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Lab puppy..

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BHyder1, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. BHyder1

    BHyder1 In the Brooder

    Oct 19, 2009
    My lab is around 4 months old. He has been fine with my chickens until now. I have caught him 2 days in a row, chasing and biting my silkies. They are the only ones he bothers. My chickens are free range when I am home. How can I stop him from having an interest in them?? I got him to help keep the other predators away... I really do not want to chain him up.

  2. CATRAY44

    CATRAY44 Lard Cookin Chicken Woman

    Four months is pretty young. Labs take a couple of years to mature as it is. I would work on teaching him the basics of sit, stay and leave it, using other tempting things, far away from my chickens. When he is really under your control, over time, I would try him first with a leash when he is around them. I imagine there are others on here who may have better advice, but this is what I did with my Labrador and Cocker. Until they looked to me and listened all of the time, I did not let them around my chickens. Now I feel pretty safe with them around them, but I never forget that they are dogs, no matter how obedient.
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    He is growing up and pushing boundaries. You need to make it clear that the chickens are ALWAYS off limits.

    Teach him on leash first, use a long leash and correct him if he starts to go after a chicken. This helps him learn what is right and what is wrong, after he learns you can move to supervised off leash work.
    Depending on your dog's temperment scolding him from across the yard may not be enough to enforce the training, so you may have to go electric collar with him and not let him around the chickens AT ALL unless A) you are watching and B) he is wearing the collar and you are ready to use it.
    If he learns that chasing chickens is fun, he WILL continue to do it when you aren't looking, so you had better nip it in the bud!!! Of course he may never be truly trustworty, and you should think about configuring your yard for a chicken pen and/or a dog kennel, so they can't be loose together unsupervised.
    Also a tired puppy is a better behaved puppy. Teach him that fetching balls is more fun than chasing chickens! Spend a lot of time "wearing him out" with fun stuff, and he will be less likely to chase chickens to entertain himself. Take him to the lake/river/pond and fetch him till he's tired, then put him up in his crate for a couple of hours and don't feel bad for taking a break from him because he will sleep after all that exercise!
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Quote:Truer words!
  5. BHyder1

    BHyder1 In the Brooder

    Oct 19, 2009
    Thanks for the great ideas, and the understanding thoughts!!
  6. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    Labs are bird dogs. It took us YEARS to get ours to stop pestering the birds. Good luck.
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    We probably got lucky with our lab. When he was a pup, I just held the chicks up to his nose, and when he showed interest, I firmly told him NO. We did this several times. As he got older, we did the same thing. When the chickens were bigger and let out to freerange, I watched him for awhile and told him NO again if he acted like he wanted to "play" with them. He's 7 years old now, and I've trusted him completely with my birds for many years. We've never had a problem with him. However, when my son or cousins come out with their bird dogs, (golden retriever, Gordon setter, and lab-springer mix) the birds stay locked in their run.... I'm trying to talk DH into another lab puppy. If he lets me, we'll see if this one is as easy to train. I really think it's easier if the pup can grow up with the chickens. We've had other labs that were here when I got the chickens. That didn't go so well. As stated earlier, they are bird dogs. They just need to learn which birds they can retrieve, and which ones they can't.

  8. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Songster

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    As one of the above PP's have stated labs are bird dogs, thus being said hundreds and hundreds of years of breeding this trait into them. We had a black lab here who was the most gentle and passive animal one could ever meet, Long story short she killed over 30 chickens before we finally realized it was her. Labs are game dogs. they are eager and ready to work for there owners. the main thing In training game/working animals is to make sure they understand they CANNOT work without you period. Focus on basic training first and most importantly Switch up your words of choice. for example Dont use come as a command for your dog to return to you. If you yell at h/she "Come here now!!!!" when there introuble. then they relate this to being in trouble I use return as a come command and also its very important to establish No!! and or Bad dog!!
    In my years of training I have often found it best to mimic what ever command you might use or be using with a motion. (for example Sit! "snap your fingers at same time, Lay!! Pat your thigh same time) Some trainers use clickers to train there dogs I find it better to get a visual command and verbal command established with your pet. Also let him/her know there boundrys. A wonderful way to do this is Choke chains or Shock collars. Most important sit,stay,lay,return (or come), heel, No. Good Boy/girl (not bad dog or good dog) the relation of Dog in a structure sentence can also confuse them. I like Good Girl/Boy and Bad dog! dogs dont understand sentences so they relate tones of voice body motions and sounds to what we need them or want them to do.
    Hope this helps its just a few tricks I tend to use I work aussie shepards on my flocks, and have only had one problem with a dog wanting to out work me resulting in smothered chicks. that problem was quickly fixed. MM Poultry Farms
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  9. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    As a lab owner, I would have to agree with all of the above. When mine was a puppy, he was a challenge to train and eventually I had to go to an electronic collar to keep him in the yard and to correct unwanted behavior. He is now 12 and lays in the yard with the chickens freeranging around him. I let him smell them when they were little chicks but no licking and told him to be nice. Now he doesnt bother with them unless they try to peck him and then he just gets up and moves. Because all dogs are predators, I would never completely trust him alone with them. However, one must also consider the temperment of the dog. Each dog has its own personality and tendancies. We must learn to recognize them and train them accordingly. I think I have the only water hating lab in the country and he only retrieves if he feels like it! However, he will let you do anything to him and wants only to be with the family so its all good!

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