How do I train a dog not to kill my chickens?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by mychickensneaky, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. mychickensneaky

    mychickensneaky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 27, 2012
    Rescue ca
    How do I train dogs not to kill chickens? Some are very playful can I still train them not to kill chickens? :)
     
  2. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,450
    270
    246
    Jun 4, 2011
    with a lot of work and patience, 99% of dogs can be trained. Those that can't be trained CAN be maintained.

    Find the closest distance that the dog first notices the birds in the brooder. This might be in another room if he is one to constantly glance at the door. Put your dog on leash and get some extra special treats that he only gets for this work - bacon, grilled chicken (no spices!), hot dog chunks, etc. When the dog glances toward the birds, say his name and "leave it" If he looks at you, give him a treat - if he doesn't, give a light pop on the leash (think tap on the shoulder). When he looks at you reward him.
    You can also teach him "watch me" the same way. You can practice this at random times though out the day. If you have a couple extra minutes while you're watching TV or whatever, just say his name, pause, "watch me" When he makes eye contact, then reward him. You can also (if you get in the habit of keeping a small treat in your pockets) catch him looking towards you say "watch me" and then reward. Or just praise him verbally.

    Once the dog is reliably paying attention to you and the birds at a distance, move a little bit closer. If he absolutely blows you off, you're too close. Just back up a bit and begin again. Eventually you will be right amongst the birds. You can then start at a distance or with a long line (20' leash or so) and work from there. I never ever leave my dogs/chickens loose unattended together.
    I don't even trust Rayden [​IMG]
    I don't mean I constantly hover over the dogs when they are out with the birds, but I am in the area and aware of what they are doing. Think of it as a small child. Even though you've taught them not to play with matches, would you leave them alone in the house with matches scattered all over the floor?

    The most important part of the training is to set the dog up to succeed. Don't give him a chance to chase the birds. Don't give him a chance to disobey.

    ETA: The best thing about teaching "leave it" is that it works for everything. Drop something on the floor and don't want the dogs to touch it? "leave it" See dog running toward a snake? "leave it" Lots of training and work, but it pays off!
    Of course, some dogs just can't be trusted off-leash. Period. They are just too focused on the birds. In that case, just confine the dog when the birds are out.
     
    3 people like this.
  3. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    3,382
    118
    208
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
    I have an Australian Shepherd. His nature is to round up the birds, but never bite/snips at them. He protects them too, won't let the cats get too close, especially when I have my 3 week old chicks in the grow-out coop for a "play-date". He will chase off aerial predators though. He has been exposed to my birds since we get them as day old chicks. He gets used to the smell and eventually imprints on them. He thinks they are his pups. But when I first let them out to free range, I did have him on a lead, just in case. He used to react to my cockerel mounting the pullets, and when I saw him going over to investigate, I would redirect him back to me by saying is name. Now he doesn't even flinch when the mounting occurs. Just be patient and cautious.
     
  4. mychickensneaky

    mychickensneaky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 27, 2012
    Rescue ca
    Do you know how I could train my dog not to bark all night too? She has to bark 75% all 24/7 of the time! And she is not barking at the chickens. She is barking at wild dear or what ever she happens to see :) And she is just barking at animals not any people. :)
     
  5. Mountain Man Jim

    Mountain Man Jim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi,

    We've working on training a 10 month old "puppy" for 1.5 weeks. It's very challenging and takes time. Today Hagrid (the puppy) figured out that indeed it is fun to chase the chickens. We were getting a little too trusting with him and he was outside unsupervised when he really should not have been. So, back to the drawing board. Rule number one is, go slow! (note, no chickens were harmed during this training)

    If you are interested, I have written a long training procedure that I can PM you. Just let me know.

