Dogs and other pets

United States
January 20, 2011 3:49pm CST
So, dogs are the largest domesticated predatory animals. They make wonderful pets, and I love having them. And I believe dogs are smart and observant. Our dogs have learned (and I'm sure many other people's dogs have too) that our other, smaller pets (cats and birds) have the same status as them in this household. The dogs know that the cats and birds are not prey, and are not to be eaten...here's what I want to know. Why can't the dogs learn that another pet, my mice, are not prey either?? They see that I treat them as other pets, yet they choose to ignore the fact that my mice are pets too. Are they just being stubborn or what?
2 people like this
11 responses
@carmelanirel (21108)
• United States
20 Jan 11
That is a good question Lily and though I don't have the answer, I can give you experience. My sister had both dogs and cats, and then her son wanted rats and mice which he kept in his room and bred. There was one rat, Ben, that my nephew would take everywhere with him, this rat was very tamed. But one time when they were away, Ben got out and the dog killed him. I don't know if maybe because rats and mice really can't protect themselves other than to hide while cats have claws and will attack back is the reason the dog didn't try to kill the cat, but that is the story I know. So, just be careful, unless someone has a better answer for you, keep the mice away from cats and dogs..
• United States
21 Jan 11
Oh, I do keep the mice away from the dogs and cats. I don't trust them enough to. The mice are always on me. We haven't trained our dogs not to attack the birds, we let one sit on a tv tray in the living room while we go about our business. The only thing they do is try to eat the food we give him lol. But it's weird that they can recoginze that a bird is not to be hurt, but not the mice that I treat the same way... That is so sad about your nephew!!! I bet he was heartbroken when the dog killed Ben!!! :(
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jan 11
Oh yeah, he was about 13 and he broke down in tears..:(
• United States
21 Jan 11
That is so sad! I know how horrible it is too lose a pet, but I lose to them to old age and sickness. It must be awful to lose a beloved pet in such a violent way! I had a dream that one of my cats bit my lovebirds head off, and that upset me a lot! I can only imagine how your nephew felt Did he hold any hositlity for the dog after that? Did he name the rat Ben after the big rat in Willard?
1 person likes this
• Philippines
21 Jan 11
I think it's the instincts talking. My dogs, oh no matter how cute they are, they just turn into monsters when they smell mice. And that not even seeing them .. if they get a wiff of a mouse smell, then they would hunt it, and look for it all day, if they can't find it, they would then cry and scratch at every surface that the mice had walked on. Hahaha!! It's so funny when they do it, I'm like, just let it go doggie! hehehe!
• United States
21 Jan 11
Oh, well my dogs don't turn into monsters! lol When I hold one of the mice in my hands (covering it, and their nose can peek out) the dogs can smell them (and vice versa), but I don't trust them enough to take my hand from over the mouse. And they don't try to attack my hand lol. I would be heartbroken if one of my dogs (or cats) ate one of my mice!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
21 Jan 11
I don't think they would attack it while you hold it.. my dogs never do that. But they do attack when I'm not there.. And there have been a lot of casualties in our house already.
• Philippines
23 Jan 11
Ahahaha. That would be not good if they still try to get it while it's under your shirt. Hehehe. Atleast your dogs know that the mice is untouchable when you're with it.
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
21 Jan 11
I don't know about this one, perhaps it is to do with the size difference in the animals. Large cats can be similar in size to small dogs, but mice are always going to be a lot smaller than the smallest of dogs. I have no experience with rodents and birds in the house as pets at the same time as a dog, but you are right about dogs and cats. We thought we were going to have a really hard time with our dog when we introduced cats into our home. But after a day or so she seemed to accept that they were on equal terms to her and she has never given them any grief at all. We had rats in our compost a while back and she goes after them with a vengeance! She is obsessed with trying to find more every time that I go anywhere near the compost bin.
• United States
21 Jan 11
I understand what you're saying saying about size being the reason...but the birds are much much smaller than the dogs, like the mice. And the dogs have accepted the birds. All oru dogs are bigger, so the cats are also much smaller than them. I just wonder if there is something else about them...maybe like a scent the dogs can smell that we can't that says "i'm big time prey" lol. Thanks!
