Dogs and birds

Soupspoon1223

Member
Mar 3, 2024
28
49
Parrots
None currently but have owned a cherry headed conure and a sun conure.
Hi everyone,
I don't currently have a bird, but I hope to own one in a year or so. I've had birds in the past a very long time ago. My first bird was a cherry headed conure in my early 20's and my second was a sun conure 10 years later. My sun conure was accidently killed by a dalmatian we had rescued. The bird flew from his perch across the room and the dog jumped up and caught him in his mouth mid air. I was so devasted, hysterical at the time. It broke my heart. I never imagined that happening. So fast forward 20 years later, and I still have that dog question. We have two. I would never leave the bird and the dogs unattended, but I know accidents happen just like in the past. I'm particularly worried about our 2 year old Australian Shepherd who is a chaser/herder by nature. I'm afraid of the same thing happening if the birds flies from it's perch. We have 2 cats too, but I worry less about them really. My Aussie and Maine Coon are the best of friends. Although again, they would never be unattended when they are together or the bird is out of it's cage. Is there any hope at all for me to own a bird again with having an Aussie in the house?
 

Jcas

Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Jan 9, 2023
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Quaker, 2 budgies
I have an Australian Shepherd and I have three birds BUT the Aussie grew up with the birds and we have had an extremely strict zero- tolerance policy around the birds from the time she came home as an 8 week old puppy. I don’t even let the dogs look at the birds for more than a second. That might sound harsh but any longer and you risk it turning into a predatory stare. If a bird lands near her, my dog will literally get up and leave the room. The birds are confined to a single room of the house so if my dog wants to get away from them she can. In my opinion, breed matters less than training. We have both my Aussie (herding dog) and a Golden Retriever ( hunting dog) and they are both very well trained with the birds. I’ve also worked hard to teach them impulse control in general so if I need to call them off of something quickly, I can.

Having predators and prey animals together is always going to be a risk. You just have to think about if your dog has the self- control and training to restrain its natural impulses around a bird and if you are willing to mediate constantly to make sure everyone stays safe. I know this isn’t a yes or no response but only you know yourself, your dog, and your situation. Best of luck with your decision ❤️
 

kme3388

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2021
1,130
3,362
Minnesota, USA
Parrots
Eclectus Parrot: Nico (male)
Jenday Conure: Kiwi (female)
I do have parrots & dogs. My puppy (black lab) is always locked up when my parrots are out. They aren’t ever out together, and never will be. My shepherd mix doesn’t care that the parrots exist. He can be out while the parrots are out but never without supervision. Mind you my shepherd mix was introduced to my parrots as a puppy. He’s now almost 12 years old. He would prefer to sleep, and sun bathe. My black lab puppy is still energetic, and doesn’t listen all of the time. He is also trained in pheasant, and duck hunting. It’s not worth it to me to have him out while my parrots are out.
He truly is a danger to them. It would take seconds, and none of my parrots stand a chance. I’ve always felt like I’m responsible to keep them safe. It’s good that you are asking questions instead of finding out the hard way.
 

wrench13

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SOupSPoon, as you yourself know, housing predator and prey in the same house is always a gamble, and all it take is just one chance bit of inattention. We see the tragic results all the time on this web board. Yeah does depend on the individual dog. MY recently deceased Cairne Terrier was afraid of Salty and would shuffle out of the room when he got let out, but she was a very timid in general, having been a puppy mill mother, and she was definitely badly abused in her past (we adopted). Now, my Jack Russel could never ever have been able to be in the same house as a parrot. She (besides being very prey driven) was RELENTLESS when she wanted something. I can easily imagine her scratching/biting her way through a door, if she wanted to get at a parrot. Face it, its always a chance when dogs/cats and parrots are involved.
 

T00tsyd

Well-known member
May 8, 2017
1,256
862
UK
Parrots
Green cheek conure - Sydney (Syd) Hatched 2/2017
It all depends on so many factors. I have had my own dog with Syd. He was obedience trained to the point that I would have guaranteed him anywhere but even then I never left him alone even with Syd caged. But in truth it doesn't really matter if you are in the room or not. If a bird flies unexpectedly a dog or cat will be up in the air before you can even utter a command. I remember an awful video that I saw of a woman and child releasing their pet bird into the wild which was bad enough, but their dog caught it before it got a couple of yards.
We can't actually say that any creature is fool proof because they have instincts coupled with minds of their own. The saying goes 'if in doubt don't' I reckon that's a good plan.