    Jim
     
  6. mychickensneaky

    mychickensneaky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 27, 2012
    Rescue ca
    I would love if you would do that! :D thanks
     
  7. chick-y-chick

    chick-y-chick New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Oct 5, 2012
    I'm gonna have to work some more with my pup (little rat terrier mix). Right away when we got the chicks & chickens all he wanted to do was watch them and lick them. Once they were big enough to go outside, he would herd them and lick them. Mostly he goes for the vent/ tail area but he will lick any part. The pullets never seemed distressed. They seemed to like it & he looks like he's cleaning a puppy. Still, I have always discouraged it and been working on the "leave it" command. I have to use this one a lot!!! When he's eating chicken poop, being too playful with the chickens or turkeys (turkeys starting to fight back & they're bigger than him now), licking them, eating their food... and now the big one is he's MOUNTING the poultry (especially my copper marans). I just watch him like a kid and make sure he's never unattended [​IMG]

    PS I have 2 turkeys (male & female 5 months), Australorp, Silver Partridge Cochin, Buff Brahma, Copper Marans, Blue-red laced Wyandotte, 2 cats, 2 sulcata tortoise, 2 parakeets & a very curious puppy
     
  8. Blarneyeggs

    Blarneyeggs Overrun With Chickens

    5,958
    353
    276
    Oct 22, 2011
    Southeast PA

    Me too?
     
  9. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,242
    208
    208
    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    dainerra's post is great. I used a similar method:

    I have posted this on other threads, so sorry if this is repeat but I really believe that any breed of dog can be trained to be around your animals safely if you work on training them well in overall impulse control. Here is the method I use to train my dogs:

    I have a pit-bull mix and three pugs. The pit and two of the pugs are rescues from urban shelters with mixed histories of abuse. All four dogs are out in the yard with my 5 chickens everyday without any problems. In fact I once had a chicken attack a dog but never the opposite. Everyone guaranteed me that the pit would kill my chickens but she has never been a problem.

    Here is what I personally recommend: The most important thing to focus on overall is improving your dogs impulse control. No matter what your dog has a natural prey drive but more than that they are pack animals that want to please their master. Good basic training makes teaching them anything else so much easier. Make sure that you can snap your dogs attention back to you even when they see something they want. (I can't snap so I use an "aht." noise - this means sit and pay attention to me) One of the best ways to work on this without a live animal present is during feeding. Do you free feed your dogs or do they eat at regular times? I would recommend taking them off of free feeding if you are doing that. Focus on training your dogs so they they will not eat anything unless you give a specific command. I set down all four bowls of food and make the dogs wait. They do not eat until they hear their own name and see a hand gesture. Also work on them stopping eating at a command and willing stepping away from their food. I say "Name, wait." and they stop and sit until told to continue. These skills help with impulse control in many areas of training. It may seem unrelated but to a dog, the one who controls the food is the ruler of them all.

    It is also a good idea to work on the “leave it” command with toys, food and other things.

    I would introduce the dog to the chickens on a leash and just sit and be calm. (One dog at a time if you have more than one) As soon as she starts to fixate on the chickens in any way other than simple curiosity or barks or is excited (even happy excited) I would scold her with the same word every time (you only need to say it once, firmly) and immediately take her inside. It is important to take her in even with happy excitement. You are training her to ignore the chickens not to like the chickens and there is a big difference. With my dogs I brought them back when they were calm and started all over again. and again and again. lol. I allowed them to glance at them or sniff them but anything else was a no. It took a bit of patience but after while all of the dogs ignored the chickens and now find very little interest in them at all other than a sniff here or there. I never yelled or hit them or used a choke or a shock. I just said no and took them away immediately at any sign of fixation or barking. You will need to do this everyday until they get it. Patience is the key and consistency. It sucks because sometimes you are busy and don't want to deal with it but starting and stopping will just make it worse. I leave them all together unsupervised regularly.

    Here is my pit, Lou, with a silkie chick who fell in love with her.



    [​IMG]
     
  10. Mountain Man Jim

    Mountain Man Jim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sure! Like ChickensRDinos lamented, I hate to constantly post a long decription of how to training a dog for life with chickens but, if you are interested, I have no problem PM it to someone.

    Jim
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by