By Marc Morrone
Tribune Content Agency
Q: Four years ago we got our dog Cindy. At first she was very skittish but she has gotten better over the years. When we first got her my dad was working on our kitchen and making a lot of noise. Now she is still scared of my dad and barks at him whenever he enters and leaves the house. She also does not like to play ball with him unless my mom and I are in the room. Why is she scared of him? - Tiffany Brady, Chicago, IL
A: Only Cindy herself knows why she feels the way she does toward you father, but if she does play ball with him while you are in the room then she is not really fearful of him. However, she barks at him when he is leaving because in her mind she is chasing him away and that little bit of power makes her feel good.
One method that might work is when your dad leaves the room and Cindy begins to bark for him to go back to the room and sit with her. If he sits and talks to her in a nonthreatening way, then she will likely stop her behavior.
If all her encounters with your dad result in no drama then her opinion and resulting behavior should change.
Q: My mother's Chihuahuas just died and she wants to get an Airedale puppy, like the one she had when she was a child. However, she had one more than 60 years ago and it happened on a farm in rural Iowa. I am trying to talk her out of it without any luck and was wondering if you had some points I could use in my arguments. - Ron Simon, Pittsburgh, PA
A: I actually like Airedale's very much, so there is nothing bad I can say about the breed. But the puppyhood of any terrier breed - let alone a large one like an Airedale - is always full of drama in an urban or suburban setting. Airedale's are active and full of energy, and I certainly no longer have the drive or patience to keep up with such an active dog while it is a puppy.
Another issue is that their coat needs to be plucked regularly and if your mother cannot do this herself she needs to have a groomer do it. On top of that, it is rare to find a groomer that like to work on such large breeds and the ones who do, likely charge a premium price for the service.
If she has her heart set on an Airedale then a good alternative would be to find an Airedale rescue group that could provide your mother with an older dog that is mature enough and not so active.
Q: We have lots of those green quaker parrots living in our town in this warm weather. Now that the weather is nice, I wonder if I could start to take my baby grey parrot outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. However how warm does it need to be? I'm concerned 50 or 60 degree days might be too cold. - Janet Smith, Westport, CT
A: The quakers have acclimated to the cold weather, so you really cannot compare them with your indoor bred.
However, after Hurricane Sandy hit New York, I was caring for hundreds of displaced birds in my store that had no heat at for eight days. During that time, I learned firsthand that pet parrots can do just fine at 50 and 60 degrees.
So if it is a nice spring day with the sun shining and there is no wind, then it should be fine to take your bird out on a 60 degree day. However, please be sure that the bird's wing feathers have just been trimmed or it is in a secure carrying cage, otherwise your next letter to me will be how to get your grey parrot down from a 100 foot tree.
Q: There is a male cardinal that keeps trying to come into my living room through the windows and he is there all day pecking at the glass. How can I tell him that doing that to my house is not an option? - Jay Duffy, Chicago, IL
A: Just put some cardboard on the outside of the windows, from the base of the window and up about 8 inches and he will no longer see his reflection, which is likely why he is pecking at the glass in the first place.
Be sure to place the cardboard on the outside of the glass. If you put it on the inside then he will still see his refection.
Marc Morrone has kept almost every kind of animal as a pet for the last half-century and he is happy to share his knowledge with others. Although he cannot answer every question, he will publish many of those that have a general interest. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; please include your name, city and state.
Printed in the February 19, 2017 - March 4, 2017 edition.