My dog is obsessed with my chickens!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by oxford hens3, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. oxford hens3

    oxford hens3 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2016
    I have 2 dogs, 1 that is scared of them and won't go near them; the second who since my chicks have been day old has been obsessed with them, she barks at them and when she is near them tries to get them. Will this behaviour ever wear off? My chicks are now 11 weeks old and the peck her through the wire when she tries to get them, but she doesn't learn. I let my chickens roam the garden and she constantly barks at them but don't want to let her out with them incase the worst happens. Has anyone else ever had an experience like this and how does it turn out? With training would I ever be able to trust her?
     
  2. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What type of dog is she? Is she a herding breed?
     
  3. oxford hens3

    oxford hens3 Out Of The Brooder

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    My scared dog is a Chihuahua and my naughty dog is a Yorkshire Terrier. I get shes a terrier but I thought that cause shes seen them grow up it might get her used to it. She is 9 years old though!
     
  4. Sherloki

    Sherloki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My dog likes watching them, and scaring them.... (she runs up to the run and watches as they take off). Same deal, had them since they were chicks. First time she saw them, she barked at them, which freaked the chicks out. Now they want nothing to do with her, though one RIR is a bit braver and will stand her ground when the dog runs up. Of course my dog is a 12 year old Labrador Retriever. She's been doing better about leaving them alone, so your Yorkie may as well. We'd previously had rabbits in the current chicken run and she eventually got to where we could let her go inside and she wouldn't bother the bunnies. Still, as a bird dog breed, I'm not sure I'd trust her with chickens.....
     
  5. oxford hens3

    oxford hens3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you. My chickens all stand up to her which I hoped she would learn that they aren't scared of her, but she just doesn't leave them alone! I will try and keep her well away from them, which is a shame.
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I say if your willing to do the work you can teach the dog. Keeping them away won't change the behavior. Exposure and correction with redirection while on leash. Also a lot of times I find dogs to be fence fighters but when the fence is not between them, no more problem.

    Terriers are a challenge.

    The easiest thing, instead of just telling the dog what they can't do,... show them what they can. An acceptable alternative. When I am at the tractor with my queensland heeler he will bring me a frisbee which I happily throw. When I see his eyes start to focus, I stop it immediately. My lab mix has a hard time not jumping on us and nibbling fingers when excited. we taught her to get a toy which keeps her mouth occupied and keeps her from jumping. This one hunts everything that moves in our backyard often successfully! I can see the temptation in her eyes sometimes. And my labra- bull has food aggression so we don't give out treats next to her.

    For us, there is no hope of unsupervised free ranging when chicks are too little and squeaky. But all are free ranging by around 8 weeks.

    For some reason people with little dogs often don't teach any discipline. Like it's no big deal they scratch up your calf, pull at the end of the leash, pee in the house, start stuff with big dogs,.... (not finger pointing). But ALL dogs can be trained if you take the time and see what really makes them tick. That being said, each dog is an individual. If after you spend your time training they still let you know that their desire outweighs the training then it's best to heed their body language and don't put them in a situation where you may not like the outcome. With a dog that age, I would think if you had a strong relationship with them that they would want to do what please you.

    If you try the whole exposure thing, make sure the dog is well exercised first and they should be more cooperative. And praise or reward behaviors that are desirable. For us a firm NO is good with the alternative and praise offered. They get an occasional smack on the muzzle if it's warranted, nothing abusive. I'd be more likely to grab the neck, force the dog to the ground in a submissive position until calm while being semi-surrounded. Once calm, release. Of course you have to be calm as well.

    Sounds like your dog wants to "play" with them and is excited.

    Hope this helps at all. I love my dogs and my chickens and have spent tons of time teaching appropriate behaviors (they aren't perfect). It can be done though. I have lots more advice for integration, but you are the key.

    But some animals just aren't fit to certain situations. I used to love going to the dog park. But my fixed female LOVES to steal the fun and toys from other dogs. I had to accept that I couldn't take her anymore. Same dog hates wheels of all kinds... strollers, skateboards, bicycles, etc. Now I can't even take her to Home Depot (one of my favorite places for outings when it's raining)! That is just something I will not be able to change and have to accept. I'm sure you will figure out what is the right choice for you.

    Best wishes!
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    BTW, Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Another idea, use a little squirt bottle and hit up your dog every time she approaches in an unacceptable manner. This is usually enough to provide a little correction or distraction, unless like my heeler enjoys biting the steam of water. But my other dogs are scared of the air sound it makes.

    I haven't used that method but have seen people use it to teach their cats & chickens to stay out of certain locations or detour certain behaviors.
     
  8. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never owned a terrier so I can't give you any advice based on personal experience. My heeler was really interested in my chickens but now that she's seen them, the novelty has worn off. I didn't trust her being around the chickens for almost a year though. I knew she had no instinct to bite, because I take her out running in the country and she chases rabbits, and I've seen the rabbits get scared and freeze. The dog stops and just looks at them, waiting for them to start running again. (To clarify these are wild rabbits, not anybody's pets!) She's also the sensitive type dog where if I raise my voice, she responds instantly. So I trust her to be okay with the chickens, unlike my husband's Lab. The Lab has those moments where she totally ignores verbal commands because she's too excited to think straight. She also has the instinct and desire to kill small animals. So I guess it depends on your dog's personality.
     
  9. oxford hens3

    oxford hens3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you everyone for your replies!
    We have tried to put her on the lead in the garden while they run around and she just gets so worked up over them and turns into a completely different character. I will try all of your methods because it would be a shame to have to completely separate them off. I let my chickens out every night and I have to admit shes not so obsessed with them like she used to be, she used to stand at the back door barking at them constantly, but I think the novelty has worn off as she isn't always at the door.
     

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