Getting dogs used to new chickens

Iluveggers

Crossing the Road
Jun 27, 2021
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We have two dogs currently, and are putting our chicks outside this weekend. They have a large secure run with 1/2 in hardware cloth, and eventually will be able to range inside a 6ft welded wire fence when they get bigger. Our dogs have access to the property on an invisible fence, but cannot access the garden or coop. One dog isn’t really interested in the chickens and seems to ignore them when we are working with them or holding them. The other dog stares out the window and whines/barks if they are outside with us. I am wondering if anyone has any tips on how to get the dog to not obsess at the chicks. The dogs will never have direct access to the chickens, but I don’t want him to just sit there and bark all day (and I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate that either.) I also don’t want to scare the chickens. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
this worked for us: put him on a lead and walk with him near the chickens, rewarding him for ignoring them and jerking the lead if he lunges for them, until you can walk among the chickens with no drama.
 
Assuming the dog already has some training:
You could put the chicks outside for a short time each day, and during that time specifically work with the dog in that area of the yard-- practice heel, sit, stay, come, and other commands. Have the dog on a leash, so you can enforce the commands if he disobeys.

This can help the dog practice self-control around the chickens. It also distracts him a little, so he cannot obsess over them at that time, and later they will not be as "new" and exciting.

Depending on the dog, that might be all that is needed, or you might need to do a lot more.


You might need some amount of time (days or weeks) in which the chickens are outside in their pen, and the dog is only allowed outside with you there to supervise.


You could put an electric fence around the chicken area for a while, so the dog gets shocked if he makes contact with it. That will keep him from scratching at the chicken pen, putting his nose against it, digging under it, and so on. It is not much fun to hang around a chicken pen that shocks you for touching it! An electric fence could be temporary (training the dog in the first days and weeks), rather than permanent, if the dog eventually decides that chickens in their pen are boring.
 
Assuming the dog already has some training:
You could put the chicks outside for a short time each day, and during that time specifically work with the dog in that area of the yard-- practice heel, sit, stay, come, and other commands. Have the dog on a leash, so you can enforce the commands if he disobeys.

This can help the dog practice self-control around the chickens. It also distracts him a little, so he cannot obsess over them at that time, and later they will not be as "new" and exciting.

Depending on the dog, that might be all that is needed, or you might need to do a lot more.


You might need some amount of time (days or weeks) in which the chickens are outside in their pen, and the dog is only allowed outside with you there to supervise.


You could putting an electric fence around the chicken area for a while, so the dog gets shocked if he makes contact with it. That will keep him from scratching at the chicken pen, putting his nose against it, digging under it, and so on. It is not much fun to hang around a chicken pen that shocks you for touching it! An electric fence could be temporary (training the dog in the first days and weeks), rather than permanent, if the dog eventually decides that chickens in their pen are boring.
Thank you!
 
We have had chickens for 2yrs now. We normaly dont have to worry about our dogs and chickens mingling as our dogs are only 6lbs. Its more like "Martha stop chasing the dog" About a month ago we got some teenage new girls to add to the flock. My chihuahua is wanting to chase the new girls. I think it's because they are smaller and still make the peep peep sounds. I don't trust him so he will have to stay in the house during yard time for a while.
 
We have two dogs currently, and are putting our chicks outside this weekend. They have a large secure run with 1/2 in hardware cloth, and eventually will be able to range inside a 6ft welded wire fence when they get bigger. Our dogs have access to the property on an invisible fence, but cannot access the garden or coop. One dog isn’t really interested in the chickens and seems to ignore them when we are working with them or holding them. The other dog stares out the window and whines/barks if they are outside with us. I am wondering if anyone has any tips on how to get the dog to not obsess at the chicks. The dogs will never have direct access to the chickens, but I don’t want him to just sit there and bark all day (and I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate that either.) I also don’t want to scare the chickens. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I agree with a few of the other people who’ve replied, we had 2 dogs at the time we got chickens, we took them out only on leads with positive reinforcement when they showed no interest. after a few weeks of it, we cautiously ‘introduced’ them. just like when we introduced our 2 dogs, we made a big show of giving attention to BOTH animals, and just generally whenever we could after that be affectionate to the chickens. maybe this only worked on our dogs, but after a while we think they ended up seeing the chickens as equals, or atleast knew we’d be incredibly upset if something happened to them.

i will say this- our littlest dog did get ahold of one of our birds. he killed her, this was before any training, he had slipped out the door silently before anybody noticed. it messed with his training, he was too excited by them, and while today, 4 years later, we trust him outside with them, he still gets excited when we have juveniles around. we still have to watch him occasionally.

the training isn’t a one and done thing, it’s careful, consistent reinforcing over a long period of time. we trust our (now 3) dogs outside with our free ranging birds, because of the general lack of interest they show.

they still bark and chase at rats, pigeons, phesants, literally any rural wildlife other than our chickens. and we let them, because if we didn’t, they might start chasing the easiest thing around, aka the chickens.

i don’t know if any of this was helpful! but i wish you the best of luck with the training. it is a wonderful thing to have both chicken and dog not care about eachother :)
 

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