Introducing dogs to chickens

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by BlueSkiesGirl, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. BlueSkiesGirl

    BlueSkiesGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey everyone! I hope you are having a great day! This summer, we are going to be adopting a Great Pyrenees/Mix puppy. The breed is supposed to be good around livestock already, however I do not want to take any chances of my chicken getting hurt. I want to eventually be able to leave my dog outside with them, to guard them from the hawks, so it is important to socialize the puppy early. The question is, how do I successfully get my puppy comfortable around my flock of chickens?
    Thanks!
    -Sophie
     
  2. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you search on here "introducing dogs to chickens" you will get nearly 940,000 threads! It's been discussed on here a lot.

    Read this one:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/984906/how-do-i-safely-introduce-my-dogs-to-the-chickens

    And do some searching and reading on BYC, there's a wealth of information at your disposal!

    #1 Suggestion from me: Get your puppy in obedience class! A dog that will listen to you above and beyond their prey/hunt/sniff/chase drive is the safest dog of all.
     
  3. BlueSkiesGirl

    BlueSkiesGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! have a nice day
     
  4. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    You're welcome! And I forgot...

    [​IMG]

    Reading about introducing my dog to my chickens was one of the first things I read about on here! My introduction went smoothly but my situation was a little different. My dog was 2 and my chickens were chicks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
  5. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    this question pops up so much on all the different dog groups that I am on that I just saved the document and paste it whenever it pops up.

    training. training. more training. Just like cleaning the coop and scooping poop and all the other jobs that come with having a pet. The only thing more necessary to a dog than training is food!

    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.
     
  6. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    In relation to training to respond to commands, just bear in mind that training takes time, and when they are really little, it won't "take" the same way it will when they have matured a bit (my small dog didn't really click into having any real clue until she was about 6 months old, but big dogs' brains develop for 2 years. They don't even start training guide dogs until they are a certain age). You can start from day one, but there's a level of maturity where you can expect them to remember their lessons and not get distracted which you won't and can't get when they are "too young". Until they grow up and start to "get it" and then remember it, keep him on lead around the chooks, keep the lessons short and keep it fun. Start his commando 'leave the chooks alone' training when he's old enough to be trained properly. Look up what age that is for your breed. Meanwhile just reinforce coming to you and not looking at the chooks with rewards so that he gets the idea that they aren't fun, YOU are.
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Lots of good tips already!

    Training and consistency will be your friends! I do, however, have an additional item I would add to my toolbox in the future when introducing my dog to any new pet. I recently started training my dog to a muzzle. She's not the best with strangers, so this eliminates my fear of her biting someone and means I can let her out of the back room when guests are over without worry. However, the applications for a good muzzle are endless! Once a dog has been trained to wear them happily (lots of treats and peanut butter means my dog gets SUPER excited when the muzzle comes out) you can use the muzzle for things like introducing new animals like chickens, cats, other dogs, introducing children safely, transporting a dog in an emergency, and also at the vet. I bought a Baskerville muzzle on Amazon for about $13 and being that I'm also involved in veterinary medicine, as well as deal with a dog that has some socialization issues (she was a stray rescue from a shelter), I have become a HUGE proponent of the muzzle. I just wish society would be less scared of dogs wearing muzzles, but that's a rant for another time.
     
  8. noble

    noble Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    This is Zulu she is the youngest of three black lab's we have. We run a charter business for fishing mainly red fish and trout but during the hunting season we also duck hunt. So I have to train my dogs to not retrieve my homestead animals duck's, chickens, pheasants, quail, rabbits but to "fetch up"the ones the customer shoots in the wild. For me it has always been about the leader. They watch me all the time because I'm always asking to do something at first with treats. We have 9 year old, 6 year old and Zulu is 5 month's old. Be consistent, whatever you are doing should be much more interesting than what ever els is going on.
    She dose break (run)some times) and the birdo run or fly that is hard to control but u can do it. I trot the opisit direction call her name and give the heal comand 90% of the time she runs to me to see what I'm doing and where I'm going. (They don't want to miss out ) stop and reward. Please be patient and know if done right that dog will eventually save u a bird. Trust in small steps.
     
  9. BlueSkiesGirl

    BlueSkiesGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everybody! I have no doubt that I can now successfully train my dog![​IMG]
     
  10. chadmen2013

    chadmen2013 Out Of The Brooder

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    Very good tips on training your dogs to be around chickens. Thanks
     

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