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Looking for Advice! Overly Excited Old Dog

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by drellbug, May 16, 2016.

  1. drellbug

    drellbug Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Massachusetts
    Four days ago I purchased 6 new baby chicks. I am a first time chicken owner but for the most part things have been going very smoothly. The issue is my old dog, a Bichon Frise, who realized the chicks existed two days ago and has been overly excited about it since. She's been spending all her time whining in front of the door of the room where the chickens are kept and can't seem to calm down about it (I admit she is not terribly well trained). Keeping the chickens safe and out of her reach isn't a problem and they don't seem too bothered or stressed by her but I'm worried about her being so overly excited for such a long time.

    Has anyone had any similar issues or does anyone know of good ways to calm down an excited dog? To clarify, I don't need her to get along with the chickens, I just need her to calm down. Thanks so much for any advice!
     
  2. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Is your dog food motivated? One method I really like a lot is using a clicker. This does tend to work best for dogs that are food or toy motivated.

    I got my dog used to a clicker (You can purchase a clicker for $1 at pet smart) by clicking and then giving her a treat. She will start associating that clicker with food and happy things! If she knows a simple command, like sit, ask her to sit and then click, treat. Do this every day for a short amount of time, 5-10 minutes at the most. After some repetition of this, start by watching her near the door where she gets excited. As soon as she shows a minute of calm behavior, click and treat. You will see her start to understand that calm behavior = a treat. It does take some repetition though!

    I used this method for teaching my dog not to bark at people passing by while we sit on my patio. It really worked amazingly, and now she'll sit quietly or look to me to see if I'll toss her a treat when people walk by instead of acting like a ferocious dog.
     
  3. drellbug

    drellbug Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 29, 2016
    Massachusetts
    Thanks for the advice! Our dog isn't very food motivated, more attention motivated so we've be trying to train her to calm down if she wants to be acknowledged. Its been working to an extent. We tried exposing her to the chickens, but no matter how long she was exposed or what we did she never calmed down. So now we're just keeping her away from them. She was very upset about it for about a day and a half, but has now seems to have calmed down and is back to normal.
     
  4. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South Alabama
    How is she overly excited regarding the chicks. Is she "aggressive" excited or more "curious" excited? We've had dogs that were actually more excited over small critters in a motherly-way than in an aggressive/I-want-to-eat-you kind of way. It could be the mother instinct in her coming out or...prey-drive instinct. How did she act when ya'll tried to introduce her?

    Maybe put a fist-sized stuffed animal in the brooder with the chicks for a day to get their scent on it and then offer it to your dog and see what she does? Who knows, it might satisfy her and she walks around all day with it in her mouthing or "cleaning" it. Or, she might just stand there and look at you like your a three-eyed version of your former self.<grin>

    Just a thought.

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    I had to google "Bichon Frise" to see what type dog that is. Cute dog. The description says that it's playful and feisty but also affectionate/sensitive/gentle. Of course, I'm sure your dog hasn't read it's description so it very well be the opposite of these terms. ;) I've found many older female dogs, especially ones that have had puppies, to be strong mother instincts. The problem is that they are so much bigger than something like a chick and they don't know exactly how to be gentle to them...a puppy and a chick are on different scales of fragility. Maybe, if your dog takes to a stuffed animal, when the chicks get a little older they and the dog can get along together. Of course, I'm posting this before I hear your response on the type of excitement that she has, so all of this may be a moot point if her excitement is an aggressive one.

    Ed
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Mar 5, 2007
    New Jersey

    That sounds like a good method! I'm glad she has calmed down a bit.

    Sometimes when a dog is overly excited, you just have to find the spot where they can acknowledge the stimulus (chickens) without getting excited. I would start your training there and then very slowly decrease the distance from her and the stimulus. Only move forward after you know she can control her excitement at the current distance. This way you are essentially setting up the dog to win instead of overwhelming them with whatever makes them excited.

    Best of luck!
     

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