Protecting Your Golf Course from Nuisances

How Superintendents Are Using Border Collies to Remedy Their Bird Problems

As one of our main customers, LebanonTurf cares about keeping golf courses healthy and beautiful. We also care about other companies that feel the same — so this post is going to shine some light on one that is keeping courses safe as well as a little furrier.

What is a common nuisance that every golf course shares? Geese. They are no stranger to the game of golf, but dog trainer Rebecca Gibson has a solution — border collies.

Gibson started training border collies with a woman in Virginia who was the first person to train a dog for a golf course superintendent. The superintendent was trying to find a solution to his goose problem and looked to the border collie as a natural fit. Gibson started training some “goose dogs,” as they’re often called, for her and founded the company Flyaway Geese in 1997.

There aren’t many people or companies that love golf and dogs (and golf dogs) more than us. We have a passion for helping superintendents solve problems and succeed and that’s why LebanonTurf partnered with Flyaway Geese and GCSAA to give away two professionally trained goose dogs at the 2018 Golf Industry Show. The University of Louisville Golf Club and the Carolina Country Club both welcomed in Flyaway Geese border collies to their golf course family this spring where they are fitting in beautifully.

Flyaway Geese provides two different services for their customers. They train and sell border collies that will chase geese and nuisance birds off airport runways and golf courses, and they also control services where they can come to your business with their own border collies and take care of the problem for you.

Flyaway Geese train and sell dogs at all different levels, so golf courses can buy dogs at different price ranges to meet their budgets. They have puppies, that don't know very much but are already chasing and swimming after birds, and full-grown dogs that perform as if they are being controlled by a remote. In addition, dogs are matched to the golf course based on their personality and skills.

"The reason we use border collies to do goose and nuisance bird control is because naturally when a border collie moves stock, they move it by stalking - so they put their heads down, tails between their legs and use their eye,” Gibson said. “When a goose sees something that moves with its head down and its tail between its legs, they think wolf or coyote."

Once each dog has a defined specialty and begins to show its talents, Gibson trains them specifically for the golf course, which includes teaching them how to ride on the golf cart and not to chase golf balls.

"These border collies have a huge drive to work and I think you can see that in everything that they do. The number one thing that they want to do is work," Gibson said.

Gibson stands behind each of her dogs and the humane training methods used to reduce the economic and environmental issues brought on from nuisance wildlife. Border collies are considered a working breed and thrive off the job they are trained to do.

She also said once you get them on your property and acclimate them, work on their basic obedience, and then get them out and show them you have work, they are going to bond with you very quickly and be happy to be there.

All Flyaway Geese dogs come with a handler's manual, and a lifetime consultation warranty so if there are problems, they are there to help you through them. Most of the golf courses who buy dogs from Flyaway Geese are not just looking for something to take care of their goose problem (that gets handled very early on), those dogs become a part of their crew and their family.

Want to meet more golf dogs? LebanonTurf also sponsors the 2018 GCSAA Dog Calendar which you can check out here.