how do you train dogs ?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by scottishgal, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. scottishgal

    scottishgal In the Brooder

    Jun 30, 2010
    I have just gotten my first chickens and they are all only a few days old, I also have an australian shepard mix , a red tick hound, and now a rat terrier. The hound is sometimes howling at my pen, but I sprayed her nose with vinegar and she stopped. The rat terrier watches them when she thinks we are not looking , but my shepard just won't stop barking and stalking them through the cage. I woke up this morning and she had tried to dig in ( unsuccesfully) but I need to train them to protect the chicks , not eat them. Can anyone tell me how to do that , my neighbor says to beat the dog with the chicken that it kills, but I don't want to let one die before I can train the dog. I would also like to have the adults free range , so I need to teach them before the chicks are grown, I have the chicks in a fully enclosed little run for protection at the moment. Any suggestions would be appreciated.[​IMG]
  2. GwenReaper

    GwenReaper Songster

    Sep 7, 2009
    Memphis, TN
    When I first got some of my chickens, my dog dug into my coop and killed 4 out of 6 of my chickens! I was horrified. She ended up digging in 2 times. After than I started using shock treatment. I had an electric shock collar that I would zap her with anytime she got near the coop or if she even looked interested in the chickens for too long. Took a couple weeks of a bunch of dog yelps(not the smartest dog I have ever had) but she started associating the chickens with the pain she felt. So she looks at the chickens and you see her tail tuck and she runs for the house.

    I have also heard people tell me that if your dog actually gets in and kills a chicken you should tie it to there neck. I am sure it has to do with the smell and the fact that it cant get away from it. I personally couldnt do it. Not because of the dog- but because i dont want to see my chickens dead anymore than i have to.
  3. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    Hello! Welcome to BYC. I wanted to respond with a few suggestions. First off, you have three incredibley prey driven dogs, the one dog I was unable to train that I owned was a German Shorthair Pointer. Now I am not saying it cannot be done, and they cannot be taught, I have a Pit Bull who is great with my 5 chickens. My flock ranges in age from 10 weeks to 5 months. That being said, on to my suggestions. When my dog was young I made a point to teach him the command Don't Touch, and Leave It. He knows both of these commands WELL now, and whenever he is eating something bad I saw that and he drops whatever he had. This goes for the chickens as well. NO dog is bombproof around chickens, it's not IF they will kill, it's WHEN.

    I want to defuse the idea that beating a dog with a killed chick will do nothing but make the dog smell deliciously like blood and chicken. The dog is just doing what dogs do, ESPECIALLY what they are bred to do.

    I suggest keeping your chicks WELL away from any of your dogs until they are older. If I had a dog that was totally taken by my chicks, I would let them grow out to about 8-10 weeks. THEN I would start allowing the dog to view, smell, hear them through the safety of a secure as heck able fence. Please do not make the mistake of thinking you can 100% train your dogs to leave your chicks alone, they will not.

    Even with my dog being as good as he is around the chickens, I never ever leave him unsupervised with them while they free range. I lost one wonderful Barred Rock that way. The dog had been fine until I went inside and BAM. Plus, the dog was proud as ever to have done something so "good". Dogs are predators, chickens are prey. You may have to make extra attention to your Aussie until the chickens are full grown. By then, as far as I am aware, the Aussie shouldn't be so prey driven or inclined to KILL them. But he/she may try to herd them.

    But for now I would keep your chicks as out of sight as they can be from your dogs, just to give them some time to grow. I hope you aren't offended by my words about predator and prey, I am not aiming that to your dogs specifically, believe me. I just read so many stories regarding peoples own dogs being the worst predator.

    It CAN be done so that your dogs and chickens can live in a harmonic atmosphere as possible, but it will take time, patiance, and firmness. No physical punishment is needed I don't think. The hose is NOT a bad idea though! Continue with that once you reintroduce them all again.

    I hope this helped at all and good luck. Like I said I have a Pit Bull (prey prey prey driven dog) who can be with my chickens while they are free around the yard but I do not leave him out there if I come inside. He is always with me. I also did not let him around the chickens WITHOUT the safety of fencing until they were about 8-10 weeks old. Good luck!
  4. FourPawz

    FourPawz Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    First of all, you need to restrain/confine your dogs to keep them from digging around the coop, or you may have dead birds. You need to understand that the shepherd, as a herding breed, has way higher "prey drive". This instinct is what the trainer uses to teach the dog to herd sheep. In a pet, the drive is not developed, so the dog homes in on other animals in an unrestrained manner. Terriers have this drive also, but they are, in a working situation, used to rid a farm of rats and predatory species, while herding dogs are conditioned not to kill animals. This dog needs to be somewhere he can't see the birds. If you must, tie him somewhere not in sight of their pen.

    The shepherd is being self rewarded for barking and digging. It scares the birds so the dog gets more stimulation when they flap about. You, as the more intelligent one in the situation, need to keep the dog from this self rewarding behavior. Put Rover on a leash and every time he even looks at the birds, you do an about face with him and make him sit or better yet, lie down. Praise him for obeying the command. In other words, distract, distract, distract and make the dog obey you instead of doing his own thing and making his desire to get to the birds even stronger. Make this dog do a stay, faced away from the birds (but very near them) for longer and longer periods of time. Get a chair and sit with him 'til you get up to a 30 minute stay.

    Is this easy? Well, no. It's going to take discipline on your part. You do not want this dog "doing his own thing". YOU control his behavior and every time he looks at the birds, YOU make him obey your commands.

    Good luck, you can do this and you'll have a very, very well behaved dog for all of your hard work.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  5. scottishgal

    scottishgal In the Brooder

    Jun 30, 2010
    I have installed shock collars on the dogs so that they can not get within 2 ft of the coup. I am hoping that this will keep them away until the chicks are older and then I will work with them on a leash while someone is holding a chicken in a safe zone. Hopefully this will work , I can't stomach the idea of putting a dead chicken on their neck, too ewwey. We also have a pet rabbit that the dogs leave alone, but we had the rabbit when the dogs where all pups so I am hopefull that they will learn not to hunt the chickens. Thank you for all your responses , they were helpfull.[​IMG]
  6. nzpouter

    nzpouter Songster

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    train them one at a time, takes time, start with the worst offender....
    leash him and take it to do chores around the chickens, quick corrections every time it shows signs of getting fixated with the chickens.... that'll be the first start.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by