How Can I Prevent My Pet Parrot From Flying off My Shoulders

How Can I Prevent My Pet Parrot From Flying off My Shoulders

Having your pet parrot comfortably perched on your shoulders for as long as you want is one of the most exciting things you can do with your bird.

Parrots may appear to do this seamlessly on TV or in movies, but it is not as easy as u think.

Understand that not all parrots want to interact with their owners, let alone sit on their shoulders.

Even if they sit, they may not feel very comfortable sitting there for long, and may eventually fly away.

Also, understand that most parrots you see in movies and on TV have been trained to sit on the shoulders of their caregivers.

No doubt, this is a complicated task but a doable one.

You can teach your pet to hop on your shoulder and take it with you everywhere you go, but you must first understand and implement all that is required to achieve this feat.

Ok, so how do I prevent my pet parrot from flying off my shoulders?

To prevent your parrot from flying off your shoulders build trust, and offer positive reinforcements like treats, toys, and praise.

Here is how you can prevent your pet parrot from flying off your shoulders.

First, establish trust

You cannot succeed with teaching your parrot tricks if you are yet to establish trust with your bird. Parrots only listen to whom they trust.

According to the manager of the Parrot Garden at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, Jacqueline Johnson, unless a bird is exceptionally well-behaved and bonded, “it will play keep-away when you are trying to get it to step up on your shoulder.”

In general, parrots are not very trusting, and this is especially true if you are just learning to train or interact with your parrot for the first time.

Although this trust issue occurs in most animals, even humans, parrots experience it on a higher level.

So, start by earning the parrot’s trust, no matter what trick you intend to teach it.

Now, what is the best way to earn the trust of a parrot? Start by offering treats, and go slowly. Don’t rush it.

Let him know you can be trusted, and that this is a simple thing.

Treats can be used in many ways to earn your pet’s trust.

Start by first handling your pet, building a trail of treats from its cage to your hand.

Keep your hands open as your pet moves towards you, allowing it to perch there while it eats.

You should repeat this several times until your pet feels secure in your hand.

It is now safe to place the parrot on your shoulder.

You should be patient as it can take a while to bond with a pet bird.

Begin with the hand

Unless your bird will step up immediately when asked, a shoulder is not recommended,” said Johnson.

Having a pet sit on your shoulders comfortably is more difficult than it looks, especially if you are handling a large and heavy parrot-like cockatoo or macaw.

As this will be something new for your pet, it may also be something new for you, especially if it’s your first time performing this trick.

After you gain your pet’s trust, let it stay on your hand for a while and then transition to placing it on your shoulders when it is relaxed.

If you overlook this, you might end up with a stressed-out bird near your face. You don’t want that.

Go slow and steady with the training

Train your bird to sit on your shoulders slowly. Take your time with this as this can be a difficult trick to master.

Reward your pet with treats or offer positive reinforcement by stroking, petting, and saying supportive words once it is relaxed on your hand.

Some pet owners said it took them days to gain their pet parrots’ full trust, followed by another few days to transition from their hands to their shoulders.

So if you feel your pet is nervous or anxious, stop training and return it to your hand where it can feel safe.

After your pet has successfully stayed on your shoulders without any worries, give it a few more days until you can walk with it on your shoulders.

Begin by letting it perch on your shoulders while you sit. After that, move on your seat as naturally as possible.

With your pet perched on your shoulders, you can eat, watch TV, read or use the computer.

It’s now time to stand and take a few slow steps after your pet is relaxed on your shoulders. Keep in mind to go slowly yet steadily.

Provide treats

Treats are a necessary part of successful pet training even though too many can lead to obesity.

Since treats motivate them, you may switch up from commercially manufactured bird treats to much healthier treats such as dried fruits, sweetened nuts, cooked beans, cooked pasta, or bread.

By now, you should have figured out what treats your pets enjoy, so give them their favorite.

Give it some positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement includes giving your bird something that he enjoys or wants. This could include a treat, cuddle, toy, or other simple interactions such as verbal praise, laughing, or making eye contact.

Treats are unhealthy for your pets, especially if you feed them commercially manufactured treats.

This is why experts advise switching from giving only treats to full positive reinforcement for your pet.

Initially, you may use only food treats to motivate your pet, but as time goes on, you should switch to other motivators like praise, petting, favorite toys, or game.

You can compliment your pet by saying words like “good boy/girl” or “good job” to show your pride.

