Leaving a dog around Chickens alone.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kkrogman, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. kkrogman

    kkrogman New Egg

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    I know this topic has been covered many times, but I have been reading on here for hours and my specific question has not been answered. How do you train a dog to at the least not kill your chickens if left alone.
    My dog is great with them and shows no interest what so ever IF I am around. I cannot leave the dog and chickens together and for example go to work.

    So my question is for those of you out there that DO leave for work and let your dogs protect your flock is: what kind of training does it take for that last step to trust your dog ALONE with the flock. Keep in mind I have never seen the dog even chase the chickens when I am around. But she has killed and eaten some while alone. Monday we slept in till 8 (normally we are up by 7) and I caught her in the early stages of eating a chicken.

    Please give me any advice you have.
     
  2. ChickenGoesRuff

    ChickenGoesRuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For leaving the birds alone, I would try tying her up (with enough room for chickens to escape if needed) and scatter scratch around so the chickens come near. I find just staying out of sight and watching behavior is useful. If she makes any notion to harm the chickens, say no (come so she sees you) and put her on her back (submissive behavior). This worked for my cousin's dog, but it differs anyway. Leaving the birds alone is one thing, to get your dog to protect the chickens is another; my dog has learned that the chickens (like the cats) are family, and that they are not to be messed with. In my experience, that last step to LET the dog be with the chickens alone is terrifying, because some dogs will either step up or step aside. Good luck!
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Invest weekends when you can be present but so dog does not know you are present. Observe and reprimand as needed. Odds are you will not be able to do something just once and get where you want to be.
     
  4. PatriciafromCO

    PatriciafromCO Chillin' With My Peeps

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    it's not an easy answer as it depends on the dog. it's not going to be your failure or he dogs failure if you don't have the right individual dog or the right breed to work with, so it shouldn't be taken that way for you or the dog. Some dogs will always need management. And a great farm dog is a long term investment in training that is what makes them so valuable because you can spend years working with them to see the end results.

    I have the garmin gps dog tracker system love it, can tell were the dogs are on the property set up radius alarms and geo fencing alarms so I can tell when they entering and leaving areas can also see what they doing in an area, if they still, or on the move and how fast they moving. they trained on the tone to recall back to the house. You can view it on a receiver or on your computer.in real time. Keeps a track record of your dogs movements and also a written log that gives time and speed. .

    it was my transition tool from all the day time training that I had been doing with them and night time training with them, to start giving them a few hours on their own at night expanding access to different areas of the property and leaving the barns open for them to patrol. through to other areas

    If you only have a small area of property set up some wireless cameras so you can watch from inside the house. I love the Lorex live wireless small camera set up. it has a two way intercom system, motion sensor, or record to SD card.. So you can press a button inside the house for the intercom and say 'what are you doing' lol when you start seeing any stalking behavior or going to an area that they shouldn't be.. lol lol you can also hear any changes that are going on outside, if the birds start to fluster or the dog starts to bark. I have one in the horse corral as it's a blind spot to the house my horses when they need something will come up to the camera and look into it to get my attention and I will press the button and tell them I'm on my way out.. lol... they funny.

    both are helpful tools, to pair with the leg work and hands on training you do with them. and the ability to see their behaviors and changes of behaviors as it's happening when your not there.

    do your daily training with them around the birds, and when you leave them unattended when they ready to more access or unsupervised time when your home (keep it short time wise) don't give them more time then they can handle .. You always want to step in the second you see a change to what leads to inappropriate behavior.. looking and staring is a good place for "leave it" always be there to help them and not set them up for failure.

    the garmin when the dogs were reacting to something in the area
    [​IMG]

    puppy in training with my older male.. not allowed in the barn lol..

    [​IMG]

    First signs that my male was starting to mature into himself
    [​IMG]








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  5. kkrogman

    kkrogman New Egg

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    Thanks all for the response. I guess I should have given some info. My dog is a female German Shepherd and she is right at 12 months old.
    That is the other question I have, is she just too young and full of energy to be left alone? Is there a chance she will get better after her puppy stage?

    We made a mistake early on and left her alone and she "played" with almost 30 8 week old chicks. I understand she just wasn't ready and WE screwed up, not her. We had 10 full grown ducks at that time and she didn't tough one of them. Only the little fast squeaky ones.

    Since then we have been working with her to let her know what is "mine" even though when we are around she doesn't show ANY interest at all.
    Overall she does great. She will lay down with the birds near her like in the picture above and barely ever glance at them. She knows to "leave it" and will even get up and move away from them (usually) if they get too close.
    So all this was going on and we have a proximity collar that will keep her from entering the coop. We have an automatic door to let the birds out with the sun.
    We started keeping the dog out at night to keep critters away but then would get up before the chickens come out and let her in to make sure she doesn't do anything bad.

