Harness confusion


New member
May 13, 2021

I have a 7 month old GCC, raised her from 2 months, we trust each other now and shes comfortable around me. Now i feel incredibly guilty when I see her looking out the window and making noises to other birds. I want to take her outside in a harness. Ive been trying with her the nice way since she was around 3 months old. She now is happy to have put her head inside the harness but the wings are a whole other story. She doesnt like her wings touched or put in a harness. Ive tried just putting it on her, closing it and seeing how she goes. She panicked after she realised she cant get out of it and we took a step behind. I had to start with the head all over again. Its been 4 months now and ive been doing this everyday, so im thinking she might just never get used to it or allow me to put her wings in.

Now my question is, has anyone put it on her (instead of allowing the parrot to go in) and repeated that everyday, and eventually theyre not scared of it anymore?

I just really want to take her outside, and i dont want her to be in a carrier or a cage when she is.

Does anyone have any advice?


Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
I can so relate to your situation Locki. But in my case, I have been putting my Salty's head thru the head loop almost nightly, maybe 350 nights a year, for almost 6 years. At first I had to entice him to do that, with a lot of cajoling and treats and requests. Then he got much better at it, and just recently, say 6 months, its like he back stepped to where it occupies a good deal of our nightly training sessions. And he still refuses to do it 10% of the times I request it.

Sounds like you are completely putting the harness on every time? I don't completely put the harness on (including the wing part) unless we are going to actually go outside. Why? Because going outside is considered a positive reinforcement to the action of putting the harness completely on. That and a load of treats are the reward for putting it completely on.

What I do nightly is get Salty to put his head thru the loop, and then drape the rest of the harness over his body and wings, adjusted so its not tight but he knows its on him. And I wiggle it a bit on him and then immediatly give him a small treat. I let him walk around the training table a bit, retrieving a treat, so he gets used to that too. It only when we are going to go outside that I put his wings thru the wing loops.

And yah, I have to still 'put' the harness on him, even after so many times practicing the head loop part. You need to have the kind of relationship where she is comfortable with you manipulating her wings - not a lot but enough to slip her wings thru. I do a lot of roughhousing type play with Salty, on his back, beak wrestling, that kind of thing, partially to keep that kind of touching acceptable to him.

How I do it. I pre-open the wing loops so that are way, way too open, which helps when its time to get to that part. I put Salty on my knee and from behind with my left hand LIGHTLY hold his head, index finger on the top of his head, thumb and middle finger LIGHTLY on either side of his head and with the other hand put the head loop over his head. Treat. THen one wing at a time lift his wing up a bit and slide it thru first on side then the other. Treat. Then carefully tighten up the wing loops one at a time. Treat as you go. Once finally tight enough, treat again and go immediately outside. Take some treats with you.

So some parrots take to a harness with little or no issues, some like my Salty and apparently your girl too, take months or even years to get comfortable with putting it on and wearing it, and some just never ever get used to it. Just be aware of this.

Hear are 2 videos of putting first Salty's head thru the loop, and then one of how NOT to put the harness on ( and then doing a better job of it).

Video #1 taken a long time ago, like 5+ years ago. The wing loops are open too much, we have since tightened them up a lot, so its to the point where it lays easy over this body and wings - not all floppy ike in this video.


Video #2 Taken about 4 years ago.


Sorry for such a long winded response! Good Luck, and be persistent.
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