Nipping Siberian husky needs consistent message

Marc Morrone / Newsday /

Q: We have a Siberian husky who is coming up on her first birthday. We got her at 8 weeks old. She was a very nippy puppy, but we thought she’d outgrow it. Now that she’s bigger, she’s still very mouthy when she gets excited. She doesn’t bite out of aggression. Her tail is wagging and she seems to be playing, but it hurts. She has plenty of chew bones, and I walk her between three and five miles a day and run her in the yard, too. Any tips?

A: The issue is that there were times when you did allow her to nip fingers and hands, and she does not understand why it cannot always be like that. The whole idea here is consistency, consistency and more consistency.

If she never, ever gets to put her teeth on your skin at all, then she will no longer think it’s an option and she will look for other things to chew. Hopefully those things will be her toys and not Sheetrock, electronics, carpets or furniture.

Q: A flock of wild Quaker parrots is living in the park by my house, and I notice that they spend all day in the Trees-of-Heaven that grow in the park. When I looked closely at them, I saw they were eagerly eating the seed pods that are hanging on the trees this time of the year.

I have a pet Quaker parrot at home, so I cut off some of the pods and took them home for my bird to eat. However, my nearest and dearest say they could be toxic and I should not give them to my bird to eat. If the wild Quakers seem to enjoy them so much, then it makes sense to me that my pet bird would like them as well.

A: The Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus) grows all over Long Island, N.Y., and is considered an invasive species, just as the wild Quaker parrots are. Every part of the Ailanthus tree is used as some kind of traditional Chinese medicine. Quite frankly, I cannot guarantee that the pods or bark from the tree are not toxic to birds, and I don’t know of any studies done on that subject. I can assure you that I give Ailanthus branches with the pods attached to all my parrots through the late summer and fall as enrichment toys, and they enjoy them. I am quite sure your parrot will enjoy them as much as my own birds do.ƒ

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