My dog a predator?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by AnimalFriend<3, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. AnimalFriend<3

    AnimalFriend<3 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 21, 2011
    My chicks are about four weeks old and I have not yet officially introduced them to my dog. I am really nervous about it. My dog is a naturally layed back sorta guy but I know it still may happen. I had them all outside hanging out on my lap outside. My dog so them and started barking and even licked his lips! [​IMG] I was so mad at him but I did not know what to do about it. Please let me know if you have any advice or experiences with having a cicken friendly dog! Thank you
  2. Squeezle

    Squeezle New Egg

    Mar 29, 2011
    I'll be watching this thread for tips. My very sweet shihtzu mix munched one of my 3 wk old chicks yesterday and of course it died. [​IMG] I was very upset, for obvious reasons. I'm sure he meant no harm. He probably viewed it as a live squeeky toy!! But it happened within a split second and he won't be going near them again until I figure out how to train him otherwise. My concern is that he is untrainable, but I realize that's probably not the case. I also learned that having 2 people around under those circumstances is better - one to watch the chicks and the other to hold the dog. I had too much going on and couldn't keep control of the situation. Ah well.... live and learn. [​IMG]

  3. GallusGal

    GallusGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    What you need to remember is that it isn't a question as to if your dog is a predator or not: he absolutely, definitely, biologically IS. That does not mean that he can't be trained to interact peacefully with chickens under supervision, but it also means you can't be mad at him for acting like a dog. Mad doesn't get you very far in training.

    Rather, you need to do two things: you need to make sure your dog realizes that the chickens are YOURS and he may not do what he pleases with them, which can be tricky if your dog does not already respect your authority (so hopefully he does!). And you also need to focus on making being good around the chickens FAR more rewarding to him than being bad around them. That can be tricky: not too many things are better than something as tantalizing as chickens. In my experience, when it comes to something very tempting, you generally need a very good reward AND a very good deterrent used together. And you need gradual introduction, constant reinforcement, and the understanding in the back of your mind that even the best behaved dog is still a dog and can not really be 100% trusted with chickens unattended.

    Do you have someone who could help you with introductions? I'm still working on the first steps at the advice of our trainers, but you need to be able to prevent the dog from hurting the birds with his mouth OR paws while still able to see, sniff, etc. and simultaneously offer corrections for bad responses and rewards for good responses. It is generally at least a two person job to do safely.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  4. Missymac

    Missymac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    I have been working to get all of my animals properly introduced to the new chicks. So far with introductions, first I muzzled the dogs and kept them on their leashes(one at a time). The beagles ignored the chicks and continued about their business, they couldn't care less about them. Then I moved to unmuzzling and on leash, same reaction, off leash the same thing. My other 2 dogs had a different reaction. My terrier x poodle cross, growled non-stop at the sight of the chicks and still continues to growl, he hates them with a firey burning passion, usually he is quite layed back, but these, he just doesn't like. My boxer puppy did completely different than all of them, she puts her muzzle to the ground and kind of herds them all together then lays down. They peck at her and walk on her, and she loves every minute of it. I think all breeds differ in the reaction. My muzzle method has worked well for me 5/6 dogs responded well to this.
  5. neverbdone

    neverbdone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2008
    Lake Isabella, CA
    I have Golden Retrievers (four) most who were rescues. I always immediately repremanded them the second they started after a chicken and anytime they even thought about chasing a chicken. Dogs are not allowed to chase chickens or ducks on my property.

    Once my big dog Rex (shown below) decided to try to chase a chicken after he had been around them for over a year. Well, I had a rubbermaid watering can in my hand and went berserk swinging it at him and yelling. Lets just say he never tried it again. As you can see from the pic they know their job is to protect not eat the birds. They will run right through the middle of the flock to chase away a rabbit, squirrel or coyote now. It takes time and traing to be able to trust them.

    I keep my newest one Ruby, who I have had for one month (she's 2 years old) on a long lead when the hens are out. She did catch one of my hens the first week I had her, but the hen got away when I yelled at her. I repremanded her and gave her an hour time out in the dog run. Keep an eye out anytime the chickens are out and you don't have complete confidence in your dog. It is their nature to be predators and they need time to learn what their job really is.


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