did my dog do it?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sunket77, May 21, 2010.

  1. sunket77

    sunket77 Songster

    May 21, 2009
    Texas Hill Country!
    I finally let my guineas out to free range. There are only three of them and I had one female. I walked outside in the morning since I heard them making a ridiculous racket (like more than usual!) and my dog (german shepherd mix) was running uncontrollably back and forth at them. Just running at them and after they flew up she ran away, back and forth. She was really out of control I had to grab her and put her in her kennel. We have had chickens as long as we have had her, she always tries to herd them but never touches a feather.( The only time we have ever had a predator problem since we got her was a loose dog since she doesn't view tame dogs as predators and the dog ran off with one of our free-range chickens.) I walked around the corner and there where feathers everywhere, and no sign of the female guinea. My dog is in a wireless fence system so I walked her entire boundary and couldn't find anything.

    Today I finally found the body (it happened wed.) and it was in her boundary and it was mostly eaten, the softer parts that is. [​IMG] I called my dog over and she immidately cowered and layed down. [​IMG] And for the first time in a very long time I could not get her to come to me. She was obviously feeling very guilty. But I am trying to figure out why exactly she was acting that way....

    I have always been told and have read that once a dog does that and tastes blood and the excitement they will keep doing it and won't stop. But she has not gone at or even looked at the guineas since.

    And I just don't see her eating it, she is well fed and I have been told dogs usually only do things like this for sport, which would be her reason.

    When I found her that morning she had no evidence on her that she had just attacked one of them just the chasing them.

    So there are some factors that make me think it wasn't her, what do you guys think?? [​IMG]
  2. trisha19

    trisha19 Songster

    Jul 4, 2009
    Grassflat, Pa
    First off just because she cowered and layed down doesn't mean she did it, what was the tone in your voice? Or what was your body language? Dogs know what is going on by these things. Dogs are predators they have this ( chase, shake, kill ) hard wired in their genetics. My dogs have killed many chickens and turkey, but with alot of work they will not touch or look at them when we are around, but if they were not being watched they may decide to have some fun. I don;t think the "once they taste the blood" is all true.
  3. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    I agree with Trisha19. We've had dogs in the family that will cower if they think we are upset at them.
  4. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Chickaloon, Alaska
    She cowered and layed down because she sensed that something was wrong through you. Dogs don't feel 'guilt' as we do, however they will cower when their pack leader (you) conveys that they are not happy with them, which is what you did - even tho unintentionally.

    Now, the training needs to begin [​IMG]
  5. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    First, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's always awful to find one of your animals dead.

    But, please, the dog was not feeling guilty!!! Whether or not she killed your bird, she did not feel guilty. She picked up on your body language, your anger and upset when you found the dead bird. She did not know why you were angry, and she was trying to appease you as her pack leader. Dogs don't feel guilt for being dogs! Since she has never before or since shown any inappropriate behavior toward your birds, I would assume that some other critter got the bird.

    Also, if the bird was not in your dog's area when it disappeared (you did say you looked, right?), and she can't leave her area, then my vote is that she did not kill your bird. It's quite possible that some other beast attacked it, it got away, and was trying to get back to its flock and roost when it died in your dog's area. The dog knew the bird did not belong there, and knew you were upset, which triggered her unusual behavior...she had no clue why you were angry...she was trying to show you that she is submissive to you so you would stop being angry.

    Dogs live in the moment. No way would she concern herself for one second over something that happened days ago! It was your behavior that triggered hers. You can't hide your feelings from your dog!

    I still wouldn't let your dog have unsupervised access to your birds; she IS a dog, and small, noisy, quick-moving creatures ARE prey...anything could happen any time to awaken that instinct to chase, catch, and kill. Don't risk it - but I think your dog is innocent. Watch out for your remaining birds, they are at risk unless you can find out what sort of critter got your hen and solve the problem.

    Good luck!
  6. sunket77

    sunket77 Songster

    May 21, 2009
    Texas Hill Country!
    I didn't mean to make myself sound like I don't know what I am talking about...I know dogs don't feel guilt as humans do, I miss worded what I meant... although please understand I appreciate yalls input! I just found this a bit of a mystery...

    When I called her over to me I just whistled for her and as she approached she looked and me and looked at the dead bird and coward and headed the other way. What I meant was she "acted" guilty. I do think if she did it, I did something wrong... I have been very persistent in training her with the chickens from the very tiny chicks to the big flighty ones, she knows they are mine and not hers and her job is to watch them. She has done amazingly with them and really surprised me. When I let the out in the evening I usually keep a close watch and she only gets a bit aggravated with them when they don't stay together in the same spot, she does this with anything, even the kids, she will pace back and forth until they group together again. I only wish I knew how to train her to herd properly. It was my fault when I put the guineas out (who act and sound very different from chickens) I did not think to do any training with her. When I caught her chasing them, I made her lie down and held the guinea over her and scolded her and she didn't look twice at them since like she does the chickens. I just hope and pray if it was her that it didn't start something.

    I also kinda wonder if it was another dog (caught the nieghbors dog in the yard again today [​IMG] ) did it she thought it looked like fun and she might try it also.... the body was on the other side of the house if there was another dog I would not have seen it. And I am inclined to think if she made the kill she would have drug it around a bit more and played with it like her toys. She has about 3 places she puts everything whether she is supposed to have it or not like her toys or if she gets things out of the garbage. I also think it was strange it looked to be eaten but not mauled like a dog would do, like if it was a dog it didn't get to finish.....

    oh my! I so rambled about this I was typing as I was thinking, like I said it seems to be a bit of a mystery. [​IMG]

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