These dog-powered goose patrol teams humanely 'harass' Canada geese & protect the environment

A border collie wearing a red harness walks on bright green grass, its eyes focused ahead

The dogs of British Columbia have had enough of the area’s silly goose antics.

More specifically: The Canada goose population has taken over public beaches and parks in the British Columbia district of Peachland, and officials are training dogs to help humanely move the birds out of the way.

We know what you’re thinking: Besides the honking and occasional pecking, what’s wrong with a few geese near the beachfront? 

“The [goose] population likes to languish on our beaches. Unfortunately, so does the public,” Kirsten Jones, a communications officer for Peachland, told CBC News.

Two Canada geese stand in a garden near a lake
The Canada Goose population has gotten out of hand in the District of Peachland. Officials hope area dogs will help to humanely remove them and protect the area. Photo courtesy of the District of Peachland

Jones shared that the geese often leave behind droppings, which has become a public health concern, since geese droppings might carry diseases that can be passed on to people. 

“The beach becomes quite fouled by the excrement, and kids don’t know any better. They pick it up. It is everywhere.” 

Not only this, but geese can even cause ecological damage by destroying natural habitats, and can become aggressive toward humans if they venture too close to a nest or goslings. 

No harm needs to be done to these geese, of course, but folks are ready to gently bully them away from human-centric areas. 

Officials in the district have already tried a number of tactics, including scarecrows, reflective tape, and noisemakers, but they haven’t had much success getting the geese to move out of the way. And it’s not exactly a situation fit for man-handling.

Americans have been getting creative in their dealings with these pesky birds for years, since the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918 states that no Canada goose can be touched or harmed by a person. 

Not only do these dog patrols abide by the protective law, but inviting a natural predator to play a game of chase is also a lot more effective.

In fact, a number of small businesses across North America offer geese herding services on residential properties, like Geese Police and Wild Goose Chase (yes, those are their names, and yes, they’re amazing).

“We offer complete goose control programs working with dogs and trained handlers to chase, harass, and work to keep geese off your property,” the Wild Goose Chase website shares. “Our border collies are trained to chase geese but do not harm them, as they effectively disperse the geese from your property. This is one of the most humane and effective means of harassment or hazing.”

Wild Goose Chase, which is based in Chicago, works with a number of bird species, like Canada geese, and uses border collies specifically for their herding capabilities.

“Border collies have been bred for 300 years to manage and herd livestock without harm,” the company’s website continues. “Border collies provide the presence of a natural predator on a property through their instinct to quietly stalk with the ‘eye’ and then pursue until the targeted species of unwanted birds leave the area.” 

The district of Peachland is looking to hire its own herding squad for the new pilot program.

“We are looking for dogs who like to put birds on the run,” Jones told CBC News.

A border collie and its handler approach a group of geese on a grassy area
The border collies at Geese Police and Wild Goose Chase are examples of how effective dog herding can be in goose control. Photo courtesy of Geese Police Inc.

The dogs will be leashed and trained, all while wearing some very official “Goose Patrol” vests and bandanas. They’ll focus on the geese’s most common hangouts, including the waterfront, popular parks with playgrounds, and food service areas. 

While the Peachland program is still in its infancy, it sounds like this might just be the silver bullet to shoo the birds away to safety. 

“When handled properly, Canada geese will become exasperated or annoyed to the threat of being chased by border collies,” Wild Goose Chase’s website shares. “They will most likely choose another place to spend their time.”

Header image courtesy of Wild Goose Chase

Article Details

July 10, 2023 9:00 AM
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