Why Do Dogs Kill Birds?

By John Martin - May 7, 2021

Dog attacking bird

The day your dog came back to you with a bird in his mouth, you must have been wondering about this seemingly weird behavior.

You may be wondering if your dog is specifically going through some problem, or if this is a normal phenomenon of dogs?

Let’s explore this behavior of chasing and killing birds more closely.

3 Main Reasons Behind A Dog Killing A Bird

Now that you know, your dog chases birds. You need not panic about this and also it must have comforted you a bit.

It is normal that almost all dogs have this tendency to kill birds. They even do it as a form of gratitude towards their owners.

It may sound bizarre, but is true in many cases.

On the other hand, this is a peculiar habit, and the question arises why do dogs kill birds?

Let us go through some of the aspects to understand why our dogs have this urge to chase and attack birds.

They Have Predatory Instincts of Their Wild Ancestors

Canines are the animals that initially lived in the wild. Therefore, hunting was the standard practice for them to survive.

This behavior has made headway to our pooches from their ancestors, so they still find hunting thrilling and delightful.

In earlier times, many dogs were bred to excel at spotting, attacking, and killing prey. They were trained for bird hunting and were also taught to soft-mouthed their quarry to their masters.

This may be one of the reasons why you may encounter a situation where your dog will get you breathless birds.

We all know how much these pups like to play fetching. But have you ever thought about the reason behind their inclination towards this game?

Fetching resembles chasing and hunting, and so your doggy is ever ready to play fetch with you. It gives them immense pleasure and a lift.

Since these dogs have inherited this hunting behavior from their wild ancestors, they find chasing and attacking birds interesting. Therefore, you will often find your pooch running after the birds when you take him out in the park for the evening walk.

Related: Why Do Dogs Bite Each Other’s Necks?

They Love Being in The Spotlight

Your doggy prefers getting attention from all the family members. They do certain acts to gather engagement and get reactions from their owners.

In addition to that, they love impressing people around them.

This often leads them to do things that you will find awful or annoying. Dogs do not guess which of their acts will be acceptable to you and which will be not.

So, they keep on doing things to impress you, whether you like it or not.

Chasing and killing a bird seems like a feat to them, as they think this will amaze you. Therefore, your pup may bring a dead bird to you after killing it to showcase him as an intelligent and smart dog in front of you.

They Want More Than What You Feed Them

At times, it may happen that the amount of dog food you are giving to your pooch is not enough for him. This may make him hungry, and he will meet his hunger needs by killing and eating birds.

Also, a dog’s body demands meat in his diet. If you are not adding a generous amount of meat to their meals, he may chase and dine on little birds roaming in your yard.

There is no wonder in this behavior of your pooch as they will do this to satisfy their meat cravings.

This is not an issue if your dog has done this once or twice. However, if this has become his daily habit, you must reconsider his diet requirements.

When your pup starts growing up, his dietary needs will change. He will require more food to fill his stomach.

If you overlook this fact and keep on giving him the old diet, he will surely satisfy his hunger by eating birds.

If you are giving him an adequate diet, and if still, he desires to kill and eat birds, you should undoubtedly visit a vet. Getting professional advice on the issues related to your pet’s diet is always a good idea.

Related: Why Do Dogs Chase Squirrels?

How to Stop Your Dog from Chasing and Killing Birds?

At first, it looks just like any other bad habit of your dog that might vanish as soon as he gets bored. No, bird hunting is not like other habits.

It gives your dog bliss and enjoyment. So, he is not going to give up on this habit till you break this off.

It can hamper the health of your dog when this becomes a daily routine. Also, this can be mentally tiring for you as well.

So, it becomes necessary to stop your dog from bird hunting.

Let’s take a look at some of how you can stop your dog from attacking the birds.

Training Your Pooch

The best thing you can do is to give bird training to your dog. It is probable that if you train your dog early, he will not be interested in chasing and killing birds later when he grows up.

This does not mean a grown-up dog cannot be trained. Mostly, people do not have the idea that their pups will be killing birds as they evolve.

