how do i break my dog of killing my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tarrah, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. tarrah

    tarrah New Egg

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    Oct 28, 2013
    Hi everyone, Im in need of some advice. I have a 5 year old German shepherd/Rottweiler. I be had him since he was 6 weeks old, and he is very well trained. A year ago I got a flock of 10 hens and 2 roosters. They have a coop, but free range during the day. The dog is contained to a large fenced in back yard, unless he is supervised. I spent a lot of time training him with the chickens, and redirected his attention when he appeared interested in them. I came home and caught him with a dead chicken that had managed to get over the fence about 6 months ago, and firmly scolded him and rolled him on his back. It had appeared to work, as he wouldnt even look at the chickens. Until now. 2 weeks ago the gate to the back yard was closed, but must have not been latched all the way. (My husband and I were nit home) The chickens let themselves in and my dog killed every one of them. He was again scolded ( was caught with chicken in mouth) and more aggressively rolled on his back. He behaved ashamed. I got a whole new flock. Here is where I messed up. I forgot to latch the door of the coop thatopens to the back yard. This morning before the sun came up my dog was caught in the coop killing chickens. (And almost shot because he looked like a coyote- I'm glad we didn't!) I realize that keeping them separate is the best method, but is there any way to help my dog learn to not kill my birds any chance that is presented to him? Killing the dog or rehoming him are not options for me, nor is keeping the chickens in a coop full time. Any help is greatly appreciated. I will take all the time needed to train him, I just don't know where to start with this particular problem. I realize thus post is long, thank you for reading
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    First of all, [​IMG] Now, onto business. I'm no expert in training dogs, and I really don't have any helpful advice to offer. It looks like you already know what you need to do - be more diligent about keeping them separated. You are going to get many different responses, but you know your dog and you will know the best way to handle him. Take what works and throw out the rest. Wishing you all the best.
     
  3. elbertchick

    elbertchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Once a dog has tasted blood they say that's it. So my advice is keep them apart. Our goose was attacked my a neighbors dog. The local vet said to tighten my security because he could easily come back. Wish I had better news but you'll create a neurotic dog or dead chickens. You want them both to be happy , keep them apart.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Separation is the only way. You may be able to convince your dog to ignore the birds IN YOUR PRESENCE because he respects your authority, but he'll love to get those same birds any other time. I have free ranging chickens and two chicken killing dogs, SEPARATED at all times by good fencing and Invisible Fencing. Once in a while a bird gets in the yard, and she's dead if I'm not there. I have had dogs that learned to ignore the birds from puppyhood, but not these two, who were older when they met the birds. Mary
     
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    A good shock collar would be the quickest cure.
    That way he associates the correction with the bird, and not you.
    It also lets you stay out of sight so he behaves in a normal manner.
     
  6. MunchiesChicks

    MunchiesChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Had the same issue with my daughters dog. The thing is he knew when we were standing there he wouldn't touch a chicken. As soon as we weren't around it was hunting time. Dogs are smart, he learned when we are there behave when we aren't doesn't matter. So we got a sportsman ecollar. Took a lot of patience on my part sitting hidden in the window. We put him and the chickens together in the back yard. After instructing him to leave them alone then walked inside. He stated at the door for a bit, sniffed looked at the door and when he was convinced we weren't coming back out he went into hunting mode after a chicken and we used the collar on a medium setting as he was gunning to kill. For awhile he would walk by confused and as long as he was decent nothing happened but as soon as he went aggressive activate. We used this method with someone always watching and activating with or without supervision. After his hunting drive was inhibited when he was curious and would behave he was rewarded for being "gentle". After 4 dead and chewed birds we have gone 7 months with out a kill. We've had one remedial session when he got overly "playful"? Doesn't mean I would put him in the coop but the collar is turned off but he still wears it and so far we are doing ok.
     
  7. tarrah

    tarrah New Egg

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    Oct 28, 2013
    I want to thank everyone for the prompt responses. When I get off shift I will be fortifying and clipping wings, and defiantly work on my forgetfulness. I like the shock collar idea, I feel he may respond to it.
     
  8. MunchiesChicks

    MunchiesChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Just be careful, when you use it be very consistent so your dog can identify the behavior that is making him uncomfortable. We used the boost setting as he was engaged in actual kill mode one for the safety of the chicken, also to get his attention. Have a back up plan, my shepherd if he was fixed on something could shake off the shock. You could see him twitching but still doing what he wanted. One shepherd mix on the lowest setting would jump and yelp. Also make sure to test prior to putting it on your dog. There will be a light indicator that you touch both prongs to test. I don't like ecollars, for training and obedience they are not needed but when you have an animal with it's instinct in kill mode sometimes you have to take steps to get their attention at that moment.
     
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: When I broke my dog from chasing birds, I only shocked hm TWO TIMES before he learned "chickens are electric"
    From then on he just watched them

    [​IMG]
     
  10. browning6

    browning6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am very interested to see how this works. let us know. My dog also killed a chicken. But he is super sensative to yelling (i think he was abused by his previous owner before we adopted him), So i put him on a long leash and when he chased one of my birds he got yelled at and put on his back. two of those sessions and he did better. In the past year since he has chewed on two birds. neither were killed and if he wanted too he could have. In his mind I think he was playing with them. Both times i lit into him yellling and he has done better the last 8 months.

    I have heard that if dogs think they are in their domain, they will do as they please. Hiding and shocking while in their own domain seems like the best option here.

    Good luck.
     

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