Dogs and Birds - a Potentially Deadly Combination
Every year the Kuaotunu Bird Rescue Trust deals with penguins, shags, dotterels, and other species attacked by dogs.
Like all predatory animals, dogs are stimulated by fast moving animals, especially small prey-sized creatures running or flying away from them. It is natural behaviour for dogs.
However when a dog completely ignores any commands from its owner, and consequently harms or kills a bird, something needs to be corrected or un-learned.
You can teach your dog not to chase birds, ALL birds. On the beach, in the park, in your back yard.
If you are walking your dog in a dog off-leash area, it does not mean it can roam everywhere. ALWAYS know where your dog is when it is off-leash.
How to Desensitise your Dog to Birds
- Expose your puppy to as many birds as possible in a controlled manner (on a leash), on the beach etc.
- Immediately correct your dog’s interest in a bird with a ‘bad dog’ growl (use a low voice), followed immediately with the words ‘good dog’ (normal voice), and give lots of treats and praise for looking away.
- Always have a drawcard such as a favourite toy to draw them back with if they do start heading away.
Start early, be consistent and you will achieve great pack leadership