View Full Version : Staring at birds-Is this typical ACD behavior?

Forest Basenji
06-28-2009, 08:42 PM
Chloe, my ACD mix (with Basenji, we think?) is a bit preoccupied with birds.

When she sees them, she'll freeze, stop and stare. Occasionally she'll creep closer to the bird very slowly, breaking her stance to "chase" only when the bird is pretty close to her.

So far she hasn't caught any, but it certainly doesn't stop her from trying.

This behavior is fun to watch and is interesting to me....in fact, it's something I'd associate with a pointer or setter, but not a herding breed mix. Then again, Chloe is my first herding breed mix, so I am not too familiar with their behavior :).

Just wondering if anybody else's ACD does this, and if it's a typical "herding" behavior? Curious as to how widely this behavior differs from a "point" displayed by a pointer/setter, but that is probably a question for another forum! Thanks for any info!!

06-28-2009, 09:16 PM
What you are seeing is prey drive, which is what herding actually is- the instinct to chase. My dogs often watch birds or anything else that gets into the fence. They freeze, lay low to the ground, and twitch their tails like cats. They caught a rabbit last weekend and today, I had to rescue a feral cat that had got on to my property:s4:(I'm allergic to cats, so it was tough)Almost all the Heelers I've owned or fostered have had high prey drive. I have many friends with Pointers, but I don't know what compels them to point, so I can't compare. Probably a part of the prey drive, like the way a cat and some breeds of dogs will freeze, but the chase part has been bred out. Just a guess on the pointing thing, but it is VERY normal for ACDs or just about any herding breed or sighthound (which your dog is both) to watch any small or fast moving thing. Fast food:biggrin2:

06-28-2009, 10:26 PM
Pawsom LOVES birds! If she even sees them in the distance she will stalk them and try to catch them. Of all the animals she has been around, birds were the only ones I was told she is untrustworthy with.


Forest Basenji
06-28-2009, 11:07 PM
Interesting, thanks for the replies! I also have 2 purebred Basenjis, and the "stop and stalk" behavior in them is virtually nonexistent, LOL. For the most part, they see something they want & immediately chase it. I have seen my male "stalk" squirrels a few times but mostly they just sprint & chase, and rely on speed to catch their prey.

*They* have caught a few animals over the years, including a little unlucky sparrow who didn't get up off the grass quick enough & my male Basenji jumped & plucked him right out of the air. Guess it's a good thing I'm not too squeamish!! :)

06-29-2009, 12:03 AM
We have two German Shorthaired Pointers and got our first ACD, Nash, last year. Our girl GSP (Lilly) stalks/catches things ALL the time in our yard, and Nash has learned well from Lilly. So much so, that I've caught Nash pointing, or holding a point, when he's trying to catch a butterfly, lizard, or bird. It is adorably cute to see this little ACD doing GSP moves, lol! :)

Jan and John at Chevland
06-29-2009, 03:37 AM
Yep - Barron is a bird dog too. We have swallows that like to tease him by swooping pretty low (a bit too low for their own good) and Barron chases and barks at them. He hasn't got one yet, and I doubt that he will. However, I don't encourage the behaviour and stop him as soon as I can. A barking dog is no fun for any neighbour.

06-29-2009, 07:46 AM
Last year, I had a big problem with my two actually getting baby birds that had just left the nest. Thankfully, this year mama birds got smarter and built nests elsewhere. I know it's a dog's natural instinct to go after moving wildlife but I don't like the birds getting hurt/killed by them. This year unfortunately some baby rabbits didn't fare as well.

06-29-2009, 12:04 PM
My foster pup Katy is VERY into birds! She will stop, sometimes with a paw up, stalk & chase. She has gotten nowhere close though! :naughty:


06-29-2009, 03:07 PM
LOL! Buck very nearly caught a slow, dumb Robin while we were out on our hike yesterday. He pretty much wants to catch any bird we see. He's ok with cats since he was raised with one, but bird- ugh, that's another manner. I can get him to leave the little, non-annoying ones alone, but we have magpies here that purposely follow and swoop at us and he nearly jerks my shoulder out of it's socket trying to get them. Stupid magpies.

Scout could care less about them which is good.

06-29-2009, 03:58 PM
All of our 5 ACDs have caught pigeons or birds. Our 2nd oldest now at the Bridge would catch at least one a wk and as she got older they would make her sick (pigeons). She ended up w/ allergies I suspect caused by the pigeons as they are dirty birds, have parasites and diseases here. She still would catch them even being pretty feeble at the end. She was the only one obsessed with them and I'm thankful that the others may do it once in a while but not consistently. The problem was even if you saw her do it by the time you got to her she'd already swallowed it whole. I kept telling her she was smarter than that (to keep doing it) but I guess the prey drive overruled. Mrs YB

06-30-2009, 01:23 AM
My two boys will stalk the birds. They will lunge at them if they are flying low and sometimes get lucky with nailing tail feathers. Prey drive is fun to watch in the ACD's.

Miss Marlie
06-30-2009, 03:11 PM
My two girls love to stalk and chase birds. Thank goodness they have not caught any.

Miss Marlie and my two girls Kate:paw:and Lola:paw:

07-03-2009, 02:10 AM
The only time I've seen my Shiner go after birds is when she sees ducks or geese. She almost got a goose a couple weeks back. When we hike if she sees a cow she will go into stalk mode. I always keep her on leash because she has never had any herding training and these are free range cattle I don't want to to get hurt by them.