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My Dog turned Killer

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jak2002003, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    I came home a few days ago to find one of my hens dead and my dog licking it. I presumed my dog killed it but its so out of character of her that I really could not believe it. The hen had no wounds on her. I gave the dog the benefit of the doubt. Everything returned to normal. I forgot about the incident. BIG MISTAKE. [​IMG]

    My dog is a small poodle mix dog. She has been around my chickens since she was a puppy - about 3 years ago. There has never been any problems with her and the chickens.

    Every day I let my hens and dog out into the garden and I go to work. The dog and hens hang out together, sleep together and are totally at ease with each other. My dog used to protect the flock from cats and predators coming into the garden.

    But now my dog has gone chicken crazy and is totally obsessed with killing more. I came home today and my dog did not come to giver her usual greeting. I found her behind my pond filter totally covered in mud and dirt. Water was gushing everywhere from the pipes the dog had broken and plants were ripped up and scattered about. She was trying to get to something under the filter box. My heart sank when I saw the feathers on the grass. I pulled a soaking wet, bloody hen out from under the filter box.

    Then my dog jumped up to grab the bird from my hands - she never tried to grab anything from me, even her food or toys. She was running around and around the run trying to get in, jumping at the wire and would not calm down or take notice of me. I had to pick her up and she tried to bite me!

    This is 100 per cent not my dog! She never shows aggression to me or anyone or any animal before. I shut her in the house and she ran from room to room looking for a way out and did not calm down for over an hour.

    I know I will never be able to let my dog anywhere near the chickens now. I clipped all the chickens wings (12 of them) to stop them flying out of the run today. But I fear my dog will eventually get into the run one day.

    I love my dog - and my chickens. I keep my chickens as pets. I just don't know what to do now. I don't want to give away my chickens and my relationship with my dog has been ruined.

    I just don't know what to do next?
     
  2. NancyP1

    NancyP1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aawww....I'm so sorry. Thats just horrible. I wish I had some advise for you.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    You need to begin retraining chickens are not targets for play. It is easy to do. In your dogs case, boredom may have been a contributing factor to stumbling relationship with flock.
     
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. contain the dog when you aren't there to supervise.
    2. contain the chickens when the dog is out
    3. train the dog to ignore the birds when you are present
    4. exercise the dog and provide appropriate entertainment

    repeat the above. She wasn't showing "aggression" she was in the middle of the most exciting game she has ever played in her life and here you are ruining all of her fun! She was throwing a tantrum.

    For the time being, dog is out only on leash, since she is ignoring you when she is around the birds. Start at enough distance where you can get her focus on you. Teach her "watch me" or another command that tells her to pay attention to you. give the command and when she looks at you, even for a second, reward. Increase the time that she is to be focused on you and work on other commands - sit, down, etc When she is reliably obedient at this distance (probably at least a couple weeks), move a little closer and begin again. If she is unable to focus on you, then you are too close - back up and start again.
    When she is reliable with her other obedience training, then you can start working on teaching her to "leave it" and ignore the birds. Follow the same criteria as above, but whenever she looks at the birds, tell her "leave it" If she doesn't look at you, give a leash pop and reward the second she looks at you. Work your way up to training on a long line (20 ft leash) and only if you are 1000% comfortable with her "leave it" you can consider continuing the training with her off-leash.

    Will she ever be able to be trusted unsupervised around chickens? No way to know. My dog is 8 years old, loves the bunnies and the birds and has never harmed a fly. I never let him around the birds unsupervised, though, because he is a dog and birds are animals and sometimes things happen.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. Baggagolers

    Baggagolers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Really sorry to hear this. Is the hen going to be ok? We had a lab mix that did the same thing. She was very well trained and always came back when ever her name was called. We never had a problem with her and the chickens until one day we here a lot of noise outside. She was chasing the chickens. My dad ran out and yelled for her to stop and called her to come back. She didn't listen and killed a hen. My dad is not a mean man, and loves our pet. He never mistreats them in any way, but he was so mad that he grabbed the dog and the dead chicken. It was crazy to see, he took the chicken and started hitting the dog with it yelling " YOU WANT CHICKEN I'LL GIVE YOU CHICKEN!!!!" Feathers were flying, the dog was squealing, my dad was cursing. He even acted like he was going to stuff the chicken down the dogs throat. It wasn't a pretty thing to watch.In the end only the chicken was the only one that was really hurt (dead). The dog looked like she was embarrassed. It did stop the dog from ever killing another chicken. She live to be 15 years old and was a great family dog that went everywhere and did everything with our family. She never ever touched another chicken. I hope you can do something to stop your dog from going after your chickens.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. NYboy

    NYboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry about your birds. As usual Dainerra is giving very good advice. Good luck
     
  7. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NYBoy, thanks :)

    To the OP, don't ever beat your dog with a dead chicken (or anything else). Yes, sometimes the beating with a dead bird works. Why? Because it makes your dog terrified that any time a bird comes near him, his beloved Master will go insane and try to kill him. If your dog lets you beat him with a dead bird and doesn't rip your face off, then you don't have an aggressive animal killing dog - you have a normal dog that misbehaved.

    If your child was chasing the birds around the yard and stepped on one, would you flip out and beat him with the dead bird? 99% of birds killed by dogs die the same way - dog is playing and doesn't realize that birds are fragile. That is why dogs end up wiping out an entire flock. They "play" and when the bird stops moving the game is over so they move onto the next toy to play with.

    To train your dog to live peacefully with your flock, you need to have a good relationship with your dog. That relationship needs to be based on trust and respect which is destroyed by a human reacting out of anger or in the heat of the moment. Would you work for a boss that, instead of telling you what your job was, just screamed obscenities and hit you with things when he didn't like what you did?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  8. Baggagolers

    Baggagolers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dainerra, What ever works for you is great. The dog was not harmed and it did stop her from chasing chickens. It did scare her enough that she never did it again. Was she afraid after that whenever she got near a chicken....No. She and the chickens got alone fine for the rest of her life. It took about 30 seconds to teach her that killing chickens was not a good game to play. I wasn't saying anybody should beat a dog or any other animals. Putting a little fear in them know and then if necessary isn't going harm them. She remained a well loved part of the family for 15 years. BTW there is a big difference between a dog and a child.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  9. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you all for the good advise. I feel calmer now, but still feel strange with my dog. She really was not playing, she was in kill mode! I used to have a jack russel that was like that when he discovered a nest of rats - he would go crazy, even making his paws bleed, trying to dig them out from under a shed. There was a very wild look in my dogs eyes. Scary.

    Thank you dianerra for you good advise. I will give all that a go. Its just such a shame I have more work to do - but that is part of owing animals!

    Baggagolers story is great! I can understand why you Dad did that and the picture was kind of funny! I am not sure it was the right thing to do - but I am sure a big lad is not going to get hurt by a dead chicken slapped around the chops.

    As for my hen. Her name is Owl. She is the toughest hen I have (even though she is a small Japanese Bantam). She is top of the pecking order - she is a rebel, she always would be the one to escape the run and roam about the garden alone. She was quite nasty to the lower down hens at roosting time.....even pecking hard when I pick her up......she is a tough cookie!

    My dog ripped out all her tail feathers and her rump looks red and sore, but no cuts. Her right wing looks like a plucked chicken wing from the supermarket with no feathers left except a few of the long flight feathers at the very tip. The skin on the part near her body is very red raw and some blood, but not too deep. She was also soaking wet and covered in stinking mud and fish poop from the broken filter box and was very cold and in shock.

    I gave her a 'hot' shower to warm her up, and a shampoo with puppy flea shampoo to wash off all the slime. She likes baths and relaxed and stopped shivering. I spend the rest of the afternoon watching TV with her wrapped in a towel on my lap.

    Now she is back with the others. She even pecked a few hens who got too close to see what had happened to her. I am sure the other chickens think it serves her right for being a bully to them all! [​IMG]

    She looks a mess, so I hope the missing feathers will grow back quickly. She was a beautiful bird before. She was very luck not to have a actual bites to her body and I think she was very clever to squeeze into the narrow space under the fish pond equipment.

    This is what she used to look like. She is the brown hen on the right. Her dad is the Rock the rooster.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. lclough1998

    lclough1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    She is a beautiful hen and will be again. I have no advice but wonder where you are and in your picture, are those woven domes for the chickens?
     

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