4 min read


Can Dogs Live with Geese?



4 min read


Can Dogs Live with Geese?


If you’re thinking about getting geese and you are already a dog owner (or vice versa), you’ll need to consider if the two can live together. Geese can get along with many different kinds of animals however, it can often take a lot of teaching because when it comes to goslings, house pets such as snakes, parrots, cats, and dogs can be a threat. 

Before you rush out and add to your animal family, why not take a moment to read through the guide below to figure out if owning both dogs and geese is a good idea, how to do it, and more fun facts on the subject!


Signs Dogs Can Live with Geese

When it comes to keeping the two together, there are things to consider: 

First, Geese can be bossy and territorial. It is also important to never underestimate an animal and each animal can believe that it is your only animal and your favorite and not like it if another animal decides to come to you for any form of attention. 

Even if an animal has never lashed out, it still has the ability to do so. It is, therefore, important to teach your geese and dogs to respect each other. This is not only the case with your own dogs and animals but also the case when it comes to other people’s animals and even wild animals. Additionally, geese may not like it when another person comes into their area and you need to watch your goose’s behavior carefully when a situation changes. 

Dogs tend to want to play with geese, but in some cases, they could turn to aggression, so these are some signs to watch out for if the play has turned; growling, barking, chasing, panting, baring teeth, jumping or staring intently at your geese could signal a problem. 

Body Language

Warning signs that your dog is not getting along with your geese include:

  • Staring
  • Barking
  • Panting
  • Jumping Up
  • Exposed Teeth

Other Signs

More signs to watch for during dog-geese interactions are:

  • Stalking
  • Crouching
  • Aggressive Play

History of Dogs and Geese

    Contrary to popular belief, geese were domesticated over 3000 years ago and they were one of the first animals that became a part of human life. Geese have always been classed as farmyard animals, since the Roman times, though they have never become popular as backyard animals like chickens and ducks have. 

    Geese have been used in both ancient and modern times. Early records show that domesticated geese were fattened and then butchered for sacrifice or food. However, since the Roman times, geese were used for their eggs and were cautiously bred for certain traits (i.e. their luxurious feathers or their tranquil personalities).

    Fast forward to today, and it is becoming increasingly common for these two pets to mix - and not just on farms, so it is important to get the training right so that you can have a harmonious union, rather than something a little more Roman!

    Science Behind Dogs Living with Geese


    Geese can naturally honk and become boisterous around dogs, even if a dog doesn’t bark or chase them. This begs the question, why would this be the case?

    Geese have an innate fear of wolves and foxes and to them, domestic dogs are part of the same family. It has been reported that Canadian geese can, in fact, drown a dog by luring them into deep water and then stand on the dog’s back. They may even use their wings to hold a dog’s head under the water, which is why it’s also important to teach a dog water safety.

    Additionally, geese are skillful when it comes to reading body language and this is down to the fact that their eyesight is excellent. If in a difficult situation, make firm eye contact with a goose as this will show it that you are not a potential target and may prevent the goose from attacking. Keep your shoulders square and keep your dog at your side and slowly, back away from the goose. The aim is to remove yourself from the goose’s nesting area and once you are out of the goose’s territory, the goose should refrain from attacking you as you are no longer seen as a threat.

    Fundamentally, dogs and geese are from two separate areas of the animal kingdom and naturally, they would only meet in hunting circumstances which make them unlikely acquaintances. There is no science behind getting them to get along - just good training and reading the signs. 

    Training a Dog to Live with Geese


    It is believed that the key to a happy friendship is in the goose, not the dog, because geese are not submissive and very rarely trainable. That being said, there are things you can do to make your dog more likable to the geese and training them to put up with their honking and pecking behavior can really help. 

    To begin with, use a leash outside and then inside later. Lay your dog down and let them relax. Let the baby gosling walk over your dog. As the goslings grow, they will begin to walk around the floor where your dog is laid. You will soon see that the gosling become part of your dog’s pack and your dog should become a good guard and a companion for the gosling.

    Another option to try is to get your dog to arch his head away slowly as a goose approaches, so this way your dog is looking away. Naturally, a dog will squint and not run, but will only be allowed to be pushed so far until they try to capture the goose that’s trying to attack him. This usually results in the goose running back to its brood.

    As we said above, your dog and your geese need to learn to understand each other’s language. During this training process, your dog and geese will begin to understand each other and eventually realise when it’s a good idea to back away or when it’s a good time to socialise. 

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    Safety Tips for Dogs and Geese:

    1. In the event one attacks the other, seek medical attention and consider retraining or separating the two.
    2. Never leave dogs and geese alone with each other
    3. If you ever decide to take your house goose outdoors, then you need to make sure that you have a very close eye on it. Dogs and other animals such as birds of prey can attack a goose - especially if it is a gosling.
    4. If you have friends or family that bring dogs over when they come to visit, you need to make sure that your goose and that dog get along. Never trust an animal that’s come to visit around your goose and vice versa. If it’s the case that your friend's dog harasses your goose, then you need to keep the dog away from your home. On the flip side, if your friend’s dog is small, then be aware that geese can hurt small dogs.

    By Charlotte Ratcliffe

    Published: 04/15/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

    Wag! Specialist
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