Train dogs NOT to eat quail?

FunQuail

Songster
Sep 23, 2018
428
694
231
Kansas
Hi,
I know most people want to train their dogs to hunt quail, well, I want to do the total opposite. I'm planning to let some quail go on our property this coming spring. We have two blue heelers who love to hunt anything and everything (they're afraid of turtles though:gig)
Is there a way to train them not to eat quail?
Thanks!:D
 

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
2,345
4,966
286
Central Texas
First, look it up and be sure it's legal in your area to release.

It's gonna be tricky because you have two dogs that are bred to hunt birds, but it's potentially possible, depending on the dog. You're going to have to expose them, gradually, to your quail in cages. Get them vaguely near the quail, draw their attention away, and reward them for ignoring the quail. Get them closer, keep their attention, and continue rewarding them. If they look interested in the quail, back up and pull their attention away, and end the session entirely if they don't lose interest. Probably best to go one at a time. Don't punish them if they go after the quail, it isn't their fault and that won't help anything, just teach them that the quail aren't worth their time.
Eventually, hopefully, you'll be able to get the dogs to ignore quail even up close. No guarantees if a quail bursts out of the grass at their feet, they might still have that instinctive drive to snap and chase, but it's worth a try to train them.
 

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
2,345
4,966
286
Central Texas
Make sure not to make a big deal of it. Take them one at a time and walk kinda near the quail pen, act as unobtrusive as possible, see what they think. There's lots of good advice on here about teaching dogs to leave chickens/chicks alone, you can basically just do that sort of thing. You may even want to try releasing a quail from right under the dog's nose if/when they've 'graduated' and ignore them in the pen, where you can keep the dog from chasing it, though I'd get a second opinion on that in case it gets their attention again. Your dogs will always notice your quail, but you can try to train them to ignore it.
What's your contingency plan if your dogs don't ignore quail? My suggestion would be a very solid recall- which your dogs should have anyway, especially if you have lots of wildlife around. Get them to the point where they'll come to you when you call, no matter what. Keeps 'em out of dead things, too.
 

FunQuail

Songster
Sep 23, 2018
428
694
231
Kansas
Thanks! I don’t have another plan honestly, I’m still figuring out the details so, I may not let any go, don’t know yet.:idunno Is there another way as well to try to get them to ignore the quail?
Thank you!
 

007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Oct 25, 2015
32,968
196,509
1,642
South Central Texas
Hi,
I know most people want to train their dogs to hunt quail, well, I want to do the total opposite. I'm planning to let some quail go on our property this coming spring. We have two blue heelers who love to hunt anything and everything (they're afraid of turtles though:gig)
Is there a way to train them not to eat quail?
Thanks!:D
Funny you mention tortoises I had a bird dog (field trial) that would bring tortoises up to the house almost every day. Some of the old timers said it's because tortoises smell
like quail. Idk but kept the ones she brought up to the house in one day, 13
 

Woodey2

Songster
Jul 8, 2018
86
107
126
Virginia, USA
We have 4 blue heelers and they do hunt or herd everything. I plan on doing the same thing so I would be real interested in the out come also.

Please keep us posted.
 

townchicks

Free Ranging
Dec 1, 2016
1,998
6,504
666
Contra Costa county, Ca.
Frankly, I think you are being unrealistic. If you are a really good dog trainer, and are willing to take months to work with the dogs, individually and together, you may be able to train the dogs to leave the quail alone while you are there. Since they have been allowed to hunt anything they come across for some time, getting them to ignore the quail, which are flighty birds and likely to incite prey drive, when you are not there, seems unlikely. Add in the factor that you have two dogs, which can cause pack mentality chasing. Have you done any basic obedience training with these dogs? If not, start there, and keep the quail safe in a secure pen, while the dogs can see them and become more blasé about them. See how the dogs react to the penned birds. work their obedience lessons (after they know them well) right next to the penned birds, so you can see if they will pay attention to you when close to the birds.
Why do you want to "release" domestically bred birds anyway?
 

igorsMistress

Frank and Abbys mom.
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Apr 9, 2013
22,882
119,291
1,632
My Coop
My Coop
You have hunting dogs. It's instinctual to hunt and you're not likely to stop what has been bred into those dogs.

If they're trained properly they should flush and retrieve, not eat your meal. If not trained, well I wouldn't get too upset if you find quail remains from time to time.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom