dog training question

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by BeardedChick, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    We recently got a new dog from the pound, a 20# poodle who is a year or two old. He has a strong drive to chase the chickens and turkeys. At the pound, he was around a cat and was fine with it, so I think there's hope he can be trained.

    I have been putting him on a long lead and working with him on "LEAVE IT" near the bird pens. We have a separate yard for the dogs, and I don't let the chickens and dogs mingle when the chickens are free ranging. However, I do let the dogs in the backyard (free range area) when the birds are in their coops in the evening or early morning, and his inclination is to run around their coop excitedly. That happened once, and I have not given him the chance to do that again. I have also been putting him on the long lead and making him come out with me to do chores and tying him up nearby while I do the chicken chores.

    I'd like to reduce his prey drive for my fowl, if possible. Any suggestions? He seems very trainable, just waaay too excited about the birds. I need an emu to put him in his place!
  2. KellyGwen

    KellyGwen Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Lake Luzerne, NY
    You might have a problem since poodles were originally bird dogs... BUT there's always hope! I wouldn't trust him near the birds though...

    You could try using a squirt gun (or a super soaker for more distance!)... Tie him near the run (like you have been doing) and sit nearby with a squirt gun pointed at him, concealed under your arm (so he won't know it's you!). When he lunges at the birds give him a squirt - but act like nothing happened. He'll connect the squirt with the birds.

    Hopefully he won't LIKE the squirt gun... that has happened to me before! [​IMG]

    Good luck!!
  3. gaited horse

    gaited horse Merry Christmas!

    Aug 14, 2008
    Fernley, NV
    try one of those remote training collars and if it does'nt work send it to me
  4. I'd go with the water bottle first. I've trained all of my dogs with the water bottle, and they hate it. Anytime the bottle comes out they know they are doing wrong.

    You might also try the old treat method. If he lunges but stops when you command, give him a treat. He'll associate NOT lunging with reward.
  5. Thanks - I was speaking with my friend last night and he has an e-collar that I can borrow for a while. From what I read, I can do some training with a long lead and with the e-collar set at a low level until he is pretty reliable, then I can work from a hidden location (in my house) and watch him through the window.

    I know he won't ever be reliable with loose birds, but he can learn to give the coop a wide berth.

    I did get him with the hose yesterday for barking at the horse, and it instantly modified his behavior. [​IMG] I think he thought the horse got him somehow.
  6. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    If you do a search, there are lots of posts about this. One in particular is a technique made famous by Cesar Milan--Dog whisperer. I have a hunting dog that actually hunts. I can trust her with my chickens. I used the same method Cesar milan uses, but I used it before I know who he was.

    Good luck!
  7. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    While water and electricity may help modify his initial run at the coop, working with him on control behaviors will help a great deal in the long run. Luckily for you poodles are almost the ULTIMATE in obedience dogs.

    Self-control and owner-cooperative behaviors really help. Habits you teach and things you INSTILL can prevent accidents and issues.

    One thing we train to avoid accidents and escapes, as people go out doors, is to sit before the door is opened at all and to only go through when released. For young dogs we often teach it as sitting on a rug near the door. If pup/dog pops up, no going out.

    So teaching a good solid sit or down, on the rug is a great first step.

    Once that's solid, you add STAYING on the rug and in position.

    To GET what it WANTS - to go out - the dog learns to COOPERATE and listen to you. Failure doesn't result in drama or pain but simply NOT GETTING WHAT IT WANTS.

    We teach them to be solid indoors, then inside a fence or on leash, and slowly work toward off leash.

    If I take a pup who can sit in the kitchen like his butt is glued there and he does it EVERY single time. As soon as I take him outside... he's a dog, he doesn't generalize, to him it's a whole new world and sit doesn't mean sit any more. That's why a fence or a leash and practice are important. Dogs don't transfer behaviors well. Well, some do, but they're rare.

    That's why you hear at the vets office... Sit Sit SIT SITTTTTTTTT, gosh he KNOWS how to sit at home!

    Change the place and for the DOG all the rules have changed.

    Cooperative behaviors well taught give a dog something to DO to get what he wants.

    When I'm working with a dog with particularly strong drives - I use them. Poodles can be like that, herders are another class that also have strong drives.

    The dog WANTS to SEE the chickens. To be near them.

    So the ONLY way to get near the chickens is to pay attention to ME and DO what I'm asking.

