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Thread: Dogs and birds?

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    Dogs and birds?

    Hi!!! I'm not sure where to post this, but here goes: I got my first dog! He's a 3yr old Maltese cross, we adopted him from the RSPCA (a rescue organization in Australia.)
    As you might already know, I have 3 birds: a cockatiel and 2 budgies. At first (about a week ago) they completely flipped out when they saw him. Flapped around in their cages, screeching etc. The dog (Frankie) is not aggressive at all- He sort of looked at them and sniffed the air, then pretty much ignored them. The birds are much better today- Frank's asleep on my floor now and the birds are just eating and whistling and going about their business fine.

    So my question is; what are other people's experiences with birds and dogs? Will it ever be ok to have a bird on my shoulder while the dog is in the room? Missy seems keen to come out right now and I'd let her, but I'm not 100% sure if it's ok? I'd never leave them unsupervised together obviously. I'm not really even aiming for them to be friends, I'd just like the birds to be able to feel comfortable with the dog being around- I don't want them feeling terrified and upset about it, especially since I really don't think he'd harm them.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    we have five dogs here
    the only i dont trust at all is the sighthound
    he totally ignores them in the cages but he will go for them if theyre flying around so we always take him outside or take the birds to another room
    we have cats too and although they dont stalk the birds they will also jump at a flying bird (ours are clipped so they cant really get away if need be)

    the other four dogs have no interest in the birds and are very obedient ...can be called off instantly if a bird is on the floor
    but we never ever leave birds free and unsupervised
    in cages theyre not bothered by the dogs ..we got all of our birds as handreared babies and they show no fear of dogs or cats
    sometimes the sighthound will nose around for food scraps in the big birds cage and the eclectus will go for him...

    we are ever vigilant but it is usually fine...life with dogs and cats and birds can be surprisingly harmonious and easy if care is taken

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Thanks! It's great to know it can be done! We have rabbits and fish too, so hoping we can all be one big happy family!
    None of my birds are clipped at the moment- I'm thinking I'll leave it that way for a while since they're cages never go anywhere near outside, and that way if it were ever necessary they'd have the option of flying away from the dog. He is a really obedient dog though, I can't imagine it being an issue.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    I have five dogs as well, including a sighthound as well and I trust them all. Trust being a relative word. I would never, ever trust them unsupervised. But, if I am in the room, I have no issue having Quinn out at the same time as the dogs.

    If a bird hits the ground, down goes the hound. Simple training.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    I am glad you posted this! Since I just got a puppy, we are trying to get them used to each other so that MAYBE eventually they can be out at the same time. It gives me hope though! So far, I don't trust the puppy well enough, mostly because he is a puppy...but I think he is going to be a really good/obedient dog.

    I would love to hear any suggestions people have on how to acclimate them to each other. So far, we get them each out while the other is "kennelled" and they pay very little attention to what the other is doing (good news in my mind). Today we kept the pup on a leash while Darwin was out, but the pup did not enjoy that too much.

    At what stage do you finally realize you have to just try it while they are both out? And even though they are supervised, I don't trust the rsik that Darwin (or the puppy really) could get hurt if something occurs.

    Ugh...sorry for the mini-rant...but this is something I have been stressing over as well. I feel like I am constantly busy with one of them and switching up who has playtime, which gives me little time to do anything else! There is only so much mamma-bird to go around.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Thanks for the replies!
    Barb, that's exactly how I feel! I have 8 pets and only one of me, it takes up the whole day to give each the attention they need. It'd be easier if I could multitask and do 2 species at once! I'm not sure either when that point is, of just trying it. I guess when we feel we can trust our dogs enough?

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    I have cats, and a dog, and bird. My bird for the most part ignores the animals when they are around/walking by her cage. However, I refuse to allow my cats or dog in the same room when I have my bird out. I keep my bird in my bedroom which is a large room so it is easy for me to kick the mammals out and let the bird roam free and give her treats and flying time. My motto is better safe than sorry...I don't want to go through the pain of losing my bird to my cats or dog.

