Geese training?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jul 12, 2010
Okay so here is the 2 geese have been handled and interacted with on a daily basis....BUT a few days ago my Gander bit me on the back of the calf and left a good bruise~! Now usually when he gets all excited and wants to bite we pick him up and let him calm down. I am not sure if it was the sandals I had on because they were silver and sparkly or what it was but he would try to nip at them and when I moved my feet he became more agressive. Kind of like he thought it was a game. My husband is out there with them all the time he sits on the lawn with them and he pets them etc. I sometimes feel he is teasing them without realizing it. Last night everytime Romeo tried to nip at me I would very carefully put my hand around his neck and use the other hand to scratch him.....what are we doing wrong??? I have tried to make myself big and flap my arms and back him up it does not fear is IF they mate I am going to have a very mean critter on my hands.
Any advise on geese training and imprinting? I Love them to pieces but their little love pecks have become more then picking him up the right thing to do??? Please help me because I do not want o become afraid of this Gander.....I really want to be able to interact with him and be comfortable. They follow me like dogs and he eats out of my hand etc. All of a sudden he has my female getting a bit aggressive....Oh and did I mention how loud he gets???? Holy Smack~!!!
I need a few pointers so I can do my yard work and not have him chewing on me. I don't mine the friendly pecks but he gets out of control to the point of me wanting to kick him and I don't want to do that......just want him to stop with the aggresion that has come out of nowhere.

Olive Hill

10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
First things first. Don't make excuses for him. The sandals very well could have been what caught his eye. It doesn't matter. His behavior is unacceptable. I don't care if you were wearing giant hot pink goose eating slippers with 4 carat diamond encrusted soles he is not to be aggressive with you for any reason at any time. Period. No excuses.

How so?

Treating him like a rare fragile treasure rather than potentially dangerous livestock.
Do not scratch him. KICK HIS BUTT! Literally if you have to.

He knows you're bluffing. How does it not work? He doesn't back down? And then what do you do?

Step one: do not imprint a gander onto a human. You're way past that, unfortunately. Step two is to not bluff. You absolutely, positively MUST follow through. You must have every intention of putting him in his place by whatever means necessary whenever he challenges you. Every time he calls your bluff and wins it confirms that he is alpha to you.

First, stop anthropomorphizing the bird. They're not love pecks, they're dominance pecks. He is exerting dominance over you. Nothing more, nothing less. Second, stop feeding him out of your hand. You will never see a goose lower on the gaggle hierarchy being allowed to freely eat out of any area that "belongs" at that moment to one of his superiors. You are telling the bird he is your boss.

She too thinks you're lower on the hierarchy. As for the noise. Yep. Geese. Louder than train whistles. LOL! Nothing you can do about that, really.

There is no such thing as friendly pecks, those are just the small pecks that he used to test the water to find out whether or not you were dominant to him. You allowed it, he confirmed he is, in fact, alpha and now he dominates you as he pleases.

Good! Use that frustration. Stand up, get BIG, spread your wings and DEMAND your space. I guarantee, based on what you've typed here, if I saw you do this in person I would tell you you were not big enough and mean enough. Get bigger, get meaner and most of all FOLLOW THROUGH. If he comes back at you, you have to go back at him 10 times harder. If it gets physical and you have to grab him you do not "carefully" put your hand around his neck, you grab on sweep him up and hold him hard, very firmly pin his wings down. You have to mean business. You are not going to hurt that gander. Put some force behind whatever you do with him.

Some people come by this naturally. They have dominant personalities, they demand respect with their presence. Others don't. You may simply be one that needs to work at it. Good Luck!


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Olive Hill, I want to thank you SO much for your instructions and explanation for each bit! I have a pair of young Toulouse geese, and they have been deferring to me quite well. I am dominant over my flock of chickens, including eleven roosters. Without any problem at all.

I've been wanting to hand feed my pair of Toulouse geese, though, and they wont eat out of my hand. Now I see I should be happy with them just wanting to be near me and occasionally accepting a skritch on the breast, not unlike grooming. I'll put their treats down and walk away, from now on. They've been happy enough with their goodies when I do that, already.

They are such interesting creatures, and so handsome. Even when they get the Zoomies and run somewhere flapping their wings. (They always fold their wings when they get close to me, if they were running to greet me, and gabble as if they are recounting the day's events.)

Again, I really appreciate what you told Atrayou, because it does relate to my situation as well.

Atrayou, thanks for posting the questions!


8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
Olive hill has it right.

animals live in a social world and establish a social dominance order. we're part of that ranking, just not always where we think we are. their behavior towards us makes it quite clear where *they* think we stand. changing their opinion of that means communicating in a language they understand that you're higher status than they are. easier if you start out clear on the subject, but they can be convinced to accept your new higher rank if you are consistant, clear and determined.

for some folks it seems really harsh, but the alternative is harsher... having to re-home them, or have them destroyed because they can't be kept safely. much better to have them get a new picture about their place in the world of people.
Last edited:


Family owned, family run
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
Florida - Space Coast
I have a flag of red fabric on the end of a bamboo pole I use to wave and make myself bigger than our African gander. He has never nipped anyone here. He will honk super loud, lower his head and complain, but he will always submit if we charge him. Even the kids can challenge his wing spread and he will submit.

Might take some time, but it can be done, and you will be head goose!


12 Years
Feb 17, 2009
North Georgia
Wear the same shoes;) around him. I noticed my geese didn't like my feet and would zone in on them if I wore the "wrong color" Crocs outdoors to feed in. It does say the same thing in Storyes guide to geese , always wear the same shoes around the birds. I bet it has something to do with identification. Neither the ducks or geese like "other colors" at first, whether shoes or new birds. That is my observations anyway


8 Years
May 30, 2011
Interesting I have a chinese pair of geese Desi and Lucy, and this information hits the nail on the head. Babies they were friendly and very spoiled, My gander is the sweetest but my female can get a bit testy and does exactly what is described. I usually try to make it better by cuddling her, but when I have lost it, I will pick her up Holding her neck so she can't bite me,and take her to her house for a time out for a few days then she seems better again. Great thread, I hadnt thought of the dominance thing. I love it when they help me weed and lean over my shoulder to chat but with this advice maybe I can feel more comfortable with Lucy, I also think she gets jealous of Desi's attention to me, can that be?

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom