Can a dog and chickens safely coexist in a small backyard?

Rosebud25

Songster
5 Years
Aug 23, 2015
33
68
109
Phoo. My Golden retriever never bothered my chickens. It's not about breeds, it's about training. Period.
Training definitely works but it is harder to train a bird dog to leave the birds alone. Especially for someone just getting a dog and already having chickens they are attached too. I have Golden Retrievers as well as my Pomeranians and Papillons. My Goldens took a lot more time to realize the chickens were not to be hunted.
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
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I think if you teach your dog Down, Stay, and he knows it properly, then he should hold it even if a chicken walks over the top of him. If he doesn't, then he isn't thoroughly trained. And I think any dog can learn it, regardless of breed, with the proper techniques. This is just my opinion, but I taught basic obedience at a community college for over 15 years and most of my students came in despairing of their dogs being able to learn anything. Many of them were headed to the pound for termination if my class ("Don't Shoot the Dog!") didn't help. After six weeks they were pleased and amazed, and to my knowledge not one dog was put down.
 

Rosebud25

Songster
5 Years
Aug 23, 2015
33
68
109
I think if you teach your dog Down, Stay, and he knows it properly, then he should hold it even if a chicken walks over the top of him. If he doesn't, then he isn't thoroughly trained. And I think any dog can learn it, regardless of breed, with the proper techniques. This is just my opinion, but I taught basic obedience at a community college for over 15 years and most of my students came in despairing of their dogs being able to learn anything. Many of them were headed to the pound for termination if my class ("Don't Shoot the Dog!") didn't help. After six weeks they were pleased and amazed, and to my knowledge not one dog was put down.
You are right! Training is the key but some breeds take more time and persistence and not everyone is willing to put in that time. If a first time dog owner already has birds it is better for them to find a breed easier to work with in my opinion. Because all dogs in my opinion like to chase fluffy flighty stuff. Some for the kill some just for the chase.
 

RiverOtter

Crowing
11 Years
Nov 4, 2009
1,084
1,612
361
NY
And may I add Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, and Brittany Spaniels. NO hunting dog breeds

Ridiculous! I'll say it again, because it bears repeating, bird/hunting dogs are the EASIEST to train to leave chickens alone, and if you think about it for one hot second, it's obvious why.

These dogs were bred to focus ALL of their attention on ONE kind of bird. What good is a hunting dog that goes tearing off brainlessly over everything with feathers?? Less than none! In fact, you can't hunt at all with a dog like that.
Therefore, hunting breeds were specifically bred to be easily trained to hunt this and not that. So all you have to do is give the dog a this - which can be anything from the bluejays at your bird feeder to a tennis ball to the kid's socks - and train that the chickens are not that.

Now, keep in mind that I don't find hunting breeds particularly easy to train overall. I am a herding breed person, myself, with terriers as a close second. I just get on with them better in general. But I have yet to meet a single hunting breed dog, from hounds to retrievers, that didn't instantly catch on to the concept of this=good, that=bad. I can train three of them to not chase chickens in the time it would take me to introduce the concept to a companion breed.
 

Rosebud25

Songster
5 Years
Aug 23, 2015
33
68
109
Ridiculous! I'll say it again, because it bears repeating, bird/hunting dogs are the EASIEST to train to leave chickens alone, and if you think about it for one hot second, it's obvious why.

These dogs were bred to focus ALL of their attention on ONE kind of bird. What good is a hunting dog that goes tearing off brainlessly over everything with feathers?? Less than none! In fact, you can't hunt at all with a dog like that.
Therefore, hunting breeds were specifically bred to be easily trained to hunt this and not that. So all you have to do is give the dog a this - which can be anything from the bluejays at your bird feeder to a tennis ball to the kid's socks - and train that the chickens are not that.

Now, keep in mind that I don't find hunting breeds particularly easy to train overall. I am a herding breed person, myself, with terriers as a close second. I just get on with them better in general. But I have yet to meet a single hunting breed dog, from hounds to retrievers, that didn't instantly catch on to the concept of this=good, that=bad. I can train three of them to not chase chickens in the time it would take me to introduce the concept to a companion breed.
I had Cocker Spaniels years ago and they were dead set on killing my chickens. There was no way I could leave them anywhere near my chickens. They would go nuts at the window just watching the chickens. And when I let them out they headed straight for my chicken coop. It depends on your dogs prey drive. Why chance it?
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
11,849
43,611
1,037
SE Missouri, USA
You are right! Training is the key but some breeds take more time and persistence and not everyone is willing to put in that time. If a first time dog owner already has birds it is better for them to find a breed easier to work with in my opinion. Because all dogs in my opinion like to chase fluffy flighty stuff. Some for the kill some just for the chase.
It is not so much a matter of time as it is a matter of KNOWLEDGE. If a person does not know how to train their dog, they need to put themselves in the hands of someone who does. Either get a good book on dog training like one from Richard A. Wolters or the Monks of New Skete, or hire a professional or get into a class.
 

RiverOtter

Crowing
11 Years
Nov 4, 2009
1,084
1,612
361
NY
I had Cocker Spaniels years ago and they were dead set on killing my chickens. There was no way I could leave them anywhere near my chickens. They would go nuts at the window just watching the chickens. And when I let them out they headed straight for my chicken coop. It depends on your dogs prey drive. Why chance it?

Please read this in the kindest tone possible.
Just because you didn't know how to do it years ago, doesn't mean that it cannot be done.
Or even that it is hard - it just means that years ago, you didn't know how to do it. There are not one, but two people on this thread who have trained dogs professionally saying it's easy, you just have to know how.

I don't know how to pull a broken molar - my dentist did it in literally two seconds flat. I was stunned, but there's a trick to most everything, and no shame in not being born knowing it. We all have to learn,
 

BuckeyeFoodie

Songster
7 Years
Mar 29, 2013
357
1,119
246
Columbus, OH
It highly depends on the dog. Dogs with a high prey drive are generally no-no's, but other breeds are usually fine. A friend has a cattle-type farm-dog that is around my free-ranging birds all of the time, and Diesel only cares about the chickens so far as to see if they've been fed any good noms he can steal.

Of my mom's dogs, the Pug/Pomeranian cross doesn't care at all, but the Dachshund/Lhasa Apso cross had great aspirations of getting a chicken, but sadly not the leg length to actually catch one, so now he hunts for eggs to steal instead.

So, it depends on breed, and socialization.
 

Dbendell

Chirping
Dec 26, 2017
17
30
69
When I bought my house 3 years ago it came with 3 hens. I came with 2 dogs and a cat trained to stay in the yard. The dogs and cat had never seen a chicken before. There were a few mammals vs. chickens rumbles in the first year, which the chickens always won because of their secret weapon of flapping wings. There have been no issues since.
 

Dbendell

Chirping
Dec 26, 2017
17
30
69
When I bought my house 3 years ago it came with 3 hens. I came with 2 dogs and a cat trained to stay in the yard. The dogs and cat had never seen a chicken before. There were a few mammals vs. chickens rumbles in the first year, which the chickens always won because of their secret weapon of flapping wings. There have been no issues since.

P.S. The dogs are a 45-lb Gordon Setter and a 6-lb Chihuahua.
 

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