Meet Dougie: the dog that 'defleas' chickens

Is it a bird, a plane? No, it’s Dougie the Wonderdog

HE'S the all-barking, all-howling, chook-protecting flying wonder super-dog.

Dougie has no cape and, contrary to what legend may say, cannot really fly.

But he is almost as fast as Superman and can leap reasonably tall shade houses at a single bound.

And the incredibly energetic kelpie cross male certainly did his best to save those chooks.

He used to groom them in the family backyard at The Palms, his proud owner Linda Garrett said yesterday.

"He tried to tell us," she said, referring to the night foxes killed Dougie's poultry pets.

"He barked and barked and we just thought he was making too much noise."

A middle-aged pup, the seven-year-old would still qualify for the Energiser battery advertisement.

No doubt, Linda might sometimes wish she could take the batteries out as Dougie tirelessly chases a ball, runs rings around the horses, sits on guests and licks everyone on the face.

But it is leaping tall buildings that made Dougie famous.

Greg Miller

DOUGIE will be flying high next Friday, People's Day, at the Gympie Show.

With his trademark unrestrained zest for life, Dougie is predicted to put in yet another awe-inspiring high-jump performance.

"He didn't do very well at obedience school," Linda says, hinting that Dougie was probably just a bit too advanced for the rest of the class.

"There was too much learning to sit and stand and heel and walk and sit and stand and sit... and he just got bored with it," she said.

It must have been enough to make anyone want to leap the razor wire and escape.

And jumping is what he is best at, along with chook husbandry.

"He's won the dog high jump at Gympie Show four years in a row," Linda said.

He won in his first competition when he jumped nine foot eight inches (2.95m).

Since then he has become something of a regional celebrity, winning prizes and a growing reputation at Maleny and Samford shows as well.

"He just does it, he's not trained," she said.

So, how do they get this sort of performance out of what seems to be a perfectly ordinary super-dog.

Well, Linda reveals, it's probably the oldest trick in the book for getting a dog excited.

"He loves squeaky toys," she said.

Fortunately, his love of chasing and chewing balls to pieces and going nuts over squeaky toys does not extend to doing any harm to the real quarry of the hunting canines from which his breed is descended.

"He hasn't got a vicious bone in his body," Linda says. "He used to de-louse the chooks. He would chase them and put his paw on their back and then just sniff them and nibble at their feathers, where the lice might gather.

"Our chooks learned to just sit down when they saw him coming.

"Now he's training the neighbour's chooks."