Dogs and chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mickey67, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. Mickey67

    Mickey67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Does anyone have experience with free ranging chickens, but also happen to be the owner of a large breed dog? I recently moved to the country and wife wanted a GSD for while I'm away ( military) and such. She is only 4 months and my chickens are about 6 weeks. Trying to figure out how to keep her from chasing them, and it is not easy. So far I've been trying to keep her penned or on the other side of the house if chicks are out. Yesterday she discovered them and had a field day. She did not actually get one in her mouth or anything, I think she just wants to play but when they are old enough to lay, heard that they should not be stressed like that or they will lay before egg is ready? Any advice appreciated
     
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  2. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    Lots of daily training the dog to leave the chickens alone.
    It takes time but can be done.
     
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  3. Pennychickens1

    Pennychickens1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After my mastiff turned 6 months she left my hens alone .but when she was a pup she wanted to chase them. I started training her to leave them an then I rewarded her for the good behavior.
     
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  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Are you doing any training with the dog with regards to impulse control sand general obedience? What approach are you currently using in the training? Knowing the foundation you have and your general approach to training outs key.
    For the time being, all interaction between birds and dog needs to be on leash so you are able to provide immediate feedback.
    It can be done.....I'll have to snap a photo of my gsd and *her* current flock.....
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I would recommend obedience training. GSD are extremely smart and loyal animals but do need a structured environment. Especially with the probability of you being away your wife needs to have control over the dog. Teaching 'leave it' with a quick snap on the leash every time the dog shows interest in the birds would be a good starting point. Good luck with her. By far the most impressive dog that has ever owned me was a massive male GSD.
     
  6. Mickey67

    Mickey67 Out Of The Brooder

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    I would like to see that, I know she is just a pup now , she is learning quickly. I figured it could be trained just like other obedience behavior.
     
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  7. ericaperry

    ericaperry Out Of The Brooder

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    We are training our two boxers (Max is 4 and Mia is 2 years old). I agree that basic obedience will lay a great foundation. Two other great things to train are impulse control and patience...they go hand in hand. I knew since before getting our two dogs I would need to train them on that from the get go.

    Find out a comfortable distance from the chickens your dog on leash can handle (i.e. she knows they're there, but will still pay attention to you and respnd to commands). Work at that distance until you can move closer and closer. Training takes time and if it takes her a few months to move a foot at a time than so be it.

    Do you know if your pup is food or treat or attention motivated? Use that to your advantage now for training. Unless your pup doesn't care about treats or toys..Then you have to move on to different training methods.

    Both of my dogs have considerable prey drive. I have trained both of my dogs using various methods since pups from positive reinforcement treat focused stuff and more "harsh" methods from martingales and prong collars. I have found, in my own experience, positive reinforcement works in certain low-stimuli/low-distraction situations. I gauge each situation though..for chicken training I however combine treats and praise with e-collar training.

    We live near farmlands and go on regular outdoor adventures like hikes and days at the river. After too many close calls with wildlife (deer, bears and coyotes included) I have since graduated to dogtra e-collars and will not use anything else nor trust any other method to break their focus, especially around other animals.

    With the e-collar and leash on, since Max is used to training with it, on our first training day with the chicks loose in the yard he was able to come about 6 feet close without becoming too focused. Mia (our female) couldn't go any closer than 10-12 feet. They listen perfectly with the e-collars on, but since this is brand new training to them, we are working on finding a comfortable distance between them and the chickens. The collars are pricey but great investments if that means keeping my dogs and other animals safe.

    Of course, find the appropriate training method for your dog. If your dog is "soft", a positive reinforcement method will be suitable. I own two crazy, high energy, stubborn boxers and after various incidences I had to match that level of intensity appropriately.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  8. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hehe. As they say, "There are as many ways to train a dog as there are trainers."

    I think @Ol Grey Mare was asking you to describe in detail what your approach is to training. Do you subscribe to a "rewards only/no punishment" philosophy or a balanced approach? Are there training tools/equipment you usually use? Any that you refuse to use?
     
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  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Excellent translation, thank you!
     
  10. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    So, they are hard to get pics of because as soon as they see mom both birds and dog want to have just attention and not just carry on like usual.... but the big blue thing is the dog's prized possession and Doris (chicken) send two friends were just playing with it and she just watched. At our old propetry she was out daily with our flock on 2 acres and her job was keeping anything that didn't live with us away (lots of uncontained dogs roaming). We're in town now and the yard is fenced but there are numerous cats who come over the fence...her job is cat patrol, especially when the birds are out. Once something is introduced as one that belongs to us she keeps it here (and safe), anything else is shown the door. I have zero hesitation leaving her unattended with them. She has never taken so much as an over interested sniff at them, but she was 3 and fairly established in her other training when wee started back into chickens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017

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