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Behavior Feedback

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 281 comments and questions on Behavior issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.



List of next 15 letters

Title

Topic

Country

Goffin cockatoo biting me Hookbills USA
 
Do hawks have anything to do with squirrels losing their tails? Squirrel Defenses USA
 
Older, small dog rolling in smelly stuff more often Dogs Roll USA
 
Why do dogs roll on their back right after eating? Dogs Roll USA
 
Squirrel carrying another in its mouth Squirrels USA
 
Rat puts her tail in the fish tank Rats USA
 
Squirrel looks at crack in road every day Squirrels USA
 
Studying behviour and character Observations Nigeria
 
Squirrel seems to have a death wish Squirrel Defenses USA
 
Saw a rat and worried it will get in the house Rats USA
 
Squirrel is a bully and jumped on cat Squirrels USA
 
Boyfriend wants to shoot cute squirrels Squirrels USA
 
Yellow Lab loves to kill squirrels and roll on them Dogs Roll USA
 
Squirrel out from BBQ cover Squirrels USA
 
Squirrel hidng under BBQ cover since yesterday Squirrels USA
 

Next 15 letters

 




First 15 letters


Hookbills

Goffin cockatoo biting me

December 26, 2009

Question

I have a 3 year old Goffin. She has come into sexual maturity and has now started to bite me. I think she needs a mate but I do NOT want babies. Can I put another variety of bird in the same cage with her? She is out in a huge avairy during the day and I bring her in at night. She gets at least 2 hours of attention from us daily.
Thank you in anticipation for your answer.

Avrille - USA (18930)

Answer

Apparently, this is a behavior in adolescent parrots and cockatoos. See:
http://birds.about.com/od/behaviorandtraining/qt/bluffing.htm

Here are some notes on breeding behavior:
http://www.forthebirdsdvm.com/breedingbehavior.htm

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Squirrel Defenses

Do hawks have anything to do with squirrels losing their tails?

November 29, 2009

Question

We have many hawks and many squirrels without tails. Before the hawks moved in we never saw a squirrel without a tail.

Paul - USA (18758)

Answer

On occasion, a squirrel will lose part or all of its tail to escape a predator.
Hawks are known to try to catch squirrels. It is unusual to see many hawks in one area, since the available food for them is limited.

I guess the squirrels that lost their tails where the lucky ones.

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Dogs Roll

Older, small dog rolling in smelly stuff more often

November 20, 2009

Question

I appreciate you information although living in the country it is hard to keep our small dog leashed since there is no real danger to him, he stays out of harms way and comes when he is called. Also his rolling in stink has gotten worse as he has gotten older. I wonder why? My only speculation is that i got him when I was a single lady now married with 3 small children and 2 other larger dogs but non aggressive if he is doing this to make himself more of the pack leader now that his moves are not as strong and quick as they used to be. Just wonder what your thought was on this or if you have any other suggestions besides chaining him up or keeping a watchful eye over him.
Thanks a lot.

Pet owner - USA (18713)

Answer

It is an interesting thought that he is rolling in smelling things to show he is the leader of the pack. But also, he may be doing that because it gets him extra attention, especially when you clean him.

Note how young children will sometimes act up, because they know it will get them attention, even if it is a spanking. Dogs can do that too.

You might try giving him a little more attention and TLC, especially since he is getting older and has been with you such a long time. Make him feel a little more special.

This is just an idea, but I think it is worth trying. Let me know how things work out.

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Dogs Roll

Why do dogs roll on their back right after eating?

October 14, 2009

Question

why do some dogs roll around on their back right after eating? My daughter's black Lab does it and my Pekingese does it as well.

Donna - USA (18504)

Answer

Sometimes dogs rule on their back if they find something smelly on the ground. But a love of the time, they like to roll on the ground -- especially in some soft grass -- because it just feels good. It also may be because the dog is happy to have had a good meal.

My daughter has some favorite spots on the lawn where she loves to roll around on her back and then wait for me to tickle her belly. I've never noticed to her doing that right after eating, but perhaps it is because she doesn't get a chance to do it then. I'll have to watch for it.

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Squirrels

Squirrel carrying another in its mouth

September 12, 2009

Question

I was looking up squirrel behavior and stumbled upon this site, ok today i was out working in the yard and saw a squirrel run by, I did a double take and saw the squirrel had another squirrel in it's mouth with only the back legs and tail sticking out! Bizzare, It was trying to swallow it like a snake would! If I did not see it I would not have believed it! Any way very very odd, I followed him around the neighborhood for a few minutes and he was just running around with the other squirrel hanging out.

