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Training Your Parrot to Wear a Bird Collar or Vest

Training your pet bird to wear a bird collar will reduce emotional trauma and fear that you’re your bird may feel as you begin to tackle parrot feather plucking. Before you start training your parrot, figure out what motivates your bird.  Find a reward that your bird craves, whether it is a special toy or a delicious treat.  Enthusiastic verbal praise and "scritches" in favorite places are also great rewards for birds.  Schedule a short, daily time to train your bird to wear the harness.  Clicker traning makes any training easier and faster.

Helpful Bird Collar Training Tips:

  • Use Clicker Training to teach your bird to tolerate you touching of its’ head & wings.
  • Keep the training sessions short and fun to avoid mental fatigue. 5 - 10 minutes once or twice a day will do.
  • Pick a consistent time to practice, preferably on a daily basis.
  • If your bird becomes scared, back off and work on a skill that it has already mastered.
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Training an Anxious or Older Bird to Wear a Bird Collar

  1. Place your bird on a table or a training stand in a location where it feels comfortable and can be attentive. Place the bird collar in your hand, hiding most of it. Show your bird tiny portion of the collar.
  2. When your bird becomes curious, make a peek-a-boo style game of allowing your bird to play with the collar. Immediately reward your bird for simply staying calm around the collar. Repeat this process several times, praising and rewarding each time.
  3. After your bird has shown consistent calmness and even curiosity around the bird collar, allow your pet to mouth the collar for short periods of time. Again, lavishly praise and reward your bird until it consistently allows the collar close to it’s body.
  4. Show more and more of the collar, quickly hiding it if your bird becomes scared.  Reward each progressive step generously until your bird is able to tolerate the entire collar in it’s view and on it’s body.
  5. Next, work on improving your bird’s sense of comfort with the collar being close and then touching its body. Always be very generous about rewards and keep the training session’s fun. Make a game of your bird's natural curiosity to speed learning. If your bird is playful, toss the collar and catch it making lots of fun verbalizations.
  6. Lay the collar completely out for your parrot to see. Undo the Velcro or snaps teaching your bird that the sounds are okay.
  7. Start working on placing the collar over your bird’s head at a pace that your bird can tolerate without to much fear.  If your bird becomes fearful, make sure you end the training session on a positive note. Praise each progressive step generously.
  8. Once your bird allows you to place the collar over its’ head, work on developing comfort with closing the Velcro or snapping the snaps. Generously praise this next step of progress.
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  9. Observe how the bird collar fits and slowly adjust it to an appropriate fit. Allow your bird to observe you working with the clips and hear them clicking open and shut.  DO NOT allow the bird to become frightened. Praise the bird for cooperation and reassure it when fearful.
  10. Begin increasing how long your bird tolerates wearing the bird collar. Start slowly, possibly 30 seconds removing the collar before the bird becomes agitated. Praise each progressive step generously.
  11. Now, you want to teach your bird wear the collar without obsessing about ripping it off. Using a timer or stop watch, praise your bird every time you observe it not chewing at the collar, increasing the time so that your bird learns that it is expected to wear the collar without chewing it up.
  12. When your bird can tolerate wearing the collar for 5 minute segments, try moving your bird to different locations, maybe a play stand or on your shoulder.
  13. When your bird can wear the collar in most locations in its normal home environment, for 30 minutes try to walk away for short periods of time.

Some birds quickly learn to remove the collar.  If your bird has learned how to remove the collar, you can try installing some heavy duty snaps preferably stainless steel or spray the collar with Bitter Apple.

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