French bulldog with an African Grey parrot.

Parrots vs Dogs as Companions

Parrots vs Dogs as Companions

Companion Parrots don't see property lines. They believe all things are their business, because they can see it. If you could fly, you would understand.

Our neighbors are having carpet installed. The installers are using the driveway as a cutting location. Works great for them. Butters, a macaw in everybody's business, is appalled. She can see all their doings through the front window. To her way of thinking, they do not belong there.

Two men yanked a roll of carpet out of the back of their van, and it landed with a percussion that reverberated inside our house. Which set off the Butters' Turtle Alarm. Her parrot brain couldn't corollate or categorize the thing that landed across the street. It deftly chose "Turtle" and hit playback. Which set off Angus, Catahoula Hound, in the backyard. He immediately issued the I'm Barking At Anything I Don't See Alarm. Dante, partner and Blue Nose Staffordshire, joined in the fray not knowing why. But if Angus is doing it, it's worth joining in. Which insulted a Felix, African grey with a short nerve, who took laser beam shots at Butters. Butters did not die. That caused a Snickers, partner scarlet macaw to rocket off his roost branch, chase Butters to another location, and shout, "STOP!"

I pulled the blind, so the view no longer existed. Butters knows what I've pulled, and she's moved to another spot, that, if she perches just right, leans just right, tilts her head just, right, she can see a portion of that carpet installation driveway. She's growling. Insulted. Insulted I attempted closing off her view. I almost died. She threatens all kinds of eardrum violence to all inside her 120-decibel alarm system range. Which barely makes it outside to the driveway where carpet guys are slicing carpet.

Not to be outdone by carpet installers, the garbage man is working our street. There's a precise squeal then squeak when his apparatus lifts a can to dump onto the truck's head. Which isn't mechanical speak, but that's what it looks like. A drunk truck with an arm dumping garbage on its own head. Felix admires this squeal/squeak and has homed in on its wavelength and decibel. 

My purse's zipper has a distinct frequency Felix relish. If I open a certain drawer, he knows I'm pulling my purse out.

 "Time to go bye-bye!" He announces with a firm declaration.
 "Yes, Felix. I gotta go." Me, agreeing. It's the best choice of action with Felix.
 "Byebye. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzIP!"
 "Not yet Felix. Soon." Me, knowing I'm not leaving for 30 minutes.
 "BYE. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzIP!" Felix wanting me to complete the cycle.
 "Felix, not yet I ..." Me, wishing I'd not grabbed my purse early.
 "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzIIIIIIIPP!" Felix not particularly interested in what I'm doing anymore.

My keys jangling pull in two dogs wanting walks, because keys mean walks. Sometimes. Parrots understand the idea of sometimes. Dogs do not. Dog brains decided long ago that it's much easier to pocket all things into all the time. No need to think on the matter. Just be ready. React for all contingencies at all times. It gets messy. But the odds are good a dog could be right. About something. Sometimes.

Parrots know better. Parrots see every sometime as a negotiation moment to further the training of their human. We all wake up to the fact sooner or later. Clicker training is just us fussing about with a widget. It keeps us busy and out of the way of that treat. Treats come faster when there's a clicker involved. They know it.

If you've a room of parrots, sometimes becomes a covert glance to each other for a confirmation moment. I can feel brainwaves pass through my skull while these flighted overlords discuss my weaknesses. I am entering a room where decisions have already been agreed upon, and a plan made. No way am I eating any of what I have in my hand with ease. I'll lose half of it before I make it to the couch. Feathered trolls demanding tolls.

When all the groceries are on the counters, and I've tucked my purse and keys away the difference between a dog and a parrot is blatant. Dogs run to each bag smelling, stand on the counter sniffing, snorfle my shoes for clues, knock one bag off the table to see what falls out, then sit drooling expecting something. Anything.

Parrots wait where they perch. They send one of their comrades to latch onto the child gated pass through. Hanging there one parrot telepathically reports back to the others what I am pulling out of bags. If results are poor, said parrot calls out "BOGUS!" And returns to where he or she started.

The dogs sit tall, drooling. Sometimes, something.

Parrots go back to parroting. Sometimes isn't good enough. Do you even know who you're dealing with here? 

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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