Advice for family dog running chickens

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,090
271
Georgia
I agree!
Ive always been told you shouldn’t take a dog into the field unless they have an unshakable recall and leave it command. Obviously people are out there training beagles for hunting, drug sniffing, cadaver searches, missing people etc, it can be done.
But those are all things that the dog naturally wants to do! Follow a scent!

I have had a lot of hard stubborn dogs and done a lot of rescue. Some things you can work with and "train out" of a dog while other things are hard wired and will *never* just go away. With a lot of effort you may be able to suppress it for a while but you never know when it will pop back up.

Knowing the difference is important. Constantly harping on a dog or using increasingly harsh methods in an attempt to wipe out a strong trait intentionally bred into them is cruel and often pointless. Some things you work on, some things you work around.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
25,990
16,625
766
Holts Summit, Missouri
What I look for in a good beagle that is used for rabbit or fox hunting is good nose and ability to follow it keeping quarry on the move. I am not keen on the dog going after something I am not interested in. When a dog goes after deer or some other animal I do not want it to go after, we call it "trashing". Ideally, with a beagle intended for rabbits, the dog will work on a given rabbit and ignore scent trails left by other critters and sometime other rabbits so the dog can push the rabbit into a slow loop where I can shoot the rabbit as it comes back around in front of the dog. A beagle that goes after something else is a waste of time.

We used to keep beagles used for rabbit hunting chained in a row or penned in a row. Chickens would move freely among the beagles without issue. When it got really cold during winter some of the chickens would come down out of trees to roost on a dog at night. The dogs seemed good with that arrangement.
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,090
271
Georgia
This is a solid idea. It also might be good to get a chicken tractor that way they can be moved around to range instead of being free range.

I agree that getting rid of a family pet to accomodate another animal is not fair. A family pet is a member of your family. You wouldnt get rid of your sister because your new dog jumps and bites at her...you'd train the dog not to do that...and if you couldnt train it not to you would leash it when she is there.
Problem with a chicken tractor is that the dog will naturally run around the tractor and scare the wits out of the birds. The more the birds flap, run and squawk the more fun it is, plus moving it around just makes it more interesting for the dog.

I have the same situation as the op -- 2 high prey drive dogs that will kill a chicken in a heartbeat The dogs simply stay in the house when the birds free range. Easy peasy. At first the dogs were interested in the cooped birds but after a few days without any interesting bird activity they got bored and ignored them. Now the only thing they do is quickly check the door to the run every day just in case it is ever unlatched.
 
Last edited:

OneHappyRooster

Crowing
Apr 5, 2020
4,596
8,376
363
This Side Of The Galaxy
Constantly harping on a dog or using increasingly harsh methods in an attempt to wipe out a strong trait intentionally bred into them is cruel and often pointless
Harsh methods? What harsh methods? Using the leave it command, along with others, doesn't strike me as harsh.

We aren't talking about wiping out a trait.
We're talking about training a dog to use its skills in a way that doesn't cause harm.
My dog didn't suffer when I taught her that the chickens were friends, not food.

She can be completely trusted with them now.
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,090
271
Georgia
If that works for you, sure.
But at some point, one of those dogs will escape. And you'll lose birds for it.
If they "escape" it is because I opened a door and let them out. And on occasion I have lost a bird if the bird managed to escape the run. When that has happened I feel bad and take full responsibility for it, I do not punish the dog or worse yet "get rid of the dog" because of my mistake.

I love my dogs and am committed to them for life. They are *not* disposable pets.
 

FloorCandy

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
886
1,507
140
But those are all things that the dog naturally wants to do! Follow a scent!

I have had a lot of hard stubborn dogs and done a lot of rescue. Some things you can work with and "train out" of a dog while other things are hard wired and will *never* just go away. With a lot of effort you may be able to suppress it for a while but you never know when it will pop back up.

Knowing the difference is important. Constantly harping on a dog or using increasingly harsh methods in an attempt to wipe out a strong trait intentionally bred into them is cruel and often pointless. Some things you work on, some things you work around.
No one said harsh, what I said is that yes they want to do it, but can be trained, with this situation the options are, train the dog, get rid of the dog, fence the animals apart.

I typed a snarky response to your rude bold type, but I’m gonna leave it at why don’t you google beagle rally obedience, or beagle agility, or beagle hunting trials. These dogs have all been trained for their sports, the hunting dogs have to wait patiently until they are given the release command. When the hunter arrives and commands, the dog leaves the prey and returns to the hunter so the hunter can take over.

all dogs have difficulties in training, none are impossible. I used to follow a blog of a Siberian husky service dog. Siberians are notoriously difficult for off leash training. With work and patience this dog can be taught leave it and recall.

 

OneHappyRooster

Crowing
Apr 5, 2020
4,596
8,376
363
This Side Of The Galaxy
Training and 'punishing' are completely different things.
I'm just saying that training a dog is beneficial. And it isn't cruel to train a dog.

I also love my dog. That's why I trained her. She is much happier being allowed out whenever, chickens in, chickens out, than having to stay inside whenever the chickens are out (all day).

She will now protect the chickens, instead of chase them. Everyone's a winner.
 

Rachelleigh24

Hatching
Aug 4, 2020
2
2
5
Thanks for the advice, I underestimated my lazy beagle's natural traits. I am glad I focused on security when I built my chicken's run so they are protected from her. In the past two days, the chickens seem to have realized that the dog can not get to them so they are now leaving the coop and going into the run even when she is at the fence. They are obviously nervous but not going crazy. We do have an underground fence so I may need to loop it off around the coop/run so she cannot get so close to them.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom