Jump to content
BC Boards

fighting against nature?

Recommended Posts

Hey all BC Moms and Dads!!


Right now I´m facing a problem dealing the nature of a BC. My 3-year old Francisca had never received formal training in herding.. actually, she was discarded as a working dog, so she is our partner for Frisbee, obedience, and all sort of outdoor activities. My husband and I practice paragliding, he as an instructor and for me as a hobby. Francisca joined us since day one, learning not to walk over the gliders, and not getting scared by weird noises or gadgets. She actually enjoyed chasing them once they had taken off and were flying over the place. However, lately she decided her mission on Earth was to keep them away from taking off, so whenever she sees a pilot getting ready to take off, she stands up right behind, in exactly the same position and expression they use when herding or when waiting for the Frisbee to be tossed. As the pilot starts taking off, she starts chasing them, and even snapping at the legs, or even the seat to acommplish her mission.

This becomes a mayor safety problem. First, the parachute is located on the seat, so whenever she snaps, there is a chance that she might open it, or tear it off. Second, although most of the pilots know Francisca, love her, and learned to take off despite her, there are a number of tandem flights, with passengers that are nervous enough about flying for the first time, and having to escape from a crazy dog is already a little bit too much.

Francisca totally ignores my commands. If I try to catch her, she'll start running.. that is so not her! training her had been so far such a delicate experience! So I guess that Im attempting to make her give up her very nature. What to do?

I already gave up flying, so that I can be 100% behind her, put her on a leash whenever someone is taking off, and once in the air, I release her, so she runs as she used to do before. (when on the leash, she doesn't even pull, she just sits next to me).

I had tried distracting her, by playing with her favorite toys while someone takes off. But she just runs as fast as she can to reach the other side of the place.

Paragliding was our family activity. Mom and Dad in the air, BC Girl running and playing. I dont want to give up flying, but leaving Francisca on a leash all day long is not an option. :rolleyes:

I'd really apprecciate your comments and recommendations!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds to me like your dog (and everyone else) would be best off and safest if she were to be crated out of sight of the participants, or left at home for this activity. Somethings are just not compatible with the nature of certain dogs and it appears that she has developed a bad habit that has a potential for tragedy.


It is not a big step from allowing her to "chase" the gliders in the air to her wanting to be "involved" with the gliders on the ground and at take-off. It's kind of like letting a dog chase after running squirrels or rabbits, and then expecting the dog to not want to chase squirrels or rabbits when they are not moving or when they are just beginning to run.


Perhaps there is another activity that you can participate in with her, and keep this pleasure for just the two of you, as hard as that might seem.


Best wishes!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Sue. Your girl might also start fixating on planes, birds, flying insects, flapping banners or flags. anything that moves above her in the sky. You really don't want that.


For a border collie, doing something once turns it into a habit. I'd leave her safely confined at home, and look into herding lessons, (I know you said she was a failed ranch dog, but you never know, with some maturity and perhaps a different teacher, she might do well,) agility, tracking, even just trick training at home. You will need to replace the activity and engage her wonderful brain in something interactive with you or hubby.


Good luck, please let us know how you all do.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Put her up in a crate, tie her up safely out of site (be sure she cannot get hung or tangled), or leave her home.


She was never enjoying a "game", she was fixating and using her prey drive first while you were in the air, then it escalated to on the ground. It's no different than chasing cars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's no different than chasing cars.



If you still want to have your dog present during your paragliding activities, use the search function to find advice on how to manage and cure a car chaser. It will take some time and work (maybe a LOT of time and work), but it is possible that you could train her to relax calmly while you are flying. I agree with others though, the glider chasing needs to stop now, forever, for everyone's mental and physical health and safety.


Look at it this way. There are some adult hobbies that kids can join in, but there are others that kids simply don't have the maturity or self control to participate in safely. If a parent wants to involve their kid in such an activity, they need to actively manage the kid, control the kid's level of exposure, gradually teach the kid how to stay safe in that setting, etc. In other words, the kid becomes the parent's #1 focus, not the activity. If you want to take your dog along on paragliding days, your focus on those days should be on dog training, not paragliding, and the focus of your training should be on teaching self control, not on restraining or distracting her until you think it is "safe" to release her to resume her chasing ways.


Whenever you're not actively working with your dog, she should be somewhere she cannot practice her glider chasing behavior, i.e. in a crate or a car. It's very hard on the dog to be exposed to the stimulus (gliders) and not be able to respond (chase), so it's far more humane to block her view of them entirely, and probably the sounds as well.


Hope this helps.


ETA: I just looked back at some of your older posts, and I totally LOVE your portable jacuzzi idea. Thanks for that!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hehehehe, my husband also suggested taking her along, as a final attempt to change her behavior :D

I apprecciate all your comments and I guess it is settled in the following way: We usually go flying 2 or 3 days.. weekends (Lots of holidays in Colombia!!). I will provide her with lots of activity in the mornings, so that she can stay home while mom goes flying at noon and afternoon. We are usually done at 4:00 pm, so she will again hang out with mom and dad. I guess we just wanted to have her around us as much as possible, but you made me realize it is just not suitable.

However, you suggestion on car chasing attitude is very interesting, and we will try to manage it the same way. So, one of the 3 days we spend flying, I will devote it completely to train her, and see if she does make any progress. Eventually, she might be able to totally ignore the gliders. I know it is tough work, and takes time, but I´m committed with trying very hard!

I will let you know the progresses she makes, and if we definitely take her on a tandem flight... you guys will be the first ones to see the pics/videos!! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like your attitude - to figure out to make a training opportunity and make the best of the situation. Sounds like she is in very good hands with you and your husband.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our late Border Collie Scotty (passed in Feb) would take off after a small engine aircraft if they happened to by flying over the house....as others have said, it's most likely her prey drive at work rather than any sense of wanting to join in the fun. She'd probably do the same thing if you launched a kite.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...