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How to Condition a Bird to Wear Clothing

How to Condition a Bird to Wear Clothing

How do you condition a bird to wear a FlightSuit or Other Clothing

When introducing your bird to a FlightSuit, bird collar or feather protector, it is imperative that you do it slowly so as to not add undue stress to your pet.  We suggest that bird owners follow these simple steps:


TOOLS: Clicker, treats, the apparel you wish to teach your bird to wear.

Step 1: Seeing the Apparel - Over a period of about a week, show your bird the new apparel, at first from a distance and then bringing it closer and closer to the bird.  Act as though you are enjoying this new item a lot in front of your bird, raising it's curiousity about the object.  

Step 2: Touching the Apparel - Allow a week or more for this step, depending on your birds age and personality. Once your bird has realized that you enjoy this new object and even play with it, begin touching your bird with the Apparel.  We've found that Clicker Training is a great way to engage your bird in touching the new object. Create a series of short training steps where you click and treat as your bird increases its tolerance of touching up to wearing the apparel, i.e.

  1. Pet your bird with the apparel.
  2. Lift a wing while holding the apparel.
  3. Alternately lift each wing while you are holding the apparel.
  4. Allow your bird to touch the apparel.

Step 3: Wearing the Apparel - Once your bird is comfortable seeing and touching the apparel, it is time to attempt to put it on the bird.

  1.  Slip the apparel over your birds head, wing or body. Treat as your bird allows you to manipulate it's body parts as needed.
  2. Completely put the item on and remove after 30 seconds.
  3. Increase the length of time the bird wears the apparel in short increments, treating and offering soothing conversation all along the way.
  4. Never leave the bird unattended while it is getting accustomed to wearing something new.
  5. Treat when your bird is NOT nibbling or chewing the apparel.
  6. Consider offering comfort and distractions as your bird learns to accept an article of clothing on it's body.

Some birds nibble at the apparel until they've become used to wearing it. Remember that birds are sensitive about their feathers so anything covering the feathers is very foreign to them.  To minimize the nibbling, you can use Bitter Apple on the FlightSuit.

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