A dog and a cockatiel might fare better than a cat matchup, but there are still plenty of caution flags to heed; after all, dogs are predators, too. The "prey drive” of the dog must be carefully evaluated. Some animal behaviorists recommend adult dogs to young dogs, because puppies may be more difficult to assess. Similarly, a livestock-guarding dog breed, such as a sheepdog or collie, generally have calmer demeanors than a dog bred to hunt rodents, such as a terrier.
When assessing a dog’s reaction to a cockatiel, Susan Chaney, Editor of Dog Fancy magazine, recommended using a muzzle on your dog to ensure the cockatiel’s safety. Make sure the muzzle fits correctly (ask your vet or a trainer if your uncertain), and keep in mind that you’ll need to accustom your dog to the muzzle. Once your cockatiel is back in its cage, give your dog a treat for behaving and as a reward for being muzzled. Chaney emphasized that muzzles are for short-term use only and to never leave a dog unattended while wearing one. Play it safe, and keep your cockatiel’s room off limits to the dog whenever your cockatiel is out of its cage.
When considering adding to your pet family, consider how a new addition will be perceived by your cockatiel. Never force your cockatiel to interact with a pet it appears to be afraid of, no matter how sincere the intent might be. Curious about how your ‘tiel might matchup with other pets? Check out BirdChannel’s opinion on cockatiels with cats, rabbits and fish.
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Excerpt from the Popular Birds Series magabook Cockatiels with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Cockatiels here.