Dog barking at chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sandra Lee, May 2, 2016.

  1. Sandra Lee

    Sandra Lee Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 21, 2012
    Rhode Island
    Hi everyone,

    I have searched the forums on this and haven't found a thread but please direct me to one if I am wrong and missed it. I have seen several threads about training a dog to avoid attacking chickens but I would love to know how best to train the dog to not bark at them every time they are in the run. I have a very secure coop and run and I actually have an electric fence loop around both so my dog can not go near either. However, she runs just outside the electric loop all day barking at the chickens. Honestly, I know I can put her on a leash and work with her but I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old and I haven't been able to do it often enough to make it really sink in. Every time we are outside playing I call her away and give her a treat when she ignores them and comes to me but her pray drive is very high and she really is not very motivated by treats. (She is a standard poodle, we have been through 2 obedience classes, she knows all of the normal commands but none of them will work if there is an animal/person/dog around that she wants to play with). I am wondering if a dog whistle or some sort of sound may help? Since she already has an electric fence I am worried that a remote shock collar would just confuse her and freak her out...although that may be my last resort. She is too fast to catch once she is outside and I just don't have the significant time to spend with her on a leash....and I'm not sure it would work anyway because she is so obsessed with the chickens.

    Also, can anyone tell me if it is possible for the dog to scare a chicken to death by barking at it? I had a backyard flock before and they didn't seem bothered by her but I recently got a few new pullets and I found one dead in the run yesterday. (a speckled sussex that I was SO excited about!) I looked her over and didn't see anything wrong, I hadn't noticed her acting strangely, and she was under the coop in the middle of the run (no predator holes in the mesh, very fine mesh so nothing could reach through, and she was in the middle of the run so nothing could have reached her anyway). They have free ranged a couple of times so maybe she ate something she shouldn't have but otherwise I have no clue why she died. I've had them for a few weeks...and I know other animals can go into shock when scared so I was wondering if chickens can as well? Sorry if this is a naive question, I just hadn't really thought about it before but now I am worried for my remaining 2 pullets.

    Thank you so much for any suggestions you may have!
  2. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Standard poodles are exceptionally smart dogs and what most people don't know...very utilitarian dogs. They do have a prey drive. I have a friend who is a dog trainer(runs her own business) and her personal dog is a standard poodle. Give me some time, I will contact her and explain the situation and see what her suggestions are. I love standard poodles and would have one myself if not for the grooming. LOL But I don't totally "get them" like I know she does. And she is an exceptional trainer. Will get back to you.

    Any bird can die of fright so I would assume that would mean chickens too. :( Not sure though.
    1 person likes this.
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    I don't know why and electric shock collar would not work. The key to electric devices is that the dog only be shocked while engaging in the unwanted behavior.

    1. Do not give any warnings - no calling out, no verbal correction, no using the collar warning button.

    2. Shock ONLY when the dog is barking at the chickens. You need to let them commit the crime, then suffer the consequences.

    3. Best to be somewhere you can monitor the dog but they can not see you - inside the house for example, watching out the window.

    Most people do not use collars correctly, and end up teaching the dog to stop when they are hollered at. The correction should be administered at once at the time they behave badly, without them associating the correction with you - just as the perimeter fence corrects them without your help.

    It is possible your hen may have injured herself, either due to the dog, or due to many other things as well.
    2 people like this.
  4. ES4me

    ES4me Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 28, 2016
    My mother's Standard Poodle had the highest prey drive of any dog I've ever seen. My English Shepherds have a good bit as well. Barking at fluttering hens is self-rewarding and cannot continue if you want her to improve. I don't trust mine to be loose with the birds while they are free-ranging. They have never put a mark on them but have pinned to sniff-too dangerous for the bird IMO!
    I do not allow barking. Intense staring is also a no-no. You will have to figure out where your girl's 'threshold' is-where she can see the birds and yet still 'hear' and respond to your instructions. Then build from there. Sorry. It will take time, but even a few minutes a day of that and keeping her from being overexcited should help her. If she has a favorite toy or activity that she likes as much, teach her to choose that. One of mine loves his ball, so when he sees a new person and wants to bark excitedly, I tell him to get his ball. You're just redirecting excitement. [​IMG]
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    It would help if she was only outside with you on leash, not alone out there doing what she wants. I know it's difficult with toddlers, but having her inside, and only out with supervision, will be essential. She needs to be corrected EVERY TIME she focuses on the birds. How about a bark collar? Or solid fencing so she can't see them? All good suggestions here already. Mary
    1 person likes this.
  6. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    1muttsfan is absolutely correct. A bark collar will make the dog reluctant to bark even in situations where you'd want to be alerted.

    Yet a shock collar would impress upon the dog "do not bark at the chickens"

    Stressed chickens will quit laying and have other health issues.
    1 person likes this.
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    You have to be smarter than the dog for the training to sink in. My wife's brother would run down his rabbet dogs and whoop them for not coming when he called. The dogs thought that they were getting whipped for not running sufficiently fast in the opposite direction when my Brother-in-law called them. The remarks about an electric training collar are spot on. Only put on your thinking cap before you buckle the training collar on fido.
    2 people like this.
  8. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    That is hilarious George!! My brother raised rabbit dogs our whole life. He could never get them to quit hunting when called. We'd spend hours trying to round them up. I sometimes felt like your BIL. I quit rabbit hunting with him for years because of this.

    Then he began raising Labrador retrievers. He won many field trials with his fabulous Labs. It was during this period that he got a pack of field trial champions beagles. They were the most fantastic rabbit dogs I ever saw! I don't know how he did it but, these dogs would come when called and would hop right into the truck kennels.

    I wish my brother were still around to ask him how he accomplished this. I wish he were still around for a million other reasons as well. He was truly a remarkable man!! I now wish I had had made EVERY hunt with him.
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    There is nothing better than chilling with your children while watching and listing to your Beagle dogs work a rabbet. Well that is unless it is the sound of a Walker Hound running a deer on a cold December morning.

    To get a dog to properly obey, you must become the pack's leader. Dogs like children want to know their place and once they do both will obey. Some are just harder headed than others.
  10. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    SE, Louisiana
    Amen to all-a-dat!!

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