Using A Harness (Winter Practice) - - - by Jesse

This may surprise you, but I really love my harness.

Mom and Dad bought it for me the day they brought me home from the breeder.  They started putting it on me right away, and because I was just a baby then, I accepted it without a fuss.  Laka took a little more time to accept hers, but she loves her harness, too!

I love to be with my flock all the time - and Mom says this harness isn't only a fashion statement; it keeps me safer when we go for walks outside.

I know I look cool in my harness.

Forte didn't know a she had a good thing going.
Mom bought a harness for Forte when she was still a baby, too.   Forte didn't love having it put on, but she didn't struggle too much. 

Forte tells me she really liked going outside, but Mom didn't keep practicing the harness with her during the winter months that year, and by the time Spring (and warmer weather) came around, Forte had developed an attitude problem, and refused the harness.

Mom was never able to get Pakshi or any of the other birds in the harness at all.  They completely freaked (especially Pakshi).  She finally gave up.  (Liz's note: Looking back, if I'd approached them correctly, I might have had more success.  But at the time I was trying to train the others, I didn't know the proper techniques for approaching an older bird.)

For them, going "bye-bye" is still possible because Mom bought a "Pet Pocket" bird carrier.  It's a device not unlike a back pack (except humans wear it in front) with a perch inside and thick plastic screen to enclose it.  Forte and Pakshi both did learn to like the carrier.  But not the harness.

When I see my harness, I get excited!

January 20th, but I'm outside! Wheeeee!
It just goes to show you that Forte and Pakshi aren't half as smart as they think they are!  Because I like my harness, I get a lot more "outside" time than they ever will!

When the weather turned cold, Mom realized that we were coming to a cross roads.  So rather than stop using the harness completely, Mom and me agreed to a schedule of short "harness practice times" every 3-4 weeks.

The first couple of times, it was far too cold for me to go outside, so Mom put the harness on me and took me down to the basement with her to do laundry.  I'd not been in the basement before, so it still seemed like a treat to me.

I'm glad we did that.  When she first took the harness out (after almost a month without it), I was a little anxious.  You see, we parrots don't much like things wrapped around us, it feels scary.  It takes practice to master that fear.


We didn't stay outside long.  The temperature was upper 50's, so it was OK for a 10 minute stroll around the yard, but longer wouldn't have been good for me.

Then, as the winter went on, Mom and Dad took advantage of those occasional (although rare) days when the temps were warm enough for me to be out for a short period (like 15 minutes or so.  We all enjoyed the outing and its helping me to stay comfortable with my harness.

I know lots of you parrots out there looking at this webpage may want your humans to get a harness for you, too!  I hope they do.  But you should encourage them to keep using it throughout the year so that you don't forget how much fun it is.