Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Canine Goose Control - How does it work?

       Our goose control business puts us in a position where we are often working where other people are out enjoying their day.  Like us, they are enjoying the outdoors. They are often walking their dog, riding their bikes, fishing or just out for a stroll with their kids.  Being able to enjoy the outdoors with our Aussies is something we love to do and why we enjoy doing our jobs so much.  Often, we are asked what we are doing and why we are doing it.  Then, without hesitation, most people will offer up a reason why canine goose control works.  Most of the time they are wrong.

    Some of those reasons are funny, others do not make sense. These are some of the more amusing ones:

1.) By walking around with our dogs we leave a scent for the geese that makes them leave.
2.) Once your dog catches a goose no more come back.
3.) So once your dog poops, the geese do not like the smell and leave.
4.) Geese do not like dog urine.
5.) S the geese know when you are coming.

   Most people are amused and a bit confused when I tell them why it works. Usually their eyes squint, their head tilts and they look a little sideways at me.  Then I explain.

    For Canada geese, it is all about survival.   Geese see our dogs as a natural predator like the fox or coyote that has hunted them for decades.  The presence of a predator in their neighborhood makes it unsafe for them to stay.  That's what our canine service does. We use our highly trained dogs to put predatory pressure on the geese so they feel unsafe and leave.  
    Geese are very family oriented. They choose a partner and mate for life. Often if one dies, the other will die shortly after. If a mate is shot down or injured the other will stay on the ground with it.  If goslings are orphaned, another family will gladly accept them into their flock and raise them all.  We have all seen pictures of the protective geese in the spring attacking people when they get too close to a nest.

    So when a predator finds its way onto a property that is inhabited by these very protective, family oriented waterfowl the geese have to choose between fight or flight.  Geese have wings so they choose to fly somewhere they have not seen a predator.  It is a pretty simple principle. But when you stop to think about it, who wants to raise their family in a threatening and dangerous neighborhood?  Nobody, if they have a choice.  Geese have a lot of choices in today's urban environment.

    In fact, it is well known that geese will visit up to 5 different properties a day. Maybe they are keeping their options open.  But more than likely they are probably enjoying areas that are predator free that offer them nicely mowed and fertilized green grass and water.

   Some people ask why we use Australian Shepherds and not some other breed.  Any dog can be trained to chase geese. We network with companies across the U.S that use Weimaraners, Labradors, Terriers, Cockers and Border Collies.  The breeds in the herding group have a natural instinct to herd and protect their stock.  This makes them ideal for goose control.  Other breeds can be trained to chase geese and return to their handler but it may not be as easy. But people use them, because, as dog owners, we all love a certain breed.

    To us, Australian shepherds are more than a dog and suit our life style, our way of training and what we want to do with our dogs perfectly.  Aussies are loyal companions and have the stamina to work all day.  We love their medium size and their coloring that offers a wide variety and individuality. They are very attentive to their handlers, a bit animated and very agile.

   So it is, with these medium sized, athletic and colorful dogs that we put predatory pressure on geese.  The very family oriented, protective Canada geese feel threatened, unsafe and decide to leave to roost, eat and swim elsewhere.  Now if I can only get that out of my mouth before someone says, the geese leave because your dogs stink, right?