Yes, parrots, just like other pets, have no idea what you’re talking about so they simply take your tone and facial expression into account when determining your response.

In addition to giving toys and verbal assurance, you can also hold, pet, and comfort your pet.

Parrots are just like other pets in that they enjoy being cuddled and petted.

However, it must come from someone they can trust.

If it is already used to these affectionate actions, you can pat it on the head, rub its chin, or kiss it on the beak.

Keep your surroundings safe

Safety is one of the most critical factors to consider when teaching your pet to stay on your shoulder.

Keep in mind that this is a new experience for both you and your pet, so expect some errors along the way.

Begin with the room or indoor area where your pet is being trained.

Stay as much as possible in an indoor space to have better control of the environment.

Lock the doors, close the windows, and shut anything that your pet can fly out of.

Next, shut down electric fans and ceiling fans to make the area safer.

Remove any breakables, valuable items, and anything that may get ruined in case your pet panics during the exercise.

You can’t let your pet on your shoulders until it’s relaxed, so wait until it’s relaxed before inching it on your shoulder.

As you are walking outdoors, you’ll want to teach your pet to stay on your shoulder at some point.

This is not the same as indoor training because your pet can fly away at any time. However, using a pet harness will help you avoid this.

A bird harness is similar to a dog harness in that it is attached to a long leash and tied around the bird’s body.

The leash and harness prevent your pet from flying away.

Let your pet wear this harness as you train it to remain on your shoulder in an outdoor setting.

Because you can’t parrot or birdproof the outdoors, you can start teaching your pet in a secure outdoor location, such as your backyard, garden, or large aviary, and then gradually move to a more populated space, such as the vet or the park.

Slowly introducing people can help your pet get used to distractions, and as a result, it will learn to remain calm.

Ensure you set some boundaries

According to most pet experts, putting a parrot on your shoulder implies that it is superior to you or has a higher status than you.

However, height dominance in birds has been debunked as a myth, especially in the wild.

Height dominance has never been reported in the wild, according to the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine.

But if height dominance is indeed a thing for parrots, your pet is likely to do things that you don’t like, such as nibbling your ear, scratching your hair, or clawing your shoulder.

So, you should learn how to create boundaries if your parrot does this.

When it comes to setting boundaries in parrots, though, things are a little different.

There are many ways to let it know that its behavior is unpleasant without negatively reacting to it.

You can avoid making eye contact, stop speaking to it, slowly remove it from your shoulder and place it on a perch.

After a while, you can pick it up again and place it on your shoulder once more.

Every time your pet engages in unwanted behavior you should repeat this practice.

This will let it know how unacceptable its behavior was and that it risks losing your attention.

Be patient with your bird as some parrots take time to understand this, while some parrots are quick to get the message.

Recognize your parrot’s signs of affection

Parrots are capable of expressing their love for their owners.

Rubbing their faces against yours or pressing the tops of their beaks against your cheek is a common way to do this.

This behavior is also seen in parrots who interact with each other.

If your pet is sitting on your shoulder and you notice this behavior, touch it, scratch its head, or simply say something encouraging.

Be observant of your parrot’s actions as this is one way to understand your pet better.

Avoid meeting strangers immediately

Do not immediately meet people at the door as they visit or on the street as you move with your pet on your shoulders.

Seeing new people can scare your pet, and you won’t be able to avoid it since they will likely flock to you.

Therefore, to avoid frightening your pet, start training it to get comfortable and relaxed even when people are nearby.

First, walk around in your garden and then slowly move into an area where there are only a few people around like a park.

Several people may want to check you and your pet out, and if that happens, pat your pet and reassure it that it is okay.

Do not make sudden movements or loud noises. You may also ask people to give you some space but do so calmly.

Your parrot should become comfortable with people, including strangers and children as you perform this exercise regularly.

Here are some more tips to make your bird perch on your shoulder and not fly away.

  • Avoid forcing your pet to come to you without establishing trust
  • Do not forget to bird-proof the training area
  • Do not move abruptly
  • Do not train in a noisy area
  • Always wear protective accessories
  • Do not forget your safety harness
  • Practice daily


A parrot sitting comfortably on your shoulder creates a strong bond between you and your pet. It does, however, require intensive training and patience.

By practicing daily and providing positive reinforcement, you should be able to master this trick and finally get your bird to stay on your shoulder for as long as you want!

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