So very few owners impart bird training at an early stage to their dogs. Thus, there are a lot of ways to train a mature dog as well.

If your dog is an adult and you have not trained him about birds yet, do not worry at all. We are providing some of the best training methods that you can use to stop your dog from bird hunting, whether they are young or adult.

The Vocal Command Method

Train your dog to respond to your voice or a whistle.

  • At first, use the word “Come” to distract his attention towards you. Instruct him that he should come and walk along with you as and when you utter that word.
  • Once the “Come” command is perfected, familiarize him with the word “Leave.” Using this command, you can train him to drop whatever your furry friend is holding. 
  • Your pooch must be having some favorite toy. Use this command on that object. If he listens to you and abandons that plaything, congratulations, your pup is all set to wander with you in an area full of feathered creatures. 

The Leash Method

Get a leash to have control over your dog.

  • Take your dog to a place with a lot of birds. Wait for him to show interest in any bird.
  • As soon as you see him fascinated towards any bird, walk away, and try to distract him.
  • In the meantime, he will be in your command by using a leash, no option will be left for your dog other than to walk behind you.
  • Gradually, after repeating this method twice or thrice a week, he will start showing less interest in the birds. 

Make sure to give your dog all the freedom to run around and explore, even if you have all the control over him. This can be done by investing in a quality retractable dog leash.

The Noise Aversion Method

Whenever your dog notices any bird they want to chase, all you have to do is make some loud noises like clapping your hands or whistling hard. This will give them a sense of negativity associated with that particular act.

While imparting this training, you need to ensure that you are not causing any discomfort to your pooch. So, use that noise that your dog does not find very annoying.

An important point to be kept in mind while training your dog is to reward them with some treats whenever they act as instructed. This will make them mindful that the task they are rewarded is the right thing to do.

So, they will repeat it when required.

Related: Why Does My Dog Sit On My Chest?

Adding A Bell to Your Dog’s Collar

Even if this is a conventional method, it can be effective in most cases. One of the ways to save the birds from getting attacked by your dog is to attach a bell to his collar.

The bell will automatically alert all the birds and small animals near your dog as and when it will ring. 

This will warn that feathered creature, giving it a chance to fly away before your dog manages to grab it. 

Managing the Energy Level of Your Dog

By taking your dog on a long walk or making them do plenty of exercises, you will destroy their appetite to kill birds. They will be left with less pent-up energy to run after birds and to attack them.

Also, you can play games with them like Frisbee or fetch. It will give them the pleasure of chasing and bringing things to you without even hunting a bird.

In that way, it will diminish their interest in actually hounding any bird.

Due to your busy schedule, in case you won’t be able to walk enough with your pooch to tire them out, it will be beneficial to hire a dog walker. It will give your dog the necessary amount of exercise that he requires to stay fit and exhausted.

Walking with A Hungry Dog Is A Big No

If your furry friend is hungry while you take him for a dog walk, the chances of attacking and killing birds will increase. The hungrier he is, the more delicious all the birds will look at him.

It will revive their desire to chase and kill birds and small animals. So, make sure that your pooch has already had a fulfilling meal before going out.

Also, keep in mind that feeding your dog just before exercise can cause some digestive issues for him. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a proper interval between meals and exercise.

Keeping Birds Away from Your Yard

At last, when every trick has failed to stop your dog from chasing and attacking birds, all you are left with is to discourage these birds that keep on arriving in your backyard.

Clear all kinds of foodstuff, as well as the empty birdhouses or branches from your lawn that may be tempting the birds to enter your yard.

This will only be helpful when your doggy attacks the birds near your home. In case you take him outside, you will have to stick to other ways or training methods, as suggested above.

Related: Why Do Dogs Burrow in Blankets?

To Sum Up

Killing a bird does not always mean that your dog will be preying on it.

Apart from the chase and fun, this becomes the responsibility of a dog’s parents to guide their pooches about what is correct and not.

As you know that preventing this behavior of your dog is of utmost necessity, so be patient and consistent while imparting the training. Though it will be challenging, the result will be worth the pain.