My Dog Tries to Chase Turkey Vultures

My Dog Tries to Chase Turkey Vultures

My dog’s nemesis

Baxter loves most things. People. Animals. Soft surfaces—even hard surfaces sometimes. However, there is one thing he despises. Turkey vultures.

Occasionally also known as buzzards, these birds are relatively plentiful around the farm. Every so often they swoop down and perch on the roof of the barn. And Baxter loses his mind.

Hackles go up. There is barking, growling, charging. The only problem is that he is on the ground and they’re on the barn many, many, many feet up in the air.

Yes, my dog is ridiculous.

If he can convince them to take off and leave the barn, he will pursue them. Once again, him on the ground and them in the air.

Watching Baxter run through the fields while looking up at the sky is one of the silliest sights I’ve seen.

Once he’s satisfied the birds are a safe distance away from the barn, he will return to the house, happy to have run off the marauders.

My dog tries to chase turkey vultures

Turkey Vultures

Baxter and turkey vultures

Who is your dog’s nemesis?

Does your dog ever chase anything that’s unattainable?

Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She writes regularly for That Mutt.

Related posts:

How to stop your dog from barking

Baxter following scent through the air

What is Your Dog Really Telling You?

What is Your Dog Really Telling You?

Baxter and I headed out for our morning walk. It was a lovely morning. I wasn’t pressed for time, so I decided to take a longer route than usual—a route that we walk only a handful of times a year.

We trotted along, Baxter sniffing all of the smells and spreading his scent around.

Then partway through he dug in his heels. “Nope. I’m not going any further.”

My first assumption is I have a very lazy dog and going on a longer walk had obviously worn him out. Plus we’d met some people and walked past a few farms where we’ve met dogs before. He wanted to socialize. He was stubborn.

He was annoying.

We had a discussion. “You don’t need to sniff all the smells, meet all the people and see all the puppies. We are walking. Now let’s go.” And I set off dragging my dog. It was not graceful.

Lindsay posted last month about what to do when your dog refuses to walk. Changing the pace was something I tried, but I could barely get Bax to take a step, so speeding up wasn’t happening.

I didn’t relish changing the route because we had two choices: forward or back. Bax and I were nearly halfway. Even if we’d turned around, we had more than 3 kilometres to walk to get home. If my dog was tired already, he’d still be tired going the other way.

What is your dog really telling you?

We trudged along, Bax strung out behind me dragging as much as possible. Me grumbling and stomping along.

Eventually I spotted a mailbox that I know is one of his favourite spots to sniff and leave his scent. So we took a break.

As we stood there, I started to think. Baxter wasn’t tired. He was scared—or at least extremely unenthused about what was ahead on the route.

Just up the road lived a not very nice dog. If he’s outside, he’s rarely tied up, and he’s come running out at us a few times. He’s not vicious, but he is aggressive. My husband and I have both ended up physically pushing this dog away from Baxter, all the while yelling at the house for someone to come and get their dog.

The experiences haven’t been bad enough to dissuade me from walking this route, but obviously they were for Baxter.

I felt very bad for not hearing what my dog had been telling me. We had another discussion. “We’ll cross to the other side of the road. You stay on the far side of me. We’ll just walk and won’t stop. I’ll keep you safe.”

There was still dragging, but I kept Baxter closer to me, rather than stretched out behind. I kept a steady pace. I talked quietly and encouragingly to Baxter rather than giving him the silent treatment or being harsh—as I had been earlier.

The dog was outside, and he started barking. Fortunately, he only came partway down the driveway rather than out onto the road, so Baxter and I just kept walking until we were safely passed. Then we took another break for a stress relieving sniff.

The rest of the walk went smoothly. No more dragging. And I learned an important lesson to not assume I know what is driving my dog’s behaviour. Take a minute and think about the situation, including alternate explanations for what he’s feeling.

And to be clear, we will no longer be walking this route.

Note: Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She writes regularly for That Mutt.

Have you ever misunderstood what your dog is telling you?

What are some tips that you use to tune in to your dog?

Related posts:

What to do when your dog refuses to walk

What to do when your dog bites the leash

Get your dog to pay attention – be unpredictable

How to increase your dog’s focus on walks

How to stop your dog from pulling on the leash

Enjoy the Moment

Enjoy the Moment

Note: Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She writes regularly for That Mutt.