    We slowly got her up to where we would leave her out alone with the chickens until we got up for work around 7am. No problems. We then took the next step and left her out while heading into town on Sunday to get groceries, go to church, etc sometimes over 3 hours. Again no problems.
    Then we had to be away overnight. She got loose from being tide up and ate one of our smaller 10ish week old birds.
    Then a day later we slept in and hour later than normal and when I got up she was eating one of the adult birds. That bothers me more than anything because I was hoping the problem was more with the size and age of the bird.
    Have we ruined our chances cause she has a taste for them?
    This time since I actually caught her in the act I was able to discipline her and she does not want anything to do with chickens (again when I am around).

    Anyway, that is where we are. Mistakes aside, I hope there is something we can do to get where we want. Maybe just time? Reading other posts I got the impression that I should never have left her alone until she is (on average) 18 months or so. Is that all we need to do is keep working with her and wait till she isn't a puppy?
    I really would like her to at a minimum be able to be out with them alone. Whether she "guards" them doesn't so much matter cause just being out and about is enough for me.
     
  6. PatriciafromCO

    PatriciafromCO Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can only say go back and read my first paragraph over and over and over again and find acceptance to the answer your looking for.

    it's not an easy answer as it depends on the dog. it's not going to be your failure or he dogs failure if you don't have the right individual dog or the right breed to work with, so it shouldn't be taken that way for you or the dog. Some dogs will always need management. And a great farm dog is a long term investment in training that is what makes them so valuable because you can spend years working with them to see the end results.

    GSD's are not designed for birds not designed to be bird safe or bird reliable. my suggestion to you .. is to love your birds and your dog equally. Build a secure bird enclosure and allow your GSD to mature and develop in what they are bred for. Property and Personal protection. GSD's can be highly territorial, and have a keen sense of what belongs and what doesn't belong. That is where your focus on your breed of dog should be, and the best way to accomplish keeping your birds safe using your GSD. Still a pup right now, they not ready to fully defend their property and people by themselves, still need to be protected and supported by you. GSD belong to their people, they want to be with their people engaged and active with their people. A GSD with nothing to do alone in a backyard may find your birds the most entertaining fulfilling activity they have to live for. every day. to include digging under any enclosure you set up for the birds when your not there..your pup needs you and your time to have a purpose and a life that has nothing to do with the birds. Work with the breed you have in the areas they are good at and designed to excel at.. Think about that angle of where to put your energy and effort to develop your pups into a balanced productive adult.


    and I must add...... if your GSD' pups first foundation of learning is to be punished for using it's high prey drive to chase down and kill small creatures in your yard what good will your pup be to you when they sit back and let raccoons and little vermin come into your yard and kill your chickens???? Because they have been taught it was wrong.. You need to find the balance in how you handle situations for what your dog learns for the future.
    ..
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
    2 people like this.
  7. Chipper Chicken

    Chipper Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a dog a few years back that chased the neighbors chickens. I got them to give me a chance to break my dog of it before they either a) shot the dog or b) called the local animal control. I used an "invisible fence" system (x2 lengths together) and walked him per the training directions up to the boundary flags (shaking the flag and saying No!) twice a day for two weeks every single day. He stayed tied or cooped up except for those training periods. It worked. He was a good sized German Shepard cross (x Great Dane).

    If I have to train another dog to stay away from chickens, and my planned fence systems (chicken moat) don't work, well I really liked this idea shared on a different thread....I'd maybe not crank it up quite as high as suggested if it's a pet tho....now if it's a fox or some other varmint.....



    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/677983/i-caught-my-fox-updated-now-with-the-video/70

    @kynewbchickie p8 post #71

    "An old farmer here told me if we ever had foxes that outsmarted the electric fencing and killed a bird, to wrap the bird up in the hot wire (with it off of course for your safety) and crank the conductor up to the highest setting possible. Either you'll fry his tail, or he'll get a nasty enough shock that he won't come back. I know this works for family dogs that decide to kill chickens; my parents had to do this with a prize hen years ago with our dog - and he NEVER went near the birds again. I don't know that this will work for your fox, but it may be an option to try if you're still having problems. I hope you shoot the rascal and turn him into a nice fur. Foxes are gorgeous creatures, for sure - but they are not friends to our birds."



    Hope this gives you some ideas

    Chipper
     
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Patriciafrom CO very excellent information and advice
     
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  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri


    In my training efforts, suppressing interest in going after one type of critter such as cats does not suppress interest in others. Conversely, I can promote interest in one, but not in others like going after raccoons but leaving animals like deer, rabbits and foxes alone.
     
  10. PatriciafromCO

    PatriciafromCO Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes totally agree and that is exactly why I said

    "You need to find the balance in how you handle situations for what your dog learns for the future."
     

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