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Introducing Pet Bird to Pet Dog

MangotheBirdy

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Hi there,

I have just recently brought home my first pet bird, Mango the Cockatiel.

We have a 5 year old mini poodle who has never hurt another animal, but has chased birds in the park (never caught one). His reaction to Mango so far is interest, whining, sniffing the cage, staring, and licking his lips (he does this a lot naturally, but it's still freaking me out). :blink:

I have read multiple threads about this, but wanted to start another conversation to get some additional tips and advice about how train the dog not to look at, touch, etc. the bird. So far I have been doing some treat training standing between him and the cage and getting him to go away, sit, lay down, and stay. I'm hoping soon he will become disinterested as this is all so new so he's super curious. Wanted to get your thoughts and see what has worked for you.

Thanks,

Carly
 

Tiel Feathers

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I would never trust your dog around your bird, even if he seems completely uninterested. You should make sure your dog cannot get to the cage, and when Mango is out, you should lock your dog in another room. I cannot stress this enough. Also, having your dog stare at your bird is probably making your bird very nervous.
 

SandraK

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Keep your dog in a room with a closed door while you have your bird out. As good and well behaved as your dog may be, their prey instinct will override any training and it will only cause you heartbreak. Please be extremely careful for everyone's sake.
 
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MangotheBirdy

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I would never trust your dog around your bird, even if he seems completely uninterested. You should make sure your dog cannot get to the cage, and when Mango is out, you should lock your dog in another room. I cannot stress this enough. Also, having your dog stare at your bird is probably making your bird very nervous.
Hi Tiel Feathers, of course I would always be careful and never trust my dog around him. I've just seen a lot of dog and bird owners who have harmony in the household and am wondering what they did to achieve that. I would never risk anything, but I don't think it's safe to rely solely on separation either in case anything did happen where they came in contact. I would want Rolo to know not to come near the bird.
 

CrazyBirdChick

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I had a dog for 13 1/2 years with my first bird and she wouldn't even look at my bird, naturally. She would leave the room if he came near her. She just didn't have a predator instinct.

But in your case, your dog naturally sounds like it has the instinctive drive to hurt the bird so I don't think that's something you can train out of her, unfortunately. I agree that you should never allow them near each other.
 

Clueless

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Then there are also the threads about harmonious households where the bird is suddenly killed......

Sorry. Since I've been a member here I've read too many of those and they break my heart.
 

MangotheBirdy

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I had a dog for 13 1/2 years with my first bird and she wouldn't even look at my bird, naturally. She would leave the room if he came near her. She just didn't have a predator instinct.

But in your case, your dog naturally sounds like it has the instinctive drive to hurt the bird so I don't think that's something you can train out of her, unfortunately. I agree that you should never allow them near each other.
Lucky! If only we could speak to them. It's OK though, the bird has a very safe spot in the house where he can rule the roost far away from our pup. I'll keep working on making my dog disinterested
Then there are also the threads about harmonious households where the bird is suddenly killed......

Sorry. Since I've been a member here I've read too many of those and they break my heart.
For sure... I'm feeling slightly attacked here which is a bit unfair I think. There are numerous people who have both pets, I was just asking if they had any tips for how to work with your dog to make it less of a risk. I would never ever leave them in the same room unattended, or ever put my bird and dog near each other. I'm an animal person and wouldn't risk such things. I really just wanted advice from those who have both, not to be treated like I'm putting my bird in danger as I'm really truly not.
 

Distaff

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I have three dogs. I keep chickens that free-range the yard, and the dogs are fine with both the adult hens and any errant chicks. As far as the indoor pet birds go, the lab can't be trusted, the mastiff couldn't care less about them, and the chia is keenly interested, but will sit nicely on my lap and watch them intently at close range.

The birds are free flighted and confined to one room, with a curtained door way that is also blocked by a baby gate.
So far, so good.
 

iamwhoiam

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My miniature poodle Hollie was very trustworthy with the birds. I didn't do anything special with her. Just seemed that she knew never to harm them. I already had birds when I got her and she grew up with many of them. When they were out, though, I would still monitor but they sometimes got out on their own when I was not home and they would wander around the house. I was very lucky with Hollie.
The 3 dogs I have now are crated when I am not home. I also have a gate to block them from going upstairs but there are birds both upstairs and downstairs. I always check and double check that the birds' cages and the dogs' crates are secure before I leave the house.
When the birds are out the dogs are crated.
Congrats on getting Mango. Wish I had some advice with you but the best thing is to make sure your dog understand that the bird is part of the family and not a toy or prey and then to take precautions.
 