Having said all that - I still have my daughters' dogs on occasion and to be honest I am more concerned about Syd attacking them than the other way round. I know them well and have trained them since pups but the same rules apply. Either Syd is in his cage or the dog is out of the room. Baleful looks all round but safe rather than sorry.
 

onamom

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Ona: Dilute Green Cheek Conure
It always depends on the dog and it is always a risk even with the best behaved dog.

I have three 13 yr old dogs who do fine out with my bird - never unsupervised. One of my dogs is an Aussie mix and she is the best behaved. I think herding dogs are better at understanding who is part of the herd and generally speaking can do better around a bird.

That being said - if you get a bird you absolutely have to be willing to keep the bird and dog separated at all times if your dog is showing any reactivity around the bird at all. If it never works out between them it's important that you be willing to keep them separated and not put your bird in a situation where they are likely to be hurt. That could mean a separate bird room in the house or keeping your dog crated whenever the bird is out. I also currently have a foster dog at my house who has a very high prey drive and he is NEVER out when my bird is out, ever. They are kept separated at all times.

My advice is to not let owning a dog stop you from getting a bird - but be willing to keep them separated if you jump into it and take things slow and cautious. Absolutely don't just let the bird out with your dog right off the bat. You will need to see how your dog reacts to the bird being in a cage - if they are overly interested, jumping at the cage, etc you have to work on training the dog to ignore the bird and keep them separated at all times.

If eventually your dog and bird are able to be out together, ALWAYS be aware of where your bird is at all times. If you leave the room even for a second, take the bird with you. And understand that it is still a risk, always, to have them out together.
 

hiriki

Well-known member
Oct 19, 2014
451
627
Chicago, IL
Parrots
(Birdie - Jenday Conure)
(Kiwi - Green Cheek Conure)
(Elby - Lovebird)
(Gorou - Ringneck Dove)
I have four cats in addition to my flock so I am the last person who's going to tell you it's impossible. But my cats are NEVER even in the room when my birds are out. This means that unlike a lot of bird parents, I can't wander the entire house with my bird on my shoulder.... I have a large living room that I close off to hang out with my birds, but on the other side of the barrier is cat territory, and my birds are not allowed in cat territory.

My cats have individual personalities. Two of them are straight up prey motivated and would kill without hesitation. The other two are lazier, one of which I couldn't imagine killing a bird tbh, but personally I don't take chances. No cats are allowed near my birds when they're out of the cage, and although the little rascals break the rules sometimes, they're also not allowed near the cages even when the birds are put away (I have a fence up). My cat Bug is a senior now and has been around birds her entire life, before I adopted the more dangerous cats she was actually allowed to hang out when my birds were out and I never had issues with her... but I wouldn't let her in the living room with the birds out, despite the fact that I know she's harmless, because the fact is all it takes is one moment of her being a bit more playful than usual, and suddenly a flying bird looks like a cat toy. You've experienced this devastation firsthand.
 
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Soupspoon1223

Member
Mar 3, 2024
28
49
Parrots
None currently but have owned a cherry headed conure and a sun conure.
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Thank you all for sharing your stories, experiences and advice. They are all so meaningful. It's definitely a balancing act to keep everyone safe. One good thing is I work from home and my husband is retired so we're home a lot and can ensure that everyone would get to have their time out. My cats sleep most of the day and the older one usually hangs out upstairs sitting in her window bed. so they will be a bit more content being confined for a while. I'm hoping that in the future I'll be able to work things out. We also have a baby gate for the dogs for when we want to keep them out of our main house when we have guests or just when people are coming an going out of the house. That would probably be an okay solution to let them be upstairs while the bird is out. I guess the best thing is setting rules and boundaries and sticking with them to keep everyone safe.
 

hiriki

Well-known member
Oct 19, 2014
451
627
Chicago, IL
Parrots
(Birdie - Jenday Conure)
(Kiwi - Green Cheek Conure)
(Elby - Lovebird)
(Gorou - Ringneck Dove)
Thank you all for sharing your stories, experiences and advice. They are all so meaningful. It's definitely a balancing act to keep everyone safe. One good thing is I work from home and my husband is retired so we're home a lot and can ensure that everyone would get to have their time out. My cats sleep most of the day and the older one usually hangs out upstairs sitting in her window bed. so they will be a bit more content being confined for a while. I'm hoping that in the future I'll be able to work things out. We also have a baby gate for the dogs for when we want to keep them out of our main house when we have guests or just when people are coming a going out of the house. That would probably be an okay solution to let them be upstairs while the bird is out. I guess the best thing is setting rules and boundaries and sticking with them to keep everyone safe.
I would say, just remember that any barrier that doesn't also block birds is only half of a solution. A spooked bird will 100% fly in weird, unexpected directions they wouldn't normally fly, and that might take them directly over the snouts of your curious dogs.

