How can I tame my dog to be "nice" to the chickens?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
Like it says at the title I have a 7 month bloodhound. How can I make him not scare the chickens? He can sit and stay. Lately, he has been digging holes to get into there run. Any advice? Thanks in advance.
I have the same problem (Coonhound and a few other dogs that want to get at the chicks). I found a super soaker works well because you can nail them at a distance when they bark or dig.

Fact is if he digs into that pen you could have a major chicken disaster on your hands (and you can't blame the pup as this situation is foreseeable). If the super soaker doesn't work, or if you need to leave him unattended for long periods of time around that coop I would also consider a radio fence, dog wears collar and you run the fence in a loop around the coop. If he messes with the fence line he gets zapped (they get a warning click so they know it is coming and they can't dig under it like a regular hotwire).

Bloodhounds are high prey drive dogs like coonhounds correct? I don't take changes with that level of prey drive, other folks may have "easier" breeds and claim they had no problem getting the dog and chickens cohabitate and that is great but breeds vary. I trust my LGD to be with the chicks but would NEVER allow the coonhound in with them.
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Bloodhounds are high prey drive dogs like coonhounds correct?
Bloodhounds and coonhounds do have a very strong prey drive, but I found that it is more towards the animals that they have been bred to hunt. My coonhound will kill any small mammal (coons, possums, squirrels, etc), but when it comes to chickens, he doesn't even try to chase them. Bloodhounds were originally bred to hunt bear, so I would think that this would be the same for your dog. But every dog is different, so don't take my word for it.

I trust my LGD to be with the chicks but would NEVER allow the coonhound in with them.
I actually disagree with this statement. Really, any dog can be trained to not mess with the chickens, regardless of the breed. In my experience, most dogs don't really want to kill the chickens, just smell them.

What I did with my dog is, I let him run around with the chickens for while. At first he was extremely interested in them and wanted to smell every one of them. After a while, he got bored and wanted to go back inside (and yes, this is the coonhound). After that, whenever he went outside, he didn't even try to smell them. Now I can leave him outside with the chickens for hours without any problems.

Maybe you could take your dog into the run on a leash and let him smell around? I would put a shock collar on him when you do this. If the dog tries to go after a bird, zap him. Same with when he digs to get inside. He should learn pretty fast. Hounds are smart dogs.
People kept hounds around farms for years with chickens with both wandering the farm yard. You hound needs to learn the birds aren't his prey or his playthings. I prefer I introducing dogs as small pups to the adult chickens, let them get used to them being around each other and with any luck a dominant hen will give out a few floggings to teach the pup chickens are nothing to mess with.
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My dogs have been exposed to my chicks daily after they settled in and calmed down from coming home. I actually have a window cut into their crate so they can see the dogs and the dogs can see them. I've got one that loves to peck my dogs nose for sniffing at him. I think it's exposure and training, I obviously would not leave my dogs lose with them, but I hope to be able to trust them to protect them. So far it's working out....but my dogs are pretty good when I say "no" they stop and look at me.
I actually disagree with this statement. Really, any dog can be trained to not mess with the chickens, regardless of the breed. In my experience, most dogs don't really want to kill the chickens, just smell them.

Yes most dogs can be trained, and some can be trusted. I have 6 dogs and many are high prey drive, worse they definitely get into the "pack" mindset. I am very careful about fencing for the chicken's sake (my chicks are all young and I also have 3 grown OEG Bantams, very small birds that could be easily killed even if a dog was just playing rough).

The coonhound in question was a hunting dog that showed up 2 years ago, he is probably 6-7 years old and VERY high prey drive. He has actually calmed down a lot around the chickens and doesn't seem to be visually stimulated by them (but still prone to hollering) and he is better than a couple of my mixed breeds. Because I have a few dogs if one dug into the chicken run then others would follow and all heck would break loose -- some chickens would end up badly hurt or dead.

If the op can work with the pup and get him to calm down that is ideal but I hate to see people take chances especially if there are chicks or bantam sized chickens involved (un-attended pup that digs into the coop etc...there are frequently stories on this site about family dogs that kill chicks/chickens due to bad enclosures or even NO fencing and somehow people don't usually take any responsibility for these preventable disasters -- often they actually blame the dog!) .
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I have a part lab part hound with very high prey drive. I have never in the six years we've owned him even thought about trusting him with the birds. But when I was shuttling birds out to the coop the other day, he popped one door latch, pulled another door open, and went in the bathroom where the new Cornish x chicks were sitting in a tub on the floor. When I came inside and he came slinking out, I anticipated disaster. But...he surprised me. All the did was gnaw the tote, when he could have easily reached in and chewed on chicks, or even just flipped or smushed them, or flipped the whole tote. So I was mad at him for going into a room he is banned from, but glad he was gentle.

He still is not allowed near the birds.

And a squirt bottle works well on pushy birds as well as pushy dogs.
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I do not plan to let my dogs free with the chickens. I think its only asking for an incident eventually. I'm comfortable knowing they have been exposed to the chickens, know they belong here and know even more what "NO" means.
I have a springer spaniel who is an ex gun-dog so has been trained to catch and retrieve game like pheasants, grouse, rabbits, etc but was unfortunately too timid around men to do such work, i got her at 8 months. I got chickens a couple of years ago and to begin with she would sit outside the run for ages just watching, not trying to dig or get in but just observing, now she still watches but is not nasty toward them. I've never tried to teach her to be nice to the hens but i guess just from watching me around them, in their coop etc she learned that they were part of the family too? I would occasionally bring one out for her to sniff and would take her into the run with her lead on so she was around them, every time she looked away from them or looked at me she'd get a reward. She's great now, i'd still never trust her with the hens on her own, not that i think she would but id never forgive myself if she got a hold of my bantys and killed them :( but she has sneaked in the gate behind me a couple of time and just went straight for the girls food rather than the hens themselves. If i have one in sick and leave it on the floor she will sit looking at it but as long as i tell her to leave it she won't touch it. If i had her from pup hood bringing them up with hens is usually okay, good luck :)

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