MangotheBirdy

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My miniature poodle Hollie was very trustworthy with the birds. I didn't do anything special with her. Just seemed that she knew never to harm them. I already had birds when I got her and she grew up with many of them. When they were out, though, I would still monitor but they sometimes got out on their own when I was not home and they would wander around the house. I was very lucky with Hollie.
The 3 dogs I have now are crated when I am not home. I also have a gate to block them from going upstairs but there are birds both upstairs and downstairs. I always check and double check that the birds' cages and the dogs' crates are secure before I leave the house.
When the birds are out the dogs are crated.
Congrats on getting Mango. Wish I had some advice with you but the best thing is to make sure your dog understand that the bird is part of the family and not a toy or prey and then to take precautions.
That's awesome iamwhoiam, thank you for the response. I'm glad to hear it's possible because for a minute there I was panicking thinking I'm a terrible person for trying to have both pets. You are proof that it's possible to love everyone and keep everyone safe. :)
 

CrazyBirdChick

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Lucky! If only we could speak to them. It's OK though, the bird has a very safe spot in the house where he can rule the roost far away from our pup. I'll keep working on making my dog disinterested


For sure... I'm feeling slightly attacked here which is a bit unfair I think. There are numerous people who have both pets, I was just asking if they had any tips for how to work with your dog to make it less of a risk. I would never ever leave them in the same room unattended, or ever put my bird and dog near each other. I'm an animal person and wouldn't risk such things. I really just wanted advice from those who have both, not to be treated like I'm putting my bird in danger as I'm really truly not.
I did feel soooo lucky because my dog was amazing. I am sure your dog is too, and she may not even mean to harm your bird. I just think an over excited dog can lead to an accident and that's enough to say it's just not worth the risk.

I feel sad that you feel attacked here. I think alot of us are such passionate bird lovers that sometimes things sound more harsh than they are meant to be.
 

MangotheBirdy

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I did feel soooo lucky because my dog was amazing. I am sure your dog is too, and she may not even mean to harm your bird. I just think an over excited dog can lead to an accident and that's enough to say it's just not worth the risk.

I feel sad that you feel attacked here. I think alot of us are such passionate bird lovers that sometimes things sound more harsh than they are meant to be.
I think that's exactly what it is - he's a pretty hyper pup so I think it's just a bunch of curiousity, but I totally don't trust him.

Thanks! I totally understand the passion. I just want everyone to know that I am also super passionate and would NEVER want to put any of my animals in a harmful situation. :) It's nice to chat with people who have experience with birds and learn from them. I appreciate everyone's opinion.
 

iamwhoiam

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That's awesome iamwhoiam, thank you for the response. I'm glad to hear it's possible because for a minute there I was panicking thinking I'm a terrible person for trying to have both pets. You are proof that it's possible to love everyone and keep everyone safe. :)
Hollie was exceptional and I was very very lucky with her. When my 4 mo. old red-bellied parrots escaped from their cage and I couldn't find them I thought that she had harmed them but once I calmed down and looked more slowly I found all 3 of them. My BFA would hang upside down from a play stand and tease her with toys and sometimes they would chase one another. The birds would throw food out at her. One of my birds decided to take a ride on her back once and it was good that I was there to retrieve the bird before Hollie ran under the bed. It freaked both of them out. The birds had no fear of her. However, I wouldn't trust the 3 dogs I have now with the birds.
Because of my experience with Hollie I know that birds and dogs MIGHT get along fine but one never knows for sure and that is why it is always important to be vigilant and not take chances.
 

SandraK

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My other suggestion is to always leave your bird flighted so that, in the event of any type of fright or attack, it can fly up and be safe. I had cats when I was given my first bird and was lucky. Looking back, I was very, very lucky but I now only have birds in the house. One of my sons will sometimes spend a long weekend here and his cat stays in his bedroom or is taken to the garage and let outside there (she was a stray we took in during the last polar winter) so she knows the yard and garage/laundry room. Maddy is a hunter (due to survival) so I trust her no farther than I can throw her even though I love her dearly and she had 6-7 kittens here who all found homes.

