I am now in Austria, in the wonderful Carinthia, giving a seminar on anti-hunting. There are a lot of flies here, much more than what is at home in beautiful Marl. One of the participating dogs is severely distracted by flies. He hates it when they argue around and then can’t focus at all. He tries to catch her and keep himself in trouble. Of course he is not the only one.
Most animals are likely to be annoyed by the whistles. But for some, it is especially bad – it can develop into a real phobia, since four-legged friends cannot survive on their own if there is a fly in the apartment. A real stress test in everyday life! How do you deal with it?
Why does my dog chase flies?
“Fly Chasing” is actually not the correct term. Rather, it should be “flying away” or “flying off”. Unlike a frog, our dog is not interested in catching prey, but rather in keeping small tormentors away from their fur.
But is this dangerous? If the dog has been in the stable for a few hours and is busy catching flies, it’s not a drama. Caring for flies is harmless as long as they are not transmitted to stinging insects. But: If your dog can’t sleep at home once the bugs are inside, this hobby can take on harmful proportions.
What do you do if your dog chases flies?
Part of the problem can be managed by installing screens and doors. Areas of high frequency can also be treated with a botanical repellent spray, if necessary even the dog itself. If the fly gets in, it must be taken out again immediately.
However, be careful with sensitive dogs when handling the flycatcher. They often find it quite intimidating when they chase after their human, hold hands, and then violently whip. Popping noises often cause panic! In this case, the dog must leave the room before attempting to catch flies.
Should I stop my dog from catching flies?
For many dogs, biting at a fly is more of an unusual reaction, much like a horse clicking its tail to drive away pests. I myself constantly shake part of my body here or reach out my hand in the direction I feel the insect on my body. In this regard, it is of course questionable to what extent I can and should prevent my dog from catching flies.
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to punish a reckless act – and this is morally questionable. Because what is the alternative? That the dog tolerates flies crawling on it without any resistance on his part? difficult subject.
What can I do instead?
Conversely, as a dog owner, I have to somehow be able to interrupt my dog when it settles into a wasp. However, I can also do this without blocking. I just need his attention on me and away from the wasp. Whether it’s simply saying his name loud and lively, an unusual noise, or a nod to push my hand – everything is possible as clips!
Otherwise, of course, I can always reward my dog when an insect approaches and he just looks instead of driving it away. A so-called sign signal is useful here, which accurately determines the right moment and promises the dog a reward. If you want to learn more about click training (a synonym for tag training), you’ll also find valuable tips here.
What are the disadvantages of termination based on a penalty?
Why don’t I demand a “No!” , “Uh!” , “turning off!”? There are several reasons: On the other hand, punishment is subject to certain rules – at least if it is to be effective. One of them is that if possible, I should punish the dog every time he commits a crime. Otherwise, not being punished in a situation that would normally be punished can actually be rewarding. But hand in hand? Who can realistically implement this in everyday life, and punish their dog every time they frighten an insect in everyday life?
Next point: the penalty loses its effect and expires when used in an inflated way. Better save that for really important situations!
I also need to realize that if I constantly interact negatively with the dog, it will affect our relationship. Unfortunately, from a trainer’s perspective, I know of too many teams of human dogs in which the dog actively distances himself from his human, and he doesn’t seem to like it.
Then these teams come to training due to a lack of recall or something similar. But there’s often more behind that, which is that the dog doesn’t even want to run into their human – no matter what perceptible distractions. It is not without reason that I have been giving a course for networking and communication regularly for many years, and now also online. Because exactly such topics, such as improperly applied abortions, can put a lot of stress on the human-dog relationship.
When is chasing flies no longer normal?
Then there are the candidates for whom the aviation topic is beyond the normal range. This happens when a dog gets frightened in the presence of flies, unable to lie down, let alone settle down, and instead tirelessly chases flies with no regard for their physical well-being.
In such cases, just as with the topic of chasing shadows, it makes sense to consult a veterinarian who specializes in behavioral therapy. Because in such a situation it may be necessary to use medicines, feed supplements and the like. But this is beyond the efficiency of an ordinary dog school.
Conclusion: Can your dog catch flies?
Shooting flies is a normal behavior for dogs. It is not harmful in itself, as long as the dog can still find peace and quiet. If he transmits this behavior to wasps and his accomplices, then a sting in an unfavorable place can have serious consequences. That is why you should try to distract the dog in such a situation and prevent it from doing its job. These dangerous situations cannot be completely avoided.
Would you like to read more tips from dog trainer Pia Groening? You can find all of her guest posts here.