Help with my dog who wants to eat my chickens!

Sueby

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Apr 23, 2019
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He is a rescued rat terrier/terrier mix, normally well behaved but he cannot get over the chickens. It's like he can't even hear me when the chickens are near, all his manners & training go out the window. He barks obsessively & shakes like a maniac. He can't get to them so I'm not worried about that & they just think he's an ass & ignore him at this point - but he drives me insane.

Any suggestions or ideas that helped your chicken obsessed dog get used to them & calm down? I know it's the terrier in him (he's obsessed with chipmunks too, as you can see from the pic), but is there hope we can all live peacefully? A dog behaviorist/trainer I am not, but I taught him all the basics like sit, down, off, wait, paw, etc.
 

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sourland

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Well, as you already know pursuit and killing of small creatures is in his DNA. Neighbor across the street had a pit/Chesapeake retriever rescue dog. He was both human and dog aggressive. Behavioral and obedience training did not work on him. When he started crossing the road to challenge me and my dog in my lawn, I had a polite talk with the neighbor and warned him that the day the dog attacked me or my dog was the day he would die. On my suggestion they installed invisible fencing. We worked together to teach Teddy that leaving the yard was very painful. After his first shocking Teddy stayed home and only was able to terrorize the UPS driver.

Sorry for the long story - guess the point was that perhaps hot wire around your pen would educate your dog. Good luck in resolving this problem.
 

Sueby

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Yes, it's definitely bred in him & I will NEVER let him be anywhere near the chickens no matter how well behaved he could be. I just want him to stop barking & getting SO worked up when he sees one fly up to a roost or run up the chicken tunnel from across the yard. Maybe it's just not possible. :idunno
 

chkva

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Terriers are meant to kill small animals like rats, mice, and other things. It's in his breed to act that way. There's no way to train instinct out of him. You will have to secure your chickens in an area he cannot get into.

I have a beagle and she's the same way. She doesn't bark or bay... She just shakes and points, I know if there was not a fence between her and the chickens she'd definitely kill them. My other dogs are fine with the chickens though. I have a terrier mix, beagle, lab pit, and pug.

You can try a shock collar that has a remote. They usually have a beep mode, shock mode, or vibrate mode. It helps them with barking and what not. Whenever he barks you pick the mode you want to use. Usually you start with the beep and vibrate before using the shock. Lots of hunters around here use them with their dogs and livestock and it seems to work well.
 

Sueby

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It's funny, I have a neighbor that wanted me to bring him to a hunt. They put chippies in like a hamster ball & put them in a hole & let the dogs 'hunt' them I guess. She's like he'd be so good at it! I was like you are OUT OF YOUR MIND, he is already sooo obsessed with chippies I can't even imagine making a game of it for him. The poor dog almost has a stroke every time the thing is under his deck as it is. :he:lau

I guess I have to deal with the fact he is a terrorist, er I mean terrier, & will probably always be. He's a good boy though & he sure loves his mom.
 

chkva

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Having dogs compatible with chicks is like finding a good rooster. Some are good and some are bad. You can always find a way to make things work though. My beagle is an amazing mouse hunter, I've seen what she does to those mice so keeping my chicks from her is best :lau
 

PirateGirl

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You said he knows basic obedience, so he is smart and trainable. This is a good sign. For any new skill start without any distraction. Maybe pick a quiet room in your home. Grab a lawn chair and an old towel and lots of treats and maybe a leash depending how things go. Lay the towel on the floor next to the chair and take a seat and wait. Any time your dog comes and stands on the towel reward him, pet him, give him a treat. You must stay calm and seated the whole time. Eventually your dog will learn you want him to be there by your side. Once he gets this figured out do not reward him until he is sitting next to you on the towel. Once he gets this figured out do not reward him until he is laying down next to you on the towel. This could take a few weeks. A training session is done when your dog is bored and no longer engaged, maybe 10-15 minute sessions 3 times a day. Your dog is learning to be calm and still and the towel and lawn chair anre now visual cues to help achieve this desired behavior. Next move. Do this is a new room of the house. Maybe a familiar person strolls in and out of the picture. Eventually move outside. Pick a part of the yard with the least distraction. Eventually move to where the chicken run is visible at a distance, eventually sit in the lawn chair and spread out the towel next to the run fence. One day you will not need the chair or the towel or to be present with your dog. It will take time and consistency. It will not be perfect. Chickens making sudden movements will likely always be exciting. Hopefully your dog will be less excited and see that you do not find the chickens exciting and will not need to bark constantly to alert you to the boring chickens.
 

Sueby

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I wish Patrick could catch the chippies like yours catches mice! We have so many of the little buggers around here, we could do with a few less.

All in all it's not a big deal, I would just love for him to be chill with it all.
 
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