I am planning on starting my Falconry Apprentice next season, and I am getting the feeling my dog is going to be a hindrance. He is Coby; a 4 year old Cairn Terrier. He is a great dog with a huge personality and I love him to death. He is a hunter and has radar senses for anything alive where-ever they are. He catches everything in our yard (mice, gophers, moles, lizards, birds). The rodents that evade him, he will pursue endlessly. Even the big birds (ducks, geese, vultures, hawks) that fly over the house; he aggressively barks at. He is not the most obedient dog in the field (who am I kidding....he is down right non-obedient). He's not stupid by any means....he always finds his way home....but when he is on a scent there is no stopping him or calling him back.
My concern is how he will act around the hawk. It will be difficult to keep them separated, and I'm afraid Coby will sit outside the mews and continuously complain (bark) about that big bird sitting inside.
I have made bird traps and caught many sparrows in the yard, and Coby does not let up until they are gone. I know I will need to keep some live bait around the house for a while during trapping time; this will not be easy as soon as Coby has their scent.
Has anyone had a similar problem....and how did you deal with it?
Start now, with basic obedience. Progress through to agility (give this dog a job other than monitoring your backyard). Learn a "leave it" type command and work on training for "reactive" dogs. Use a good local trainer and take actual classes, make sure you pick one that uses positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Also see drsophiayin.com and positively.com for resources. These will form a foundation so that your dog might be more obedient in the field. You may still have a limitation if your dog wants to fight the hawk for the prey - but this is where I'd start. (I am an apprentice falconer but have a lot more experience with dog training/behavior). I wouldn't count on trying to make your dog useful to hunting the first year (focus on the bird), but you'd be wise to start with groundwork with him now so it's easier when you've got your bird.
Dogs can be one of the greatest assets or liabilities when out hunting with a bird. I wouldn't take a dog to the field unless it has flawless recall. There is likely to be situations when your bird decides to leave the field you are hunting. If you can't call your dog in and have it follow you then you have to make a decision; do you try to recover the bird or the dog.
I would strongly recommend an apprentice not think about using a dog his first hunting season. It will give you more time to concentrate on training and working with the bird. Also, without a dog you will learn a lot more about where your targeted game hides and how best to set up the flushes.
After you learn the basics of how things work in the field then consider adding a dog to the mix. I find nothing more rewarding than flying birds with a good dog. The flip side of that is there is nothing more frustrating then having to babysit a dog while out hawking.
To be clear...I do not plan to hunt my Cairn Terrier during Falconry. I have years of hunting experience, my Daughter/Sun-in-law actually have two real hunting dogs; a GSP and Drahthaar, which we hunt with regularly. So, I am familiar with the training aspects of a hunting dog. I would definitely not try to accomplish both dog training and falconry during my first apprentice years.
My main question/concern for this posting was; having an aggressive dog (with hunting instincts) in the same house hold with a Bird of Prey. Along with the initial bait (Mice/rodents) required for trapping. If you are familiar with Cairn Terrier's, they are a small dog with a big dog attitude. When confronted with other animals, they rarely back down. I am afraid and concerned the he may try to attack a hawk. I am also aware that he will need to be conditioned and learn to live along side a hawk. I would obviously not allow them alone until then.
I am just reaching out to hear if anyone else has had a similar situation....and how they dealt with it. Thanks...!!
Post by runnergirl on Jan 24, 2016 15:11:39 GMT -5
I know EXACTLY what Cairns are like. I gave you advice that I used in a similar situation. There's no magic bullet. No instant fix. If your dog sees your bird as prey, you cannot turn that off or train it out (shock collars may suppress it for a while, but not permanently and they risk redirected aggression). You can control it when you're focused on the situation. Otherwise physical barriers (including sight and sound) are your only options. You would NEVER be able to trust your dog and hawk alone together.
Dogs who co-exist with raptors don't see them as prey. Often this is because raptors don't behave like prey; they don't fly off or run, they bate towards the dog and threaten to rake the dog (or do). You would still be wise not to leave them alone together.