Allan - USA (18301)

Answer

Others have mentioned seeing squirrels carrying another squirrel it its mouth. Mother squirrels will carry their babies to other places. But also, some squirrels will eat another squirrel, either dead or injured.

Other male animals--such as lions--have been known to kill and eat the young of another male, so that it can mate with the female and spread its own genes. It is possible that squirrels do that too.

If the squirrel being carried is an adult, it may be dead and being carried away to be eaten or hidden.

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Rats

Rat puts her tail in the fish tank

September 10, 2009

Question

I have 2 pet rats - one is very friendly "Pepper" and the other one "Cookie" is kind of shy - we have caught her sitting on top of our fish tank and dangling her tail in the water as if she is fishing - why do you think she might be doing this?

Lorraine - USA (18294)

Answer

Rat are very intelligent animals. Although she may have her tail in the water because it feels good, she may also be using her tail to attract the fish. But I'm not sure how she could ever catch one, even if it came right up to the top of the water.

At the very least, enjoy watching their antics.

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Squirrels

Squirrel looks at crack in road every day

August 30, 2009

Question

Why would a squirrel be in the middle of the road every morning, looking at a crack in the asphalt? The crack is only about 1/2 inch deep and I see no nut or other food bit in it. This squirrel has been doing this every morning for the past four weeks. When a car comes he scurries to safety. When the coast is clear, he's back looking into the crack.

Maria - USA (18233)

Answer

Squirrels do the craziest things. You wonder what goes through their little minds?

I have no idea what why your squirrel is doing that. Perhaps some reader can give an idea about it.

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Observations

Studying behviour and character

August 6, 2009

Question

I what to no full mene of how to study peoples behaviour and character?

uche - Nigeria (18122)

Answer

The study of behavior and character of people is often considered under social psychology. But you can learn a lot from careful observation of people.

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Squirrel Defenses

Squirrel seems to have a death wish

July 26, 2009

Question

We have a fairly young squirrel in the yard that either seems to have a death wish, isn't very smart, or is not healthy. Over the last couple of weeks it has allowed my large dog to get rather near to it on two occasions. Today's incident was scary as I worried about the dog getting bit and/or the squirrel getting hurt. The squirrel was directly under a tree and rather than run up it, it went into some bushes. Once my dog found it in the bushes, it made a slow move across the lawn. By the time I could get to my dog and the squirrel-they had faced off (appeared to be smelling each other rather than threatening each other)and then the squirrel rolled over on its back (looked like a submissive posture). I held my dog back and the squirrel walked away rather slowly. Does this sound like unusual squirrel behavior? thanks

- USA (18062)

Answer

City squirrels can become so accustomed to dogs on a leash and people, that they lose their natural cautiousness. One of the squirrels near us will come to the patio door to beg for peanuts, going almost right up to our dog. On the other hand, the same squirrel will scamper up a tree in the yard, if the dog is near.

It seems that animals have some sort of code of conduct (which is probably a very unscientific observation). I've seen a cat and dog pass each other on the sidewalk, each going about its business.

But if the squirrel or cat starts to run, then it is time to chase, as if it is prey.

I know that some people have has squirrels as pets and let them play alongside their dog with no problems.

The submissive posture of the squirrel certainly was interesting. But it is also risky for the squirrel. So, I hope your little friend is more careful.

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Rats

Saw a rat and worried it will get in the house

June 10, 2009

Question

I just read the Mr. Kurtus article about rat behavior. We saw a rat outside our house this week and this was the first case in the 17 years we have been here. It alarmed us. Could our relatively new composter, near the house, have attracted it? The wire is very dense so I don't think the rat could have gotten in and there is no sign that he did. However, is that what could have attracted him? We saw him in the location, however, near our bulkhead steps (going down to the basement). How do we check to see if he got into the house? Unlike you, I do not think I want to keep him as a pet. We put up with bats in our house but we draw the line at rats.

Thank you for whatever information you can send me.

- USA (17886)

Answer

Domestic rats make good pets, but wild rats can cause damage and may spread disease.

Any type of food or a good place to nest could attract the rat to your house. You certainly want to make sure the rat does not make a nest in your house. Thoroughly check around your house for any holes or cracks where the rat might be able to get in. Also check around the roof area. Some breeds of rats like to get into the attic.

