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Border Collie - Black lab puppy....tips on intro & protection

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

In a couple weeks, we will be getting a puppy, which is a Border Collie (mom) and Black Lab (dad) mix.

 

Do any of you have suggestions or tips on how to properly introduce the puppy to our existing young chickens and our baby chicks/keets that will come in a couple weeks?

 

How can I train it to accept the flock as family so it will protect against predators?

 

Will a raccoon attack a baby puppy? I plan to put the dog house down by the coop, but can move it there later if the pup is in danger at first. 

 

I'm sure I will have many more questions to come, but will leave it at that for now.

post #2 of 17

puppy will be puppy for first two years of life.  you are not going to have the protector you're looing for until the dog is an adult.  adjust your expectations accordingly.  to do otherwise may result in dead chickens & a broken relationship between you & dog. 

 

your dog's breeds; being herder & hunter, will drive the dog to go after the chickens.  only long term training and patience can bring you the success you're looking for.

by two years old dog will protect by instinct. 

raccoon can kill a puppy.

good luck smile.png

post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bj taylor View Post

puppy will be puppy for first two years of life.  you are not going to have the protector you're looing for until the dog is an adult.  adjust your expectations accordingly.  to do otherwise may result in dead chickens & a broken relationship between you & dog. 

 

your dog's breeds; being herder & hunter, will drive the dog to go after the chickens.  only long term training and patience can bring you the success you're looking for.

by two years old dog will protect by instinct. 

raccoon can kill a puppy.

good luck smile.png

 Keep puppy in close proximity to an adult rooster for imprinting.  Rooster will thump pup if it gets out of line.  Pup will still be a threat to young birds at first so you will have to work on that through discipline at first.  Keep pup mentally engaged whenever possible and play with around chickens but do not involve the chickens.  bj's 2 years comment is pretty accurate regardless of breed.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

I figured it would be a while before the herder/hunter would come out, I didn't realize it would be two years.  I also figured that introducing them the right way would train the behavior early. 

 

Is it wrong to let the the dog "herd" the chickens?  For example when we put them in the coop at night, should the dog be allowed to participate?  Wait until the chickens are full-grown?

 

One thing I didn't think of until last night was the coon vs. puppy thing.  That will either impact our doghouse placement or design, but I'm glad I thought of it sooner than later.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by OHSpartan View Post

I figured it would be a while before the herder/hunter would come out, I didn't realize it would be two years.  I also figured that introducing them the right way would train the behavior early. 

 

Is it wrong to let the the dog "herd" the chickens?  For example when we put them in the coop at night, should the dog be allowed to participate?  Wait until the chickens are full-grown?

 

One thing I didn't think of until last night was the coon vs. puppy thing.  That will either impact our doghouse placement or design, but I'm glad I thought of it sooner than later.

Risk of loosing pup to racoon is minimal but bad interaction as pup will retard pups ability to deal with such critters later in life. 

 

Avoid herding / driving chickens as they heard about as effectively as hogs, not very.  You will have incredible motivating abilities for getting chickens to do what you want by using well timed use of small amounts of food.  Herding efforts should be avoided until you know your chickens, herding dogs and yourself otherwise you will run risk of at least stressing birds.

 

The herder / hunter instinct is even present to  some degree in wolf pups but the play mode and mental state of the adult dog allows for more focus and sometimes resolve needed to complete a given task.  Pups tend to have attentiona deficit dissorder to boot.  With respect to actually training the dog for working you best contact someone in your area that does such.  Done improperly can effectively ruin dog.  The learning curve will be at least as steep for you. 

 

I feel much more confident using dogs to protect or even catch chickens under supervision than using them for herding.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #6 of 17
a coon can cause some serious damage to even a full-grown dog! A border/lab mix won't be a really big dog either - a border collie weighs about 45lbs, not much more than a raccoon!

training.   training.  more training.    Just like cleaning the coop and scooping poop and all the other jobs that come with having a pet.   The only thing more necessary to a dog than training is food!
 
