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Can I trust my dog?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gregnuttle, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. gregnuttle

    gregnuttle Out Of The Brooder

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    Any thoughts on when you feel comfortable trusting a dog outside with the chickens? I have a young (5 month-old) Labradoodle who is fine with the pullets while supervised... he'll follow them around and sniff at them. They don't particularly love it, but they don't seem scared or upset, just annoyed. Just wondering about the transition, for those of you who have dogs and chickens living in harmony... how do you know it's okay?[​IMG]
     
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Oooh look at that face!! That's the face of a GOOD dog. Of course we don't know what's going on in his mind.
    I would always keep him leashed around the chicks - it's easier to prevent an accident than try to train the bad behavior out of him. Never give him a chance to be unsupervised amongst the chickens.
    Keep him leashed with you while you go about your coop chores. He looks like a young pup so he is very capable of been sweet and serene one minute and racing thru the flock to grab a flighty bird the next. That's the nature of dogs even if they don't have any hunting stock behind them.
    I don't mean he has to be on lead for life but, mainly till he matures and works out some puppy exuberance. You must constantly watch for signs that he is too interested in the birds, like panting while he watches their every move, or quivering because he is dying to chase them but, he knows you are there.

    I'm sure more experienced people will be along to add their suggestions. Have to mention again, that is one beautiful pup.
     
  3. ddmiddle7

    ddmiddle7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My dog is 4 years old and is a pitt/shepard mutt we rescued from the shelter and she is just fine with out seven pullets. I introduced her slowly when they were still in the brooder. She stays outside during the day with our chickens all the time unsupervised...she has never showed an aggression towards them. I know there are a lot of dogs that you can't do this with but my baby is great around them... she is a big baby and actually runs from the chickens at times. I have seen my chickens peck at my dogs pads on her feet while she is laying in the sun and she gets up and walks the other way and they chase her. lol it is quite humorous since she is 60 lbs almost.
    I would say to keep a close eye on here for a while and test it out. What I did at first was go outside with them for a while together and after a while I just went inside, but stayed at the door. I did this for a while then I would close the door the nest few times but stand there just in case. Then i went a little further (the back window) and watched them. After a few weeks of this limited time outside with me watching I started leaving them out together but kept checking on them every now and then...now I just let Daphne outside if she is at the door and don't think twice about it.
    Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.
     
  4. mysweetgypsy

    mysweetgypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You have kind of a dangerous mix for birds. We had a lab that WAS great, but most are bird dogs at heart and can't help but take a few out when no one's looking. We also had an amazing standard poodle. Super smart, house broke almost immediately, so incredibly obedient!!! BUT he brought me one of my own birds almost every morning. Standard poodles are water reteivers, just like labs. It's a great mix for a family dog, a duck hunting dog, but I'd watch your birds.

    My poor poodle ended up chained or crated 24/7. After a month, and several dead birds, I gave him away. From what I heard he went on to gain a field championship. (not a dog show person, so that's probably not what it's called [​IMG] ) One bird he took a real likeing to and dug her up...three times! [​IMG]
     
  5. gregnuttle

    gregnuttle Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the input. I think I'll just err on the side of caution and make sure that there is no unsupervised dog-chicken time for quite a while.
     
  6. bloom_ss

    bloom_ss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that most dogs can be taught not to chase the chickens if you introduce them slowly and spend time teaching them that it is not ok to chase them. Some breeds will obviously take a lot more training than other breeds, but I believe with patience and perseverance it can be done. I have a one year old Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix named Miri and she is turning out to be a great chicken herder. My dog does have black lab in her also and she has always chased birds. She will go crazy when any birds get in our yard (or at the park, etc), but she doesn't go after the chickens unless I need her help and I give her the signal to go after them. I have six chickens and only one of them is not afraid of me so when any of them happen to get loose (like one did just this evening) I send Miri to turn it back around. She circles wide and makes them run back the right direction so I can catch them. It actually works out better than I had hoped it would. [​IMG] I think it helps that Miri is desperate to please everyone and she learns VERY quickly. I think I would keep up with the supervised visits with the chickens for a while since your dog is still pretty young, but eventually, once he learns they are "family" and belong at your house, he should be ok with them.

    Here's Miri checking on the chicks shortly after we brought them home:
    [​IMG]

    And here she is watching them on their first visit outside: (we didn't have their coop finished yet so that is why they are just in a little pen with the chicken wire...just in case anyone was wondering [​IMG] )
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I used a leash at first, and told them "no" any time they got close. Then J stayed close, then just watched, for maybe 3 months before I trusted them. Now I'd rather have the dogs outside because I think it keeps the chickens safer. Interesting thing is the old dogs taught the new dogs not to bother the chickens.
     
  8. Gullygarden

    Gullygarden Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would never leave them unsupervised with a dog. any dog can succumb to instinct, even when they "know" better. They just act guilty after, but it is too late for the chickens by then.
     
  9. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:when the curiousity dies.
     
  10. Naughty

    Naughty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    it all depends on the dog - i have a bichon friese (no clue on the spelling - its a fancy type of lil yapper) he's smaller than my big ol buff roo - but bigger than most of the girls

    he is in the yard with the chickens all day - and he does occasionally go bowling for chickens - if the neighbors dog is on the other side of the fence and he wants to bark at it - and the chickens are between him and the fence - he will just plow thru them until he gets where he wants to go - and i think he does sometimes run at them to watch em scatter - but never chases

    we had a couple of lil banty roos that were lil meanies that used to try to flog his poor back half - and he just sat there - growled once or twice - i think the legacy they left behind is a dog that is a bit intimidated by chickens

    funny thing is - saw a hawk circling above my chick yard yesterday = watching to see which of my two big ol roos was the better protector - one crowed -the other acted bored - and my DOG barked at it until it flew away... looks like the girls listened best to the dog - when he started barking -they paid attention -looks like my best roo is a dog... and i have never had a predator yet in that yard

    but i also tell him those are MY chickens -every morning i say "guard my chickens" before i go to work - so far - they are all co-existing - even found 2 of them in the wading pool with him - think he may have taught the girls to sit in it to cool off - never saw them in there until they saw the dog in it
     

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