Ducks and dogs


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 28, 2009
In the middle of a cornfield
I was just curious what your experiences and thoughts are on allowing dogs around ducks. I've been told that it is a bad idea because a dog is quite likely to go after the ducks and kill them. But on the other hand, I know there are dogs that are great at herding ducks and never harm them.

I have a Norwegian Elkhound that loves to catch sparrows, robins, etc. But every time I get a new batch of ducklings she thinks that she needs to be their mother. The first 4 that I got, I kept them in the house until they were big enough to stay out in the coop without heat. The dog would whine and cry if I did not let her take care of them. She would bathe them by licking them like she would a puppy and if they made any noise at all, she was right there by their side. When I let them out doors she would stay right with them and help me round them up to get them to go inside for the night. She is absolutely wonderful with them.

Not long ago, I got another Norwegian Elkhound puppy. I only had teenage ducks at the time and the puppy, acting like most puppies do, decided he wanted to play with the ducks. The ducks, not fearing my adult dog, did not run from the puppy. One got injured slightly, but recovered just fine. I've been working with him, trying to teach him that ducks are not chew toys. I've been semi-successful. He no longer tries to chew on them or chase them, but I've caught him sitting on them. He's not doing anything else to them, just sitting on them. I've not lost any to my dogs and only had one slightly injured by on over-zealous puppy.
It can be done, just remember, your older dog already had the training and manners needed to adjust, your puppy is playing, which is practice for hunting. It's up to you as his alpha to let him know that these are pack members (of a sort) also. When I say alpha, I don't mean in an agressive way. Just get his respect as soon as possible, then, supervise closely for as long as it takes. These are very smart dogs, but, they are hunters. As are all dogs actually. Leave it, watch me and a lot of well time praise does wonders.
Best wishes!
My Great Pyrenees puppy has been living 24/7 with my 100 plus ducks since she was six weeks old. She is now sixteen weeks old and weighs 41 pounds. Tonight I checked on the ducks, and there she was sleeping in the coop with twelve muscovy ducklings cuddled around her. The muscovy hen was nearby, and showed no concern.

I don't have too many concerns either. She knows I am the alpha, and she has a genetically reduced prey drive. Furthermore, she is bonded to the flock.
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It all depends on the dog, but if done properly you should be fine.

I have three Boston Terriers, clearly not hunting dogs, and my ducks play along with them and in fact the dogs do not pay them any mind anymore, except when they are in their night pen, then the dogs want them out.
I agree with this. I had dogs first and they were older when I started getting poultry. I have not had a single incident with chicks, ducklings or older birds. Although the 4 dogs all ignore the chickens and ducks, I still don't trust them 100%. They are animals and animals are unpredictable. I always watch just to be sure.
I trust my Golden Retreiver and my Pug 100% around my ducks, chickens, turkey and cardinal. That said, the Pug is not really a dog and is totally oblivious to any living organism unless it has food in it's hand. The Golden is a very sensitive boy ( would make a lousy hunting dog....scared of loud noises, the rear window wiper on my SUV etc) . When he was a crazy teenager, he thought it fun one day to give chase to a couple of hens. I called him back, didn't scold him, went into the house and got an electric shock collar and put it on him. I had never used the collar before and have not used it since (he is 4.5). Set the collar to "low" and let him mill about the chickens again. As soon as he gave chase again....he received a mild ZAP and I have not had a problem since. I think that a lot of his compliance has to do with his high degree of sensitivity. I used to have an Akbash who would think nothing of going right thru the Invisible Fence I installed to keep him in the yard especially if I was on the other side of it!
I have a Shar Pei and she loves our animals. NEVER had a problem with her ever hurting them. She goes out in the yard with them, and sometimes they follow her around the yard. . She also goes into the barn when its feeding time and she sits and watches them eat. She will also wander into the coop and sleep sometimes. Our cats are the same, they have all been around the ducks, chickens, guineas,etc.. since weve had them... Dont get me wrong, we have had to put down/rehome 2 dogs that would eat our ducks and chickens..... good luck;)
my Border Collie/Lab mix 'popped' a chick last summer, and was thoroughly chastised. Since, she'll leave all the hens alone, but will still chase the mallards, which can easily fly away. She won't chase anything that isn't a challenge, and if she caught them, she wouldn't hurt them...
We got our chicks when our Rottweiler puppy was one year old. We had already been training her the "Leave it" command, so that command was an essential tool. But it did take a few weeks of supervision to get her totally reliable around them. It's to be expected for a puppy: "Wow, it's just like my favorite squeeky toy only it hops around too. How exciting!!!"

The funniest part was that our pup REALLY wanted to sniff all their little butts. She still does, only now the chickens tolerate it for a moment or two...

Yes, hunting is an instinct, but herding is also an instinct (actually herding is a wolf pack technique for hunting, but humans have domesticated it.) So the key is train, train, train.

It's wonderful to watch then all laze around in the sun together. Makes me happy.
I trust our three dogs with the ducks 100 percent, too. The two shih tzu/poodle mixes could care less although one of them acted very motherly to them when they were ducklings. Then they got bigger than her and she didn't care anymore.

Our German shorthaired pointer (a bird dog, no less!) is actually very protective of them. He's an excellent pheasant hunter and I was worried about how he'd react to the ducks, but he knew from the time they were ducklings that they were part of our "pack" and he has never even attempted to harm them. In fact, since the ducks free range 24/7, we leave him loose at night to keep them safe from predators. Here's a picture of Ace on "duck duty".


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