    ~Heather~
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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    My experience is that dogs who are bred to be hunting companions i.e. hounds, retrievers, etc, don't do as well around birds as other breeds. There's no way to predict how your dog will act towards a bird, but like RoughCollies said, some simply training should take care of it.
    I can train a dog to be a bird lover too!

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    I tried it with Missy today, since she's probably the most assertive and willing of my birds. I did it after Frankie had been for a walk, so he was tired and relaxed. Mis was on my shoulder, so there was no way he could reach her. They were both fine. He looked at her, looked at me, and sat. About a minute later, he got up and moved across the room, away from me and the bird. Then he left the room. I think she's pretty good at claiming her space, always has been with the rabbits and other birds too. They don't mess with her lol.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Before you let your bird and dog in the same room you usually want to make sure the dog will obey your command for ANY reason if you say "Sit" or "down" or whatever you want to use.

    Best way to test this is take your dogs favorite food and when your dog no longer lunges after it and will wait until YOU say it is ok, then they are probably obedient. Then work it with a leash and the bird.

    Last thing you want is a dog that gets over excited and ignores commands due to it - like puppies often will. If the bird does something to catch the dogs eye, the dog HAS to obey sit without even thinking about it, or the bird is in danger.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Just a follow up note on this for other bird and dog owners..
    I had Missy out with Frankie in the room several more times. He's not aggressive at all, and he completely ignores her- BUT we did have a slight incident.
    Something frightened Mis (no idea what) and she flew across the room, before landing on the floor. Frankie, who never chases anything and always obeys me, was asleep at the time, but woke up with a start and suddenly kicked into some kind of prey drive- and he did chase her. She's fine, thank God- he didn't bite her, but he did grab her tail for a second before letting her go.
    My point is (kinda answering my own original question here!) It's not always a matter of aggression- I don't think my dog would ever intentionally hurt my birds, but he could have accidentally injured or killed her, and it was a very scary moment. So I'm going to keep them separate from now on. Better safe than sorry!

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Oh sorry to hear you guys had an incident, but at least it turned out ok. What you wrote is exactly why we haven't tried it yet at our house, since my dog is still a pretty young pup (5 months) I don't think he will be out of that chasing thing. He also ignores my bird if he is just sitting there, but when Darwin goes flying, Huxley (my dog) wants to chase him. I think he actually wants to play with him, because he will sit there and "talk" to the bird to try to get him to play back, but of course he is so much bigger than my bird that he would hurt him. Darwin on the other hand, wants nothing to do with the puppy...no curiosity at all. haha

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    I'm glad it worked out ok.
    i was going to add that you can never, ever be 100% sure as animals arent 100% predictable. 99 times out of 100 i would trust my beagleman. But the 100th time he couldnt find his favourite toy and Sammy decided to mimic it from in the cage. Dog went up, bird freaked, both got told off lol if he had been out his cage- eek

    Funny thing is i did trust Rolo (dog) with my last bird- but that was very much on Spark's personality. She was calm, didnt take off suddenly making squeaky toy noises, and would happily settle on my shoulder or hand for hours- if something scared her she ducked and hid in my hands, or behind me. She also knew recall without fault, and would stop and freeze if i told her too.

    Sammy on the other hand doesnt do recall everytime, does take off swooping down low, does go off zipping about without warning, and does make noises like a squeaky toy. They arent even allowed out in the same room unless someone has a firm hold on the dog. I'll move Sammy from one cage to another, but that's it. Anything else would be too tempting in my mind.


    Thanks Lee for the adorable sig!

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Well, I think it depends on the dog tbh. I currently have a dalmatian who when he first saw my budgie in her cage sniffed it, but then walked away (then again, he is a wimp. a puppy bit him on the nose once!). However, my aunt used to have some birds, and one escaped whilst a dog was out and the dog tried to catch the bird, and the bird died not long after from fright. :/

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Something to keep in mind when you have dogs or cats with birds... the other animals may be very friendly and trustworthy (under supervision), but birds can get stressed out just with the presence of cats and dogs (even small ones). The vet we send our fosters to has stories of birds becoming pluckers because they would get stressed out from the family dog or cat, even though the birds would be in their cages and the other animal didn't pose any REAL threat.

    I have heard just one too many horror stories of people's birds and the other family pets... even with constant supervision, not everyone is faster than a dog or cat. In a split second a cat can pounce, scratch, and bite a bird. A dog can end up stepping or laying on a bird walking on the floor.

    Not knocking people who own other pets besides birds, just giving food for thought... I'm just thankful neither my bf or I like anything other than fish and birds.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Maya, your post couldn't be interpreted as knocking people with other pets. I had cats when my hubby gave me Kiwi but KitKat was geriatric (she slept on Kiwi's cage cover on the shelf under Kiwi's cage) and Kiwi could attack anyone (except me) who even talk to KitKat or pet her. Our other cat was Squawk who knew better - unfortunately both have since crossed over Rainbow Bridge, one from old age and the other due to cancer. Our third cat George decided he didn't like the racket or the fact that Kiwi would bathe in his water bowl and moved away by 2-3 blocks and now lives with 2 older bachelor brothers. He sometimes visits and stops in for a bowl of food outside but never stays or wants to come in.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Good, I'm glad. I just know some people out there who actually have taken offense and/or have gotten upset when I would point out potential dangers of having both birds and dogs/cats. Most of the time I get, "My cat/dog would NEVER hurt my bird(s)" or "That won't happen to my bird(s)." If that were the case, there wouldn't be any "horror" stories from owners.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    personally i would never let my dogs out while the birds is out...but Lotte, my border collie/ kelpie, cannot be trusted even when the birds are in their cages...we have finaly taught her to stare at them from a safe distance...kelpies do have a tendancy to stare things down.

    however, my little dog, Teddy, is the most gentle dog u can imagine...he is actually afraid of the birds and will look at me like im trying to hurt him when i take the bird out...hmm...luckily he is a very passive dog.

    of course i would never leave them alone but some dogs have the right personality to get a long well with birds...others just want to hear them squeek like their toys do

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by maya_exquisite View Post
    Something to keep in mind when you have dogs or cats with birds... the other animals may be very friendly and trustworthy (under supervision), but birds can get stressed out just with the presence of cats and dogs (even small ones). The vet we send our fosters to has stories of birds becoming pluckers because they would get stressed out from the family dog or cat, even though the birds would be in their cages and the other animal didn't pose any REAL threat.
    The thing is...I refuse to live my life around this idea. I think that the birds should live as part of the flock, but not be the center of the flock (so to speak). Anything can stress a bird out (they are weird creatures), for example Darwin is terrified of kleenex, my yoga ball, stuffed toys with eyes, etc. Does that mean I am not going to keep these things? Nope! What about having kids? I am going to have them (hopefully) or moving across the country? All of life is filled with things birds perceive as stress, but it will not stop me from enjoying them in addition to birds. So, for me life isn't complete without dogs. Is there a risk that Darwin will be stressed out? sure. Am I willing to take that risk to live my life as full as possible? yep!

    Meanwhile things are going well at our house with the new pup. He has boundaries with Darwin and he does respect them (he isn't allowed in Darwins room ect) and he doesn't focus on him at all. And Darwin isn't stressed out at all (or so it seems). In fact, the dog has taken to begging for food from Darwin, since he seems to throw everything on the floor, and I certainly don't have to vacuum as much as I used to. And they have reached some sort of communication together, when Darwin does his warning call (for squirrels usually) Huxley comes running, barking to find out what kind of creature might be lurking.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Well it's been 5 months now, and while my decision remains to not let the birds out when the dog is around, they're not stressed by his presence in our home at all. At first they were- they'd freak out every time Frankie (dog) walked into the room, but now they honestly don't care, and neither does he. He doesn't bark at them, or really even pay attention to them. They'll even quite happily sleep on their perches while he lays on the floor under their cages.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    I have an many of the experiences with only dogs not with birds. But I am very much impressed by your experiences with dogs and the birds. It is a very great and a beneficial things for dogs and the birds which we take care of them the most.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    We have 6 cockatiels, 3 budgies, a Sun Conure, a GCC, 2 kakarikis and 2 finches. We got our Border Collie 6 months ago and she couldn't be anywhere near them. She just wanted to kill them, having never seen birds before - she's an 8 year old ex-sheepdog who was kept outside all her life. I still don't trust her with birds outside the cage, but inside the cage, she's fine.

