So Why Use Border Collies to deterrence Canada geese?

Over the years, an incredible number of ideas have come available for deterring the Canada geese, the destruction of turf, polluting of water and ground with insane amounts of droppings. And yeah, they talk, loudly, all night long!

How many of these have you tried?

  • Chase them with brooms, shovels, golf clubs… Yeah that worked?
  • Mylar streamers and balloons, which just serve to trash up your property
  • Fencing, wires, wire netting, all sorts of fun stuff to trip over and become liabilities
  • Stinky sprays and treatments that wash off with the first morning due, rain or watering
  • Fake coyotes, dog silhouette decoys, alligators, fake dead geese, fake floating swans all end up looking like the the old scare crow with the crows perching on the arms
  • Flashing lights in the grass, on the ponds, just be come “landing lights” for the geese.
  • Recorded goose distress calls, to set your teeth on edge


Floating gator head
Floating ‘gator heads just become a neat place to perch for Canada geese.

All have one thing in common: the Canada goose outsmarts them and habituates to them. They get used to these things and no longer avoid them. To top it all off, once they experience one of these things at a location, they recognize the same thing elsewhere and just ignore the “scary” thing in the new location.

Screamer or banger shells shot from a firearm, pyrotechnics, have proved helpful in some areas, but tend to be unwelcome, even unlawful in the urban setting.




Geese sharing golf course with a silhouette dog decoy.
Geese sharing golf course with a silhouette dog decoy.


There has been some success with remote control boats, but boats only work on water.

In the last few years some remote controls have been designed to run on water, ice, snow and grass, to chase and haze the Canada geese. While these tend to be fairly expensive, one is quite reasonable and can be effective:The Predator Fox: Remote Control Goose Management Tool


Predator is Remote Controlled Goose Management

Do keep in mind, the use of remote controls can be effective, but they are time intensive, consuming a lot of man hours, and must be used consistently and frequently.

Why do Border Collies work, when nothing else does?

Border Collies have something no other breed of dog has! This something is called Border Collie “eye” but it really refers to more than just the eyes. It is a whole way of moving that the shepherds bred for in Scotland over countless generations.

Stalking, The Body Language Of The Hunt

A hunting wild cat, stalking it's prey.
Have you ever watched a house cat sneak across the living room, stalking a toy? She is in ‘hunt’ mode, and it is characteristic of all predators, the world over. The head is down, shoulders hunched, tail carried low and the hips low. Each foot is placed with careful attention. Each step is quiet, and careful to avoid missteps. And, though out the stalk, the predator’s eyes are riveted on their prey. This is a body language that is instinctively recognized by any critter in the world. If you are a mouse, and don’t recognize this body language, you will be lunch in very short order!

A cat's body language while hunting is mimicked by Fawn and Tug as they approach some sheep.
A cat’s body language while hunting is mimicked by Fawn and Tug as they approach some sheep.

House cats, African lions, cougars, foxes, wolves and even our companion dogs stalk in this manner. By the time a puppy gets his little feet under himself, he starts to practice by stalking his litter mates and any other thing that might present itself for play.

For the ancestors of our modern dog, as well as the predators of the world, stalking is how they got “dinner on the table.” Wolves often use their stalk to herd their prey, wearing them down and looking for the sick, old or injured in the herd. A small pack of wolves can control a huge herd of caribou.

So, What Is The Border Collie “Eye?”

This stalk is what the shepherds of early Scotland began to use in controlling their flocks of sheep. They bred for dogs that could control the sheep with their stalking, but they also bred for endurance and biddability, or the willingness to work with and for the shepherd. The actual act of moving in for the kill needed to be controlled, or the shepherd would be losing sheep way to fast!

Sheep moving away from Fawn, a smooth coat Border Collie.
Sheep moving away from Fawn, a smooth coat Border Collie.

