times and he likes to play with it.I have also started using the harness over the flight suit for added safety and they both look great together but if I were taking him out for flights I would use the harness only.
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Re: Harness Training

Postby Pajarita » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:01 pm

Michael wrote:
Pajarita wrote:Can it be done? I would assume that if one knows VERY well what one is doing (highly improbable for any normal owner) and has all the time and patience in the world, it can be done without a whole lot of stress.


Same applies for big birds and harnesses. Nothing unique here about little birds. If anything, I think the big birds get more stressed out over poor handling than the little ones. Anyone who wants to use a harness, has to approach it seriously and do all of the necessary harness training.

Pajarita wrote:But the question is: does it benefit the bird? I don't think so.


Of course it does. No less than "out of cage time" in the house. If the bird has no problem with wearing the harness and is properly socialized to the outdoors, if nothing else, it's just a chance to spend more time with the owner. You can't deny that's a great thing. Furthermore, the bird gets fresh air, direct sunlight, socialization, and a chance to meet strangers.

Just due to the scaling problem of harnesses, human hands, and life-pace, harnesses for the smallest parrots are not as good as for bigger parrots. The good news is that those birds are so small, that they can EASILY be taken around outside in a lunchbox sized carrier and enjoy most of the benefits of being outdoors. A larger parrot such as a grey or macaw would require such a huge cage that it would be impractical for the owner to take it places in a cage. Taking it unrestrained is downright stupid (even if it's clipped, it can still fly away or hop into the street). So using a harness is the best/safest way to get that bird around and about with the owner. It's the grandest sort of out of cage time and interaction with the owner. It just has to be done right.





Well, you are, in fact, agreeing with me in that you would not recommend putting a harness in a small bird but you are not right in that a small aviary bird would benefit from going outside with the owner because it's a chance to spend more time with its owner (I am not arguing the benefit of fresh air or direct sunlight, mind you). The thing about small aviary species is that they never get a mate bond with their human even when they are handfed so, to them, being with their human does not supersede the fear of being in an unfamiliar (dangerous) environment. Companion birds do but not aviary birds. In my personal experience, the only little ones that go outside of their own initiative is because they want to find a mate because, when they have one, they don't venture the outdoors and, sometimes, even refuse to come out of their cage. Once I had a branch crash into a window in the birdroom in Pa and the only birds that got out was a senegal which used to roost next to it (and which I recovered the following morning), the doves and a couple of budgies that had no mates, all the other budgies (about 30 of them), all the lovies and the tiels never even tried to leave the room.
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Flight: Yes

Re: Harness Training

Postby ParrotsForLife » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:30 pm

That sounds a lot like the cockatiels and Mango, They never leave the room even if the door is wide open and if I take them downstairs they sometimes fly back up after a while.
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Tiko, African grey, Oscar, BFA
Flight: Yes

Re: Harness Training

Postby sofiacb » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:32 pm

Pajarita wrote:Well, you are, in fact, agreeing with me in that you would not recommend putting a harness in a small bird but you are not right in that a small aviary bird would benefit from going outside with the owner because it's a chance to spend more time with its owner (I am not arguing the benefit of fresh air or direct sunlight, mind you). The thing about small aviary species is that they never get a mate bond with their human even when they are handfed so, to them, being with their human does not supersede the fear of being in an unfamiliar (dangerous) environment.


That is not true. My lovebirds have a bond with my family and specially with me and you can see it when any of us get home, when they cuddle with us or when they spend hours cleaning my hair. They went crazy when they saw me after I was gone for a week for vacations.

I can't explain your birds' reaction to the opennning in your window (because I'm very new to this) but I can assure you that they DO bond with humans.

And as I said in the first post my lovebirds enjoyed being outside and that's why I started this topic in the first place.
Last edited by sofiacb on Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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