Game dogs

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dichotomymom, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2008
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    We've been looking into getting a dog for about a year now, perusing various breeds and we've come to the conclusion that a german shorthaired pointer would be a great fit for our family, our property size (2 acres) and our children's temperaments/size. All that aside, my chickens are free range and the dog is a game dog. Any of you that have game dogs AND let their chickens out? How effective would training be towards leaving our chickens alone? I've talked to 4 breeders. Some think I'm absurd to get one, others think with training it could work.
     
  2. florida lee

    florida lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a German Short hair pointer,,, he has been a great dog, very smart and eager to please. He has not bothered the chickens, he is however getting along in years (10). But he has not slowed down much, still chases the ball and wants to play all the time. My chickens are not free ranging, but he does go in the run and coop with me and pays no attention to the chickens.
     
  3. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's fantastic to hear, thank you! Maybe the breeder who poo poo'ed it has never seen the two together.
     
  4. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    I was just reading a thread the other day about someone who has a GSP who is trained to help protect the chickens... off to see if I can find the thread....

    Here it is!
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=556151

    I do not have a dog, so no direct advice, but there was some good discussion on the above thread.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  5. arcatamarcia

    arcatamarcia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two lab mixes. Labs are bird dogs. My dogs had no problem learning that the chickens were off limits. And they were mature when we got the chickens. I would think with a puppy it would be no problem to train it to leave the birds alone. You would have to be careful in the beginning, just because of general puppy exuberance. But I wouldn't think it would take long.

    That having been said, even with my good dogs I pen the chickens if I'm going to be gone all day. It's just too much to risk a temporary lapse in doggy good sense. But they've been alone together for several hours at a time with no problems.
     
  6. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depending on the dog it may take a lot of obedience training or a little. I would be prepared for a lot. With my last 2 dogs I had a very easy time teaching them. I was 90% there after a few weeks and all the way there within a few months. I could leave them alone with the chickens and had no problems for over 10 years. I have a new dog now who is 1 year old and who did not show signs of prey drive when I adopted her, but I believe she wants to kill the chickens and I am doing the introduction very slowly. I believe in obedience training first and chicken introductions second. There are surely many ways to be successful at this, but IMO they need to know the command "come" and "leave it" perfectly before going farther with chicken introductions. I've never had a GSP but know them from my grooming / vet tech days; I would be prepared for them to behave with you around after training, but you may not be able to leave him/her alone with the chickens. Good luck with your new dog!
     
  7. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for the help AND great to know one of you actually raises your gsp alongside them with no problems! My chickens are only free range if someone is home but when we get the dog, we'll take extra precautions. Thanks!
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am the individual referred to above that uses a GSP as poultry / livestock guard dog. My juvenile birds are free ranged starting at 4 weeks which continues though at least 20 weeks. During my lifetime we have had black and tan coonhounds, dalmations and a border collie serve same role. We bred both of the short haired breeds. Scoob (present dog) was first acquired, imprinted and trained specifically for the purpose. His prey drive, like that of his predecessors, is very well developed and looked upon as an asset. The prey drive gets him to respond to disturbances and also gets him to investigate landscape without having direct stimulus presented by predator or poultry. Hunting for squirrels and rabbits is being promoted and quail as well if covey's can be found. He can distinguish species, even birds with ease. I plan to acquire a female GSP pup next spring so coyotes will be easily thwarted without risk to lone dog. It is my opinion based on experience that most breeds can be used as livestock guarding dogs although varying degrees of effort are required as a function of individual dog and the keeper. No dog breed is bred specifically to guard poultry so ideal match yet to be found. I fully recommend GSP as a poultry guard dog but suggest it / they be imprinted as pup on adult birds of mild disposition.


    I probably should use pictures also. Scoob as pup (6 weeks) with dominique cockerol he was kenneled / broodered with. They were already fighting by this time and still do through wire of pen.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  9. mommissan

    mommissan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Go for it! I have a GSP, a year old now. She's still supervised with the flock during free range time, but she's getting better. I still hunt with her too. Don't underestimate how capable a dog is of distinguishing "pack" members from birds we hunt.
    Check her out with my girls. BTW, my blue cochin/EE is her eating buddy.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  10. florida lee

    florida lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GSP are very smart and highly trainable, they want to please. Jake gets his feelings hurt real easy if I yell at him. He's real good with hand signals, part of that may be because he's going deaf.
     

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