Dogs are naturally territorial with varying degrees of hunting instincts. On the other hand, birds have high socialization needs, but because they are prey animals, they tend to be frightened by most things. Are birds scared of dogs?
Birds have a natural fear of dogs. When dogs or other household pets come near, a bird will get very cautious and show signs of fear in they way they increase or decrease vocalization, rapidly flap their wings, show increased aggression with their beak, or start plucking feathers out from their skin.
If you already have a dog and you’re considering a pet bird, or you have a bird and are considering a dog, this article is for you.
The article will answer the question of whether birds are afraid of dogs, why dogs act erratically around birds, and discuss other important things relative to the subject.
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Are Birds Afraid of Dogs
As a pet owner, the safety of your bird and the prevention of an incident are vital. That said, recognizing when your beloved pet bird is frightened and taking measures to make them feel safe is part of sharing your life with them.
Although some dogs easily get along with birds, most pet birds are instinctively afraid of dogs. When dogs or other predators come near them, they get wary and may show their fear in several different ways.
So, how can you know that your pet bird is afraid of your dog’s presence?
Here are some of the thing’s birds are likely to do when they see dogs:
- Screaming: Birds are noisy pets and will sometimes make loud noises for fun. While occasional loud noises can be typical, constant screaming and screeching may indicate that your bird is filled with fear. Because screaming can also indicate an underlying medical issue, be observant to ensure the winged pet screams when a dog shows up.
- Decreased Vocalization: Although not common, some birds will immediately stop vocalizing when they notice the presence of a predator. They retreat into themselves and start walking away from the enemy. If your pet bird does the same in the presence of your dog, it may also be a sign of fear.
- Biting: A bird that feels unsafe around dogs is very likely to act aggressively and use its beak to defend itself. A dog showing up can also trigger other aggressive behaviors like hissing or lunging.
- Feather Picking: This is another easy-to-note sign of fear and stress in birds, especially in African grey parrots, Eclectus parrots, cockatoos, and lovebirds. Your bird will suddenly start plucking feathers or picking at her skin alongside other bizarre behaviors. If you observe your bird picking, make sure to seek a way to control the behavior as it can cause harm.
- Crouching or Flattening: In moments of fear, your pet bird is also likely to flatten her feathers, open her eyes wide, and assume a watchful stance ready to attack. Depending on the level of aggressiveness, the bird will also spread its beak, flap wings, and tremble.
Naturally, most birds fear being harmed. That’s why they perceive dogs as enemies and try to avoid them as much as they can.
When they notice a dog at a safe distance, they may fly away or retreat into tired unresponsiveness to go unnoticed.
However, not all birds are fearful. Some will assume a ready stance, ready to attack should the dog threaten the bird significantly.
This behavior can be eliminated by training your dog and bird to get along. Although dogs are easily fascinated by the movement of critters and have an inherent instinct to hunt their prey, including birds, they can still get along with each other.
Do Dogs Scare Away Birds
Dogs can be a threat to birds because they are predators and will naturally view birds as prey they should pursue and conquer. Even if you have a timid dog with less noticeable prey drive, his hunting instincts will still be there.
Some dog species are very aggressive and will attempt to destroy the birds’ cages, which makes birds feel unwelcome at home with dogs.
One of the manifestations of a dog’s aggressiveness is barking. If you bring birds to your home with an existing dog, the dog will most certainly bark at the birds.
Depending on the birds you bring in, the dog may see them as prey or even as a threat. That is why they may start attacking your birds. Dogs that are used to pet birds may also bark because they are afraid of losing your attention.
Whatever reason for barking at the bird, the latter will either fly away or showcase her aggressiveness by attacking the dog. The bad news is that the bird usually loses in a battle against dogs.
To the surprise of many, dogs are also scared of birds. Research shows fear is one of the major causes of aggression in dogs.
Instead of the most expected attack, a dog that is not used to birds can also flee and freeze on its first encounter with birds, especially if the bird threatens to attack the puppy the very first time the two meet.
A dog can do many things that ultimately scare birds, including lunging, posturing, pricking ears, raising hackles, growling, and looking directly while exposing teeth towards your birds.
If a dog shows unrelaxed body language around a bird, the bird will react by escaping before they are turned into a meal.
Do Birds And Dogs Get Along
It might surprise you to know, birds and dogs can co-exist safely. While the two pets aren’t likely to come into your mind when planning to have multi-species pets, the truth is that they can live in sync with one another while having a friendly relationship.
Both dogs and pet birds are sensitive animals that make great pets. They are also ultra-keen on their environment and require the attention of their pet owner.
As a pet owner, you need to attend to the needs of your pets equally because giving more attention to one can create jealousy. Both dogs and birds can get jealous.
Getting back to the dog-bird relationship, you will need to slowly and steadily introduce the bird to the dog. So, how can the two pets get along?
Choose a neutral area for introduction and follow these tips:
- Slow and Steady Introduction: To make the introduction effective and safe, you will need a large cage for your bird and then put your dog on a leash. Next, bring the two pets close enough to see each other but far enough that they are not in close contact. Continue doing it and bring them closer to each other as you observe how they respond to the introduction sessions.
- Reward Them For Playing Nice: Like humans, pets also like it when they are rewarded. The aim of rewarding is to encourage them to behave well around each other.
- Train The Dog With Commands: Other than using a leash, using commands is a must-include strategy when training dogs. In this case, you will need to train your dog to obey simple commands that can help keep him away from the bird. Don’t hesitate to reward your dog.
- Supervise Every Interaction: When introducing a bird to a dog, you want to make them remain safe even if they don’t get along. The only way to ensure this is by supervising all interactions until your pets can live together in harmony. Supervising interactions will also help you learn their body language and gauge if they will ever get along.
Dogs and birds can get along well enough with each other, but coexisting can still be very difficult for some dog species.
Because dogs are predators and unpredictable, it is advisable never to leave your dog and pet bird together unless you want their relationship to end in disaster.
Helpful Tips To Know If Birds Are Scared Of Dogs
Although you can keep dogs and birds in the same household, you need to take precautions and good sense. If you are trying to introduce your pets to each other, here are helpful tips to know if the bird is scared of dogs.
- Observe Your Bird’s Body Language: Most animals communicate their fear through body language, and pet birds are not different. For example, if your new bird feels unsafe around dogs, they will crest up, spread out, or even flap wings. Your bird might also show fear by changing its movement or behaving as if ready to attack the enemy.
- Hissing or Snaking Heads: An extremely frightened bird will up the ante by snaking its head or hissing. This usually happens boldly at first glance, and the bird may also move away from the predator.
- Watch Vocalization Changes: In tense situations, pet birds tend to increase or decrease vocalization. You should look for changes in vocalizing that indicate fear or an underlying issue.
Ensuring your bird is calm is vital for its health and well-being. You will need to ensure that they get peace even when around other pets in your home.
While your dog and pet bird can get along, it is nearly impossible to eliminate the fear in your bird completely. However, you can help your pets become friends by slowly and steadily introducing them to each other.
Whether your dog and bird get along or not, never leave the two together unsupervised.