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Goodbye Geese! Hardworking goose dogs

Gail P
May 2nd, 2009, 11:25 PM
I took the camera along the other day and snapped some pics while the dogs were working. They had their work cut out for them on this day, the geese were very persistent. It started with two geese that left relatively easily but they came back in a few minutes and brought reinforcements. Then they wouldn't take right off the ponds, they'd just fly from one end to the other. The dogs were more persistent than the geese however and in the end the geese gave up and left. Score one for the energizer dogs that never quit :thumbs up

Here Rain and Storm begin to stalk the first 2 geese
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1739.jpg

They spread out and come at them from each side
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1744.jpg

and then go into the water and begin to drive the geese to the end of the pond, giving them nowhere to go
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1748.jpg

Gail P
May 2nd, 2009, 11:28 PM
Initial success with the first two geese
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1751.jpg

But then they're back with their friends. This is a distant shot of Storm swimming them up the pond, but I thought with the reflection it was very pretty
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1768.jpg

Rain enters the water too and we have liftoff!
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1757.jpg

Gail P
May 2nd, 2009, 11:33 PM
But they don't go far and Storm circles around the pond and pushes them away from shore again
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1780.jpg

While Rain keeps watch from in front of me
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1782.jpg

And does a walk-up, slinking along, waiting for Storm to push them into the narrow end again
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1769.jpg

Gail P
May 2nd, 2009, 11:36 PM
Then she's back in the water too, cutting off any chance for the geese to escape
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1776.jpg

The geese finally decide it's time to get the heck out of here
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1777.jpg

and this time it's for good. Goodbye Geese!
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1789.jpg

angeldogs
May 3rd, 2009, 12:35 AM
Great pics and the scenery is beautiful.and i agree with the distance shot the reflection in the water is pretty.the energizer pups must of had lots of fun

RolandsMom
May 3rd, 2009, 12:50 AM
:laughing: That must keep them busy for hours! You have an awsome property!!

growler~GateKeeper
May 3rd, 2009, 01:39 AM
Great shots Gail :thumbs up Excellant work Storm & Rain :highfive:

CearaQC
May 3rd, 2009, 05:49 AM
You need a video cam!

I'm sure there are a lot of us who would like to watch videos of your dogs working. :D

Gail P
May 3rd, 2009, 07:31 AM
:laughing: That must keep them busy for hours! You have an awsome property!!

Thanks, but it's not my property :D This is at a client's property. Poor lady has been trying to keep the geese away for years without success, even has fake swans by her ponds since somebody told her that would keep the geese away. She says when she had company over they couldn't go out and use the lawn at all because of the mess, she used to try to pick up all the goose poop by hand with a plastic baggie but they're terribly messy things. (The each deposit in excess of 1.5 pounds of feces daily! :eek:) She heard that I do goose control with the dogs and hired me. She's got a nice place with 2 ponds, the upper one has a set of waterfalls at the narrow top end and then there's a spillway that lets the water down into the lower pond that's closer to the road. I was taking these pictures for someone who had interviewed me for a magazine article. The interview was done about a month ago before we had much goose activity around here so he didn't get to see the dogs in action.

It normally doesn't take very long to get the geese to leave a property like this, I'm often only there for 15-20 minutes at a time. On this particular day after the first 2 geese left I was looking around the shoreline to see if there was any evidence of nest-building when they came back with their buddies. It took us 40 minutes in total that day to convince them to leave. I think there's one pair that want to claim the lower pond area as their nesting site.

Rain and Storm love doing this kind of work. I want to do more training with Flurry and start Dru as well, but Dru hasn't yet even started on sheep, let alone geese.

mollywog
May 3rd, 2009, 07:52 AM
great pictures! The dogs must love it! That is very cool that you have made a business out of it. A family friend of ours (along with her BC) is paid by the city to keep the geese off the town beach, so she takes the dog there every morning.

hazelrunpack
May 3rd, 2009, 09:26 AM
omd, border collie heaven! Room to run, water to swim in and a target in plain sight! :laughing:

How tuckered were they when they were done? :D

Great pics, Gail!! :highfive:

RolandsMom
May 3rd, 2009, 10:08 AM
wow. Thats awesome. Those dogs are so freaking smart!!
and thats a lot of poop for one bird!!! yikes.
good job :thumbs up

MommaKat
May 3rd, 2009, 01:01 PM
Thank you so much for sharing this with us . I think it's amazing what you do with your dogs :highfive: .

Gail P
May 3rd, 2009, 03:42 PM
great pictures! The dogs must love it! That is very cool that you have made a business out of it. A family friend of ours (along with her BC) is paid by the city to keep the geese off the town beach, so she takes the dog there every morning.
I'm also working for our township keeping the geese away from the new Riverwalk in town, plus out of Rotary Park. Last summer they had to post water quality advisories at the beach it got so polluted from the geese.


