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Parrots and Dogs together

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  • Parrots and Dogs together

    We have a new rescue dog on trial from a local rescue. She is a roughly 4 year old cattle dog mix, very sweet, very smart and easy to teach. She is getting along very well with myself and my husband, and our resident heeler mix (who is pretty dominant but allows her to boss him around).

    We also have a miniature macaw, who spends most of his time outside of the cage. He usually is with me when I am home, on me or a nearby perch. Our current dog is afraid of him (as were our two previous dogs) and gets out of the way if the bird is with me or comes near him on the couch, floor, etc.

    The new dog is very interested in the bird, and has tried to jump up (to get him? see him?) when I am carrying him or sitting with him. She now is leashed if around him, and we are trying to decide if she can be trained to leave him alone to our satisfaction. I don't want to have to cage him for him to be safe in the house or try to keep them separated at all times. She does listen pretty well, so that's good. She does seem to have a higher prey drive than previous dogs, based on her relentless squirrel patrol

    My feeling is that for the bird to be 100% safe, the dog may need to be returned to the rescue, but we are going to work with a trainer to evaluate and see what we can do.

    Has anyone experience with dogs and household birds and this type of training?

  • #2
    Originally posted by allintexas View Post
    Has anyone experience with dogs and household birds and this type of training?
    not a Macaw, but I did have Budgies for awhile. They were often loose with my dogs, one of which was a very nice GSD bitch. One day the yellow bird fluttered down near the Corgi who apparently frightened the bird which caused it to fly toward and near the face of the GSD. The bigger dog grabbed the bird out of the air, but did not hurt her (!?!) and gently put her down. I always felt very fortunate that the dog did not close her mouth around the bird and did not chance that again. The dogs were behind a solid door if the birds were loose after that.

    Probably the dog is curious and perhaps if introductions were made carefully, that curiosity would be satisfied. If you aren't comfortable with that, then I'd return the dog.


    • #3
      I have three resident dogs and sometimes have fosters as well. I also have a bird. I would never allow my bird out while my dogs are around. Accidents happen, even with animals that have coexisted peacefully for years.

      Not worth it.


      • #4
        Depends on the dog. I fostered a terrier that ate one of my small birds -attacked the cage, ripped out the bottom, and the non-flyer had no chance. My red front was up on the bookshelf when I got home. I have ridgebacks that were mostly reliable around parrots barring one unfortunate incident with a miniature macaw. This was many years ago.

        That terrier did not make it as a family dog -she was euthanized (not for eating the bird).

        Real interest in your birds would worry me. That was the terrier.

        My cats, on the other hand, are terrified of the parrots (macaws).

        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


        • #5
          I think I agree with Paula. Yes it depends on the dog, but if the dog is already showing interest I would be concerned. Some dogs have no hunting instincts whatsoever, but I'd still never leave a bird free with my dog without supervision. See what the trainer has to say - maybe newbie will learn to follow your other dogs lead? I would be prepared to give dog back though; your permanent animals well being has to come first.
          "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
          "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


          • #6
            Originally posted by IdahoRider View Post
            I have three resident dogs and sometimes have fosters as well. I also have a bird. I would never allow my bird out while my dogs are around. Accidents happen, even with animals that have coexisted peacefully for years.

            Not worth it.
            This quadrupled. I've kept birds for nearly my entire life, & would never, EVER, trust them loose in the same room with either cats or dogs, regardless of how supposedly "well trained" they were to leave the birds alone. You can NEVER know 100% when some instinct will revert in ANY animal, & it only takes one well-aimed snap for it to be over for the bird.

            If you love your bird you'll either return the dog, or only allow the bird freedom when the dog is secured in another part of the house.


            • #7
              My DD has a conure. Her husband has a cat and, because of that, DD refuses to clip the bird's wings (so that bird would have a chance if... and he flies pretty well too). She never lets the bird out of the cage if the cat is not secure in another room. During the day, while at work, the cage is set on a high dresser that the cat cannot reach.
              At home here, we have a big lab who is terrified of the bird. Once the bird "fell" off the top of his cage where he was drying himself in a towel. The dog was sleeping right next to the cage and the bird landed practically between his paws. The dog very gingerly got up, backed off and ran to the other side of the room. You could see the "I didn't do it!" look on his face! There have been times when the bird was loose and the dog came to sleep at my feet, but he ignored the bird. Still, I would never leave them unsupervised!


              • #8
                Anytime a dog shows "interest" in a potential prey animal I interpret it as danger.
                Dogs that were "interested", "just curious", wanting to "play" = danger.
                The neighbor's dog who visited my house looked up at my terrified cat, one word from her owner and she dropped her head and went on with her other business. That dog (with her owner present) I trusted. I saw a clip on a shelter that tested for cat safe dogs. The ones who "passed" the test, entered the room, glanced up at the cat, then went on about their business. The failures tried to jump up and say "hi" to the cat and could not take their focus off the cat.
                I'd agree with the other posters, keep them separated.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks, all for the helpful information. We have been working with the dog and she is less interested in the parrot and will "leave it" when asked. We also talked to the vet about it. I guess bottom line is if we can train her to leave him alone, she can stay, but they would have to be separated unless under direct supervision, so we have to decide if that is practical for our household or not. The trainer is coming this afternoon, so we'll see what he has to say