For three springs, Mickey, the old Border collie, ran to the pond and harassed any goose she might find. For three springs, no geese made a nest at the pond.
This spring I walked four Border collies around the pond. When the geese saw them, they stepped into the pond, and my four dogs went about their daily sniffing and play games. They never harassed the geese.
Two geese took notice and made a nest. And soon, there were two adults and three goslings.
We continued our walks, and the geese continued stepping into the pond.
In the past few weeks, other geese joined the flock. Now, 23 geese are hanging around the pond--except when they are munching on the newly planted alfalfa.
This week, I decided to train one of my dogs to harass the geese.
While walking through an alfalfa field one morning, I spotted the geese. So did Caeli, my prick-eared Border collie who has some sheep herding training.
"Walk up," I told her.
She did with gusto.
As the geese took flight, I celebrated.
One goose panicked and lifted off a few seconds after the others.
And Caeli was there.
"Lie down," I yelled.
While I wanted the geese gone, I didn't want Caeli mangling one in our front field.
Caeli dropped, her nose inches from the goose that had flattened itself on the ground.
Caeli looked at me, reluctant to leave.
She came to me, her eye never leaving the goose.
After attaching her to a leash, I walked over to the goose who appeared uninjured, but on the ground.
As we walked away, the other geese circled back to the field, and the goose stood, ruffled her feathers and joined the flock.
This morning, the 23 geese are still hanging out at the pond and the nearby alfalfa fields.