lab puppy and our chicks

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by omelette's mom, May 4, 2009.

  1. omelette's mom

    omelette's mom Hatching

    May 4, 2009
    Does anyone have any advice as to how to get our 4 1/2 month old lab puppy to not bark at/charge the chicken coop? We have two leghorns and two buff orps that are 5 weeks old and just into their chicken run as of this morning.

    Our puppy is so excited to see the little ones that he has been hearing in the coop for the last week -- but I am afraid he will break in.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    electric fence

    to my dog a single strand of wire = boundary
    she's only been shocked I think 3 times in her entire 2 year life!

    If you need help training the pup I have this DVD and I recommend it.
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  3. emvickrey

    emvickrey ChowDown Silkie Farm

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hornbeak, Tennessee
    I personally don't think any puppy is good to have around chickens They are very active and want to play with everything. If they can make it run its on. But they do need to grow up aorund them in order to not bother them. Our lab was almost a year when she was introduced to chickens. But our dogs are unique. They listen. We say no and they stop in their tracks. I have a talk with the oldest dog when ever something new is brought in. I tell her that this ____ is a member of the family and she is expected to protect it just as she does everything else and she is not to hurt it. I tell her it is a baby. She loves babies and alwys wants to sniff and check it out then she is fine. I never have a problem with her. WEll, with one tihng, cats. We can't have cats. That is the one thing she will not tolerate. If I see her chasing or about to take chase to a cat I can stop her in her tracks but if not the chase is on. I can stop her in mid chase too by just calling her name. She will trip and fall to stop what ever she is doing. I don't complain thought because she is such a good dog, and she is getting up there in years. The thought of that last day always brings tears to my eyes. She is beginnign to have alot of pain in her hips from artheritis. It is in one of her hind legs and her eyesight is going.

    Well enough of that.

    Just keep the puppy away from the chickens uless your there to give instruction and praise when he does something good. Lots of praise. They aren't with us long enough and we should do it right the first time.
  4. Labrador Retrievers generally have a higher drive to please their owners than they do prey drive. However, pups are very boisterous and can easily injure your birds. I think starting sooner is way better than later. I'd say that you could probably use some desensitization and positive reinforcement techniques to teach your pup to ignore your birds. Start off far away from the coop and with your dog on a long line. Use a toy or treats that he's absolutely nuts over. Reward and praise him when he pays no attention to the chickens. Very gradually over a period of time, and only when he is succeeding 100% of the time at that distance, move closer to the coop. You might have to switch up rewards so as to keep his attention, but always use something that he can't resist! First and foremost, though, excercise the bejesus out of your dog beforehand! A tired dog is a good dog, and so much easier to work with. Otherwise you will have tons of pent up energy that has to go somewhere, and little running critters will be target number one. Just don't forget what labs were bred to do and never leave him unsupervised around the chicken coop. With lots of consistency and positive reinforcement, you should have great success. Good luck!

    ETA: if he starts barking/growling/reacting, session ends. No more treats, take him inside and away from the situation immediately.

    How close has he been allowed to get to the coop? Was he leashed? A lot of the reaction could be frustration if he has not been allowed to get up close and really check them out. Either way, desensitization is a good idea.
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It took only a few verbal corrections for our lab pup to learn not to bother the hens. Now she and the other dogs keep the local coons, etc. at their distance from the chickens. They are individuals, just as we and the chickens are.

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