My solution hasn't always been 100% separation of prey and predator animals in the home, and I went many years with no issues just monitoring things. So you may be fine with just a gate. In my case, things changed when I realized that a cat I had added to my home was incorrigibly prey driven. Cats and dogs are totally different creatures and as a general rule dogs are a bit more trainable, but sometimes even for dogs the prey drive is strong enough that they'll forget training if a bird stimulates their predator brain in just the wrong way... I think you're going to know better than anyone what could work for your pets, but after one of my cats caught a dove, I realized that there's a really heavy price for that kind of lesson and I'd rather err on the side of safety.

That dove survived, for what it's worth--the vet at my emergency clinic really outdid herself. Recovery was obviously very painful though and I blamed myself. That was AFTER I put up my wall to separate the cats and the birds, too--I just hadn't realized she was sleeping on my desk chair when I closed the rest of the cats out. Over time I've just become more and more thorough and particular about keeping things separated.
 
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Soupspoon1223

Member
Mar 3, 2024
28
49
Parrots
None currently but have owned a cherry headed conure and a sun conure.
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I would say, just remember that any barrier that doesn't also block birds is only half of a solution. A spooked bird will 100% fly in weird, unexpected directions they wouldn't normally fly, and that might take them directly over the snouts of your curious dogs.

My solution hasn't always been 100% separation of prey and predator animals in the home, and I went many years with no issues just monitoring things. So you may be fine with just a gate. In my case, things changed when I realized that a cat I had added to my home was incorrigibly prey driven. Cats and dogs are totally different creatures and as a general rule dogs are a bit more trainable, but sometimes even for dogs the prey drive is strong enough that they'll forget training if a bird stimulates their predator brain in just the wrong way... I think you're going to know better than anyone what could work for your pets, but after one of my cats caught a dove, I realized that there's a really heavy price for that kind of lesson and I'd rather err on the side of safety.

That dove survived, for what it's worth--the vet at my emergency clinic really outdid herself. Recovery was obviously very painful though and I blamed myself. That was AFTER I put up my wall to separate the cats and the birds, too--I just hadn't realized she was sleeping on my desk chair when I closed the rest of the cats out. Over time I've just become more and more thorough and particular about keeping things separated.
Thank you. Those are all great points to consider. I really appreciate it. And I'm so glad your little dove survived.
 

onamom

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May 9, 2022
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Indiana, USA
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Ona: Dilute Green Cheek Conure
Thank you all for sharing your stories, experiences and advice. They are all so meaningful. It's definitely a balancing act to keep everyone safe. One good thing is I work from home and my husband is retired so we're home a lot and can ensure that everyone would get to have their time out. My cats sleep most of the day and the older one usually hangs out upstairs sitting in her window bed. so they will be a bit more content being confined for a while. I'm hoping that in the future I'll be able to work things out. We also have a baby gate for the dogs for when we want to keep them out of our main house when we have guests or just when people are coming an going out of the house. That would probably be an okay solution to let them be upstairs while the bird is out. I guess the best thing is setting rules and boundaries and sticking with them to keep everyone safe.

For my foster dog I use baby gates and curtains in the doorway. He stays in his room, the curtains mean Ona can come out without flying in there. I even got curtain weights to put on the bottom so they don't blow open. I've been doing this for about three months now and works well. When the dog comes out, Ona goes in her cage. I also have a crate for the dog that he can go in if I need to take Ona through the room he stays in. It takes time and diligence to figure out the logistics but it works well for us.
 
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Soupspoon1223

Member
Mar 3, 2024
28
49
Parrots
None currently but have owned a cherry headed conure and a sun conure.
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I was wondering how you all alternate your time with the bird out and the dogs, cats, etc. confined? Do you switch off and on throughout the day or maybe the morning the bird is out and the afternoon the bird goes into the cage and the other pets come out. I was just curious how you manage the time.
 

onamom

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Ona: Dilute Green Cheek Conure
I was wondering how you all alternate your time with the bird out and the dogs, cats, etc. confined? Do you switch off and on throughout the day or maybe the morning the bird is out and the afternoon the bird goes into the cage and the other pets come out. I was just curious how you manage the time.

