How Do I Stop My Dog From Busting Birds?

When you have a dog for hunting, you cannot have it chasing the birds away. So, can you stop your dog from busting birds?

You can use several methods to help stop your dog from busting birds. These methods are successful. Here are the methods you can use:

  1. Use a long check cord with training
  2. Use an E-collar when training
  3. Speak to your dog in a stern and strong voice
  4. Place a bell on their collar

How do you use these methods to help stop your dog from busting birds? We will go through these methods in detail to help get your dog back to its obedient self, so they don’t scare away the birds you’re trying to hunt.

4 Methods To Stop Dogs From Busting Birds

Dogs are excellent pets to have. They can offer comfort and companionship and help us in many different ways through hunting, protecting, and guiding those with various disabilities. Even though dogs are man’s best friend and can help with many different aspects of life, there is no perfect dog.

Dogs still have their instincts and wild nature to contend with, and these can make it difficult for your dog to concentrate on what you are telling them and training them to do. From puppies to older dogs, there will always be some sort of misbehavior that can be frustrating for you as the owner.

One such problem is that your dog loves busting or chasing birds. This can seriously distract your dog, especially during a training session. If you are training hunting dogs, this can be a huge problem, as whatever your dog does during training, they are likely to do out in the field on a hunt.

Having your dog rush the birds you’re trying to hunt will decrease the success of your hunt. So, if your dog loves busting birds, then this is a behavior you will need to train out of them quickly.

Thankfully, you can use fairly easy training methods to help train this behavior out of your dog. Let’s go through the 4 easiest methods to train your dog to not bust birds.

1. Use A Long Check Cord

When hunting with your dog, you need it to be steady and alert while always listening to your commands, which will not happen if your dog busts any bird they come across. One method you can use during the training with your dog is to use an extra-long check cord.

You should use a check cord of about 50 to 100 feet in length. You will connect one end of the cord to your dog’s harness and tie a large knot on the other side of the cord. You will need a friend to help you with the rest of this training method.

Have your friend hide a few yards away from you and your dog while they hold a rope with a bird replica for training. You can also set up a scent cone close to the bird to make it more appealing to your dog.

The bird needs to be visible to the dog. Then let your dog go a few yards out in the bird’s direction. Once the bird has the dog’s attention, you must also hide out of sight.

This will make your dog think they are alone, and the true busting instinct will reveal itself. When the dog starts running toward the bird, have your friend pull on the string of the bird, making it move away from the dog.

At this point, you will come out of hiding and hold the check cord attached to your dog. Allow the cord to feed through your hands until you grab hold of the knot at the end. Hold onto this knot, and don’t allow the dog to pull free. This will pull the dog backward, frightening it as it won’t know what happened.

As soon as the dog is stopped, you must hide again so the dog cannot see you. This will give the dog the illusion of an invisible wall that stops it from getting to the bird. If you do this a few times, your dog will eventually get the message that it cannot chase the bird due to this invisible wall.

You can consider this training method a success when your dog starts to ignore the bird or only points to it without giving chase.   

2. Use An E-Collar

The check cord method above is quite effective and has been used for decades when dealing with busting dogs. One of the newer methods is swapping the check cord with an E-collar. This is a possible method you can use, but you need to understand that this method does have a high chance of seriously injuring your dog.

This method is not used in hunting schools, as you cannot afford to harm your hunting dogs, so it’s not highly recommended. However, some people find success with it. You will have the same setup as the method above for this method, but you will use an E-collar instead of a check cord.

Once the dog begins busting the bird, you will activate the E-collar to stop the dog from chasing it. This will hurt your dog, so some people see it as cruel, but if this is the method for you, then ensure the E-collar is on a low setting.

3. Talk To Your Dog Sternly

Another method many people find works well with their dogs is talking sternly to them when they get distracted by birds. For many dogs, this is a good enough method as they don’t like getting in trouble, especially dogs that are already well-trained and know they are doing something wrong.

It’s recommended that you try this method with your dog before you try one of the methods above because if this works for you, then there’s no need to take the matter further. So, when your dog begins busting birds, shout at them in a strong and stern voice.

Often this will break the dog’s attention away from the birds and back to you, where you can reprimand the dog a bit more with your strong voice by telling it that it’s a bad dog. With some dogs, this will stop them from busting birds in the future.

You can use the same setup as the two previous methods, but without the check cord or E-collar. Then when your dog starts busting, use your voice to control them and get their attention back to you.

When your dog stops going for the birds, remember to give him or her some positive reinforcement for that good behavior.

4. Place A Bell On Your Dogs Collar

If your dog busting is not that much of a problem for you, but you want to ensure your dog doesn’t kill a bird. You can place a bell on your dog’s collar that will jingle when your dog runs. This will warn the birds that your dog is close, and they will fly away. This method is perfect for the puppies that don’t make it for hunting but still have the busting instinct.


Busting is a natural behavior of dogs as they are predators and like to hunt, and birds are natural prey animals. Busting can cause problems for hunters, as their dogs will scare the birds away, making the hunt unsuccessful.

Thankfully, you can use methods to help train the busting instinct out of your dog for your hunt. These methods are easy to set up and are highly successful. If you follow the methods in this article, you should stop your dog from busting in no time. Good luck with the training!


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