FAQ

Why are Canada Geese such a problem?

Although arguably cute, Canada Geese are not really the problem.  We all love them.  It’s their, well…dung.  Each adult goose ingests approximately 3 lbs. of grass per day, or roughly 5 sq. ft. of turf.  On the other side (literally), the average adult goose will defecate anywhere from 1 to 3 lbs. per day.  Also consider the fact that Canada Geese droppings have been found to contain e-coli bacteria, a dangerous pathogen.  When you figure in large numbers of geese in a congregation, you begin to see the problem.

The dogs chase away the geese.  Won’t the geese just come back?

Yes, maybe at first.  That is why we must patrol each location a number of times per day, until the geese are conditioned to the Border Collie’s constant harassment.  The more the geese fear the seeming threat of a potential predator, the less likely they will want to spend time at that location.

Where do the geese go after you chase them?

The geese will fly to a nearby location where they feel less threatened.

Do the dogs hurt the geese?

No.  The Collies are trained specifically to harmlessly chase the geese as if they were herding any other animal. Our method of geese control using trained Border Collies is approved and endorsed by both the Humane Society and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

I heard that the dogs work well because they leave a scent behind to scare the geese.  Is that true?

No, but I wish it were.  The reason the Border Collies work so well over other dogs or methods is that they look and behave much like the arctic fox, the primary natural preditor of the Canada Goose.  The Border Collie uses it’s fox-like stare to make the geese feel threatened.

Are your dogs friendly?

Absolutely.  In this line of work, we cannot use any dog that is not great with all people.  Still, we will often leash our dogs when we patrol school fields, due to obvious parental concerns.

I thought geese migrate.  Why are they here seemingly year-round?

Many geese do still migrate.  Unfortunately, increased manicured grassland, lawns and golf courses that are associated with suburban life have attracted so many Canada Geese into spending their lives in these areas.  These birds are referred to as “resident” geese.  Also, for every bird that flies south from our area for the winter, there is another bird that is flying from an area north, to settler here.  That is why there are so many geese in our area during the winter months.

I heard that in the spring, the nests can be disrupted.  Do you do that?

Yes.  The term for disrupting a nest so that the eggs will not mature and hatch is known as addling.  There are many different approved methods such as oiling, puncturing, shaking, and freezing the eggs.  All of these methods, if done in a timely manner, offer a humane way of curbing the overall number of geese in our area.  Addling is endorsed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.  We offer this service free of charge to all of our customers.  Our highly trained staff know exactly where to locate nests, and are fully licensed in addling eggs.

Why do you specifically use Border Collies?  Why won’t my own dog get the job done.

Although your dog might make the geese fly away, so will a human running at the geese, yelling and flailing like a lunatic.  This will probably only annoy the dispersing geese.  What the Border Collie does that other breeds (or humans) cannot, is give the geese the fear of death by a natural predator.   Furthermore, The Border Collie is unarguably the smartest of all canine breeds, thereby enabling the handlers to work the dogs off-leash, using voice and whistle commands.  This also makes using a Border Collie the safe bet, as their intelligence and listening skills make them less likely to run off into traffic or get distracted by other people or pets.

I live on the water and have a significant goose problem. Should I consider getting a Border Collie to chase the geese?

Border Collies top the list of dogs that are found at rescue shelters across the country.  Although they are smart, cute, and in some cases serve a practical purpose, they generally do not make great house pets.  They need to work.  It is instinctual for them to herd animals and, unfortunately, in a residential setting, children commonly serve as that animal for the Border Collie.   Although they are not usually aggressive, the constant herding, staring, and nibbling at small children force Border Collies to be given up by some families with children.  Households without adequate land for Border Collies to expend their energy, find that they tend to destroy things in and around the house, out of frustration.

Why is it necessary for you to patrol each location more than once a day?

If we were to only patrol one time per day at say, 9:00 AM, and a group of geese flew onto your property at 10:00 AM, then there could be a potential for the geese to leave a huge mess in the time before we came by the following day.  If there were at least one more patrol in that day, perhaps the geese might be chased away, leaving far less droppings on the property.  In some cases, even two daily patrols are simply not enough.

If I use your service, how long will it take before I see results?