How tuckered were they when they were done? :D


Not very, border collies are pretty tireless. Even if they get a bit tired, a quick rest and they're ready to go again. Of course it helps that in the case of my dogs they've put in miles on the sled all winter.

Brandykins
May 6th, 2009, 07:02 AM
Beautiful set of photos - great captures. Love the reflections on the water. Bet the dogs had a great time. Hope the geese found another spot!!

Melinda
May 6th, 2009, 08:26 AM
we have geese all over our yard also, beautiful creatures to watch, they enjoy interacting with Brina, the city hired a man and a few dogs to try to keep them away from our beaches, they make us laugh, thousands of geese and 3 dogs?? Last year the one dog got badly injured when the geese turned on him, their teeth are so sharp, three pairs have nests near our yard and I'm anxiously awaiting the babies....those are great pictures!!

Jim Hall
May 6th, 2009, 08:47 AM
urghh i hate the damn things they take over all the other birds leave they **** everywhere they pooping machines the scouts have a regular gig in the resoviors to poke a hole in the egges so they dont mature and the ey dont lay any more we need some predators

Melinda
May 6th, 2009, 09:38 AM
wow...*L* I take it you don't like them Jim, we have a bird sanctuary a few miles down the road so every morning we have a few thousand flying over our home, and each evening "sunset" we have them going back, its a huge tourist thing at upper canada, people come to watch the "banding" and schools go to see the feedings. They don't bother me, I keep brina leashed when we run in the field to make sure no gander attacks her(about 30 are there eating daily) and we leave our shoes outside this time of year *L*

Gail P
May 6th, 2009, 04:45 PM
Beautiful set of photos - great captures. Love the reflections on the water. Bet the dogs had a great time. Hope the geese found another spot!!
They stay away for a day or two and then try coming back again. This will continue until they find another site to use for nesting and then they will settle there. Once they are nesting and raising goslings they won't be flying back in to these ponds, and the adults will go through a molt in the summer during which they will be flightless for approx. 6 weeks. If I keep sending the geese away now and prevent them from nesting there my client's property should be goose free for most of the summer when she wants to be spending more time outside. In the fall they will likely try coming back again to feed on her nicely kept lawn.

we have geese all over our yard also, beautiful creatures to watch, they enjoy interacting with Brina, the city hired a man and a few dogs to try to keep them away from our beaches, they make us laugh, thousands of geese and 3 dogs?? Last year the one dog got badly injured when the geese turned on him, their teeth are so sharp, three pairs have nests near our yard and I'm anxiously awaiting the babies....those are great pictures!!

Was he using border collies or something else? I'm sure there are several people/companies who do this kind of work (I do know of a few, but it seems to be often women doing it). I know of a man with 3 border collies who was working geese. Depending on where you are it may be him. I heard he lost one of his bigger clients because somebody decided to undercut him, offering to do it cheaper with other dogs (not trained goose dogs) That could be bad, not only for the reputation of the effectiveness of true working goose dogs, but also for the geese. Some dogs would not have the restraint to not attack the geese if they get close enough. Already the client who's property these photos were taken at has seen the difference between goose dogs and others. She has let her neighbour exercise his dogs on her property in hopes that they would help get rid of the geese but those dogs just run around the pond barking and the geese go into the water and don't leave. My dogs work quietly and keep harassing the geese until they feel unsafe and leave.

Btw, geese don't really have teeth, just serrated edges on their bills. They can become aggressive though when protecting nests and young, and not just with their bills. Apparently their wings are strong enough to break a human arm.

MommaKat
May 6th, 2009, 06:33 PM
Gail what kind of training did your dogs do to be able to do this? I know Border collies have herding instincts but I find this amazing that your furries knew you wanted these guys gone for good but without harming them. Also, I know you have pet Geese to train them in herding, so how do you prevent your own Geese from leaving the property?

In the pictures where Storm and Rain go in separate directions to head the Geese off and show them you all really mean it, what kind of directions/commands did you have to give them? or do you sit back watch them work?

Sorry for all the Questions I just find this pretty cool :D .

Gail P
May 6th, 2009, 08:44 PM
Gail what kind of training did your dogs do to be able to do this? I know Border collies have herding instincts but I find this amazing that your furries knew you wanted these guys gone for good but without harming them. Also, I know you have pet Geese to train them in herding, so how do you prevent your own Geese from leaving the property?

In the pictures where Storm and Rain go in separate directions to head the Geese off and show them you all really mean it, what kind of directions/commands did you have to give them? or do you sit back watch them work?

