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Pets are such playful and lively creatures; it is indeed amazing how they impact our lives and spread positivity. Dogs, cats, fishes, birds all make lovely pets, and the experience of keeping each as a companion is unique in itself. For this reason, many households in the U.S. have multiple animals, commonly cats along with dogs. Although the relationship between dogs and cats is a topic of debate and they are considered enemies more than friends, but the stereotype has been proved wrong numerous times. Today many cats and dogs live together under the same roof in harmony. Their pet-parents are fortunate as they get to post adorable videos of the two playing; sleeping together or chilling with each other (these melt my heart.)
Bringing a Bird in a House with a Dog
It does prove that different animals can be trained to be friendly towards each other, yet not all interactions are easy to manage. One such example is the relationship between pet dogs and birds. Both creatures are complete opposites with the latter being easy prey for the former. However, if you are planning on keeping the two together then don’t be disheartened as it isn’t impossible. With the correct training methodologies, you can train both creatures to learn to leave each other alone or maintain peace. It won’t be easy; it will require lots of effort, consistency, patience and the ability to take out the time to introduce both. To help pet-parents, I have formulated a draft based on my own experiences and research on how can we train our dogs to get along with pet birds:
The most crucial time is when you bring the bird home. Our dogs are inquisitive creatures, and a bird would naturally be a prey animal for your pup. In this case, you can’t expect your dog to leave the little birdie own. Even if he doesn’t try to kill the bird, the initial encounters may lead to accidents and injuries. Remember one thing that scolding or punishing your dog isn’t the solution. You need to train him peacefully.
Introduce Your Dog to the Bird
Begin by introducing your bird to the dog, keeping the interactions controlled and monitored strictly. Don’t expect both the creatures to get comfortable with each other on the first go. Make sure your bird is in the cage during the first few interactions, and the dog is leashed as you may not be able to take control of the situation instantly in case of an accident.
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Choose a Spot that Your Pup Doesn’t Consider his Territory
Since you have had the pooch for longer, he may consider most places in the house his territory. If you introduce the bird to your pup in such a spot that he recognizes his own, the dog may become aggressive. Therefore it is essential to choose a neutral space to reduce the risk of aggression. Also, ensure that the bird doesn’t get stressed due to the dog’s presence in the room. Keep the initial interactions short and slowly bring them closer.
Treat Your Pup for Good Behavior
Use positive reinforcement which means every time your dog behaves the way you want, praise him and give him treats. For instance, if it looks like your dog will be messing with the cage, divert his attention towards the delicious treats and get him to move away. Once he follows the command, give him the treat and praise him for being a good boy. This way he will learn that coming near the bird isn’t allowed.
Don’t Let the Bird Outside without Supervision
But wait, not so fast. Many parents make the mistake of supposing that if their dog leaves the bird once or twice, he will continue to do so and allow the bird to roam out of the cage in the presence of the pooch. Remember that they are animals and their behavior may alter so you can’t be sure until you have trained your pup for several months. Yes, I do agree that dogs are smart but sometimes accidents happen unintentionally as well so don’t risk it. You can also provide your dog other cues, for instance, teach him to crawl inside his crate if the bird comes out of the cage. It will be beneficial in case the cage breaks or the bird manages to come out in your absence. But again be very careful while training the dog as you will let the bird out for a few seconds. Also, make sure if the dog comes near the bird, he doesn’t lick her as it could cause infections.
Lastly, make sure you are well equipped. Buy a sturdy and robust bird cage so your pooch can’t knock it over or break the locks. Don’t leave the bird outside when the dog is near, but I would also not suggest keeping them completely separate. Continue their interactions and let the pooch near the cage when you are sure of your training. Since our dogs are such loving creatures, they will learn quickly, and you will be a proud and satisfied pet-parent.
Danica Boyd is a bird enthusiast and nature lover. She has been keeping pet birds for several years and now has tons of practical experience in caring for birds. She writes for the team behind https://www.birdcagesnow.com/