Smart and hard-working, Bill and Duke help control geese at Airlie


This week, we wanted to introduce you to our goose dogs. We love them so much, we thought you might, too. Bill and Duke come from Flyaway Farm in Locust, North Carolina, where Rebecca Gibson and her team train Border Collies to control geese, deer, double-breasted cormorants, egrets and sandhill cranes. Like all of the working dogs from Flyaway Farm, Rebecca trained Airlie’s goose dogs to be well-socialized, using positive reinforcement techniques to ensure a hard worker with a great attitude.

Bill and Duke take their work seriously, and are also fun-loving dogs that love running and swimming. Bill is 16 months old, a traditional black and white Border Collie with long hair. Duke is a two-year-old blue merle who loves the water. Both dogs love people, especially their handlers, Executive Director Chuck Smith and Director of Facilities Rick Putnam.

They are certified by the North American Goose Dog Association, and are quiet, tireless workers.

Instead of barking, goose dogs haze the birds in a humane and effective way. Their notorious “eye,” or intense stare, and catlike movements threaten the geese until they leave voluntarily. Border Collies are a great alternative to other types of goose deterrents because they are constantly moving and changing their behavior, never letting the geese acclimate as they might with other methods. And they pose no risk to the birds or bystanders.

The use of goose dogs is also supported by PETA and the Humane Society.

Border Collies are from Great Britain, and get their name from being bred on the border of Ireland and Scotland.

And they are perhaps the smartest breed of dogs in the world, capable of completing complex and problem-solving tasks. For example, a Border Collie named Chaser can identify over 1,000 different toys by name and category. Another Border Collie, Striker, can roll down a car window in a record 11.34 seconds.

They also make great search and rescue dogs.

For more information about Border Collies, read 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Border Collie by the American Kennel Club.



Top collage: Bill, with handler Rick Putnam.
Bottom collage: Duke, photo courtesy of Rebecca Gibson at Flyaway Farm.

Natalie Glenn

Written by Natalie Glenn

Natalie Glenn is this summer’s Sales and Marketing intern. As a Junior at Virginia Tech, Natalie is studying Public Relations and the beauty of Blacksburg. Natalie has lived in Warrenton for most of her short life, and enjoys exploring the great outdoors or playing with dogs when she’s not working hard at Airlie.


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