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Introducing dogs to chickens - Page 2

post #11 of 12
Great advice, thank you all. I have a nine year old Belgian and a 7 year old Chihuahua, so I'll be teaching some old dogs "new tricks" to leave the chicks alone. Hopefully the Belgian feels naturally protective, even though at 9 she will still get a squirrel now and then. 😱
post #12 of 12
I don't think I mentioned it above, but the leave it command will be very important to teach as well, and it can be very easy! I started by putting a piece of food in my hand with my hand closed and putting it in front of the dog until she sat and calmed down. Then I would open my hand and give the the food as soon as I saw calm. Next, I would open my hand, but close it as soon as she tried to take the food without me saying it was ok. Once she waited enough for me to say ok, I would release her with "ok" to take the food.

From there I would put food on the ground and introduce the command leave it, then give her a treat from my hand when she looks away from the other. Then you can release them (say "ok") to get the food from the ground if you want, or you can pick it up and start over.

After a lot of repetition of this, I would throw treats by her and say leave it. Basically, I would increase the difficulty only after I was sure the dog was consistent with the previous task.

Lots and lots and lots of repetition is the best. I still practice when I am outside walking with my dog. I also like to practice from a distance. If I don't practice for a while, I can tell my dog begins to get rusty.

Another useful thing I taught my dog is "stop", which basically just means stop in place and look at me. This has been amazing when trying to get her to stop chasing small animals off leash.

I watch a lot of videos by Zak George. He teaches lots of simple (and not so simple) things in very easy to understand ways. He also uses positive reinforcement only, which is very important to me. I have also consulted with trainers here at the school and attended training class (where I learned the leave it training), so definitely don't be afraid to seek out classes and trainers either! Sometimes having another person show you is really helpful. Just be sure you research the trainers methods thoroughly beforehand. There are a lot of methods out there that are not so great for the dogs.
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"If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers." ~Carl Sagan

"We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem." ~Douglas Adams
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