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
21 Jan 11
Yeah, I was not sure about the size of your dogs. My dog chases birds all the time, but she has never lived with one as a pet. I think the last time we had a bird, we did not have her yet. It could be a scent thing I guess? It would make sense.
• United States
22 Jan 11
Yeah, I'll go with the scent thing lol. I just hope I can make them understand that the mice are equal in the household, so I don't have to worry so much about them eating them! lol Except, my mouse Patch has fallen off me twice, both time with the dogs right there, and they didn't lunge...that's something. but I still don't trust them lol.
• Philippines
22 Jan 11
Maybe you dogs like the taste of mice. Just my thought.
• United States
22 Jan 11
That would be a good arguement, but they have never tasted mouse before. My dogs have never tasted anything but dog food and table scraps. But now I just realize I've been unfair on this discussion. One of my dogs, Goldie, is totally trustworthy and I am not worried at all about her ever trying to kill one of my mice.
• Philippines
21 Jan 11
I think the relationship or the interaction of an animal to an another kind of animal varies. It is their nature that smaller our more feeble animals are preys. That is why small animals has given an ability to protect themselves from bigger animals. Moles can dig the soil, birds can fly, mice can hide inside small holes, etc. Maybe because a dog eats meat, it sees a mice as a food. They won't learn to avoid threatening your mice until you scold them or you make them realize that mice are meant to be loved. I hope I have an idea on how to do that.
• United States
21 Jan 11
Well that would all make sense except the birds are meat too, and much smaller than the dogs. I don't know why they can't accept both. Maybe the mice have a different 'scent' that tells the dog they are prey, and nothing else! They see me interact with the mice and take care of them....so they should understand that they are nto to be eaten! lol Thanks
1 person likes this
• Canada
20 Jan 11
It depends on the dog. I used to have a Maltese growing up who thought my guinea pig was her baby. She wouldn't let anyone near him while she was "nursing" him. She would literally push the guinea pig towards her belly and not let him wander too far. On the other hand. My jack russel/poodle has eaten 3 of my budgies, and I would never trust her with a mouse or guinea pig. It depends on the pray drive of the dog I suppose.
• United States
21 Jan 11
That is soo cute about your Maltese!! How sweet! :) But those poor budgies!!! (Budgies are birds right? lol) We had a dog once that attacked kittens we had found and were riasing. There were 7 or 8 kittens, and only 2 survived. All the other ones had to be euthanized because of their wounds. I was still in elementary school when that happened, and it was awful!!!
@barehugs (8992)
• Canada
20 Jan 11
A dog's ability to learn depends on the acquired skill of his Master to teach. There is an old saying that says,-To teach a dog, one must know more than the dog! This is why its important to enroll the dog in an obedience school, where the dog's owner learns How to teach the dog new tricks!
• United States
21 Jan 11
Oh, this is not something the dogs need to go to obiedence school for. It's just something I'm trying to figure out. We did not teach the dogs not to hurt the bird, and they still don't. So i thought maybe it would be the same way for the mice. Once they recognize they are a pet too, the mice should be safe around them. But it has not happened.
@eurekafemme (5881)
• Philippines
21 Jan 11
I also notice that in my dogs. They will treat other animals kindly but not mice, matter of fact, our dogs hunt them. Maybe the mice that you have are the ones that we like to make as pets but mice are mice no matter how domesticated they are. And in the food chain, mice belongs to the prey group.Your dogs must be just following their wild instincts.
• India
21 Jan 11
dog is the favorite pet to all of us.we all love dogs.dog protect us or our property just like a guard.our sweet guard able pet is dog.dogs have very good nosebag ..
@ebuscat (5949)
• Philippines
21 Jan 11
For me dog's is the best animal I ever had many people doing take care of dog specially in the US they are friend of dog's usually.
• Philippines
21 Jan 11
Going to the dogs, you better be careful since if they eat the mice it could case them some nasty effects. There might be something in the mice that the dogs might catch. Anyways, It really depends on the dog. You may try to discipline him when you let the mouse near him. whatever works for you might be helpful.