Every morning for the last week of August, I was waiting for a pink sunrise. Finally, on the last day of the month, a slight smudge of dusky pink tinged the sky.

Baxter and I walked out to our biggest field. As we got to the centre, he sat down, content to just sniff the morning. I took my cue from him and stood and watched the sunrise.

As I did, I felt surrounded by peace and beauty. I was filled with gratitude for being able to experience and appreciate this moment.

This moment was especially important to me as the end of August marked my last day at my job—my dependable, stable, responsible day job.

As of the beginning of September, I am a full-time freelance writer. This has been something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time. To take the plunge is exciting, scary, daunting, joyous and a whole bunch of other emotions.

Starting my last day surrounded by the peace and beauty of the farm made me feel very good about my choice and excited by what the future holds.

As much as I don’t enjoy getting up early to walk the dog, without him, I would have had no reason to be standing in the middle of the field at dawn. I’m grateful that I got to have this experience and that he sat down the way he did. He reminds me to savour the moments, live in the present and enjoy life.


Mighty Paw Metal Buckle Collar Review

Mighty Paw Metal Buckle Collar Review

Since writing for, I have come to know—and love—Mighty Paw, so I was excited when Lindsay offered me the chance to review one of their new products, a reflective collar with a metal buckle.

The collar is woven canvas with several rows of reflective stitching, a sturdy metal buckle and two D rings—a plastic one for tags and a metal one for the leash.

This post is sponsored by Mighty Paw.

Mighty Paw is giving away a FREE metal buckle collar to two readers of That Mutt. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. *Update: The winners have been chosen.

Mighty Paw Metal Buckle Collar Review

My thoughts on the Mighty Paw metal buckle collar:

With collars, I’m always skeptical about their strength. I feel like plastic can get brittle and buckles can break.

This collar alleviates my concerns because the buckle is metal. The actual mechanism of how it fastens is not one I’ve seen before, but it seems very sturdy when it’s clasped—in fact I had to look at the instructions to figure out how to undo the collar.

The leash attaches to a metal D-ring, so even if you have a heavy puller or your dog is tied out, the collar will hold. Even if he might possibly want to chase the turkey vultures that have landed on the barn!

Mighty Paw metal buckle collar review

The material of the collar itself is a thick canvas—similar to a leash. The canvas isn’t super heavy, and a couple of times I twisted the collar as I put it on Bax.

Despite the sturdy material and the metal, the collar is not heavy.

Cost of the collar

The Mighty Paw metal buckle collar is $14.99 on Amazon HERE.

That Mutt readers can get 20% off all Mighty Paw products with code MP20Mutt

Mighty Paw metal buckle collar review

What’s unique about the Mighty Paw metal buckle collar?

Obviously the metal buckle is unique. It’s relatively flat and not bulky, so it won’t interfere with any activities your dog might be doing. Plus it gives me extra insurance that my dog is secure.

I love that Mighty Paw includes two separate rings for tags and the leash. I find that this rotates the collar so that the leash carries to the side and has less chance of ending up in Bax’s armpit.

As well, the ring for the tags is plastic and specially designed to minimize jingling.

Pros of the metal buckle collar:

  • The metal buckle is a unique fastener in my experience.
  • From the fabric to the buckle, this collar is sturdy and secure.
  • Mighty Paw’s unique metal alloy blend means that the collar stays lightweight.
  • I like the extra assurance of the reflective stitching on the collar.
  • The collar is adjustable with a flat metal slide. (Bax is wearing a size medium on his 18-inch neck).


  • It took me a minute to figure out how to get the buckle undone. The tabs that you have to press to undo the buckle are pretty small so if you have limited dexterity, it could be challenging for you.
  • The fabric part of the collar is light enough that it may twist when you put it on your dog if you’re not paying attention.

Baxter in his Mighty Paw metal buckle collar

I would recommend this collar for…

I happily recommend all of the Mighty Paw products I’ve tested. In the case of this particular collar, I think it’s a good alternative if you’re nervous about durability of more standard buckles.

The metal buckle collar would also be a good choice if your dog is a heavy puller who exerts a lot of force on collars.

Order a collar HERE and use code MP20Mutt for 20% off.

Mighty Paw metal buckle collar

Giveaway! Win a metal buckle collar for your dog!