Honestly you just have to do your best and find what works for you. I work from home as well and that helps a lot. I typically alternate a little throughout the day. My bird Ona is very social and wouldn’t do well caged in large chunks. She does better with multiple attention times throughout the day. I use Kongs, puzzle toys, etc to keep the pup entertained during these times. Typically I’d say overall the pup gets more out time in the evenings and birb more during the day.
 

Flboy

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2014
12,599
4,105
Greater Orlando area, Florida
Parrots
JoJo, 'Special' GCC, Bongo, Cinnamon GCC(wife's)
Hi everyone,
I don't currently have a bird, but I hope to own one in a year or so. I've had birds in the past a very long time ago. My first bird was a cherry headed conure in my early 20's and my second was a sun conure 10 years later. My sun conure was accidently killed by a dalmatian we had rescued. The bird flew from his perch across the room and the dog jumped up and caught him in his mouth mid air. I was so devasted, hysterical at the time. It broke my heart. I never imagined that happening. So fast forward 20 years later, and I still have that dog question. We have two. I would never leave the bird and the dogs unattended, but I know accidents happen just like in the past. I'm particularly worried about our 2 year old Australian Shepherd who is a chaser/herder by nature. I'm afraid of the same thing happening if the birds flies from it's perch. We have 2 cats too, but I worry less about them really. My Aussie and Maine Coon are the best of friends. Although again, they would never be unattended when they are together or the bird is out of it's cage. Is there any hope at all for me to own a bird again with having an Aussie in the house?
Never leaving them unattended only means you get to see the horror first hand! You are not fast enough!
Dogs in? Bird in cage.
Bird out? Dogs outside.
 

hiriki

Well-known member
Oct 19, 2014
451
627
Chicago, IL
Parrots
(Birdie - Jenday Conure)
(Kiwi - Green Cheek Conure)
(Elby - Lovebird)
(Gorou - Ringneck Dove)
I was wondering how you all alternate your time with the bird out and the dogs, cats, etc. confined? Do you switch off and on throughout the day or maybe the morning the bird is out and the afternoon the bird goes into the cage and the other pets come out. I was just curious how you manage the time.
When it comes to me personally socializing them, my birds usually get me during the day (particularly my wfh work hours, 8-5), and my cats get me during the evenings. But I don't lock my cats away in a room when the birds are out, I have a ridiculous jerry-rigged "wall" that separates my living room where my birds are from the rest of the house. This was important to me--it took us a while to figure out a solution, since there's no actual drywall and door, but I absolutely didn't want to have a scenario where my cats would spend hours confined in a room with no people! The cats have the whole rest of the house to explore while the birds stretch their wings, including plenty of cat trees, and there's often people in other places of the house for them to interact with.

Your case would likely be similar. If you're putting a gate up and just blocking off a floor of the house, your dogs will have plenty of space, and potentially even the company of other family members.
 
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Soupspoon1223

Member
Mar 3, 2024
28
49
Parrots
None currently but have owned a cherry headed conure and a sun conure.
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When it comes to me personally socializing them, my birds usually get me during the day (particularly my wfh work hours, 8-5), and my cats get me during the evenings. But I don't lock my cats away in a room when the birds are out, I have a ridiculous jerry-rigged "wall" that separates my living room where my birds are from the rest of the house. This was important to me--it took us a while to figure out a solution, since there's no actual drywall and door, but I absolutely didn't want to have a scenario where my cats would spend hours confined in a room with no people! The cats have the whole rest of the house to explore while the birds stretch their wings, including plenty of cat trees, and there's often people in other places of the house for them to interact with.

Your case would likely be similar. If you're putting a gate up and just blocking off a floor of the house, your dogs will have plenty of space, and potentially even the company of other family members.
Thank you so much for sharing your set up.
 
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Soupspoon1223

Member
Mar 3, 2024
28
49
Parrots
None currently but have owned a cherry headed conure and a sun conure.
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Honestly you just have to do your best and find what works for you. I work from home as well and that helps a lot. I typically alternate a little throughout the day. My bird Ona is very social and wouldn’t do well caged in large chunks. She does better with multiple attention times throughout the day. I use Kongs, puzzle toys, etc to keep the pup entertained during these times. Typically I’d say overall the pup gets more out time in the evenings and birb more during the day.
That definitely makes sense how you do that because the birds go to be earlier. :)
 

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