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training a dog to leave chickens alone - Page 9

post #81 of 96

I have to say, I was skeptical but desperate to keep the dog so I tried a 'training' collar and I love it, it worked instantly...


We've only had to shock him twice still, and that was before I posted the day one training post...Since then, just a few beeps and a couple of vibrates have curbed the bad behaviors...


He now won't stand up on or dig under or jump fence, only pees on it, won't eat eggs anymore, won't chase ducks(to play, but still, he's too big, they fall running or run into things and he runs them over) and won't try to help chickens escape their runs by digging escape tunnels!...He's proven to be a very smart dog, most of that learned using beeps, not shocks or vibrates, just beeps...He now runs all day in the yard(with collar on in case) with the ducks and chickens...He loves to play with the ones in the coops, he'll get the roosters all fired up and running around the fence with him...Or he'll lay up against the run and let the hens peck him, he's really turned around and became the perfect dog, we're wondering what he has up his sleeve! One of these nights we'll again go back to letting him run then as well...We did that until he could jump the fence, now we're still a little apprehensive letting him run all night, but soon he'll be there again and then we'll have the perfect guard dog and buddy that won't need a chain at all!...


I just love him and constantly go out, find an area with no duck or dog poo and roll around on the ground with him!...He's now 8mths old...



We've been here since 2009 as kysilkies, couldn't re-access account.

White Crested Black, Gold Laced, Silver Laced Polish

Pultans(crossbreed Sultan X WCBPolish)

Silkies(white, buffs & mixed)

Golden Seabrights

Pure Sultans

Jumbo & Regular Crested Pekins

The Muscovy Brothers Pinky & Mr Stuff!


We've been here since 2009 as kysilkies, couldn't re-access account.

White Crested Black, Gold Laced, Silver Laced Polish

Pultans(crossbreed Sultan X WCBPolish)

Silkies(white, buffs & mixed)

Golden Seabrights

Pure Sultans

Jumbo & Regular Crested Pekins

The Muscovy Brothers Pinky & Mr Stuff!

post #82 of 96
Today I started training my 9 six-month-old Catahoula pups to ignore my chickens. Normally when they see my birds through a fence they go kerrrazzzy.

I put all the pups in their 10 x 20 foot kennel, filled a squirt bottle with 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water, and when they barked and whined at me I said, Hush, and squirted them in the face with a long steady stream until they totally understood to be calm and quiet. They calmly watched me do some work for an hour.

Then I let my six pullets into the 20 square foot area beside the kennel, and any pup that showed excitement, interest, predatory fixation, whining, barking, etc, got told, Tiger, Out!, or, Violet, Out!, and squirted in the face.

Five of them quickly lost interest in the chickens and quietly laid at the back of the kennel. Two of them needed squirting off and on for about an hour, and two needed more squirts over a two hour period to stop their excited whining and predatory behaviors.

I praised each one by name if they showed obvious disinterest in my chicks or immediately obeyed my "Out!" command.

Finally they were all calmly ignoring the birds even when my girlz peeked through the chainlinks boldly threatening to peck the pups.

So, that's a start, and I'll work with each dog individually on a leash giving corrections with a pinch (prong) collar every time they show undue interest in my girlz.

Note: pinch (prong) collars only look more punishing than choke collars, but they are actually kinder since they only pinch folds of skin without squeezing or choking or crushing the neck.

I don't expect my dogs to be totally trustworthy with my hens any time soon, I'm prepared for months or even a year or two of training since they have a strong prey drive, especially the two most driven ones. But if it only takes a week or two, great.

Also, the pack drive is another consideration.

Eventually I'll let each dog off leash among my chickens, but wearing a cage muzzle. Cage muzzles are much kinder, more comfortable, and safer than the modern sleeve muzzles. Sleeve muzzles allow the dog to bite but not open the mouth wide enoufh to release, so they have to pull off a chunk of flesh, according to my vet.
Edited by ConPollos - 5/14/15 at 10:56pm
post #83 of 96
I have 2 Miniature Australian Shepherds that were 3 months old when I got them. I took them out on a leash and if they even looked at my birds I pulled on the leash and said firmly "NO". Did this for about a week and I've never had a problem with them chasing or harassing the chickens or peafowl. They are over 3 years old now and I completely trust them.
post #84 of 96

I have an Australian shepherd who is from working dog lines and is now 6 months old. For those who don't know what that means I will try and explain a bit. In breeds that are used for work there are lines that are shown for conformation that might have less drive and then there are those that are bred specifically to be worked. Luna's mother and father were both working line dogs and are bred and trained to herd cattle and horses as well as sheep and goats. Because of this I have set up a fence that separates her from the chickens and ducks for now and gives her access to a portion of the yard that she can use all day long where the birds can't go.


