Can a Year Old Anatolian Be Trained to Guard Chickens?


7 Years
Mar 13, 2013
My Coop
My Coop
Hi Everyone,

Can I train an Anatolian mixed dog from a shelter that is about 1 year old to guard my chickens? I've read loads of literature on guardian dogs and they all strongly recommend getting a puppy and housing him with the livestock, minimizing human contact with the dog so he bonds with the livestock, etc. etc. I can't find anything that addresses getting a bit older dog and what the success/failure of teaching him to be a guard dog would be. I'd much prefer to rescue a dog from a shelter as this is my nature and there are several guardian breed mixes in the shelters within driving distance from me.

Here's the Anatolian mix I'm considering that is at a shelter. I talked to the shelter and they said he's a nice dog, gets along well with other dogs, cats and people but they don't know about chickens. He was a stray so they have no real history on him. If he was not trainable to not hurt chickens, I can bring him back to the shelter.

I've trained dogs for a hobby for many years and am pretty good at it but have never trained a guardian dog before. I don't need the guardian dog to be perfect. What I would like him to do is stay up at the barn with my free range chickens during the day and patrol the area. I have a predator-proof coop where I lock the chickens at night so the guardian dog can either sleep with the chickens or in the house at night. I hope to also get a few goats so want the dog to guard them as well.

I currently have 2 other dogs that are a cross between pets and farm dogs. They don't stay up at the barn all day. They go wherever I go so when I go up to the barn they come with me. One of the 2 dogs (she's a beagle mutt) runs off everything that she smells (coyotes, deer, rabbits, fox, hawks, you name it). However, the other dog is blind (degenerative eye disorder) and so he isn't much help to the other one anymore. The one doing the chasing/predator patrols runs off by herself in the woods alone pretty frequently and could use some help.

Alternately, if a 1 year guard dog breed like an Anatolian is too old to be trained to do what I need, I would probably just get a 3rd dog to simply help my sighted dog a bit more. I would probably get a terrier mix if a 1 year old guardian dog breed is likely too old to be trained to stay with the chickens during the day. Most regular dogs have good prey/predator deterrent instincts and I would make sure I got one that I could train to not hurt the chickens. I'd probably get a terrier mutt as they have high energy and strong predator instincts and I just like terriers.

So... do I get a 1 year-ish old guardian dog breed and try to train him to stay/guard my chickens during the day or do I get 3rd dog (likely a terrier mutt) with good predator deterrent instincts to help my sighted dog run off all the animals in the area?

Thanks in advance for any insights anyone has,
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No one responded to this (no worries, people are busy, loads of questions here and some posts don't strike a cord enough to get a response) but I thought I'd provide an update on what I did and what happened, in case it helps others making similar decisions on getting a dog for their chickens and farm.

I did end up getting the 1 year old Anatolian mutt from the kill shelter, as mentioned above and he's working out GREAT! I decided to go with a hybrid solution. I got this Anatolian mutt which has natural guard dog instincts due to his breeding. But instead of trying to teach him to live with the chickens, he lives with us. So, he's our 3rd "regular" type house dog but he also has the advantage of being a natural at guarding the area, more so than even a regular non-guard dog breed.

What's great about getting a guard dog breed is that he was SUPER easy to teach the things he needs to do. For example, he immediately understood that he was not to hurt or chase the chickens. He instinctively understood, even though he's still got a lot of puppy in him. He wanted to "play" with the chickens, especially when they'd run or fly by him, but it just took a few "no"s to teach him that was not OK and he got it. He also immediately ran around the farm off leash with zero training. When we hike, for example, he goes with us up into the woods, runs around a bit up into the mountains, then comes back to check in, then runs off again. Zero training, he just knows to do these things due to his breeding. Never have I "trained" a dog that took as little effort as this dog.

He also works very well with our sighted beagle mutt. She's 9 years old and is better because of him being here. They work together, chasing things off in the woods. She's more active and has more "fun" doing what she does best too, because she has him as a partner. Even the blind shepherd mutt gets in on the action more. In short, all 3 dogs are happier together than ever before.

Also, because he's a mutt, he's smaller than a pure blood Anatolian. He's 55 pounds, which is perfect for us. A pure Anatolian male starts at 110 pounds which is too big for our needs/wants. We don't know what else he has in him but whatever breed it is, it's a good one!

He's the perfect dog, and we saved a life by adopting him from a kill shelter no less. We couldn't be happier with our new dog and he's giddy happy running around the farm doing what he was meant to do.

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Beautiful dog congratulations, sounds like you got the teaching thing down and he is smart

I have an couple Anatolian/Pyrenees crosses as well as a couple full blooded Pyrenees all of them are great feathered flock watchers.

My pitbull and Rottweiler keep snakes and other small critters away and if they make it into the safe zone they do not make it out alive.

I also have an aussie dog that is used for herding .

One of my pit's with the Peas
Great dog! I like seeing dogs fit into a situation so well.

Zazouse, you always have the greatest photos -- your animals always look like they are getting along & harmonious.

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