Bird Collar Training - 8 Steps

8 Steps for Bird Collar Training

TAGS: #BirdCollar #ParrotCollar #BirdCollars #ParrotCollars #BirdSafeCollar #ParrotHealth

Slip On Soft Bird Collars


Bird collar training is a simple step-by-step process to help familiarize your pet to its new bird collar. You're going to use Clicker Training for Birds, a proven behavior modification technique that will teach you bird to accept the collar.  By slowly introducing the bird e-collar or any other feather plucking apparel, you can rest assured that the bird collar is NOT doing more harm than good. Keep in mind that you must repeatedly "click and treat" each small behavioral success to for optimum bird e-collar acceptance.

Training your bird to wear a bird collars should take between 5-10 days. Don't try to rush through the stages and you shouldn't run into any problems.   

Remember that the bird collar is unfamiliar and scary.
ALWAYS carefully observe your bird's body language for signs of fear.  If your bird feels unsafe at any time, quickly re-establish that you are a safe and a loving flock member.


Beaker proudly modeling his new bird collar

1. Understand what you're dealing with.

When was the last time you saw a bird in the wild wearing any apparel? Probably never. So, it's safe to say your bird isn't going to take kindly to you sticking a parrot collar around their neck straight out of the box. Your bird will need to learn that the collar is safe before it will have anything to do with it. You can relax because you've got this covered. The "Clicker Training" method you'll use to modify bird behavior is fun for your pet. Just remember to keep everything on a positive note

2. Let her see you hold the collar.

Hold the collar in your hand and let your bird see you holding it. You’ll spark her curiosity when she sees you with a new “toy” that she's not allowed to play with yet. Try to imagine the last time you petted an animal affectionately and do the exact same thing with the bird collar while your bird is watching. Show your bird that you adore this new bird safe collar! The fear response should lessen as you use Clicker Training each time your bird shows the slightest sign of curiosity over fear.  Ignore all fear responses and reward interest in the collar!  NOTE FOR SAF-T SHIELDS: If you are using one of our Saf-T Shields, the shiny, stiff plastic bird cone collars and you find that your bird is afraid of the reflection that the collar puts off, please take a piece of very fine sand paper over the item to give it a matte finish.

African Grey in a Tube Collar

3. Place the bird safe collar close to your pet. 

Now that your parrot has finally started to show some curiosity towards the bird collar, shift the focus to actual bird collar training.  Move the collar closer and closer to your pet, always observing its body language to insure that your bird isn't frightened. It's okay to place the collar near the cage within eyesight so that your bird gets even more used to it. Each and every time your bird shows signs of ease and curiosity, click and offer a favorite treat.  At this stage you should still reward the bird for showing increasing levels of curiosity.  Eventually, you should increase the length of time between "clicking and treating" so that your bird learns to maintain composure for longer periods of time. Keep time increases to about 30 seconds to a minute.

4. Let her mouth the bird collar. Encourage investigation and reward interaction

Congratulations, we're now at the stage where your bird will come into initial contact with the bird collar. At this point you're only interested in letting it mouth the collar. Looking at something and touching it are two completely different things, so you're really doing exceptionally well if your bird is happy to mouth the fabric. A bird that is plucking enough to warrant a collar must already be stressed, so now that the bird is physically accepting the collar be careful to take conditioning slow so as to not undo the work you’ve accomplished so far. Consider placing your bird's favorite treat on the collar for it to pick off.

5. Let the fabric rest on the bird.

After your bird has mouthed the fabric its fear levels should be lower than ever before. Nobody is afraid of something they've stuck in their mouth because they now have a 'feel' for it. It's now time to rest the fabric on the bird. Once again, be very attentive to your birds body language as you gauge how quickly to proceed and attentively click and treat every little accomplishment. The collar only needs to rest on your bird for a brief period of time for a quick reward.  Keep things as positive as possible and always end training sessions on a positive note.  At this stage, you’ll want to increase the length of time that the bird tolerates the collar in contact with its body.

Toweling a parrot

6. Practice holding your bird and placing collar on it.

This might be the scariest step of all for your bird, especially if it is not used to close handling or it is afraid of toweling.  If your bird isn’t used to close handling, please break down handling into short, reachable steps and condition acceptance each step of the way similar to how we've described bird collar familiarization; i.e. stepping up, coming into contact with your body, manipulating it’s wings and head, etc.  

A great primer to learn these steps is Good Bird Inc., Conditioning Your Bird For the Veterinary Exam

Allow your bird to become accustomed to the sound of the opening and closing of the Velcro strips.  Click and reward tolerance.  Then, click and reward as your bird allows you to put collar around its neck.  Finally, you’ll want to "click and reward" your bird for wearing the collar while doing something other than chewing the collar, such as eating or playing. However, keep in mind that the bird collar is designed to be chewed.  When you attach the collar around their neck the collar will present alternative picking and preening activities.

7. Don't forget to click and treat all along the way.

Generously using the Clicker Training for Birds will actually supercharge your training results. But, by paying close attention to your birds body language and training for acceptance in slow, short steps, you are highly like to experience success.

8. Always Combine Bird Collars with A Variety of Anti-plucking Strategies...

By now, your avian veterinarian has coached you on creating the optimum diet for your bird and advised for supplements.  We recommend that you read our eBook on Understanding Feather Picking and explore what other adjustments may need to be made to manage or eliminate the feather picking cycle.  Collars and barriers have a useful place in eliminating the problem but they don’t address the underlying cause.

With proper attention to each step, bird collar training should be successful. 

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