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dogs and chickies?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ki4got, May 11, 2011.

  1. ki4got

    ki4got Hatch-a-Holic

    Apr 24, 2011
    Roanoke VA
    Ok, Not sure if this should be posted under raising chicks (i am) or pests (my dogs are being...) LOL

    wondering if anyone else has had similar issues and how it resolved... I have 2 standard poodles, 10 years old and 1 year old.

    I'm calling them my obsessive/compulsive dogs. shadow's (the 10 year old) obsessing over the chicks, staring at them for hours on end. Sunny (the 1 year old still very puppyish) is the compulsive one. if a chick "flies" (flapping and running) across the tub, he's up and wiggling like a maniac pawing at the chickie tub.

    the chicks are assorted breeds of bantams - 13 but I will be removing the roos from the flock. They will have a run/coop in the yard (tractor-style) but I'd like to let them free-range if possible, and would like to get some dual purpose birds down the road with intentions of free-ranging them as well.

    I'm wondering if either of them will ever settle down and accept the chicks as part of the "pack". thoughts? suggestions? and no, getting rid of the dogs is not an option.

  2. WallTenters

    WallTenters Songster

    Feb 16, 2010
    Sweet Home, OR
    I would for sure cover the brooder safely so the dogs can't get in there.

    As far as their behavior, often it's just the newness. Hold the chicks, let them smell them and see them moving in your hand and everything. My dog worries when they squawk - she's my chickie guard dog I guess [​IMG] but otherwise she's totally gotten over the oh my there's things moving in there stage..
  3. ki4got

    ki4got Hatch-a-Holic

    Apr 24, 2011
    Roanoke VA
    Well the chicks are just about 2 weeks old, and i think tonight's brainlessness (on the dogs' parts) is because i had to upgrade their tub to a larger tub aka bottom half of a doghouse LOL. it's not as tall as i'd like but at least they can run around some more now (which is just triggering the dogs' brainfarts faster).

    hopefully they'll go out into their new home in a couple more weeks. but that's dependent on the weather man, so we'll see.
  4. Tressa27884

    Tressa27884 Songster

    Mar 27, 2011
    Cooper, Texas
    My 12 year old Dane could care less about our chicks when theyfree range; so much so that he's my chick watcher - God help the squirrel or anything else that comes into the yard when the chicks are free ranging. My Standard Poodle on the other hand is a bit too interested in the babies for my liking (he's almost 2). That being said he DID get a hold of one of the babies when it was a few days old and other than being soaking wet when I got to them- it was unharmed (but traumatized). Until you know how your dogs will behave don't leave them together unsupervised. Remember that Poodles originally were bred to be hunting dogs - and pey drive is a pretty strong hardwired behavior. Even though my Jack didn't hurt the chick he has never been allowed to be alone with them again. In my opinion, better to be safe than sorry.
  5. smurray

    smurray In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    Seattle, WA

    My border collie mix was obsessed with the chicks at first- had to be near them at all times. But, i gave her lots of treats for calming down around them, looking away, walking away, ignoring them when they squawked or flew past and now she's ok with them. They hang out in the back yard together like pals (or maybe cordial acquaintances...) and she only gives them trouble when one gets isolated from the pack- then we have to tell her to back off.

    Interestingly, we just got two new 5wk old chicks, and she's obsessed again! I don't know if it's the newness or their size (the older ones are 2 months big now), but she wants to be near them, snuffling them, eating the grass they've touched, and she protects them from the other chickens and the cat! Shrug.

    I think it can be done, i just wouldn't leave them alone together until they're bigger and you've had lots of time with them off leash under your supervision... or maybe don't leave them alone together at all- i know some dogs act all cool until their owners get distracted, and the next thing you know, the dog has slobbered all over, or worse, plucked, one of their birdies!

    Good luck! You can't do too much training!
  6. Anianna

    Anianna Songster

    Feb 28, 2010
    N/E of Richmond, VA

    It's a matter of training. Ideally, you should have a training sound your dog associates with negative behavior. We use a "tst" sound with our GSD who has a very strong instinct to give chase. During training, stronger feedback can be accompanied by a poke to the shoulder area, which is a lot like a bite she would receive from the alpha dog in a pack. If the dog does not respond to the sound immediately, you can use the "bite" and sound together until she recognizes the sound independent of the physical element. This works quickly and easily if you are already established as alpha, but will take more time and effort if the dog doesn't recognize you as alpha.

    Any excitable behavior, even if muted, should result in the sound and any excitable motion toward the chicks should be met with a poke. Since you are teaching the dog to be calm around the chicks, any praise should be muted. Dogs recognize calm praise just as well as excited praise, so there is no need for something like, "OMG, WHAT A GOOD DOGGIE!!!!" type praise that will negate training to be calm. A simple, nonchalant pat lets your dog know you approve without all the excitement.

    The hardest part is learning the body language. Even a dog that is laying down can be in a very excited state. Look for forward ears and forward body position. If you observe carefully, you can recognize when your dog is really relaxed or if she is holding her body forward. If she is holding her body forward, do not praise. It means she is still excited and you are going for calm.

    I hope that helps. Rule 1 is don't leave the dogs and chicks together unsupervised! Even well-trained dogs can make mistakes.
  7. ki4got

    ki4got Hatch-a-Holic

    Apr 24, 2011
    Roanoke VA
    I'm all about training, believe me... I currently am doing agility and cgc class with sunny, and shadow already has his cgc, has competed in obedience agility and rally, though not consistently or often enough to get any titles.

    I've been working with 'leave it', treats, etc. i think yesterday was just an overload because they changed 'houses', and some things got moved around to make room for it.

    sunny is more sporadic in his interest, usually only when they're loud/complaining (like relocating to a new home). and shadow just keeps staring at them and wagging.

    on a side note, how old would they have to be before i can put them outside? or is that more dependent on temps outside? the brooder / house is about 85 directly under the heat emitter and that room tends to stay in the low 70s otherwise, but outside overnight is between 50-60 with daytime temps anywhere from 65-75ish.


  8. jgervais

    jgervais Songster

    Apr 18, 2011
    Jackson, MI
    I have a very obsessive Boston Terrier we had to train - the chicks are about 7 weeks now, and he is very good with them. I leave both of my dogs alone outside with the chicks so the dogs will keep other predators out of the yard. I wouldn't have done this the first few weeks of having the chicks - better to wait until they have some defenses and sense. It takes a lot of patience and a very stern hand, but it's definitely possible.

    I wrote a short blog about the steps I took to train our dogs to befriend the chickens and that they are not food [​IMG]

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