Dog plus chicken owners chime in please

Florida Bullfrog

Chirping
May 14, 2019
191
356
97
North Florida
I believe more than many in this thread that as a general rule, a dog’s genetics has more to do with catch and kill type behavior than obedience training. Some dogs are hard wired to be killers, just as some roosters are hard wired to be.

That being said, no dog I ever had couldn’t be broken of catching chickens. I’ve had some that could never be broken of catching other mammals or even humans. But none that seemed so instinctually driven to catch a chicken than they couldn’t be trained not to even when I wasn’t standing over them. Maybe because I’ve never owned a breed used for bird hunting beyond basic retrievers.

Puppies are somewhat easy. Consistent discipline applied for chasing or showing aggression on chickens, up in to and including a good swat to the butt, trains them pretty quick. Combined with praise for positive interactions with the birds.

Adults I’ve broke by tying the poultry they’ve killed to their bodies and made them carry or drag them around. That’s an old farmer’s trick and it works. The dog associates the dead bird with something they can’t get away from. Dogs like dead stinky things but only when they want them. They don’t like having a carcass forced on them that isn’t on their terms.
 

Duckfarmer1

Crowing
Jul 23, 2019
1,890
4,867
301
Kane,Pa
We have 3 dogs...shi tzu, bulldog, French Bulldog. We also had an olde English bulldog. At any rate...I think, from reading many of these posts..,what you can gather, is...it’s not so much about the breed, as it about training them to love the chickens too! My bulldog loves chicks so much, once she had one in her mouth but didn’t hurt it! Then she let them climb all over her head and back! Another time she stole eggs out of my egg basket..took them to her bed...without breaking them...and nestled them carefully in the middle!! None of the dogs have ever even been a bit aggressive. My son has a two year old lab...same thing....he likes to sniff them..but he has never tried to hurt them....and the chickens are not afraid of any of the dogs! I think it is important how you train any dog from the start...teach them..’no’. Etc...
 

Rushdoggie

Songster
Jun 15, 2018
115
292
116
Vancouver, WA
Some breeds (terriers, sighthounds, Nordic breeds) have a strong prey drive. They see things run and their instincts tell them to chase and grab. They absolutely can be trained but its harder...their brains kick into chase drive and sometimes its hard to break through. Some breeds are just less likely to have a really strong prey drive as they were bred to be lazy companions (some toy breeds for example), some dogs are better at thinking when they prey drive that all dogs have kicks in because they were bred to have control over that prey drive as part of their breed characteristics (herding breeds, hunting breeds). Mixed breed dogs are a mixed bag because its hard to know what they inherited from their ancestors sometimes. They may have high prey drive or low prey drive. Even if they are a mix of 2 dogs who are usually easy to call off their are not for sure going to be the same. And of course dogs are also individuals so you can have a herding dog with very strong prey drive...its just less likely.

The bottom line is all dogs need training and clear expectations, and management as a back up (good fencing). Younger puppies are sometimes easier to mold because they haven't already learned bad habits, but then again with an older dog you get what you see and theirs no guessing how he or she might turn out.

If your chooks are in a place where dogs could get at them when they range, or if having a dog who can safely mix with them is a huge priority for you, then you probably should start with a breed who is less likely to have strong prey drive or an adult who is fairly well known to have been around chickens or other birds and not gone after them.
 
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Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
11,895
81,466
1,402
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Every farm here has dogs. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone training their dog to leave the chickens alone. Someone at some stage must have trained their original dog but after that the senior dog trains the new ones.
There are all sorts of farm dogs here from the scruffy disreputable hound in my pictures above, to Dobermans, St Bernards, border Collies and everything in between. A dog that won't learn gets shot.
People here will tell you humans do not make good dog trainers; you need another dog for that. Reading this thread I tend to agree.
Not once since I've lived here has a dog that lived here or any other farm dog killed a chicken or duck. It's a pity I can't say the same for the people from the cities and suburbs who bring their dogs into the park.
The rule here is pretty simple. If your dog attacks livestock it gets shot.
 

Duckfarmer1

Crowing
Jul 23, 2019
1,890
4,867
301
Kane,Pa
We have only had issues with a neighbors cat. But, we almost shot it once. We thought twice because we knew it was their pet. Now I chase the heck out of it...and so do the dogs. It rarely comes back. Your dog will learn to care for your flock....
 

Rachel Taylor

Crowing
Aug 17, 2017
3,340
5,654
402
Virginia
I have two dogs. One is a board puppy who wanted nothing more than just to smell and have the chickens come to her. Very friendly my other dog a German Shepherd Collie mix with a whole different story. She's a little. The first chickens we got were 10 weeks old so they went directly into the running coop anytime they were how my older dog had to be on a leash and we were trying to train her not to attack them. It was getting better slowly. Then we got some checks that we kept under a heat lamp inside The house. They were in a kennel so they were safe from the dogs and it seemed like her watching them live in the house and grow up almost made her realize that they are pets in that food. Maybe just a coincidence but
 

Duckfarmer1

Crowing
Jul 23, 2019
1,890
4,867
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Kane,Pa
When my son brings his young lab here we keep him on a leash, just in case. But, luckily, he’s never shown any aggression. I realize that’s not a reality for a pupay that is your own. But, if I get an LGD, I plan to train it, on a leash, to go by the chickens, and say no!! I have a bunch of friends who have trained their LGDs that way. The key, I believe, is to not let them view them as a play object.
 
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