dog proofing against a talented escape artist

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Northie, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Northie

    Northie Chillin' With My Peeps

    We're expecting an order of chicks at the end of the month and I'm trying to plan ahead when it comes to protecting them from our dog. She has a very high prey drive and figures the budgie would be an awesome chase/chew/squeak toy. Sooooo chickens are probably on her list of "best toys ever".... Darn...

    Her track record for escaping is pretty amazing she can chew out of a regular plastic and metal crate by chewing at the hinges an popping out the door, she has gone through a 2x4 wall and has recently learn either to fly or to climb fences.
    The lack of tracks in the snow around the dog run makes me think she has learned to fly...

    I think there may be 2 options here she is very protective of our kids and if there was a way to include the chickens in the kids category they would be safe for life. The other option is to completely fortify the coop and run to the point where hoodini himself couldn't break in or out.... Ideas?
  2. Biologrady

    Biologrady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    We were able to desensitize our Great Dane to them by raising the chicks in his previously used dog crate... I just basically covered the thing with hardware cloth ( honestly was more worried about the cat getting a claw through.)

    Lots of hours of exposure to the chickens through the bars ( for the first six weeks the chickens lived in the garage) by feeding the dog and putting his dog bed on the floor right next to it!) seemed to work, he eventually was just mildly interested in them. Now he can walk among them, and nobody reacts... But.... If he is galloping around the yard and they scatter, he switches into play mode and I can see that it might end badly if he's not reminded to leave them be.
    We have really really good voice control over our dog... A Great Dane with impulse control issues is bad news. So, since puppyhood "leave it" has been a big part of his vocabulary. I can put him at one end of the yard, put a steak dinner at his feet, tell him to leave it, and walk away, out of sight. For 5 minutes. That's a lot of control, but if the potential dinner is flapping excitedly under his nose, and I'm not there to say "leave it", I can see disaster.
    So, if you can possibly desensitize your dog a bit, it's probably going to make your lives and the chickens happier and maybe keep the dog from being obsessed enough to break into the coop/run, but if you ever want to be truly relaxed, you're probably going to need a
    fortress. For what it's worth, I think most dogs are more desperate to get out of a crate then into a chicken pen, as long as they are well fed and not OCD.
    2 people like this.
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Flock Master

    Jan 18, 2008
    Good idea. We may have to try the crate thing too, though we don't have a crate cause we never used one, I was gonna use a plastic tub? I'll do something similar though.
  4. Biologrady

    Biologrady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    You can sometimes find crates on Craig's list or free cycle .
  5. Northie

    Northie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Going to work with her and the budgie for a bit on the idea that the birdy is "mommy's" and keep thinking about predator/dog proofing a coop :)

    It's funny before I had kids my pets didn't know me as Mommy, but now it's my name to everyone in the house.
  6. OScarlet

    OScarlet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2013
    Bear in mind we have only had our chickens since August however our dogs are not under good voice control, well they are if something is in it for them but if there is a little white dog walking by, a mailman or a gardener then I may as dancing a jig as well as shouting leave it. Our main naughty girl will do things like drop steaks though if told to leave them.

    What has worked for us is keeping them separate but the chickens occasionally escape so I have trained my black lab/border collie cross to know that if a chicken is out and she goes in the house she will get a treat so now if one is out she comes and finds me and leads me to the escapologist and then licks her lips and runs to the fridge (where the treats are). Sometimes she will stand and watch the chicken but if I come out she will still tell me and lead me to the fridge. She is a little wary of the chickens. She got buzzed by the electric fence a number of times and I don't think she is sure if it is the chickens that 'bite' or the coop.

    The other dog, don't trust her at all, but she has been ok so far. Mostly she just follows the lead of the other.

    Oh and the other thing we did was when the chicks were tiny and in the bath the dogs got told off every time they even sniffed in the chicks general direction and got rewarded if they ignored them.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
  7. Biologrady

    Biologrady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    Yeah. As good as we have gotten with our dog's impulse control when it comes to food, chickens and even strangers, all bets are off when it comes to neighborhood dogs. I had to stop walking him where I could run into other dogs; he's 185 lbs (most muscular Dane I've ever known, broad chested and stocky as well as tall) and I felt bad terrifying the neighbors. Bizarrely, he turns into the dignified mayor of the dog park when he's off leash...
    Sadly he is having heart issues now and is exercise restricted, but loves his couch and sunbeams...and slow sniffing walks in the woods...

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