How do you train a puppy to not only leave the chickens alone but also protect them? I have an anatolian sheperd who was just naturally good with them even though he was not introduced to chickens until he was an adult. Just got a saint bernard/bernese mountain dog mix pup and I am trying to teach her. Any suggestions?
Certain breeds protect livestock, though even proponents of those breeds mostly agree they don't actually bond with nor protect a flock of chickens, and some breeds protect territory. So all you need to do is train a pup on leaving the chickens alone, he will guard a certain territory from predators as it's just in his nature...if the chickens are in that territory, they benefit from that territorial guarding.
I train a pup by exposure to the chickens, not exclusion. I think most people make the mistake of keeping them separate but in visual with one another, which just creates a dog that is allowed to get excited by the birds with no one there to correct him on it. Then, finally, the human thinks the dog is old enough to train on chickens but he has already set a pattern in his formative months of being able to pace the fence, lunge and bark at them if they get excited, etc. Suddenly a person wants him to stop all those behaviors and he's then confused.
First day a pup is here, he is trained on chickens. You are fortunate that you have an older dog to help you...that's priceless and will be your second set of eyes on the flock in regards to a pup.
I work on obedience training at the same time I work on chickens...."leave it" is an important command for any dog, so you can combine leave it with chickens and get good results. I usually truss up a bird and lay it on the ground, where it usually flaps and tries to move a good bit...this attracts the pup's attention, which gets him an immediate correction. The bird will continue to move and possibly squawk, but the pup is not allowed to show any excitement or even any overt staring in that direction. That will get a correction. You have to give corrections in a timely manner, be quick. When he consistently gives the right response, which is to not even look at the bird when it moves and makes noise, you give cheery positive reinforcements of pets, good boys, etc.
Then go inside the house but leave the bird and the pup out there, watch from an open window....any glance he may give in the direction of the bird gets a correction, loud and strong. The desired response to that correction is a ducking of the head and movement away from the chicken. When that happens, you know he has connected the chicken with "leave it" corrections. Then you can go out and release your bird and continue to reinforce that training as time goes along, but I've barely needed another lesson of that type. After that, they know that they are not to grow excited when the chickens do.
The older dog's example will reinforce that training, with the older dog showing further example of how to react when the chickens make noise and run, squawk and flap.