1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Introducing And Training Our New Puppy

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Foxyrockie, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

    53
    0
    41
    Jul 9, 2015
    Dallas, Tx
    We just brought home a 2 month old chocolate lab mix. Her first introduction to the chickens didn't go so smoothly. She started pooping in the house so I snatched him and ran to the backyard, at which point she discovered the chickens and the chase began! I've read a couple threads and articles about introductions and training. Any helpful tips or advice would be appreciated. Essentially I would like the dog to be outside with the chickens.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    17,177
    3,494
    456
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    First off, I'd recommend that you put that pup on a leash when ever you take her out. Treat her like you want her to act when she's a grown dog: If you don't want her on the furniture, don't let her up there now. If you don't want her to nip or bite, or jump up on people as an adult, don't let her do that now. If you don't want her to bark incessantly, don't allow her to do so now. You want her to be willing to let you move her food dish when she's eating (without growling at you). If you have children, you want to be able to allow them around her and her food without her displaying any possessive or aggression behaviors. Introduce her to the chickens in your arms. Do you have one hen who is a "no nonsense allowed on my watch" leader? Probably your alpha female. Or do you have a roo? It wouldn't be out of line to allow your pup to get a warning peck or two from the chickens. Of course, you want it to be well supervised, so the pup doesn't get hurt. Perhaps 2 adults need to supervise these early meetings. They should all occur on a leash. The pup is not too young to learn basic commands: NO! Leave it! or Mine! Stay! What ever command you want to use to let the pup know that chickens are off limits. Untimately, you want the pup to learn that the chickens are part of the "pack" family, and therefore to be protected. Perhaps, after the pup has some basic training, set up some treat sessions with pup and chickens together. ("One for the pup, one for the chicken...") Finally, a good book, or behavior training class would be invaluable. You want her to be motivated to learn, and that will occur best if she is well bonded to you, you lavish her with praise (and initially with treats) for appropriate behavior, and keep her training sessions short, always beginning and ending them on a positive note.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    31,067
    3,882
    516
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^^!

    Start with basic obedience.
    If a dog is properly trained in the basics, you should be able to train it to do most anything.
    Don't expect to be able to leave dog outside unattended with the birds for a couple years.
    The better and more consistent your basic training efforts, the sooner you'll reach your goal.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,484
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    That, in bold. Puppies are unreliable and excitable and labs are bred to put birds in their mouths. It's going to be a long journey.

    Review centarchid's threads about training his old dog Scooby and his new dog (forgot the name already, sorry). Great info there, and a realistic timeline of what you can expect when.

    I'm not sure you have a run, or just free range? I'm thinking you need a secure run for your birds the pup can't get into/dig under.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

    8,012
    1,586
    391
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    A run and/or close supervision are a good idea for now. Our old dog, Dakota was a registered black lab, bred for duck and pheasant hunting. He did both, and loved them. But he NEVER, ever was a problem with my chickens. He was introduced to the chicks the day we brought him home at 8 weeks old and was closely supervised any time he was around them. He was allowed near the adult birds, unsupervised, sooner than the chicks. I'm always very cautious with dogs around peeping, jumping, running baby chicks. I can't help the think of the dog seeing them as little squeaky toys. Unfortunately, we had to put him down two years ago due to cancer in his mouth.

    [​IMG]
    Kota, with "his" last batch of chicks. He was very protective of the flock after he grew up. He broke up hen fights and kept an eye on things when they were out free ranging. He did, however, like to engage in the occasional bout of "chicken bowling".
     
  6. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

    53
    0
    41
    Jul 9, 2015
    Dallas, Tx
    I don't know if maybe some dogs are just predispositioned to eat/chase/harass chickens or what? I'm pretty good with dog/puppy training so I already know how to handle her in that regard. And she's very smart. Problem. She still snaps at and chases the chickens. If I'm looking at her, she wont. As soon as I blink, she's after it. So, at night I don't always lock my chickens up. We've never had an issue with predators getting after the chickens, with the exception of the puppy. I never leave them out with the puppy unsupervised. She's an inside dog and only goes outside to potty or play with us. BUT, one night the puppy was whining and driving me nuts, so I put her out for the night and forgot my chickens were also out. I lost my only hen. My roo had some feathers missing and bent but I think he probably got a few good pecks in and the puppy left him alone. The hen was very mild mannered and would actually come to see the puppy when she came outside. Ugh. I was very very upset with myself about that. So, any chicken related training tips? I know shes a puppy so there's only so much I can expect. She has the attention span of a gnat. I don't need them to coexist forever together. But I do need them to be able to be in the yard together for longer than it takes me to blink. Please no negative comments. Everyone on here is usually pretty awesome, but I already feel bad enough and don't need to feel worse. Thanks.
     
  7. megsmum

    megsmum Out Of The Brooder

    23
    0
    22
    Feb 5, 2015
    I am trying to introduce my Border Collie to the chickens and ducks. Basically she is only allowed near them on a lead, which as the days go past gets longer and looser, but never ever out of my control or out of my sight. I know how you feel its frustrating, but its a long process before a dog is trusting with other animals
     
  8. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

    53
    0
    41
    Jul 9, 2015
    Dallas, Tx
    Yea we have a tie down buried outside but I haven't used it yet. I like the idea of letting the lead get longer over time. That may be a good way to have her around the chickens without so much of the danger. I just don't know if that'll teach her not to mess with them. Shes being restrained, not restraining herself.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    31,067
    3,882
    516
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    She needs to be 'trained', by her people (who may need to be trained first), not restrained.
     
  10. Foxyrockie

    Foxyrockie Out Of The Brooder

    53
    0
    41
    Jul 9, 2015
    Dallas, Tx
    She is being trained. But restraining her may need to be part of that process since she isn't able to do that on her own. She's coming along well but for a 6 month old puppy, there's only so much I can expect. And expecting her to keep her composure when a small flappy animal runs past may be a bit much. SO, as I previously stated, a tie down may be a good way to have her around the chickens without them being in immediate danger. "Her people" don't need training. They also don't need criticism without helpful advice. Just fyi.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by