So, when I say keep them separate, I am not attacking you but am stating an opinion based on facts of what could happen. I would not want that on my conscious in my home and I have multiple birds so it would be disastrous for me. My apologies if I made you feel you were being attacked.
 

MangotheBirdy

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My other suggestion is to always leave your bird flighted so that, in the event of any type of fright or attack, it can fly up and be safe. I had cats when I was given my first bird and was lucky. Looking back, I was very, very lucky but I now only have birds in the house. One of my sons will sometimes spend a long weekend here and his cat stays in his bedroom or is taken to the garage and let outside there (she was a stray we took in during the last polar winter) so she knows the yard and garage/laundry room. Maddy is a hunter (due to survival) so I trust her no farther than I can throw her even though I love her dearly and she had 6-7 kittens here who all found homes.

So, when I say keep them separate, I am not attacking you but am stating an opinion based on facts of what could happen. I would not want that on my conscious in my home and I have multiple birds so it would be disastrous for me. My apologies if I made you feel you were being attacked.
Thanks Sandra! Please know that your initial comment did not offend me at all! Thanks so much for this advice - super appreciated!
 

finchly

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I have always had dogs and birds. Most of my dogs couldn't care less about the birds through the years. Now I have a 1-1/2 year old cocker spaniel, a bird dog, who would LOVE to get ahold of a bird, and in fact once got my parrotlet so that all you could see was the tip of his tail feathers sticking out of her mouth.

I thought I would be able to train it out of her, should this occur. I got her at 8 weeks. She obeys me, mostly around them but I do NOT trust her. I never will. And I am kinda sorry I got her, because it divides our time even further --- bird out dog in, then dog out bird in etc.

She just now came out of her crate, having spent a couple hours in there so the baby bird could come in the family room. I often have my parrot on my shoulder around her, and it is a real pain. I can't even sit down with him because the dog would most likely jump up to get to him.

Some of the commands I use are: No bird (to the dog, if she even looks at the bird), "up, up" (to the bird, if one flies downward -- they need to know that one in case she comes after them), and I am working on a good stay which might come when she is 103 years old. I have a bird room, so Cricket is told "OUT" before I go in otherwise she races in past me. I have a mat we use for her down/stay and when I'm going to spend some time in the bird room, I lay the mat outside the door so she can lay on it and watch me t though the screen door.

If I am moving in and out of the bird room, like to carry dishes to the sink, I gate the side hallway to keep the dog out entirely.

The comments made in this thread do not look like they were meant personally, they were meant as a warning. We all know the horrifying reality that can happen, and we don't want it to happen to you.
 

Ankou

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What worries me, your dog's body language. Obviously seeing would help, and I don't know your dog at all. ...But all are signs I would expect to see in a dog with high prey drive. It sounds like behavior that would signal things like fixation (staring, vocalizing,) excitement (vocalizing, lip licking,) and/or potential anxiety (lip licking, whining.) None of these are things I would want to see in a dog I wanted to introduce a bird to. (Sniffing to some degree is expected. New thing in their space, new smells, it's how a dog explores their environment. Continued sniffing would also signal some kind of fixation, which is the most worrying to me because it's the most likely to represent prey drive.)

I would just continue what you are doing, teaching your poodle to leave the cage alone and trying to curb their obsession, and leave it at that. They don't need to meet to live together if you are willing to keep Mango safe.

Don't get me wrong, I love dogs and have had three in my adult lifetime. I loved them all and am heartbroken that they've all since passed from cancer and old age but I would never, ever, trust them with my lovebird Peanut. In fact I've heard so many "Everything was fine until..." stories that I would never trust any dog with a bird personally. That "until..." is just not worth it in my mind. Maybe it would never happen, not going to take that risk in my own home.
Peanut actually lives in my bedroom, and I had split my own time between them. (Though if the space Mango's cage is in now is the place where you spend the most time and it's a sturdy cage with a small dog and you can stop the fixation you probably don't need to isolate them. My bedroom is where I spend a lot of time and my dogs were big.)

Edit:
Keep in mind, just because you've seen people doing something doesn't mean it was correct, responsible, or safe. I don't doubt there are a few rare dogs that are truly safe and will be so their entire lives, dogs do some incredible things. But most dogs are not that dog.

