Golden retriever nightmare

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by grandmachicken, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. grandmachicken

    grandmachicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    3
    121
    Sep 15, 2008
    Williamson, GA
    We got a golden retriever puppy last summer who has turned into my birds' worst nightmare. She's a super sweet dog, intelligent, eager to please, super playful. I have 3 other dogs and have trained them all to coexist peacefully. I even had them all stay together in the chicken pen last summer when we went out of town! But this dog - she's killing my birds! I know she's a retriever, does anyone have any advice about how to train her to just stop already? I do keep the birds penned now, but they were so used to free ranging, they can fly out pretty easily.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,619
    3,201
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    How much actual work have you done with this dog to teach her to leave the chickens alone? Being a retriever is not a good excuse to kill chickens. My labrador retriever doesn't kill my chickens, but he's a hunting dog. Love to hunt pheasants. To keep the chickens penned, you might want to put a net over it.
     
  3. grandmachicken

    grandmachicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    3
    121
    Sep 15, 2008
    Williamson, GA
    Not really very much. I don't know it's happening until too late, when I find an injured or dead chicken. Some have managed to get away with just a few fewer feathers. The ones who stop running from her and just hunker down fare the best. She seems to have a really high prey drive, so I need to train her not to chase them, just not sure the best way to go about it!
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,619
    3,201
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    There are many, many posts on BYC about training dogs to leave chickens alone. There are also lots of other resources on the internet. I would suggest that the dog does not have unsupervised access to the chickens until you've had a chance to work with her. Either keep her locked up or tied up when they're out, or keep them in when she's out. Once she's found out how much fun it is to chase those running, flapping, squawking squeaky toys, I'm afraid it's going to take longer to train her not to play with them. Whatever method you decide to use to train your dog (and I don't mean the squirting them with a hose method, I mean one of the ones that require work and time), it's going to take lots and lots of patience and consistency.
     
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,450
    270
    246
    Jun 4, 2011
    the first line here is your problem. The dog isn't being supervised. You can't train what you don't know is happening. Dogs are like kids. Would you just put your kids outside in the yard and assume that they wouldn't get into trouble?

    I have a dog that I am 10,000% certain would never harm my birds. He is almost 9 years old and has never shown the slightest interest in them. I know that even if he did, I could stop him with a word. But I never leave him alone - I can't stop what I don't see.

    The first step in any training is supervision. If you aren't there, the birds are contained or the dog is contained. Keep her on a leash when you are working with her. Work on focus exercises - attention on you while ignoring the birds. There are several threads here on how to do that. Or you can google "teaching dog to ignore chickens" If you don't have experience training dogs, I would get into a good basic obedience class. That will teach you to teach her.
     
  6. mixitup

    mixitup Chillin' With My Peeps

    120
    2
    91
    Apr 10, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree with the GR being trained. While most are great, she is a dog and she has discovered that when she is bored, there is a solution with the chickens. Dogs were genetically altered for a purpose. GR's are meant to do a job. She needs more than to walk around the house looking for something to do. Sorry! No offense, but many people get a dog and then expect it to entertain itself. And yes, I am a breeder, trainer, groomer, blah, blah, blah. It will take effort, but it can be controlled with supervision. Again no offense intended.
     
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,083
    30
    196
    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Sound like the OP knows the problem but just wants an easy way out. Dead birds equals a bored dog. The GR does not have a "strong prey drive". The problem is not the dog, it's the effort you're not willing to put forth.
     
  8. grandmachicken

    grandmachicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    3
    121
    Sep 15, 2008
    Williamson, GA
    Quote: Good advice, bobbi-j. I do need to work with her.


    Quote: Wow. Way to be patronizing. Wasn't really looking for a parenting lecture here.


    Quote: Seriously? Was just asking for some friendly advice. Guess this isn't the place to get it.


    Quote: Thanks for that.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,619
    3,201
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    Please don't let the judgemental people put you off. There is plenty of that here, but there are also many friendly people willing to help. I have no doubt that time and traning will make a huge difference in your dog's behavior around the chickens.
     
  10. mixitup

    mixitup Chillin' With My Peeps

    120
    2
    91
    Apr 10, 2012
    Ontario, Canada

    I didn't mean anything bad about you getting a dog and inferring that you ignore her. I'm sure you don't, just some dogs need more stimulation than others. What many people don't realize that some lines and some individual dogs have a higher prey drive than others and some of the breeders won't tell you anything about the line. And yes, I DO know about prey drive-I have Basenji's. I'm sorry if it was taken in the wrong manner. As I said, it can be controlled to an extent, but you may never be able to trust her completely. Some obedience with her will go a long way. And some games!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by