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Everyone knows that dogs make great companions. Many dog breeds out there are well-known for being really affectionate and playful. The most popular ones that might come to mind are the Labrador Retriever, the Border Collie, and the Irish wolfhound.
Because of that, dogs are the most popular pets on the planet. However, there are many people out there who prefer birds. The most popular pet birds are definitely parrots, but pigeons have started to gain popularity in recent years as well. And for a good reason! They are very intelligent and can be really affectionate if they are properly cared for.
But what if you want to live with both dogs and pigeons? Would that work? It is pretty complicated. Figuring out whether these two species are really getting along can be quite tricky if you have no working knowledge on the matter. To make it much easier for you, we prepared a short guide on dogs and pigeons. Take a look!
The History of Birds and Dogs
You might have seen quite a few videos of dogs and birds hanging out together. While these videos are quite wholesome, keep in mind that it is not what happens in the wild. After all, dogs evolved from wolves. They are natural predators, and throughout the centuries, they were used for hunting and retrieving birds that hunters shot down from the sky.
In fact, many breeds of dogs that have become really popular in recent years used to be bred specifically to assist hunters. The most popular ones are Golden Retrievers, English Cocker Spaniels, and Standard Poodles, to name a few.
As you can probably tell, if you happen to have a dog that belongs to one of these breeds, getting a pigeon is a really bad idea. Such breeds are quite agile and fast. Consequently, keeping pigeons away from them if anything goes wrong might end up being nearly impossible.
Training Your Dog Not To Attack Your Pigeon
Are you determined to give this dog-and-pigeon friendship a shot? If that is the case, then there are quite a few things that you can do to ensure that everything goes smoothly. For starters, you should introduce your bird and your dog really slowly. It will be a very new and stressful situation for both of them. If you rush things, all of that stress might result in things getting out of control.
Taking this into consideration, you should begin by letting the two animals smell one another from a distance. For example, you can put your pigeon in a cage. You should then enter the room where the cage is with your dog and give it some time to get used to the new scent. That way, both animals will get used to being in the same room together before they even meet. But bear in mind that you should keep the dog on a leash! If you do not, it might end up attacking the cage and scaring the pigeon.
Signs Dogs and Pigeons Do Not Get Along
While dogs are pack animals and social creatures, they do have a prey drive. What that means is that they have an instinctive inclination to find, pursue, and capture prey. Pigeons fall prey to all kinds of animals in the wild, so your dog is very likely to start behaving like a predator in its presence. Fortunately, it will be quite obvious when that happens.
Pay close attention to how your dog behaves while close to the bird’s cage. Is it skulking around and stalking it? If so, it is probably sizing the bird up and wondering whether it can be eaten. Other than that, your dog might start being strangely aggressive. For instance, it might begin growling and barking, as well as darting towards the pigeon.
If you notice any of the things mentioned above, you can be sure that your dog has a very strong prey drive. In that case, the two will not be able to co-exist peacefully. After all, why would the dog accept its prey into its pack?
Sometimes, Dogs and Birds Can Live in Harmony!
In conclusion, you need to make sure that your dog receives proper training. That way, it is very likely that it will be able to coexist with a pigeon without any issues. It might take a while, but it will definitely pay off. After all, it will make you feel confident that your pigeon is not in immediate danger whenever it is in the same room with your dog.
However, keep in mind that animals can be unpredictable. Just because the dog is sweet and caring while close to the pigeon right now, it does not mean that it is incapable of hurting the bird in the near future. Thanks to the size difference between the two, your dog can still do it by accident. Because of that, you should never leave the two unsupervised.
Lastly, make sure that your dog understands basic commands such as no and leave it. Even though they are very simple, they could potentially save the life of your pigeon.