Also since this is your first bird, keep in mind even if you can trust your dog most of the time birds do some really random things and are much harder to train. So like, even if your dog is okay the bird my fly suddenly, try to wander the floor, take a bath in the dog's water... just anything a bird can do it probably will try it at least once.
 
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MangotheBirdy

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What worries me, your dog's body language. Obviously seeing would help, and I don't know your dog at all. ...But all are signs I would expect to see in a dog with high prey drive. It sounds like behavior that would signal things like fixation (staring, vocalizing,) excitement (vocalizing, lip licking,) and/or potential anxiety (lip licking, whining.) None of these are things I would want to see in a dog I wanted to introduce a bird to. (Sniffing to some degree is expected. New thing in their space, new smells, it's how a dog explores their environment. Continued sniffing would also signal some kind of fixation, which is the most worrying to me because it's the most likely to represent prey drive.)

I would just continue what you are doing, teaching your poodle to leave the cage alone and trying to curb their obsession, and leave it at that. They don't need to meet to live together if you are willing to keep Mango safe.

Don't get me wrong, I love dogs and have had three in my adult lifetime. I loved them all and am heartbroken that they've all since passed from cancer and old age but I would never, ever, trust them with my lovebird Peanut. In fact I've heard so many "Everything was fine until..." stories that I would never trust any dog with a bird personally. That "until..." is just not worth it in my mind. Maybe it would never happen, not going to take that risk in my own home.
Peanut actually lives in my bedroom, and I had split my own time between them. (Though if the space Mango's cage is in now is the place where you spend the most time and it's a sturdy cage with a small dog and you can stop the fixation you probably don't need to isolate them. My bedroom is where I spend a lot of time and my dogs were big.)
Thank you Ankou! I agree with what you are saying. What I'm hoping is promising is that he does carry on about his business, just every few minutes or so he pops over to sniff or whimper and then leaves when I tell him to. Plus, this is day 2 of bird ownership so I'm hoping he'll be less curious soon. The cage is up on a stand so he can't get to the bird at all.

I like this idea of having the bird in another room. I'm thinking I'll make our second bedroom a cool reading room where the bird can be and I can go hang out with him in there. (Good excuse to redecorate, teehee) I just want to make sure he isn't isolated at all and feels close to his people.
 

tielluver

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Hi. We had a yorkie (got him when he was 8 months old). We already had Sydney (he is now 19) for a few years. When we brought Archie (the yorkie) home, he was sitting on my lap, Sydney came over and before we could do anything, the bird bit the dog's nose. Ever since, they were oddly enough good friends. Archie was also very good with our other cockatiels we got after him. When Archie died at age 17, and he was being held by my husband, Sydney flew over and bent over, looking at him with such a sad look in his eyes. Of course, we did not allow them in the same room together without one of us watching to be on the safe side. A few years later, we got a terrier mix puppy named Tulip. She is now 3. We have a mesh curtain and a baby gate for the bird room, so dog and the birds (we have the 2 parent birds and 3 9 month old babies) can't get to eachother unless we are there, watching. The dog will sit on my lap while a bird is on my shoulder, and I keep hold of the dog to be safe, but she is pretty good. We tell he no birdie as a reminder. She mostly does not pay attention to them. And has never stared at them, or sniffed. She is a small dog, but we still are cautious. One good thing is (if possible) to get the dog while still a puppy, because they are more likely to learn not to hurt the bird. But a dog any age can learn not to. None of our birds are nervous around her, and she likes to play with her toys and runs around with her toys. I think keeping your bird in a separate room from the dog is a good idea, and if they are in the same room, or if your dog can see the bird in the other room and acts like he's being a bit predatory keep telling him no birdie, and when he pays no attentiion to the bird, walks away, stops staring, etc. praise him. Also it seems that playing with a dog by grabbing one end of a toy while the other end is in the dog's mouth and pulling seems to make some aggressive, so don't play with him like that. not knowing, at first we played like that a little with tulip and noticed it was making her aggressive, so we stopped playing with her that way, and it ended. With Archie the yorkie it didn't affect him at all. Depends on the dog. Watch for signs with the dog for any kind of play, etc. that seems to make the dog aggressive and don't allow it. A dog that is aggressive (I don't mean that your dog is) may be more likely to go after a bird. Just keep a watch if they are together, and things should be fine.
 
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