Having watched a lot of this throughout my time on Earth, and having read the whole thread, my thoughts are: I believe guarding to be a talent, sort of like singing, or playing the piano. Some people have a passion for it and are amazingly good at it. Some can learn, but are indifferent at best; some just don't "click" with it, and so on.
I know a family with a donkey and that donkey regularly chases a BEAR out of the pasture. On the other hand I've known of a donkey that just stood by and watched another animal slaughtered by dogs... I've known excellent guardian dogs, and others who turned on their charges one night and killed them. (In more than one case, those were alpacas, so that was an expensive night for those people.) They are all just as individual and different as any human beings you have ever met. Just as we all don't love cooking, or beekeeping, guarding is not the preferred job for all dogs.
It takes a lot of work to train a guardian dog but it can sure be done. I think the people who have the best success either have another dog to help keep the youngster in line, or else work at home and can frequently observe the pup and correct it when the wrong behavior happens. It will be a labor of love. I wish you the best of luck in this. I hope your pup works out well for you.
Thanks! I do work from most of the time and honestly if the dog isn't a good guardian we'll still be happy to have him. We just won't free range the chickens then. He's coming from a working farm where his parents guard a large flock used as the farms main income. So I'm hoping genetics will be on our side. We'd eventually like goats as well so I'm also thinking if he doesn't work out guarding the chickens, maybe by the time we get goats he'll be more mature and ready to protect them. I'm mostly worried about hawks with the chickens and figured having any sort of large dog outside while they are out might be enough to deter the hawks. Our coop and run seems to be predator proof so far so I'm really just looking for some extra protection when I'm home and want to let the chickens free range a bit. We had a big rooster but he was too rough with the girls so now we just have a little silkie cockerel and I have my doubts he'll offer much protection. Maybe he'll at least want the girls to find cover if there's a hawk.