We are working on training when I go to the coops to feed the ducks and chickens and when she is on lead she is spot on and perfect. She is much more interested in eating the chicken and duck poop (ew) and sharing in their treats than eating any of the birds. Would I trust her off leash right now with them? Right now no. We have a wonderful game that all Aussies know at birth called chicken bowling (dog runs through the chickens to scatter them then tries to get them back into a group to do it again.....the ladies do not approve).


The problem that I have and I am sure that anyone else would have with a dog from lines trained specifically for herding is that they are very movement sensitive. We had problems when she was little with her going after ankles when they were moving just because there was movement. It's all a work in progress and she needs to learn what animals she can use her skills with and what ones she can't. She has no training in herding right now but when animals are spread out it really bothers her. She will go to my sisters (who has sheep, goats and cows) and will herd the sheep and goats into a group just through instinct along without ever touching the stock.


What does this mean as far as my birds are concerned? My muscovy ducks are slow and don't run or move fast. If one gets into her area of the yard she will watch it and will totally leave it alone while it is pecking away and will not get excited until it flies over the fence again (once the wings start moving she wants to know what is going on). The chickens tend to be a bit more crazy in their movements (chasing each other and flapping their wings while walking). This gets her excited and she wants to herd that movement and control where it goes. The chickens in her yard have never been hurt other than a few ruffled feathers. Usually she will herd them to the porch and will hold it there for me to come and get them. She is pretty early in her training and we are doing as others have suggested and bringing her out in the yard when I do chores with the birds on a long line (30 ft) that is attached to me. She knows her obedience commands (Aussies are brilliant stars at figuring out what their humans want) and so when I am there and she is attached I can tell her leave it and correct if necessary when she shows too much interest (chasing, nipping etc).


For off leash we will be using an e-collar once she is ready and once again she will be out in the yard only with me and if she shows too much interest she will be given a verbal command, a sound that will distract her and then a correction (don't think I will have to go above vibration with her level of sensitivity). My other dogs were around before e collars and we put pennies in a soda can and taped the top and would shake it hard to make a loud noise when we wanted them to stop a behavior and then give them a command for a good behavior.  My goal is an off leash animal that will understand that those animals belong to me and I don't want her to touch them but that will still be able to work around them in the end.


I have had dobermans and even wolf hybrids (yes she had a strong prey drive too) and they all understand which animals are okay and which are not once done training. The doberman and wolf hybrid did not need an e collar for training either, but they understood that I am the pack leader and that I choose what they hunt. My doberman and wolf hybrid would be out in the yard with the birds and would leave them alone but snakes, skunks, porcupines, opossums or any other thing that didn't belong was in trouble.


This has nothing to do with animal type either because the wolf hybrid I had (Kasha) lived in the house with a bunny who was potty trained and would actually run all around her on the floor and outside in the yard with her without us supervising and she would never touch him, but let her loose outside and have her get the scent of a wild bunny and she would hunt and kill it and then lay down and eat it in the yard. She had learned through the years that the house bunny and the poultry we have belong to us (as a pack) and the wild things don't. Anything that doesn't belong in our territory has to go. The animals I tell them are part of the pack are protected and left alone. The ones that don't belong are not.


Don't know if this makes sense but it has worked for every dog I have ever had on the property.

 Light Brahma, Black Australorp, Cochin, Gold Comet, Delaware, Silver Gray Dorking, Black Star, Muscovy Ducks, Arabian, Farm Cat, Teenage boy, and loving husband who puts up with it all.



 Light Brahma, Black Australorp, Cochin, Gold Comet, Delaware, Silver Gray Dorking, Black Star, Muscovy Ducks, Arabian, Farm Cat, Teenage boy, and loving husband who puts up with it all.


post #85 of 96
I'm worried how my dog might react with chicken. He doesn't like the rabbits or squirrels.
post #86 of 96
Has anybody had experience with a sheltie herding poultry?

We had one that herded the kids when they were little. She was happy when they were playing quietly in a group. If not she circled, barked and pulled on their pants. Unfortunately she believed that ALL children belonged inside our fence and went crazy when one passed by and didn't come into her herd.
post #87 of 96
Originally Posted by TysonDSMIowa View Post

I'm worried how my dog might react with chicken. He doesn't like the rabbits or squirrels.

Hi Ty, 


I have an old dog that considers everything inside her fence her personal property. She's absolutely spastic about the squirrels and won't even allow wild birds to land in my gardens. This is a good thing! I am overrun with squirrels and while I don't mind sharing the bounty with the native wildlife, I'd like my fair share of it too :) 


Koke still has that " If only you weren't watching ... " look a lot when she spots a chicken. You know, the beady eyed Wile E Coyote syndrome. She's a super smart dog. Too smart for her own good at times. Plus, she has breed instinct going against her ... She's a retriever. A Chesapeake Bay. Chesie's are the toughest, most stubborn and brutish of all the retrievers. They don't understand the concept of " it can't be done ". This particular dog more so than most, I suspect. She was formerly trained to eat anything tossed her direction. And I mean anything. Got to be so careful but she's a wonderful dog :)


I also have a fragile young cockerel (Henri) that spends a lot of time getting extra TLC. He's a Faverolles and is slow to mature so he's not ready to be out in the coop 24/7 with his harem.


