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Thread: Chasing birds

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Toowoomba, QLD
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    Default Chasing birds

    Hi everyone,

    Molly usually has fantastic recall and I trusted her 100% until Saturday afternoon.. we took the dogs to a different park to have a swim in the dam that's there, they were behaving wonderfully until a bird flew overhead. Molly took off after the bird, so bloody quick, she was keeping the same pace as it and was so focused that she didn't pay any attention to us calling her or using the 'leave' command. She ran the entire length of the park (just over 1km), across and up one of the busiest streets in town, then down another street and completely disappeared. It wasn't just a 'run' though, it was a greyhound sprint there was a man riding his bike who tried to follow her for us, but he lost her too. About 5 minutes later she came running back to us, just as fast, so something must have scared her! She's so lucky she didn't get hit by a car.

    So my question is, how do I stop her chasing birds? She usually chases them when we're at the fenced park but I always thought she'd chase them for a little bit and then leave them, not just keep going until she got a fright or the bird flew over a house.. Unfortunately birds are one of those things that I generally can't spot before she does, they can be hiding in any tree, bush or clump of grass! So until we can get this sorted, the only off-leash time she will be getting will be in fenced areas!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    melbourne australia
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    3,082

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    This is tricky.
    how to stop a greyhound chasing prey in peak drive.
    prevention definitely.
    but cure?
    Do you have access to birds? the kind he likes to chase? As i know from my 3, there are birds, and then there are birds! and some get a reaction, others are ignored.

    My worry in setting out on training such a thing, is that whilst left unsupervised, the dog will chase a bird coming into garden, and all that counter training would go to waste. reversed in just one random moment act.

    So id probably manage the situation. Firstly by swapping back to your original park, where he had not chased birds, and stay away from having a greyhound, near birds, off leash, that can escape the park.
    Tricky indeed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Toowoomba, QLD
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    She's a lab cross, just ran like a greyhound she does chase birds at the fenced park we go to and at home, and I've never really tried to stop it, because as soon as they fly over the fences, she can't chase anymore. Usually it's magpies and ducks (which she has caught before) because they're the only ones around, but this was a low-flying ibis.. maybe its more fun if it's low-flying and just out of reach? I don't think she'd be picky though, she'd be happy to chase any bird.

    She has no 'drive' for anything else, we've had her 18 months (she's 3yrs old) and she has never played with a toy, no matter how much we encourage her!

    I know if worse comes to worse I can just make sure I always have her on a long lead or rope in areas without fencing, but it would just be so much easier if we could let her off-leash like our other dog and she can have a big, proper run and play. Her recall is usually 100%, even when there are friendly dogs wanting to pay with her, it's just birds she likes to chase (and probably rabbits, roos etc too.. we've just never come across one).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Canberra
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    I am lucky. We had lots of opportunity to do recall training around birds because we had big flocks of galahs on our ovals most of the year. And the great thing about galahs is also that they usually fly in a circle, as opposed to just up and away. (Same principle for rabbits, wonderful things to chase compared to roos!) So I included that in our list of distractions to train recall with. Started at a fairly big distance, gave jackpots when she came after she had seen the birds, etc. Then gradually decreased the distance. But I still did and do allow her to chase birds. I sometimes used that as the reward for coming when called or obeying a 'leave' too. But she will now automatically stop and return when they fly across the road because I have always called her back when she approached the street and I also taught her "off the road".

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Toowoomba, QLD
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    Default

    It was 'Fenton' all over again!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Mid North Coast NSW
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    388

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristy.Maree View Post
    It was 'Fenton' all over again!

    [video=youtube;bmpONxJ7JSw]
    Holy crap!!! That could have gone terribly pear-shaped.

    FENTON?? LOL, that was my primary-school teacher's name all those hundreds of years ago.

    KM I feel your frustration. I had a dobe who was beautifully obedient on or off leash....until there was a seagull nearby and she figured she was far enough away from me to pretend she couldn't hear me. She'd chase them to the opposite shore of the lake or river, or the far end of the beach. Always came back in her own time, by which time I was tearing my hair out. Sorry but I have nothing useful to add, I never managed to get on top of it, only to control where I took her. Scary isn't it? Good luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    se qld
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    Oh KM, what an awful experience for you.
    I bet Molly thought it was the bestest fun ever.

    Snoopy was always allowed to chase birds in the orchard.
    But when out and about with me (on leash or not) when we saw
    a bird, hare or whatever we would stop/sit down together - if
    we were too close for my comfort - and wait for the animal to move off.

    We have 2 butcher birds that come over for meat twice a day.
    I encourage these birds and we do some basic obedience while they
    are sitting on the roof. Then dogs and birds take turns to catch the bits of meat.

    So my dogs can differentiate between "birds at home" and birds in the wild.
    As a GSP X I figured that suppressing his prey drive was pointless.
    Ginny has just picked up the prey drive from him, she even points sometimes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Canberra
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    I love Fenton!

    If you do want to try proof her recall in those tough situations, you'll have to start from quite a few steps below that level again. Lots of yummy treats for initially mostly easy recalls. The kind of recalls that make your dog think you must be a total idiot for parting with your goodies so easily. Then gradually increase the difficulty level and offer bigger rewards for fast recalls with distractions. If you fail, go down a level again, etc. Offer big jackpots for coming when she is aware there are birds about. Throw a massive party the first times she responds when she is actually chasing a bird. And repeat, repeat, repeat.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
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    FEEEENTONNNN! Haha that is great

    I fear this happening with Gracie

    She stalks and chases any and every bird that comes into our yard or sits on our fence. Thankfully she has never caught one, but seeing her run pelt at a low flying bird and keeping up with it is quite amazing!
    When I let her out at night time before bed she runs to the same spot underneath the same tree, every time without fail, to scare off a bat or two and then chase them across the yard

    I never really thought ill of this because it keeps the birds away from my vegetable patch and crows away from her bones (and I'm sure it keeps her occupied throughout the day)
    I'm even guilty of doing the ol' "Gracieeee... Gracie... what's that? Hm? What is it? Hey?!" and then she's OFF after them
    Time to change it up I think...

    Molly sounds like a sweetheart and I'm glad she made it back safely!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    SA
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    945

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    I love Fenton too. It's just so bloody comforting to see others struggle with the same problems

    I'm having the same problems with pretty much anything to chase. My biggest worry are Roos and that Nero will one day get himself gutted by one, so he is no longer allowed off leash in the forest. It's really annoying so we're going to attend an 'unchase' workshop mid October. If you like PM me, then I email you what we've done.

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