How To Socialize Your Dog And Parrot
One of the most common questions we get is, how did Lambo and Mango become so close? The truth is it’s not as simple as it looks, it takes time, patience, effort, and constant supervising. A key factor that we find helped us was that they were introduced to each other at a very young age but that’s not to say that an older dog or bird can’t be friends it just might take longer. Additionally, we need to be mindful of the fact that every dog and bird has their own personality and they may or may not get along.
I am going to share with you the steps we took that helped us cultivate this bond between Lambo and Mango. We did our research, used common sense, and sought out the advice of professionals. By the time we brought Mango home, Lambo was already well trained so he was good at listening to commands around Mango. We do recommend that one pet is well trained before bringing the other one home.
The list below is pointers of what we did to make sure the relationship happened naturally and in a safe environment.
Helpful tips to implement when introducing your dog and bird to each other:
- Start with short interactions for your dog and bird to SEE each other but with a barrier so that they can acknowledge each other’s existence at home
- Once they are comfortable with one another you can allow closer contact, let them smell and feel each other out, literally. But make sure to……
- Always supervise their interactions!
- Reinforce positive behavior towards each other. You can use praise and offer a treat when they have positive interactions around each other so they associate good behavior with a positive outcome
- Make sure interactions are in a neutral place at home. If your pets are territorial of their spaces, aviary’s, beds, etc avoid having interactions there. Some are not, Lambo will allow Mango to be anywhere with him but not every dog is like this!
- Ensure the interactions are during the right time of the day as well. For example, you would not have them interact before feeding when you know they are hungry and or if they are not feeling well. It’s best to choose interaction times when they are fed, happy, and in a good mood. Additionally, be mindful of particular behaviors like hormone season for birds! When Mango is going through a hormonal phase (spring/fall) we are mindful to keep interactions very short and choose times when he is not showing signs of being hormonal. Another example is if Lambo is feeling under the weather or really tired then we make sure to give him his space to rest and relax. Use your best judgment!
- Allow the relationship to happen naturally <3 Do not force interactions, observe behaviors, and body language. Not all pets' personalities will mesh well and that’s okay too. No one chose your best friends for you, you choose them. We were lucky that Mango took such an interest in Lambo and that Lambo is so gentle, loving, and playful that he is happy to have a birdie brother
- Give all your pets equal amounts of LOVE and TLC! They can feel the love and you don’t want any jealousy to arise between them :)
When Mango was coming home we had our suspicions that Lambo would think his new feathered brother is just a live toy mom and dad got just for him. Especially, because he loves to bird watch out the window and chase them when he is out in the great outdoors. But to our surprise, he was very gentle and super curious about Mango. Our first goal was to make sure they were aware of each other, felt comfortable with one another around, and providing a safe environment. Mango quickly assumed all 3 of us as part of his flock and Lambo considered him as part of the pack.
We started with short introductions between Lambo and Mango allowing them to see each other and know that the other one exists at home. At first, we did it through a doggy gate or a glass door. We also made sure that they never felt like one was getting more love than the other. Especially Lambo because he was used to be the center of getting smothered for so many months. We didn’t want him to feel like he wasn’t getting the same love as he was used to and jealousy to arise. Lambo was already well trained and this made it easier to control the interactions since Lambo is the bigger one!
Once Mango started to get bigger and we knew they were comfortable with each other we allowed the interactions to be more intimate. Lambo would sniff and smell Mango and Mango would preen Lambo’s fur. We always supervise their interactions or when they are both hanging out with us.
They also naturally liked each other and felt comfortable around one another. We gradually increased the number of times or lengths of time for their interactions. They love to hang out, Mango likes to investigate Lambo’s toys, preen his fur, and go for a ride every now and then. Lambo knows to be gentle with Mango, this takes training. Again please keep in mind that every dog and bird is different, if our dog was a bigger breed I am not sure I would feel as comfortable with them being this intimate. Vice versa is our parrot was a macaw for example I also don’t know if I would feel comfortable with its big beak and claws around a little toy poodle. Use your discretion.
The other recommendation I have is making sure the interactions between your dog and bird are at the right times of the day. For example, you wouldn’t want to have them interact before bedtime when they are winding down to sleep for the night. Be mindful of their behaviors and moods each day.
Over time they have developed a close bond and are the best of friends! We are so grateful for these two and their surprising bond with another. They like to notify each other if they see something outside, if Lambo barks Mango squawks, if Mango squawks then Lambo barks and they communicate with each other. They like to window watch together, give each other kisses, and hang out with mom and dad.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of its soul remains unawakened