Sorry for all the Questions I just find this pretty cool :D .

Although several of my dogs have come from rescues/shelters, I have adopted them all as young puppies and raised them around livestock. From the time they were quite young they have accompanied me around doing chores, and have been allowed to go right into the coop with my chickens and turkeys. Usually at some point most puppies think it might be fun to chase them a bit and I put a stop to that right away and they learn that they are not allowed to hurt them. Quite often as they get a bit older the dogs that do have the herding instinct will begin stalking the chickens and using their eyes to try to get the chickens to move. Since my chickens are well used to the dogs for the most part they ignore them.

Rain and Storm both came from a border collie rescue that is also a working sheep farm. Although they were born at the rescue (mom was surrendered pregnant), their bloodlines are known and they come from a working background, so they do inherently have a good working instinct. To develop that, once they were old enough I took them back to the farm on a regular basis to learn how to work the sheep and learn the herding commands. It is very interesting to watch the light bulb go on and see the dogs figure it out. So much just comes naturally to a dog with strong instincts and you then just have to put commands to what they're doing and ask for it at the right time. Eg. the dog wants to circle the sheep and keep circling, so you keep them going around and around one direction and repeat the command - come by (clockwise) or away to me (counter-clockwise). They also will lie down just by instinct, which you need at certain times. To get the sheep moving they need to walk towards them, or stalk them sometimes and it's called "walk up". If they are rushing the sheep too fast you ask for a lie down and it takes the pressure off so the sheep slow down. I would actually like to do a lot more work with sheep and teach the dogs more than they already know. They have learned a lot in the time that we did spend with the sheep, but they are working a lot off of instinct with the geese, and using their own brains to think. To be honest perfect commands are great, but a dog that works only by commands and doesn't think for itself is a bit like a robot and can be slowed down by waiting for the handler's commands. A BC with good instincts just knows where to be and what to do and by the time the handler is giving the command the dog is already there, getting the job done.

I love to sit back and watch my dogs work. They know to go find the geese when I tell them, and if necessary I'll send them one direction around the pond. They both go out the same way but they work in different ways. Storm is happy to be across the pond working a distance away from me but Rain wants to stay close to me. So they'll both go tearing around the pond towards the geese (which may be in the water near that side, or get in quickly because they feel safer in the water). When Rain gets to a certain point she suddenly breaks away from Storm and comes racing back around to me, by which point I'm walking around the other side. We then have one dog on each side. She'll stalk a little and then lie down, waiting. I'll ask her to walk up and she stalks a little closer. With one dog on each side stalking in the manner of a predator looking for a meal the geese begin swimming down the pond and as they get towards the end the dogs go in the water, or I send them in and the geese fly away. Or just back to the other end and we try again.

I don't actually have geese of my own anymore. They went south for the winter (to my friend's!). Her gander had died and she had one lonely goose so I took my 2 ganders over to keep her company. They now have some eggs she's setting that are due to hatch pretty much any time. My geese weren't working out for herding practice for me since they hadn't grown up around dogs. They weren't what you call "dog broke" and would get flustered and upset by the dogs. I was going to keep them just as pets but ended up letting my friend have them. I now have ducklings that I'm raising for herding practice instead. They're currently in my basement with a heat lamp and I'm soon going to be moving them out to the chicken coop. Growing up around the dogs they should be able to be worked by them without being overly stressed. They are Rouens, which are basically a domestic farm mallard and are supposed to be flightless. For ducks or geese that could possibly fly that you don't want to loose you can clip the wing feathers, same as you would do for any pet bird like a budgie that you want to hand tame.

Melinda
May 7th, 2009, 04:17 AM
yes their wings are strong enough to break a mans arms or a dogs leg, we kept 3 white geese for guard duty on the farm....as for the guy hired here, I'm not sure what type of dog he owned, I do know they are looking for 3 more this year.

Jim Hall
May 7th, 2009, 07:45 AM
cool mallards we had a family of those for a while the ducklings thought my shepard was a climbing wall and sheba would stand guard if they ventured too far away

Gail P
May 7th, 2009, 09:22 PM
Here are the ducklings getting better acquainted with Rain and Lightning.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1816.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1820.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v625/silhouettestable/2009%20dog%20pics/DSCF1821.jpg

I put the ducklings in the tub for a swim and a bath while I clean out their pen in the basement. Rain and Lightning just had to come into the bathroom for a visit to see what they were doing (while I was there of course!) I know they wouldn't hurt them, but still I don't take chances.

growler~GateKeeper
May 8th, 2009, 01:57 AM
Looks like Rain is considering getting in the tub too :laughing: