Friday, February 10, 2017

How to Train a Border Collie to Scatter Birds

A flock of unwanted birds will bomb your vehicles or destroy your garden in minutes. Decoys, loud sounds and flashing lights may ward off some, but the birds will eventually become acclimated to the deterrents and return to your yard. Border collies are easily trainable dogs and make useful tools in your war against birds. A few brief training sessions will teach your dog to scatter birds, saving you from an all-out assault.



    Buckle a collar around your border collie's neck and clip a training leash to the D-ring on the collar. A long training leash gives the dog freedom to work at a distance while keeping it under your control. Border collies are high-energy dogs and need to be on leash until they learn to stay within range.


    Teach the dog a variety of basic obedience commands. Sit, come, lie down, stay and out are necessary to guiding the dog and maintaining order once you're working on live birds. Blow the whistle to get the dog's attention and give a command. Wait for the dog to respond and give a treat as a reward for obedience.


    Insert a bird sounds CD into a CD player and let it play during training sessions. Start with the volume on the lowest setting, gradually increasing the volume with each training session to acclimate the dog to the sounds of squawking birds. Border collies are intelligent dogs and will quickly learn the loud, startling bird calls will not hurt them.


    Ask four or five helpers to stand in a small circle and hand each of them a few sheets of newspaper. Instruct them to shake the newspapers vigorously while you walk the dog in and out of the circle. Reward the dog when it walks calmly at your side. The flurry of newspapers mimics the flutter of a flock of birds, and keeping the dog calm during training will prevent the dog from running if startled when the birds fly away.


    Attach a bird wing to a long string and ask a handler to pull it in front of the dog. Blow the whistle and command the dog to "scatter." Herding breeds such as the border collie have a natural instinct to chase and will crouch down and follow the wing as it moves. Let the dog catch the wing and smell it to become familiar with bird scents, repeating until the dog is reliably chasing the wing off-leash.


    Transport the dog to a field with a high live bird population. Put the dog back on lead and walk toward a flock of birds on the ground. Blow the whistle once and give the scatter command, letting the dog run toward the flock. An excitable breed, your border collie will bark and jump as the flock takes wing, successfully chasing them away. Treat the dog to a small dog cookie and repeat until your border collie is consistently scattering birds on your command.

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