It might be a one-time situation, but it is good to keep your eyes open for any signs of the rat getting in your house. If you continue to see areas of rat droppings, you may have to set a trap. Using rat poison is not good, because you do not want a dead rat between the rafters in your house.

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Squirrels

Squirrel is a bully and jumped on cat

June 6, 2009

Question

There are a lot of wild squirrels at my new apartment complex and am lucky enough to have a mama squirrel eat peanuts on my balcony. There is a gray squirrel who I call, "The Bully" as he chases all the others. He sits on the fence and taps his front paws. What does that mean? I feel he is showing off his dominance. If you could answer this for me I would really appreciate it. I have been trying to figure him out for quite a while and couldn't find a site where I could ask someone....until now. This morning he jumped on a stray cat and scared away that poor kitty. Thank you for your site.

Patti - USA (17862)

Answer

Some male squirrels become very aggressive--trying to show their dominance--during mating season. I'm not sure what tapping his front paws means. I've never seen that, but it must be some sort of warning signal to the other squirrels.

Sometimes squirrels chatter, but that doesn't seem to have much to do with trying to be dominant. Flicking the tail is more to distract predators. Typically, when I've seen squirrels chasing off others by the peanut feeder, they simply make a rush toward the other one.

I am surprised that The Bully jumped on a cat's back. This guy really is a tough bully.

Enjoy observing your squirrels.

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Squirrels

Boyfriend wants to shoot cute squirrels

March 28, 2009

Question

Hi my name is Katie. i live in Michigan and we have some red squirrels coming into are yard. my boyfriend wants to shoot them because he heard they will rip the balls of other squirrels to better there chance at breeding and it bothers him a lot!!!!!!!! I told him that sounds very false can you tell me if that is true or not so i can keep him from killing all are cute little red squirrels.

KATIE - USA (17521)

Answer

The story about male squirrels ripping off the balls of other male squirrels is false. It is a story someone came up with to try to explain why many male squirrels don't seem that have testicles. The balls of male squirrels only show up during mating season. The rest of the year, they are very small.

Why would he want to shoot some innocent squirrels? Even if the story was true, how would he know which ones to shoot?

Tell him to leave the squirrels alone and let Nature take care of things.

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Dogs Roll

Yellow Lab loves to kill squirrels and roll on them

February 6, 2009

Question

Our family rescued a stray dog about 9 months ago, a yellow lab. He is a little over a year or two. We live on 30 acres and besides being a great addition to our family, he continues to hunt squirels and birds, killing them, and proceeds to roll all over them.He smells aweful all of the time. We bath him and within two hours he is back in it. We hate to have to pin him up all the time or put him on a ground anchor with a cord but we are running out of ideas. He is such a great dog, loving and such a people dog. We just want him to smell good so we can continue to love him and enjoy playing with him.

suzy - USA (17224)

Answer

The problem is that he isn't killing those animals for food or as part of hunting with his owners, but is just doing that for fun. Letting him loose like that is a sure way to have him get hit by a car or getting into some problem like biting someone.

You wouldn't let your children run loose, doing whatever they want, so you shouldn't let your dog do that either. Too much freedom results in unruly children and dogs.

Yellow Labs are smart dogs and easily trained. And they love to be with people. It is better to keep him tethered some of the time and letting him run when supervised. Also, taking him with you when you go places is great. Dogs love that.

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Squirrels

Squirrel out from BBQ cover

January 16, 2009

Question

Thank you for your reply. We carefully took the cover off and the squirrel took off. So I assume he wasn't sick, perhaps he was stuck, I guess we'll never know. I've seen a squirrel under the cover before, but never for that long a time.

Rosemary - USA (17104)

Answer

Well, I'm glad the little fellow isn't stuck there. It is also hard to tell why they do certain things.

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Squirrels

Squirrel hidng under BBQ cover since yesterday

January 14, 2009

Question

I'm so glad to have found this website. We have a red squirrel that has been underneath the bbq cover since yesterday afternoon. It squeaks when he's touched on top through the cover. Do you think he is sick? Should I just leave him alone. We have a dog that sniffs around and sometimes barks.

- USA (17097)

Answer

It doesn't sound like a natural thing for a squirrel to do. It is unlikely that it created a nest there this time of the year.

Do you think the squirrel is stuck or caught in there? If you can carefully take the cover off, you might see what the problem is. Of course, don't have your dog around when you do that. Also, you don't want to frighten the squirrel so that it panics.

I hope you can find a solution. Let me know what happens.

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