How to PREVENT my dogs from eating my chickens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ThatChick, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. ThatChick

    ThatChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2012
    New Jersey
    So... Now that the chicks are a bit older (about 4 weeks) I thought it would be a good time to formally introduce them to my dogs. Was not a pleasant experience.

    I was unsure of how they would react so I put them in a portable pen in the back yard and tried to walk them around it on a leash. Well, I only did that with my French Bulldog, Sully, who could not get closer than about 8 feet without trying to charge them. I was out there with him for close to 45 minutes and anytime I tried to get him close to the pen he'd try to go crashing into the pen. At about 8 feet away he would stay and calm down somewhat enough to sit, but if we tried to get any closer he'd started getting all riled up again.

    Had a similar reaction with my English Bulldog, Finnegan, who just kept trying to charge the pen.

    Both dogs can be aggressive towards one another at times and we once had an opossum get into the yard and they chased it around and pawed at it relentlessly until it finally decided to leave.

    I'm not 100% positive that if they actually got to the chicks they'd actually attack them, but I'm sure they'd paw at them enough to kill them and it would NOT surprise me to see them attack, since like I said they do occasionally fight with each other, and they've been together since they were both pups. When they do fight I have to spray them with water and they stop.

    Just looking for any advice anyone might have who's experienced something similar. Maybe you have a magic phrase I can say that will my dogs more hospitable [​IMG]

    Thanks
     
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Keep doing what you are doing already, on leash- praise when they ignore the chickens, and use leash correction when they charge or leap. Over and Over for days... keep it short, three times a day but no more then 10-15 minutes.

    End on a positive note.
     
  3. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Ohio
    Personally I'd keep the dogs locked up when chickens are free ranging and lock the chickens up when the dogs are out. If you have a run I'd make sure it's buried (for digging), chain link or another solid metal to prevent breaking and I'd surround it with something like patio pavers to also prevent digging.

    I'm sorry your pups aren't really receptive to the birds.
     
  4. CitySilkies88

    CitySilkies88 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2012
    NE Ohio
    I train dogs. And while you could train your dogs to not charge the coop ect. Based on the information that you provided you will never be able to trust your dogs unsupervised around your chickens. I have three dogs who have never shown any interest in eating my chickens. But I still never ever allow my dogs loose with free ranging chickens. Even if I am there to supervise.

    It's just not worth the risk. And unless you have a stock guardian dog. You better believe any dog no matter how well trained will kill a chicken given the chance and right circumstances. Dogs are predators and prey drive is a hard thing to control.

    My honest advice is to leave nothing to chance. I would personally train a very strong "leave it", "down", and "stay". Take the dog around the chickens and have him/her sit or lay and every time the dog stops focusing on the chickens, praise and treat (or toy) and pair that with "leave it". Soon the dog SHOULD learn that when he/she ignores the birds, good things come.

    You want to get to the point where you can bring your dog out on a long (20 ft maybe more) leash and when your dog goes for the coop/chickens you can say "stop, sit!" and then"leave it" and the dog will stop and wait for your command. Then put him/her in a down/stay and praise when focus leaves the birds. This is a process but eventually if you are vigilant you could do without the leash and just the voice commands. In time the dogs should lose interest in the coop FOR THE MOST PART and at least not feel the need to rush up to the coop barking every time they are outside.
     
  5. ThatChick

    ThatChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2012
    New Jersey
    Thanks... I have zero dog training experience other watching the dog whisperer.
     
  6. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Naw my greyhound is ok -WHEN- supervised... but never alone...
     
  7. ThatChick

    ThatChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2012
    New Jersey
    I don't expect to be able to trust them out together alone. Thanks for the commands, I was blurting out like four different things before I realized I should stick with "stay." I would just like to be able to trust them enough to not rush the coop if they are going to be outside together.

     
  8. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
    Southern PA
    We are using a combo of a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar in the water, and our remote shock collar. Our dog was already trained to the remote collar for off-leash hunting purposes, so we decided to use it for the chickens too.

    For the spray bottle, we started when the chicks were in the house. When our hound dog would start showing too much interest in the cage (whining, jumping near the edge), we'd spray her. Now she just stands there and looks in, and maybe sniffs a bit without pushing on the wire.

    Outside, I used a combo of the sprayer and the shock collar (if she got out of reach of the spray). If you keep them on a leash you can probably just use a spray. Also of course continue to reward the behavior you want - the calm observation or ignoring.

    I would NOT plan on letting them unsupervised. Good luck!
     
  9. ThatChick

    ThatChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2012
    New Jersey
    Thanks for the spray bottle idea, they don't like water so that's a good idea because at times leash correction was not working.


     
  10. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Good Luck,

    I used leash corrections as she was already on a leash I found trying to hold an 80# greyhound and watching the chickens and holding a button or bottle was too much.

    I only disciplined her when she lunged or jumped- that second, a quick pull up- otherwise I talked constantly and softly to her. She got lots of praise when she was looking at anything but the chickens or not 'fixed' on them.
     

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