After a long day at work, you decide to take your dog to the dog park. You know she has been inside all day and wants to go play. Once you get to the park, you let her off of her leash and she runs off with the ball you brought her. Soon enough, you see her attention change, and she is barking and running in the opposite direction, towards the edge of the park. You look and you see she is chasing three birds that are flying away. Canines love to attack birds and there is a valid reason for it.
The Root of the Behavior
You may have noticed that the most common game your dog loves to play is fetching. Fetch is a game that replicates the natural act of chasing a moving bird. Canines, originally, were creatures that lived in the wild. Through living in the wild, hunting was a natural part of life and if your dog was in the wild today, they may have used that past instinct for survival. Therefore, if you catch your dog chasing after a bird, it is that hunting instinct. Some dogs do not have that urge in their bodies anymore, but some dogs absolutely do. If you notice that your dog loves to attack birds, you may want to go ahead and train them. You definitely do not want to find your dog carrying a bird back to you in their mouth for a wide range of reasons. To begin with, it is suggested to teach your dog the basic commandments that put you in the leader role. This can help your dog understand that you are in control and they are to not run, wildly, after other animals or go crazy, away from your sight.
After you give your dog this training, you can test your dog with a toy that resembles a bird. This can train your dog further, so they know that they are to not chase birds and are to listen to your command. Once you feel like your dog has this knowledge down, you can take them to a place where there are birds. You may see them perk up when they see a bird, but if they follow your command and listen to you, then you have accomplished the goal. This training can help integrate your dog into today’s society over the wild instinct they may have running through their blood.
Encouraging the Behavior
Sometimes, it may come across as cute when your dog runs off at the park, chasing birds. Yet, when your dog brings you back a bird in their mouth, you may realize that this activity is not something that should be encouraged in your dog. In fact, it is highly recommended to not encourage your dog to chase after and attack birds. They are not in the wild anymore and need to assimilate into the day-to-day life that we live in. If your dog loves to chase birds and has that wild instinct running through their bones, it is suggested to give them a toy or an activity that helps them get that high energy out of their system. Your dog may love the game of fetch because it is chasing a moving object and bringing it back to their owner, just as they would catch a bird and bring it back to their home base or their pack leader. This can easily help with training your dog because it will give them an activity that helps them play out their canine nature. If you can, you may even want to keep your dog away from areas that have birds. Although you should train them to be okay around birds as this can help in the beginning phases of assimilating your dog into this society.
Other Solutions and Considerations
When you find that your dog loves to attack birds, you want to change the way you interact with them when they are out in public. It is suggested to keep your dog on a leash and close to you while there are birds around. If you are in the process of training your dog, you may want to let them have a longer leash so they may explore around birds. Yet, if they go to attack, you can tug on the leash so your dog is aware that it is not okay to chase birds. If your dog is having trouble staying away from birds, you may want to get your dog trained by a professional.
Dogs have a strong instinct to hunt and run wild and free in nature. Yet, you want to make sure that they are not attacking other creatures so they can coexist peacefully together. Unless you plan to use them as a hunting companion, you should show them that it is unnecessary to hunt and bring home prey when their dog bowl is being filled up every night.
By a Golden Retriever lover Erika Seidel
Published: 03/12/2018, edited: 01/30/2020