Here they are:



So far, in less than a month, Koke ceased the panting and drooling whenever she's in proximity to a chicken. It was bad at first. I thought she might fall on a chicken and maul it right in front of my very eyes she was so intensely focused and hyper alert.

Now she no longer paces like she's caught between the instinct to snatch a chicken and the knowledge that I won't allow it either. The dogs stress level is way down. 

Outdoors she lays down about 10 feet from the coop and keeps a vigilant anti-squirrel stare on the surrounding trees. (Only occasionally getting fixated on the chickens now)


I'm not ready to leave her alone with the chickens. That would be cruel and expecting too much-too soon. But its going to happen. And I'd bet dollars to dimes she sails through as rock solid flock guardian. :)

A bit of a side note: I do exaggerate my facial expressions and offer discouragement or encouragement as needed. Dogs are one of the few animals that can read human facial expressions. When she's staring at the chickens with that intense must-have look, I call her name and frown heavily at her. She gives me the "I've had a naughty thought" look and goes back to scanning for squirrels and other birds. When she's good I give her positive attention and a banana chip. The banana chips are her favorite thing in the whole world. She knows she's been especially awesome when she gets one so she's starting to associate being protective of the chickens with rare much coveted rewards. 


Its doable. If this dog can do it, any dog can do it. You just have to show them what's expected. Their instinct is in opposition to your expectations. Training, lots of training and patience. :) 

post #88 of 96

thank you for sharing your wisdom...and adopting a rescue dog:)

post #89 of 96
Hi I'm new here and pretty new to chickens but not new to dogs. I have a 4yr old pitbull named gus he has a very high prey drive and will chase anything that moves from bugs to deer. I was worried about him and the chickens so I introduced them in a way that he views them as pack members and not prey basically keeping him calm and allowing the chicks to get used to him there are a few hens that will roost on is back or even lay next to him and he protects them from other dogs cats and anything else that comes close tho them. Gus is basically a 90 lb rooster with teeth I have on lavender orpington that just follows him around and the explore together. I will say gus is highly trained and was taught self control and how to be calm from a pup
post #90 of 96

Great SOLID dog training tips in this post... if you do the work you CAN train your dog.. I'm new to the chicken thing but I am looking forward to teaching my much loved Standard Schnauzer that our new babies are family.

Originally Posted by NikonD2xer View Post

You can train just about any dog at any age.  It all depends on the tools you use.  


One training tool I will NEVER EVER use are treats to reward good behavior.

When treats are used,  what happens when you don't have treats.

You can easily tell a dog that has been trained with treats when seeing them with the owner or handler.

Watch the dog, if it is always looking at the handlers hand or hands, guess where the treats were.


Praise and affection are much better of a reward for obedience and good behavior.  Your never without those.


Consistency and repetitive training exercises are by far the most important tasks to master for both owner and dog.


Start with the basics.   NO........SIT..........DOWN..........STAY.  

You can not expect a dog understand chickens or anything else that matter are off limits if they don't obey the basic commands instantly.


I always use a choker chain to train.  The chain needs to be the correct size and used properly.  

It must be able to release with no tension applied for it to work.  If it doesn't chances are it is on backwards

To correct a dog with a choker chain,  simply snap the leash back quickly just to the point of tightening around the dogs neck and then release it.

It is the zzzzziiiiiipppppppp sound of the ring moving on the chain and the feel of the slight tightening around the dogs neck that gets the dog attention and re focuses them.


Correct your dog instantly when they make a mistake.

With practice you will be able to tell they are about loose focus or do something undesirable correct with just a word.


If chain is tight around the dogs throat and / or the dog ever is not being used correctly.

It is miss use that caused so many people to think that a choker chain is a cruel way to correct a dogs behavior.


I have never needed to use a shock collar on any of the dozens of dogs i have trained because they know what i say is what they are to do, even when they are out of my reach.



I have a 70lb chocolate lab that i got from a rescue when she was 3.  She was a holy terror when i brought her home.

She would chase anything that moved with intent to kill.  I worked with her for a week before i would let her out on her own.

I kept my eye on her for the next couple of weeks with only a strong NO to correct the chase / hunt instinct that flair up every once in a while.


Since then i have had no problem with her at all.  Cats will literally use her as a rubbing post.  She was even adopted by a kitten.


When i got chickens this spring,  I had no reservations about letting them free range with her outside unsupervised.

She has been surrounded by the chickens, had them run under her,  even pecked with no action taken by the lab.

The chickens actually feel safer with her around and are more adventurous when she is near.

1 Standard Schnauzer who is totally fascinated by 2 Barred Rocks and 2 Black Australorps
1 Standard Schnauzer who is totally fascinated by 2 Barred Rocks and 2 Black Australorps
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