    We don't go a step nearer the animals until the dog loosens the leash and LOOKS at me. Bingo a step nearer. Now an excited dog, being excited is likely to hit the end of the leash again immediately. My feet are planted. I'm a tree.

    But by the time I'm working a dog near it's biggest brain dead distraction, I've taught the dog to look at me on command and to follow other commands (sit or down or here) so in it's FRUSTRATION and "what the heck is wrong with you!" the dog will eventually either pause and look back or sit in utter frustration and LOOK at me (the idiot not moving). BINGO attention. Reward attention take a step or steps. Until the leash goes snap and the dog's mind is lost again...

    REPEAT. It's SLOW (kind of) it takes awareness, patience and time. But it also teaches awareness of you, cooperation with YOU, and YOUR leadership much more solidly and much more swiftly. Cooperative training reaches the soul of what a dog is, a PACK member.

    Working WITH what the dog wants and being the PERSON who MAKES IT HAPPEN, is powerful dog training juju.

    You don't just change it's outward behavior, you change your relationship to it, you become important to what it wants. You become a FOCUS.

    Teaching a dog what to DO, to get what it wants is much easier in the long run than trying to make a not-to-do.

    If I yell LEAVE IT at a dog racing for the fence and it stops, then it certainly won't be jumping on the car coming up the drive. Chasing stock any further. Jumping up on someone. Leave it, is an active command, a to do - turn away.

    Yes, water and shock can provide reinforcement for commands already taught. But applied in a vacuum, without a foundation of What it should DO, it is less fair and can add stressors a rescue, sensitive or young dog may not do well with.

    I lay a foundation. Then if I AM ignored, then there's a place for punishment. But it is my responsibility to teach first, the range of behaviors I require that will get the dog what it does want.

    Chase drive is not prey drive, the dog wants the chase.
    Only a dog that kills is in hunt drive and hunting is not prey drive.
    Full prey drive animals EAT what they kill.

    Bird dogs properly fall into chase drive, in most cases.

    In the case of pet bred dogs, of course there's no control, and been no breeding or selection to avoid dogs that would hunt or eat prey. So, you are wise to be careful.

    Good luck. Poodles rock. If you do some real foundation obedience work with a poodle you will LIGHT UP his soul. They're made for it.
  8. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    Good for you and your positive attitude! I agree that dog training is about relationships and leadership, not bullying or scaring them into submission.

    You could also demonstrate that the chickens belong to you by carrying one around while the dog is out and sort of introducing them as a member of the pack vice an intruder or potential prey. We did this with our chase-obsessed spaniel and she now only chases the chickens when we are trying to herd them somewhere. She has become a great asset (over time) where before we were concerned she would kill one eventually.
  9. EliteTempleton

    EliteTempleton Songster

    Aug 9, 2008
    SW MI
    That was awesome, thanks for posting that. I've learned quite a bit from some reading and watching that Cezar guy([​IMG]) but that was a very good explanation of the few things I have missed.

    With that I should be able to get him trained to the level I want him. THANKS![​IMG]
  10. Thanks -

    I agree that becoming the dog's focus is very important, and we are not nearly there yet. I don't know if all poodles are like this, but this guy is VERY scent oriented. You can just tell the second that nose goes to work, his brain blocks me out. And the chickens or turkeys flapping produces a head-and-tail-up excitement.

    We are working on all aspects of obedience, and he is getting good about sitting and waiting to be asked to come out the door... We are walking 4-5 miles a day on leash working on 'heel' position. Just starting short down-stays. I'd like to do an obedience or agility class after he's settled in.

    DH and I have watched all of Cesar's episodes, and I have asked myself several times what Cesar would do with this crazy poodle. [​IMG]

    I have to say I let him go out in the backyard off leash today while I opened the pop hatches. He made a short rush for the coop, and was called off with 'Leave it'. Definitely an improvement!

    We have been working on asking him to lay on his side and be submissive (very important, I think, if he's ever injured & needs care). I did work on it with him one day while the turkeys were very nearby. Seems like just hanging out near the turkeys with him on leash helps him to learn to relax... Yesterday afternoon the turkeys followed us around while we walked the yard, I think that was really good, too.

    I enjoy doing the training work, I'm just not confident that I will be successful in training him to ignore the coops if I am not right there telling him to leave it...

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