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Discussion Starter #1
I adopted a male ringneck dove ("Ernie") from the animal shelter about a year ago. He has a half-open band on his leg that says TF 96 1005, so I am guessing he was born in 1996 (the shelter did not know his age).

Ernie is a healthy single bird and allowed to fly freely throughout the house most of the time. He spends a lot of time attacking a mirror or stuffed animal dog toys. He also seems to "court" these things.

Here is the problem: in the past few months he has become increasingly aggressive toward my pug dog. She is older and not very active. He follows her around and pecks at her, flaps her with his wings, etc. I am always there (I lock him in his cage when I am not home), and I immediately intervene and shoo him away from the dog. It used to be occasional (maybe once a day). However, it's getting to be a continuous problem.

It's not fair to my dog to be harassed (she usually just ignores the bird or tries to get away from him peacefully) and I'm getting sick of having to constantly referee the bird (who doesn't seem to learn to leave her alone).

1. Is it possible to curb this behavior, or is it just part of having a male ringneck dove?

2. Does it sound like he would be better off in a home with other doves to interact with? I am attached to him, but I have considered it may be better for him to give him to a good multi-dove home if nothing can be done about this behavior.
 

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I think he may be better off in an aviary situation with a mate, some males are just more aggresive that others, that is why he may of ended up in the shelter. you could fine him a hen, but that does not mean he will not be aggresive with her, then you have two doves and have to get another cage. they should be in pairs or a trio works sometimes, that is 2 hens and one male. but some males are just too aggresive for any one, so you may have to try out a hen for him and see if he calms down, but he still may think of your pug as the competition...I would just put the dog some place else while he is out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't want to take on a second bird, so it sounds like I should start looking for a good home for him. This makes me sad! I will probably post a message in the adoption forum strictly about that, but if anyone knows a good home for him, please let me know. I'm in northeast Colorado, but I will drive a few hours if it's the right home.
 

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I would try a few behavior modifications first and see if you can get him to stop it. A spray bottle set on "stream" works wonders for unruly pigeons or doves. It won't hurt him, but it will get his attention. I have a few pigeons AND doves who have started bullying, and the squirt bottle has been the answer every time. Of course, I have to sit out there and supervise while they're misbehaving, in order to use the water when needed. But, if you supervise his "out" time, that shouldn't be problem. Make a certain noise whenever you spray him, as he goes for your dog, and then redirect him (using your hands if necessary). He should soon learn that behavior is not okay. They really are trainable if given enough time to train, usually a week or so of consistent training is enough to do the trick. It sounds as if he is very happy living with you and maybe just a little bored. Doves get it into their heads to harass something and unless trained not to, don't back down. Someone called them "little thugs" in another thread and I had to laugh because they really can be! Try offering different treats--lettuce, greens, treats from the pet shop, unsalted raw peanuts once in awhile, some more stuffed animals to beat up/court, things like that. I had a dove once who had a bell on a string and he would ring the heck out of it. :p I doubt getting another dove would be the solution as he would just bully it, most likely, and you don't want another bird. I say try the water bottle and I'm sure other people will have other suggestions too. If he's happy with you and you enjoy him so much, I'm sure you can make it work so your doggie is happy too. Good luck!
 

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Actually, the spray bottle sounds like a good idea. It would certainly get his attention. Often times when a male like that finds a mate, they calm down a lot. I've seen it. But then, I have also seen them continue to bully, and even their poor mate. You really can't tell until you try. Each one is different. His problem could very well be that he simply needs a mate. Maybe he sees you as his mate, and therefore, your dog would be the competition in his view of things. I'll bet that is what is going on. He's jealous of your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you Maryjane and Jay... I am feeling hopeful. I will get a spray bottle and try it. Ernie is a delight otherwise with his laughing coos and bowing. I don't think he sees me as a mate, but I think he definitely sees the stuffed dog toys as mates, and I suppose it doesn't help when my pug grabs them and runs off with them while playing with me.
 

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Thank you Maryjane and Jay... I am feeling hopeful. I will get a spray bottle and try it. Ernie is a delight otherwise with his laughing coos and bowing. I don't think he sees me as a mate, but I think he definitely sees the stuffed dog toys as mates, and I suppose it doesn't help when my pug grabs them and runs off with them while playing with me.



Aha! :p That sounds like the problem right there. Your pug is "stuffie-napping" your dove's mates. :D I bet if you could somehow keep the stuffies away from your pug's reach, that would help Ernie feel less territorial and angry. They get "bees in their bonnets" about something and then it's war! That sounds exactly like dove logic to me--attacking the dog because the dog ran off with one of his mates. Maybe try making sure your pug doesn't have any toys the same color or shape as Ernie's, so there's no mistaking them (from Ernie's point of view) down the line. Doves and pigeons really do form attachments to objects sometimes, and in Ernie's head he is likely trying to save them and/or get vengeance. Hope it all works out! Keep us posted. I'd love to see some pictures. . .and what's your pug's name? I love pugs. :)
 
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