Well, folks, it happened. Did you read my post last week about our guinea hens getting into the dog yard? If not, you can read that here: “The Perimeter Has Been Breached”. I was afraid it was only a matter of time before Luke and the guineas ended up in the yard at the same time. (Don’t worry about reading further….this ends well!)
Cricket, Luke, and I were outside playing ball, when one of the guineas flew right into the pen! I hadn’t seen it at first, I was doing my usual yard cleanup while throwing the ball. Luke was around the corner chewing on his own ball, while I frantically tried to get the guinea to fly back out.
Sure enough, here Luke came before I could, and he actually ignored the bird at first! Luke tends to be pretty focused on what he’s doing, and he still had the ball in his mouth. But then he spotted that bird flapping around, dropped his ball, and ran towards him. I was also running, yelling “leave it”, but I saw Luke grabbing at that poor bird. Well, I don’t know if Luke was listening to me, or if he just thought it was fun enough to get a mouthful of feathers and then run with them.
I was able to grab him by his harness and pull him towards the house (it made it easier that he was still wearing his harness from our earlier walk). While he struggled at first, I started saying another cue “with me” (one we learned as part of our reactive dog training class), and that relaxed him, and he came willingly with me and into the house!
I checked on that white guinea hen, and he was fine. I’m still a little unsure of what Luke’s true intentions were! Was he trying to hurt the bird, and the bird just got away? Or did he just want to play with it, and getting a mouthful of feathers was fun enough? When he ran with those feathers in his mouth, he acted exactly like he does when he has a new toy, or has taken something he’s not supposed to have (such as a sock, slipper, or tissue).
One thing I can’t be clear on is if he could or would have hurt the bird either accidentally or on purpose (did he not really bite down, or did he just grab it in a spot that was mostly feathers?), so we’ll still work hard to keep them separate. It does seem like he’s been chasing them more when they’re at the fence than he was before this happened, so he seems more interested in them now!
I am at least happy to see that his training is paying off again – whether it was the bite inhibition I taught him as a puppy, or his listening to my cues of “leave it” and “with me”, it really has been worth all the work I’ve been doing with him!
By the way, that bird never did fly out, I had to open the gate and herd him out. Are the birds smart enough to now stay away from the yard? Well, the last two photos were taken after that episode, so you can see for yourself about that. They were even closer to the fence at times! So now when I see them at the fence, I’ll throw the ball in that direction in the hopes that it will deter them from sticking around, or at least flying in! 🙂
Farm dogs need to snuggle on a cozy bed after a long day of chasing birds! That’s why we love our new memory foam orthopedic bed from Brentwood Homes. Read more about these stylish beds by clicking here, and enter to win one for your pet!
Jodi Stone says
I’m super glad that your commands helped and you were able to avoid anything beyond what happened. I hope you never find out Luke’s intention. 😉
We’ve had some close encounters with animals that were hidden in the grass, and there was one time I’m pretty sure that Delilah trampled a bird that startled her.
I hope I don’t either! Because those birds are definitely not smart enough to stay out of the dog yard! 🙂
Shadow and Ducky's Mom says
Sure glad the encounter ended well for everyone!
Me too! We had it happen again…a guinea flew into the yard while I was playing with the dogs. This time I just calmly went over to Luke (who hadn’t seen it yet), and brought him into the house!
Fantastic outcome and really good that all your training was put to practical use. Big dog versus bird, even if done in play, probably isn’t going to end well for the bird. Orthopedic beds are so comfy for the bigger doggies!
I agree. While Cricket is fine with the birds, I don’t think I will ever trust Luke. You’re right that even if he’s just playing, he could do some damage.
I got worried at the start of this, but I’m glad to see there was only minimal “damage” to that hen. I’d have panicked for sure! I do hope they’ve learned to stay on their own side of the fence, though I have doubts! Glad things ended well. 🙂
You are right to have doubts….while they seemed to stay out for a couple of days, now they’re back in all the time. One even came in again when I was playing with the dogs. I was able to get Luke into the house before he ever saw it, thank goodness. Those birds are going to continue to challenge me, apparently!
Luke did better than our dogs would have! Thank goodness for his gentle mouth. Actually, perhaps I am underestimating our dogs. One found a frozen grouse (who was still alive) one winter. He carried it back to us and dropped the flapping bird at our feet. I was so surprised that I fell over backwards on my xc skis! Then we warmed the bird up and sent her on her way.
Aw, so glad you had a happy ending there too!
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Luke you funny fellow, you are acting just like gman trying to grab the guinea’s. Hopefully they guinea’s learned and will stay away when Luke is out.
I’m not sure what their learning curve is like…but they don’t seem to be afraid of Luke!
Brian Frum says
Oh yea, leave it is a heck of a good idea Luke!
caren gittleman says
thank goodness that ended well!! Dogs are DOGS….I don’t think Luke would have hurt the hen either (at least not intentionally) but better safe than sorry!
The Island Cats says
Knowing Luke, he probably saw the bird as a toy and wanted to play. But good thing you were there to make sure nothing bad happened.
He probably thinks they’re the most exciting toy we’ve gotten him yet! LOL
You’d HOPE the bird learned a lesson … how scary! I love my cats – but the whole “prey” thing is tough. Luckily they don’t have access to much beyond bugs – but I always try to herd the bugs to safety anyway.
Yeah, we’ve had some bad scenes when we had outdoor cats. One involved baby chipmunks. 🙁
The other involved Samantha, who loved to sneak out when she wasn’t supposed to, and it didn’t end well for the baby robin’s nest she found. 🙁
Melissa K. Clinton says
I know that you must have panicked! What a good boy for listening to you. I was surprised when Pierre killed a mole that he actually dropped it when we told him to since he usually runs with stuff too. LOL!
Sometimes they can really surprise us, can’t they?
Da DB Boyz says
I am so glad all of your training paid off, Luke! Mama says she is so glad we all know(or in ROsy’s case are learning) all of our basic commands. They come in handy for so many things!
Jakey, Arty & Rosy
We are definitely seeing the benefits of it now!
I’m glad things ended well! That sounds like quite the adventure. Rye has gotten her mouth on a squirrel in the yard a couple times and she hasn’t actually grabbed it–which I know she could–so I’ve also been wondering if it’s more about the thrill of the chase and playing with the squirrels than actually catching them. Of course, the squirrels aren’t any smarter than the guinea hens, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I find out what her intentions are! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Luke sees the guinea hens as friends, not food 😉
That reminds me of when we had our cat Katie. She used to love to torment the dogs by running past them (trying to get them in trouble, I swear). But if they actually caught up to her, she’d just stop and turn around, and then the dogs didn’t know what to do! LOL
Luke you are the pawfect farm pup… and no chicken when it comes to chicken… I have to admit that I stay away from this feathered guys since one of them pecked in my nose…
I’d hate for Luke to get pecked, but that would probably teach him a lesson (which he’d learn quicker than the birds have learned theirs!).