It’s just after daybreak on the Hendricks Motorsports performance training center in Charlotte, North Carolina. As NASCAR professionals head in for another day at work, geese are starting to settle on the main pond of the campus until Bett appears across the pond. The border collie takes off racing towards the geese at top speed.
The birds flee instantly, squawking in fear as they dash off into the sky.
“That’ll do, Bett!” shouts Rebecca Gibson, owner of Fly Away Geese, a business that fully trains border collies for wildlife management.
A giddy Bett comes galloping back with a wide smile spread across her face. She obediently hops back into the car with her brother, Greg, as they head off to their next job.
When Gibson brings her border collies onto a site, she automatically establishes a predator-prey relationship, “but in the mind of the border collie, it’s just working,” Gibson explained
By using this method, Gibson said safety is ensured for both the birds and dogs.
Fly Away Geese is one of few dozen businesses in the United States that specializes in training canines to scare away and deter birds from staying on a property as a form of wildlife management.
Bett and Greg are Gibson’s personal dogs that she uses to work locally in central North Carolina with clients. But she trains border collies to sell to facilities, like golf courses and airports, that will use the dogs to aid in wildlife management.
“Inside their [the dogs] head, they’re thinking, ‘This is it. This is going to be the best goose chasing experience I’ve ever had,’” Gibson said of the dogs she sends out on jobs.
Hendrick Motorsports found out about the dogs three years ago when they were having trouble with geese on campus.
“They’re really effective,” Scott Lampe, vice president of Hendrick Motorsports, told ABC News. He said he feels as if Bett and Greg take ownership of the pond and make the birds leave out of respect for the canines’ dominance.
Back home in Stanfield, North Carolina, east of Charlotte, Gibson trains dogs with the help of her family. Her four daughters each play a role in the business.
The 13-acre property has a kennel and a barn bustling with animals. Right now, she has five horses, 14 dogs, nine puppies, and some sheep and ducks.
“The dogs support our family, and we support the dogs,” she said. “Everybody's part of the team.”
When it comes to training, Gibson explained that she starts training puppies at 6 to 7 weeks old.
“I actually start out with a mop, and I let them chase the mop around on the floor,” she said.
At 12 weeks old, she starts to work the dogs on ducks by keeping them in a controlled environment for safety and to get the dogs “jazzed up” about the birds.
Though Gibson has trained and sold hundreds of border collies to facilities across the country, and, even in some cases, to other countries, Bett and Greg are part of her family.
“Bett thinks that Greg screws off too much. And Greg thinks that you should play when you shouldn't sometimes, and Bett gets mad. They wrestle and argue,” she said about the pair's sibling rivalry.
However, when it comes to the job, both canines are superior workers.
“Greg's a soldier,” she said about the 2-year-old border collie. “He's gonna do exactly what he's asked to do when he's asked to do it, no questions asked.”
As for Bett, who is 3 years old, Gibson said that even though the dog shakes with adrenaline when she goes on a goose chase, she respects Gibson’s directions. Above all, Bett has complete trust in Gibson as her handler.
“Bett's trust in me, and her love for me is more than anything I've ever seen. I mean, this dog worships the ground that I walk on,” Gibson said of Bett. “And I feel that from her.”
Gibson said a part of her connection to Bett can also be seen in all the dogs she trains.
“I feel dogs. I always have. I get a feeling from them, and I feel like my job is to take them to that level,” she said.
“The reason that I do what I do is that connection," she added, "and seeing those dogs do well and get out in the world and do well."