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.
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.
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!
He has been chasing the geese off of the golf course for 2 years just fine. Last night he caught a baby and I had a hard time getting him to ‘leave it’. I did not give him a treat and took him right home. I’ve been told that once they catch one they will continue to catch/kill. Can I reverse this situation from last night? Should I continue to take him out?
Hello Sam, Duke may or may not try to kill more birds because of this incident. For some dogs it only takes one time killing an animal for the dog to learn to do it again. For others it takes multiple times. If you are comfortable using a remote electric collar, then you likely can still train Duke to herd the geese without killing them. You can do this by using the e-collar to correct any biting attempts while rewarding him for herding and chasing. E-collars are a very powerful tool, and although effective, I do not recommend using one without first spending a large amount of time learning how to train with one. You need to learn how to properly fit them, what level to use the collar on and when, and how to effectively communicate with them so that your dog is learning and still having fun, and not simply being punished all the time. If you do not feel confident learning about them and training with one on your own, then I would highly recommend hiring a trainer in your area who has a lot of experience with them. Look for a trainer who also uses positive reinforcement, so that the training effectively communicates to you dog what he should be doing and not just what he shouldn't be doing. Also, be careful when choosing an e-collar. Garmin, Dogtra, e-collar technologies, and Sportdog are all reputable brands. A cheap collar from a less reputable brand can be dangerous, too high, and inconsistent. Until you are prepared to train him and enforce the training from a distance with an electric collar or another tool, I would not take him out. You might be able to do the training with just a fifty foot leash but the chances of that discouraging his biting enough are low. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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