How to Train Your Dog to Chase Geese
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You wake up early each morning to tend to your farm. You’ve lost blood, sweat and tears growing crops over the years and it’s like a stab in the heart when you head out in the morning to see your crops have been decimated by thousands of geese. They migrate in search of warmer climates and while they may look fantastic in the sky, they can wreak havoc on your land. The crops they eat are sold to put food on the table for your family. The proceeds are also probably used to pay your mortgage, bills, health insurance and more.
What you need is a geese deterrent and one such effective deterrent is a dog. You can train your dog to leap into action at the sight of geese and, with the right training, you can rely on them to keep them at bay.
It’s familiarizing your dog with these strange and unusual creatures that can prove challenging. If your dog is a puppy and keen to please and learn, he may respond to training in just a week or so. He will probably have confidence and an abundance of energy, both of which will be needed. If he’s towards the older end of the scale and never displayed much of a killer instinct then training may take several weeks to yield results.
Don’t be disheartened at the thought of a few weeks of training, all dogs are able to pick up the geese chasing mantle. It will save your hard work being ruined and could save you from thousands of dollars worth of damage. So be patient and persistent and your hard work will prove worthwhile.
Before you can scare off armies of geese you’ll need to get a few bits together for training. Treats or your dog’s favorite food will be needed to incentivize and reward him. You will also need space outside to practice training and preferably some live geese around. Toy geese will also be required.
You will also need to set aside 15 minutes a day for the next few weeks. Consistency is key, so really try to train daily if you want swift results. Once you’ve got all the above you’re ready to do battle!
The Running Madman Method
Whenever geese fly over, excitedly shout ‘GEESE, GEESE, GEESE!’. This may sound crazy, but you need to turn chasing geese into a game. Shouting in a high-pitched, excitable voice whenever they fly over will soon send him into a frenzy. After several encounters like this he will naturally bark and get excited whenever he sees any geese.
Start the chase
Whenever you see geese, shout as you did above but also run towards them. You need to transition between him getting excited when he sees geese to actually chasing them. This is a case of lead by example. Dogs look to their owners for direction so will often mirror their behavior or feelings. So get running and encourage him to run alongside you.
Succeed and reward
Run until the geese fly off and then give him a treat and praise him. It’s important you reinforce that this is the behavior you want to see, so don’t hold back on the praise. The happier he is with his reward the quicker he will learn.
Practice this every time you see geese for the first couple of weeks. You need to make geese chasing a habit, so be consistent and always chase them, regardless of what you have in your hands.
Drop back from the chase
As he gets the hang of it, stop chasing yourself and just shout the geese chant. As it becomes regular behavior you can cut down the frequency of treats and the shouting until he chases them entirely of his own accord.
The Toy Geese Method
Provide a decoy
Invest in a toy or decoy goose. They can be bought from a range of online retailers and some stores. You are going to familiarize your dog with a decoy before he tackles the real thing.
Play tug of war with him and the toy. You need to turn chasing geese into a fun game, so play is essential. Encourage him to bite and pull at the toy goose. Even reward him with treats and praise. Play with the toy for 10 minutes a day for the first couple of days.
Play fetch with the toy. Now head into the yard and throw the toy for him to run and bring back to you. As soon as he chases towards it shout praise in a friendly voice and give him a treat.
Collect some geese droppings and smear them on the toy. I know it sounds unpleasant, but you need him to recognize both the sight and smell. Then continue to play fetch with the toy for 10 minutes a day for a couple more days.
Time for the real deal
When you see geese, run towards them and encourage him to run alongside you. You will probably find that after a week of playing with the toy goose that he doesn’t need any encouragement. He will now see all geese as part of the game and will be quick to chase them. Whenever he does, be sure to praise him and give him treats. When it truly becomes habit then you can cut down the frequency of treats.
The Moving Target Method
Set up a chase
Tie some toy geese to the back of a truck, quad bike, or vehicle. Tie them with enough rope or string that they are pulled along the ground. You will also need a friend at the back of the truck holding a handful of treats.
Trail the geese
Slowly pull away with the toy geese in tow. Have the friend at the back call your dog over and entice him over with the treats in his hand. If he doesn’t start to chase you have another friend run alongside him so he can mirror his behavior. As you are moving away, hold the treats as close to the toy geese as you can.
Encourage and reward
Let him catch up with you and feed him off the back of the truck as close to the toy geese as possible. Practice this several times each day. Also, take the toy geese off the rope and play around with them and your canine pal in the evenings. Really encourage him to chew and get his paws on it.
Lose the vehicle and run away from him while you dangle the toy geese in your hand. If needs be shout words of encouragement and his name to get him to follow you. As soon as he catches you, encourage him to grab at the toy geese. He will probably do this anyway if you’ve previously been playing with it. As soon as his mouth touches the toy, give him a treat and lots of praise. Practice this each day for 10 minutes until he associates the toy geese as a cue to start chasing.
Up the stakes
Most dogs won’t need any encouragement to go for real geese after they’ve spent the last two weeks chasing toys that look just like them. However, if he doesn’t naturally start chasing, run towards the geese yourself to encourage him. Every time he does chase after them be sure to give him a treat and tons of praise. Before you know it, chasing geese will be a full time habit and he won’t need any encouragement from you.
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 10/16/2017, edited: 01/08/2021
Training Questions and Answers
Portuguese Water Dog
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0 found helpful
So Sammie loves to swim. We have 3 acres on Lake Tapps, Washington And have a terrible Geese problem. Our dog could care less about all the geese in our yard but will chase a ball or a toy or both pretty much 24 seven. The goose problem is so bad that we cannot use our lawn or our beach unless we spend two hours getting rid of the poop. I am looking into other breeds that would be more motivated to chase the waterfowl off our lawn. So, I’m looking for recommendations as to how to train my dog. I’ve done agility trading with him but he has NO desire to chaise the geese off our lawn. Do you have any recommendations of non shedding dogs that would love to chaise geese? I’m thinking if either a Australian Lab-doodle, Australian golden doodle or a Spanish Water Dog. Any advice is appreciated!!!
July 20, 2021
Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer
1133 Dog owners recommended
Hello Shelly, I would generally consider any breed that's mixed with a herding breed. Border Collies make fantastic geese chasing dogs because of their desire to control the birds due to their herding instincts. Border Collies of course shed though, so a Sheltie (expect barking while herding), Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, or Corgi with good herding instincts in their parents and grandparent heritage, combined with something non-shedding like the Spanish water dog or poodle, and bred as the combination for enough generations to ensure the non-shedding traits are consistent in the puppies, are all good options. Personally, I would look into something like the Australian Golden Doodle, or a Border Golden Doodle, but any of the options you listen would be good if you find the right line that's retrained the herding instincts and non-shedding traits. Even an Aussie Doodle or Border Doodle without the added retriever should also work as long as the line has retained the herding instincts. The retriever might mellow out the herding breed and poodle a little though - more so the golden retriever than the Labrador being added though. Be aware that an Aussie or Border Doodle does combine two very driven, energetic, intense breeds, so that may not be a low key dog, depending on just how much you want the dog to be working versus laying around inside calmly. You can certainly train more calmness inside but that's going to take extra effort compared to something that's naturally calmer. Parents and grandparents will most effect what you can expect in the puppy you get, so who you get the puppy from is extremely important in your case. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
July 21, 2021