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    In my experience, chosing the right dog and being exceptionally careful are the most important principles of keeping both birds and dogs.

    6 years ago ... or maybe it was 7 ... I rescued an adult sighthound, and it was a BAD idea. Hazel was 3 years old, and she had been a stray. Adopting this particular animals was dumb of us, on so many levels. She was a breed with an instinctive tendency to chase fleeing objects. She was an adult, and not socialized to other pets. And she had been hunting for part or all of her adult life. Things went alright with her at first, because we watched her like a hawk when the birds were out. But one day when we were gone, she managed to take apart a bird cage I *thought* was secure and killed my two cockatiels. I feel very guilty, to this day, for failing to prevent this event.

    Our current dog was socialized around our birds, which makes like much easier and safer. She is not a breed I would really consider ideal for bird owners. She is a mini-dachshund. Like all hounds, dachshunds are hunters and some are very prey-driven; they are also stubborn and inclined to disobey training when it doesn't suit them. There are 4 dachshunds in our extended family, and all the dachshunds not raised around birds think my parrots are tasty snacks. However, Tipti grew up around the birdss and in consequence does not view them as prey. In fact, she ignores them completely, like they are just part of the scenery.

    The lesson I take away from my experiences is:
    (1) Never, ever trust a dog around a prey animal. Always assume the dog could pull something unexpected or sneaky, and prevent the event. For us, this means not leaving the house unless there is a closed door between a dog and a bird cage.
    (2) Get puppy or young dog you can socialize and train not to mess with your birds, or adopt an adult dog with the right disposition.

    As to the vet who said that the mere presence of cats and dogs will stress a bird: I don't think that is true. Owing to the fact that my dog does not chase them, my birds have no idea whatsoever that she is a potential threat. They ignore her too, except for Tolkien. Tolkien believes, for some reason, that Tipti is just wonderful and that he should be able to interact with her. Thus I must prevent Tolkien from waltzing across the floor to take her toys, drink her water, or pull her tail.
    Last edited by notredamebird; 01-14-2011 at 08:29 AM.
    Atrus---Wesley---Tolkien
    Catherine---Lúthien---Elwing---Tipti

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacqui View Post
    So my question is; what are other people's experiences with birds and dogs?
    I might be the wrong person to ask, but... my conure doesn't mind dogs at all. My 'tiel on the other hand will attack dogs.

    I'd say introduce them very slowly, hold the dog so it can't get them and let the birds check it out maybe? That might be easier than letting the dog (larger than them) go up to the birds, who might see that as a threat?

    I don't know if that works at all but it seemed Logical to me, and until I knew what my 'tiel would do, that's what I did when my friend brought her dogs over. Now I hold the 'tiel back...
    Around here, bird fluff is a condiment...

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    Re: Dogs and birds?

    Xam (german shepherd and dachshund mix...but that is another story) is used to having birds and other small animals around. Pepe, my son's recently departed parakeet would even land on his back for a ride, and Xam would sniff, look at us with that "I didn't do anything" look, and just ignore Pepe and keep walking.
    With the new troublesome trio, we let him sniff them through the cage bars, he looked at us in resignation, and went on with his business. He still occasionally tries to "help" us steer them back in their cage, but that will stop in a couple of weeks, when the newbies become a fixed scent and sound in the house.
    In short, it really depends on the dog, and your relationship with him/her.
    Good luck!!!

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