Inca, my blue-fronted amazon parrot, says “Hi” to Phinnie when he wanders out the patio door toward her cage. If he gets too close, however, she is not a happy camper.
Phinnie is our new dog – a rescue from the LA Animal Shelter. They think he’s a Havanese, but we aren’t sure. We just know he’s a white fluffy bundle of adorableness. My two parrots have a different opinion. To them, he looks a giant maw ready to devour them.
It’s been about three months and I don’t push it. There seems to be a bit of a truce between them. If Phinnie doesn’t harrass them and he gets to be in my office and watch them. Of course he is watched and restrained at all times.
Max, the senegal parrot, does not seem to have any survival instincts. He flaps his wings and flutters to the ground sometimes when Phinnie is nearby. Umm, not the place to be buddy. But those actually are survival instincts – he’s flying away – just can’t fly far enough. Inca just backs away and gives a look that says, “Get that fur ball with teeth away from me!”
We have plans for real training on the dog’s behavior, but have first focused on separation and controlled visitations.
My office is open to the rest of the house, so I had to buy a baby gate with a door. Phin stands on the other side watching me, hoping for permission to enter. The only time the gate is not latched is if the birds are outside in their outside cages. In my office, they each have parrot towers – too high for Phin to get to, but still not secure enough to allow unsupervised and controlled interactions.
We bought the gate BEFORE the dog came home. This is important. If you wait to put safety measures in place, you might be too late.
The next step will be to work on letting him get close, but to sit and stay, with a reward when he obeys. We use a specific sound for bad behavior (a beep) and he just snaps to when he hears it.
Inca and Max would surely be happier if Phinnie disappeared, but I think over time there will be a mutual respect that will make it possible for them to feel calm when he’s around.