*Update: The winners have been chosen. Congrats to Elizabeth H. and Regina!

Mighty Paw is giving away a FREE collar to two readers of That Mutt. Must have a U.S. mailing address to win.

To enter: Just leave a comment below. Are you interested in this collar?

Lindsay will choose two winners at random on Wed Sept. 6.

Baxter in his Mighty Paw metal buckle collar

Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her husband live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada.

Do you love Mighty Paw’s products? Sign up to support That Mutt on Patreon and receive a FREE product from Mighty Paw every month. Click here.

Other Mighty Paw reviews:

Mighty Paw treat pouch review

Mighty Paw long training leash review

Double dog leash review

What My Dog’s Rescue Organization Did Well … And Not

What My Dog’s Rescue Organization Did Well … And Not

As I posted a little while ago, the beginning of the summer marked four years with our dude Baxter.

As I was reflecting back, I started thinking about his adoption and our experience with the rescue group that found Bax. There were some things that I think they handled really, really well (especially after I’ve heard about other people’s experiences with rescue), and there’s one thing that is still a huge question mark for me.

What the rescue organization did well

They posted Baxter on Petfinder. Petfinder was my go-to when we were looking for a dog. There is no way I would have found Bax if I’d had to search individual rescue or shelter sites.

They had a detailed questionnaire. This helped them understand us and our approach to dog ownership. The questionnaire also forced me to think about the details of having a dog—I had to supply my vet’s name and contact information, ditto for a trainer. I had to talk about the food we were planning to feed. For someone who hadn’t had a dog before, this level of detail wasn’t immediately in my brain, so it got me thinking.

Baxter on the day we drove him home:

Baxter on his way home

They followed up on the questionnaire. The questionnaire asked about other animals, so I included our barn cat Ralph. The rescue called our vet to ask about her and what care and treatment she’d received. Being a barn cat, she hasn’t had a whole lot of treatment, but the rescue group was flexible and accommodating in this area and recognized that there are reasons we don’t bring our barn cat to the vet for annual check ups.

They did a home visit. Yes, home visits can be annoying and over the top. However, I think they show a level of diligence that is important. I could have put whatever I wanted on the questionnaire or been untruthful in my phone interview. A home visit does a better job of showing how the dog will be living and what kind of family he’ll be joining.

They were flexible. This is the biggest one for me—especially given what I’ve heard about some rescues. I already mentioned Ralph, which maybe could have been an issue. We also don’t have a fenced yard area on the farm. We definitely talked about that with the rescue, but it wasn’t a deal breaker for them.

See That Mutt’s post: Why most dogs don’t need a fenced yard.

The deal breaker for the rescue

We had planned to use an outdoor run for Baxter when we weren’t home. This ended up being a deal breaker for the rescue—they were concerned that he would be too cold in the winter, and rejected our application.

I called and appealed and pledged to never use the outdoor run in cold weather. They were flexible enough to reconsider—and believe I was being honest—and we were able to adopt Bax.

See my post: Outdoor dog run fail.

The question mark

The actual adoption is my biggest question mark with Bax. We went to where he was fostered and met him for the first time. He ambled over and met us. We scratched his head. We talked to his foster mother a bit and asked a few questions. Then she handed us his leash, we put him in our car and headed home.

We had a dog.

In hindsight, I feel like there should have been a few more meetings—more get-to-know-yous, or at least a walk to get a little bit acquainted.

At the same time, I’m not sure it’s possible to get to know each other just through a walk or a couple of hours. It took time for Bax to relax and be himself. And I feel like we needed the environment and routine of home and the farm and our new little family together to sort that out.

Baxter and Matt getting acquainted:

If things hadn’t worked out, we could have followed up with the rescue group and worked through things with them—if worse came to worse we would have even returned Baxter to them.

And in the end, everything did work out wonderfully for us, and we ended up with our perfect dog. And I’m very grateful to our rescue for the best thing they ever did—picking Baxter out of his shelter so that he could become ours.

What were some of the things you liked or didn’t like about where you got your dog?

How did the process go for you, whether you went to a shelter, breeder or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments.

Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her husband live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada.

Baxter’s first day home:

Related posts:

When a dog rescue volunteer buys a puppy

Returning a rescue dog due to separation anxiety

How to get your dog adoption application approved

What good rescues and good breeders have in common

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