Ideas on training my dog to leave the birds alone?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Carebearsmiles, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Carebearsmiles

    Carebearsmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tahlequah
    My dog, Amelia, is about 6 years old and has only been on a farm once or twice in her life. Our neighbor has a full grown hen and she is fairly good about leaving it alone (through a fence). But she's memorized by my new babies.
    Eventually my chick and duck will roam the whole back yard and not just their little brooding pen. The backyard is also my dogs play and potty area. She's an indoor dog and doesn't go outside alone, but I want her to get along or at least leave the birds alone.
    So far I've just been making loud distracting noises when she gets too intense with the staring and I praise her when she goes about her normal business.

    It's only been a few days, but I'm happy to hear ideas and practices that have worked for you all.
     
  2. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you're on the right track. Dogs require repetition and positive/negative stimulus. I have a 1 1/2 year old golden retriever with very well developed hunting instincts that plays nice with our birds, even the little one. Woofs at them and goes down on his front legs to play, gets very excited when the rooster goes after him. Lets the rooster almost get him then whirls around and smacks him with his tail. Funny as hell. No chasing at all unless we're trying to find a straggler at sundown, then the command "hunt 'em up" "flush" lets him know it's OK to hunt them out chase them out of the bushes.

    Took absolute consistentcy and frequent "play dates" with the birds to get to this place. Just keep it up, he'll learn.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
  3. Carebearsmiles

    Carebearsmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tahlequah
    That sounds absolutely entertaining! I bet it's endless laughs.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm hoping the new wears off and she moves onto something else.
     
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You already know that he is excited with the chicks. 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.
     
  5. Izzymoon

    Izzymoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my 15 week old puppy almost killed one of my barred rocks tonight. She slipped out while I transferring them to their new coop, and I had the puppy out and turned around and o.m.g. she was on top of my sweet May and ripping her feathers out..I hope she makes it through the night I'm really bummed. She cut the side of her head and she was pretty quiet when I left her

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Carebearsmiles

    Carebearsmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tahlequah
    Thanks for the detailed info. And what a sweet dog you have there!
    Amelia actually knows leave it. Victoria Stilwell knows her stuff. :) but it isn't working with the birds.
    I'm going to start the leash training with her tomorrow morning.
    Thank you!
     
  7. Carebearsmiles

    Carebearsmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tahlequah

    :(
    I hope the best for May.
     
  8. Izzymoon

    Izzymoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    she made it thru the night and ate some cantalope this morning. I fear he bit her ear, she seems unbalanced but maybe it"ll heal ok. I probably make her a batch of grow-gel I have leftover from when they were chicks, so I know she's getting enough water
     
  9. Carebearsmiles

    Carebearsmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tahlequah
    I'm glad she's still making it!
    I wouldn't have known what to do in that situation at all.
     
  10. Dawna

    Dawna Out Of The Brooder

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    Have you ever watched Caesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer on TV? He trained a Golden Retriever to leave the chickens, etc alone by a method of poking a couple of fingers in the neck area each time the dog's ears perked up at the chickens. He called it a way of asserting who was the leader of the pack and that the chickens were his, so the dog is supposed to leave them alone. He brings the dog's attention back to him any time the dog acts attracted to the chickens in any way. I used this idea to train one of our Border Collies and it worked. We have two Border Collies, the other is the mother and somehow already knew that the chickens were not hers. I've had chickens for about two years now and the dogs are pretty good about watching over the chickens. The only time the younger Border Collie has chased any chickens is when I was trying to get them in the pen and I think she was trying to help me.
     

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