Can't get my Great Pyr from chasing the chickens!!!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by wischickenlover, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. wischickenlover

    wischickenlover Songster

    Mar 5, 2007
    Ladysmith, WI
    Help! I am having a very difficult time getting it through my pup's head that the chickens aren't play toys. I have had dogs in the past that have relentlessly gone after my chickens and had several casualties because of it. They ended up having to be rehomed. I did extensive research on the breed before we decided this was our new family member, and we love her very much. She is highly intelligent and sensitive and learns quickly....all except for the "paws off the chickens thing"! She has been reprimanded repeatedly, and we cannot let her out in the yard unsupervised because we can't trust her. We thought she would be a great guardian for our flock, since we do have a predator problem. Instead, she is their predator. I have read many dog/chicken posts and many sad stories. I guess I thought that it was instinct for the breed to protect and defend? Please do not lecture, I just need some helpful suggestions on what I can do to stop this behavior. Thanks!
    BTW< she is 4 months old on May 7th.

  2. Patchesnposies

    Patchesnposies Chickens.....are my ONE weakness!

    Mar 5, 2008
    Southern New Mexico
    We got an Anatolian Shepherd Dog pup (4 mos old) for the very same reason and yes, I do believe she has very strong guardian tendencies (and 6,000 years of breeding to do so behind it).

    That being said, everything I have read says that just because she doesn't have the same "prey drive" that other breeds have doesn't mean she can be left alone with the chickens until she has been taught all she needs to know.

    She is a puppy, she wants to play with them. And, if she is left to do it, they will die....she is big!

    I take her out with me to do my chicken, sheep and goat chores. I never let her see me "chase/catch them. She'll want to help me if she sees me do it.

    At first I took her only on a leash. Any interest in the birds (or goats-they run and she wants to chase them) and I loudly and sternly tell her "No!" "No, chase!"

    Now, I let her walk along with me. She is really smart and learns quickly. I still believe it will be 18 mos to 2 years before she will be mature enough to do her job without me right there with her.

    She prefers being outside with all of the animals, but she sleeps inside for now.

    Give your baby time, he/she will do the job it was created to do. You just have to train her until it knows whats expected and how to do it.

    ETA: That is not Zosia in my avatar-that's Peanut our little mutt boy, right after he broke his leg. Isn't he cute?
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    BTW< she is 4 months old on May 7th.

    She's still a baby. You need to spend time with her, and let HER spend time with the birds.
    She cannot bond with them if she's not with them.

    Other than that , a shock collar works wonders.

    Keep in mind a Pyr is a puppy until about 1 1/2 years old
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    It would help if you describe what you mean by "reprimand". Then we can determine if maybe your idea of reprimand is likely to work with this kind of dog....or any dog.

    Can you please clarify? [​IMG]

  5. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I have two friends who breed and show Great Pyrenees and one is also a registered AKC judge. They swear to me that they will relentlessly guard anything you give them to guard. I am actually quite surprised you are having this issue. I have read a great many success stories on here about Great Pyrenees as guards for chickens.

    Anyway, I mention this because I could see if one of them would be willing to talk to you about working with your new doggie. They are both passionate about the breed and I bet they'd be willing to talk to you and help you if possible. I don't have any knowledge or experience with the breed myself, but I will contact them to see if they could help you maybe via email.

    PM me if you are interested in this line of help and give me whatever contact info you would like and I will see if one of my friends will contact you to help you.

    Best of luck!
  6. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    1. Guarding livestock, as opposed to playing with them, is NOT NOT NOT instinctual. Yes, they like to guard things they consider "theirs," BUT it takes many many months (even years) of training to channel these instincts into appropriate behavior. It takes a big training commitment to get them to behave appropriately in a consistent manner, to the point where you can leave them alone with birds.

    2. Do a search on here for Mountain Man Jim's posts on LGD training. He has a very good method.

    3. The dog will first need to demonstrate a modicum of obedience, which means some obedience training is in order. The dog needs to know to obey you when you say "come," "leave it" or "guard". Pyrs are notoriously stubborn and independent--the same corrections that work perfectly on other breeds may not do a darned thing for a Great Pyrenees. E.g., I have used the same exact obedience methods on my Newf and my Pyr. The Newf obeys like a giant drooling angel, and promptly attends to me, heels, sits, shakes hands, kisses, rolls over, makes an effort to learn carting commands and shushes on command, and I rarely have to tell her twice. The Pyr might listen to me...if he knows I have a pocketful of treats. If there isn't a threatening traffic helicopter that might swoop down on us and steal a chicken at any minute. If a neighbor kid isn't knocking on the door to sell us popcorn. And I can snap that prong collar all I want, he is not especially impressed. You have to do obedience when they are young, so it sinks into their brains a bit. And be prepared for them to spontaneously forget when they are 9-18 months old, as teenagers often do.

    4. Your dog is still very young. Puppies naturally want to play. At this stage, you can tether one end of a 6 foot leash to your belt loop and have him heel to you while you do your normal chicken chores, and make him behave while you do that, so he understands this is serious business. But for sure, don't trust him with them off-leash. It takes time and patience and training, and the dog isn't really going to be ready to guard properly until he is at least a year old--and maybe more like 2 years old. The good part is, once trained, they are wonderful guardians, and they tend to be very long-lived so it's not like you have to do two years of training every five years or something.

    Mentally, Pyrs are very much like cats. I love my Pyr dearly because I am very much a cat person, and having a dog that rolls over for me is not so important as having a deputy that can guard my house/property independently without my assistance. But if you're more of a dog person and really value a dog that obeys instantly, without question, or that does tricks, then probably a Pyr is not a good choice.
  7. scarter

    scarter Songster

    Aug 22, 2008
    Roberts, WI
    Since Roxy is the sister of Nola I'll just tell you that Nola does the same thing. I actually take her out with me in the mornings and it's her job to open the coop and let the girls come flapping out of the coop. I have to frequently remind her to STOP and give her a tiny tug on her leash. We stand and watch them and she will eventually lay herself down and quietly watch them. There is no way I'd let her loose with the chickens yet. Does Roxy need more time with the chickens just watching them with you? Nola loves chasing and playing and running after anything. She is just playing.

    Also, when we're outside and I need my hands to do chores I have her on a metal lead attached to a tree with chew toys. I make sure we've played with her and gotten her energy out so she will play contently while we work.

    Then at night she is to go with me to count chickens on their perches and close the coop door. So far so good. She is getting the hang of it but we still have puppies.
    Gloryfarm likes this.

  8. mandolinmama

    mandolinmama Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    Urbana Missouri
    Don't give up on her. She's a baby. I have a great pyr and don't know what i'd do without her. Your little girl has some growing up to do, so just be paitent with her. I wish I had more advice on how to handle the situation, but just wanted to offer what I could. They really are fantastic creatures.
  9. xadika

    xadika Songster

    Apr 11, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012

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