In most cases, immediately.  Although it takes time for the geese to get conditioned to the dog’s presence, simply chasing of the geese off, before they otherwise would have left, will undoubtedly result in less droppings.  In other words, even if you are skeptical that the geese will ever get conditioned to the dogs, logically, the mere fact that the geese leave the property more frequently must result in fewer droppings.  Our extensive list of references (upon request) speaks for itself.

How long do I need to keep the service?

Every situation is unique.  We offer a three-month contract that might do the trick for a season.  In most cases, our customers opt for a year-round maintenance program whereby they get the benefit of a year-round service, at a discounted rate.  We are always open to discuss contract lengths that range in between.   It typically takes the geese 8-10 weeks to associate your property with our dogs, however there is always a potential for new geese that may not be familiar with the property that want to stop in.  That is why we offer a yearly program.  Again, we are flexible in order to meet your needs.

Do you patrol on weekends or at night?

Yes and yes.  Unfortunately, the geese have no respect for our workweek.  In fact, they almost seem to know when to come out and “feel at home”.  We patrol each and every location on Saturdays and Sundays at least once each day, and in most cases more so.  Although geese rarely enjoy flying at night, we occasionally encounter a situation that requires nighttime patrols, and do so at no additional cost.

I noticed a nearby facility using dog cut-outs.  Do these work?

A picture speaks a thousand words.  You be the judge. 

dog silhouette

I heard that grape cool aid will repel geese.  Is that right?

No.  There is supposedly a chemical on the market created to control geese nicknamed “grape cool aid” because it contains grape extract.  Their claim is that the geese don’t like the way it tastes, however, some of our customers that have tried it prior to hiring us, say that either it simply didn’t work or that it got too costly to keep re-applying it every time it washed into the soil from a rain.  For God’s sake, please don’t attempt actual grape cool aid. You’ll be left with the same number of geese and a whole lot of bugs.

How much does your service cost?

Each situation depends on many different factors with respect to cost.  The main factor is proximity to other customers, as travel is our main expense.  Others include size of property, number of sites, size and number of water sources (ponds, lakes, streams), and general accessibility.  A firm quote can usually be given within hours of a request.

How long does each patrol last?

As long as it takes to rid your property of any geese (that are not injured, sick, or flightless due to any reason). 

What if you already patrolled the contractually-obligated number of times for a day, and geese  fly in?  If I call, will you come back, and do you charge extra?

We will come as many times per day as necessary to rid your property of geese, and no, we never charge more for extra patrols.

If I am a customer, and I see geese on my property, can I call you?  How long does it take for you to respond?

Yes, you can call, but rest assured that if you didn’t, our handlers would be there regardless.  We respond to calls as soon as we get them, and due to the fact that we have as many as seven radio-dispatched automobiles out at any given time, we can usually get to you in less than a half an hour.

Each winter I notice smaller geese that almost look like pigeons.  Do you get rid of them as well?

The name of these smaller birds are Brant, and they are a relative of the Canada Goose.  They only stay in coastal areas, and in our area, within a few miles of the South shore of Long Island.  The average Brant weighs 3 lbs., while the average Canada Goose weighs 8-12 lbs. The problem with Brant is that our dogs, rightfully, don’t always recognize them as Canada Geese, which they are trained to chase.  That being said, when our dogs are given the command to chase them, the Brant do not see the Border Collie as a true natural predator, and hence, are not very bothered by them.  The Brant will either leave the property, or circle and land a few hundred yards away, until harassed further.  We always take the time to rid properties of Brant as we do Canada Geese, but must remind customers that we are not hired to do so.  Below are pictures of the two species.  Notice the Canada Goose with it's trademark white "chinstrap", while the darker colored Brant has a distiguished ring around it's neck.

Goose and Brant

Photo credits, click and Mike Baird.

At our property, we have ducks and exotic waterfowl that we enjoy.  If your dogs chase the geese, won’t they inevitably scare off these other birds?

No.  Our Border Collies are specifically trained to chase only Canada Geese.  They will not bother other birds.

Every year in the spring, the same pairs of geese show up on my property.  Why?

Canada Geese are mates for life.  They always return to the general location of their previous nest.

Do all Canada geese fly?

Yes, unless they are sick, injured, newly-born, or molting.  All adult Canada Geese (3 or more years old) molt, or shed their flight feathers each year.  For about six weeks following nesting, each adult goose is rendered flightless, making our job difficult, to say the least.