How to Train Your Dog to Chase Away Nuisance Birds

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Work

Introduction

You spend long and hard working on the yard so it looks picturesque in the summer, only for every bird in the state to poo all over your decking, concrete, and kids' table tennis table. They eat vegetables out of your garden and are a general nuisance. If only you had a canine pal to chase them away. A dog that can protect your yard from nuisance birds is a dog worth having. He’s got all the tools he needs to chase them away, he just needs you to bring them out in him.

If you’ve got a pond with some much-loved fish, then birds may use your pond as a dinner plate. If your dog can chase them down and protect them, that’s one less thing to worry about. Training him to chase each time he sees one and on command requires serious obedience, which can be utilized to help him teach him a range of other things too.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to chase birds isn’t going to be easy. You’re going to have to familiarize him with his new prey and incentivize him to chase them away. If he’s a puppy, he should be quick, energetic, and eager to please and learn. That means he may respond to training in just a couple of weeks. If he’s getting on a bit, his protective instinct may need revitalizing and training may take a while longer. It could take up to a month before birds are fleeing whenever they see him approaching.

Get this training right, though, and you’ll have a formidable dog to protect your yard and pond from nuisance birds. You’ll also have a canine friend who is extremely well trained and should pick up any number of other commands with ease.

Getting Started

Before you get going you’ll need a few bits. Some decoy birds and bird scent will be needed to train with. They can be bought online or from local stores. You’ll also need treats or his favorite food to motivate and reward him.

A large, quiet space away from noisy distractions will be required to train in, such as a field. Also, make sure you set aside 15 minutes a day each day for training. In addition, you’ll need to bring patience and a proactive attitude.

Once you’ve got all of that, you’re good to start!

The Chase on Command Method

Effective
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Step
1
Go crazy when you see birds
The first thing you need to do is get him excited whenever he sees birds. He’ll look to you for guidance, so whenever you see one, head straight for them, screaming and shouting. This will soon mean he’ll go crazy whenever he sees one too.
Step
2
‘Chase’
Once he gets excited whenever he sees birds, introduce a ‘chase’ command. As soon as you see one, give the command before you both go crazy at the birds. He will slowly start to think of that word as a nuisance bird trigger.
Step
3
Heavy on the rewards
It’s vital you give him one of his favorite treats each time he chases and responds to your command. The tastier the treat, the more he’ll want to repeat the behavior. You can also shower him in verbal praise to show him how good he’s been.
Step
4
Doggie independence
After several successful days where he chases them on command, it’s time to stop leading by example and test his motivation. When you do see a bird from inside, open the door and give the command. By this point, each bird experience will have been so stimulating that he should leap straight out the door to give chase. Again, keep up with treats when he returns. If he doesn’t start charging straight away, return to the previous step for a few more days.
Step
5
No more treats
Once he’s got the hang of it, which may take a number of weeks, you can stop giving him treats. Don’t just cut them out in one go though, reduce them gradually and then just rely on the ‘chase’ instruction alone.
Recommend training method?

The Friend and a Decoy Method

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Step
1
Play with the decoy
Make sure you play with bird decoy and your dog. Encourage him to mess around and play tug of war with it. Always let him win though, if he loses he may not bother trying next time. Also spray the decoy with bird scent, this will get him familiar with the latest nuisance.
Step
2
Head outside with a friend
Have a friend tie the decoy to a long bit of rope, then get him to run away dragging the decoy along the ground. Encourage your dog to chase after it. You may need to run after it too to start with to encourage him.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as he gets close to it, have your friend stop and give him lots of praise. Also give him a treat. Practice this every day for several days. This will make the chasing birds his new favorite game and one he wants to do each day.
Step
4
Lose the friend
After several successful days, put your training to the test. If he doesn’t already naturally charge for birds, encourage him to. Point to them when you see them and get animated. If he sees you animated by them, it will put him into a heightened state of excitement too.
Step
5
Always reward and never punish
If he fails, don’t be annoyed with him, otherwise he might not bother trying again. Instead, praise him for trying. Each time he gives chase make a huge fuss over him and give him lots of treats and rewards. He will soon naturally seek out birds and chase them on his own just to please you.
Recommend training method?

The Chase Together Method

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Step
1
Start with a toy
Play each day for 5-10 minutes with a decoy bird. Play tug of war and encourage him to play around with it. You want to make playing with the decoy a highly stimulating experience. Also apply some bird scent spray to the toy, this will help familiarize him with them further.
Step
2
Upgrade to fetch
Once he’s familiar with it, start taking the decoy out and playing fetch with it. Whenever he chases it and brings it back, be sure to give him a treat and praise him. Take the toy out every day and make fetch the bird the highlight of his walk.
Step
3
The real deal
Dogs mirror their owners behavior. That means you need to lead by example. If you see a bird, run towards it, with your arms outstretched and shouting to scare it away. You need to run towards it together. He’ll quickly catch on and be more encouraged to go for the bird if he thinks you’re doing it as a team.
Step
4
Always encourage
Whenever you see a bird, encourage him to go and chase it. Point, shout in a high pitched voice, do everything you can to get his attention on the bird. Whenever he does successfully scare them away, give him loads of praise and tasty treats. The better the reward the more likely he is to do it again.
Step
5
Never punish him
Don’t be disappointed with or punish your dog if he fails to chase after birds. He won’t learn that way, instead focus on positive reinforcement and motivation. Always make it feel like a game to him.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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