The resulting breed of dogs became known as Border Collies. Some wonderful web sites with information on Border Collies and their history can be found at:

Border Collie eye at work at a sheep dog trial.
Border Collie eye at work at a sheep dog trial.

As the stalking action was bred for and refined in the Border Collie, it became something of a signature of the breed. During this stalking, the dog’s total focus is on the sheep, the dog staring at the sheep. This staring can be quite unnerving, as any Border Collie owner can tell you! This has become known as the Border Collie “Eye,” and like any inherited trait comes in varying degrees.

A ‘loose eyed’ dog hardly looks at their sheep, and subsequently has difficulty exerting control over the sheep. At the other extreme dog can be so strong that both the dog and sheep freeze up, staring at each other. It is like they are all hypnotized, and it is nearly impossible to get any work done with this type of Border Collie.

A classic Border Collie, use 'eye.'While the Border Collie’s stare and focus is a major factor in his control of his livestock, it is really only a part of the over all body language of the ‘eye.’ It all comes back to the stalking action. Indeed, there have been Border Collies who were able to work and control their sheep nicely even though they themselves were blind. Relying on scent and sound to keep track of the stock, such a dog still employs the age old stalking motion, turning their face to the stock, and ‘staring’ at them.

Using Border Collies To Deter Canada Geese

Some 30+ years ago, a fellow by the name of David Marcks was a golf course superintendent in Connecticut, and grappling with the problems too many Canada Geese causing damage to his golf course. After trying all the known methods of repelling the geese, he tried the idea of using dogs to spook the geese away. Experimentation with several breeds of dogs often brought initial success, but most dogs soon tired of the sport of chasing the geese. Most had been bred to fetch something back, and were frustrated when they couldn’t actually fetch anything.

Border Collies proved to be the best bet, showing a willingness to go out after geese, time after time. As any Border Collie owner will tell you, they can be obsessive, compulsive, and high energy. Add in the Border Collie “Eye” and you have a dog that can be steadily used to haze geese.

Darby moving Canada geese.

Sound like a dream? Well, it works.

Along the Atlantic Flyway, which lies along the Atlantic coast and the Appalachians, geese have been a major problem for decades. At this time, a land owner/manager can call upon any number of service companies in their areas, who use Border Collies to haze geese off client’s property. It has become a tried and true method.

Hardey Border Collie Goose Patrol

After sixteen years of Canada goose control in the Denver Metro area of Colorado, I am still amazed at how well this method works, and keeps working. People who have spent years doing the “goose yuck two step” are delighted to see us arrive—they stop to watch us work and want to meet the dogs. They have clean walk ways, greens and sports fields.

In the end, there is no way to clean up the goose droppings as cleanly and economically as simply not having the geese on your turf and walkways in the first place!

Darby "stalking" some Canada geese.
Darby “stalking” some Canada geese.

The true magic of working Border Collies is not that they come onto a property and scare the geese away forever and forever. The magic is that the consistent use of a goose trained Border Collie will continue to work. Chemicals wash off, mylar balloons and streamers become a part of the scenery. Canada geese smugly bip out of the way when we chase them or throw things at them. But the geese have no choice but to respond to what is truly a predator. A predator they know can catch them. The geese cannot get used to or learn to ignore a living breathing predator, that stares at them and approaches them. This is a predator that follows them into places that used to be safe. The instinct of survival is overpowering.

Fortunately, nobody ever told the Canada geese how safe these dogs really are. A Border Collie’s body language looks like a hunter—we psych the geese into thinking there are dangerous predators on your property! They go away naturally—and the geese can not habituate to a moving, interacting Border Collie. The single most effective method of Canada goose control on a specific property is through the use of specially trained Border Collies to haze the geese away. Border Collies are quiet workers, goose friendly and environmentally, schools, parks, cemeteries, business/ office parks and private properties.

Hardey Border Collie Goose Patrol began the work of Canada goose control over 16 years ago. Some of our clients have been with us for all those years. You are welcome to call ask questions at 303-935-6105