this is a cut/paste of my "training advice" As for the herding. No, I wouldn't do it. The main reason is that chickens don't "flock" like herd animals. Sheep will bunch together when scared, allowing the dog to move the flock where they need to go. Chickens scatter when they are scared. This will encourage the dog to chase them down. Also, a herding dog handles a sheep that refuses to obey by pushing/nipping/shoving the wayward animal where it needs to go. An older dog combined with birds that are used to THAT dog can be possible, but there is a ton of foundation training to be done.
With a border/lab mix I hope that you aren't just planning on putting him outside and leaving him. Both breeds have been selected for years to work one-on-one and have a need to have constant human interaction. Not to mention that both are extremely high energy breeds, especially as puppies. Add in the intensity of a border collie and the need for a job and the dog will make up his own fun. And a dog's idea of fun isn't something that people usually enjoy - barking, digging holes, chasing chickens, roaming to visit the neighbors, jumping the fence, and on and on. And turning him loose to run around won't touch it! You need to exercise their brain too! My GSD is not quite 2 and, even as a 4 month old pup, I was exercising and working him 2 hours a day. Now at 1 1/2, he runs 6 miles 3X a week, classes another night, training everyday as well as daily play sessions. And he is STILL ready for more.
You already know that he is excited with the chicks.   Find the closest distance that the dog first notices the birds in the brooder.  This might be in another room if he is one to constantly glance at the door.    Put your dog on leash and get some extra special treats that he only gets for this work - bacon, grilled chicken (no spices!), hot dog chunks, etc.     When the dog glances toward the birds, say his name and "leave it"    If he looks at you, give him a treat - if he doesn't, give a light pop on the leash (think tap on the shoulder).  When he looks at you reward him.  
You can also teach him "watch me" the same way.   You can practice this at random times though out the day.   If you have a couple extra minutes while you're watching TV or whatever, just say his name, pause, "watch me"   When he makes eye contact, then reward him.    You can also (if you get in the habit of keeping a small treat in your pockets) catch him looking towards you say "watch me" and then reward.  Or just praise him verbally.
 
Once the dog is reliably paying attention to you and the birds at a distance, move a little bit closer.   If he absolutely blows you off, you're too close.  Just back up a bit and begin again.   Eventually you will be right amongst the birds.    You can then start at a distance or with a long line (20' leash or so) and work from there.    I never ever leave my dogs/chickens loose unattended together.  
I don't even trust Rayden
268
I don't mean I constantly hover over the dogs when they are out with the birds, but I am in the area and aware of what they are doing.   Think of it as a small child.  Even though you've taught them not to play with matches, would you leave them alone in the house with matches scattered all over the floor?
 
The most important part of the training is to set the dog up to succeed.   Don't give him a chance to chase the birds.  Don't give him a chance to disobey.  
 
ETA:  The best thing about teaching "leave it" is that it works for everything.   Drop something on the floor and don't want the dogs to touch it?  "leave it"    See dog running toward a snake?  "leave it"     Lots of training and work, but it pays off!
Of course, some dogs just can't be trusted off-leash.  Period.   They are just too focused on the birds.  In that case, just confine the dog when the birds are out.   
post #7 of 17

Dainera,

 

Give someone with experience hunting coons with dogs their due.  We used 50 lb female hounds alone to dispatch coons shot out of trees, usually more than one coon per night and some coons bailed tree and had to be dispatched by dog in a pretty serious fight, again sometimes more than one per night.  Injuries were a related to having two or more dogs not working effectively as team on kill.  Single dogs were only at risk around water.  We never had an injury that prevented dog from finishing out night.  To much romance you use about threats animals pose.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #8 of 17
my grandfather has hunted coons since he was a boy. That is how I have seen the damage that a coon can do to a dog. I've known more than one dog euthanized because of injuries from a big coon.

also, you are talking about a dog vs a coon that was shot out of a tree. Not the same as a dog (especially a puppy!) taking on a full-grown coon 1 on 1
Edited by dainerra - 5/23/12 at 10:22am
post #9 of 17

PM sent on the MMJ training guide ;)

Dyslexics of the world untie
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Dyslexics of the world untie
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post #10 of 17

We had border collies before we got our chickens.  It's in their nature to herd and chase and eventually kill.  We came home to slaughter after slaughter until we finally convinced the boys it was not in their best interests to kill the chickens.  

 

Eventually we could leave the dogs and the chickens out together.


Edited by Remudamom - 5/23/12 at 11:24am
If it isn't an Arabian it's just a horse.
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If it isn't an Arabian it's just a horse.
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