New dog- old duck?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by intp, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. intp

    intp Hatching

    Jan 25, 2008
    We recently adopted an australian shepherd mix who is supposed to be our duck and chicken guard dog. Well, she's interested in the poultry- that's for sure, but she wont leave our poor pekin Yum Yum alone. She raced around and around her cage until I finally picked her up and brought her back inside (and this is a big dog). Is there hope? Can we bring out the herder in her? Any advice??
  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    You told the dog the ducks name didn't you?

    It will take lots of training to keep your dog from eating or killing your birds. I'm sure someone will come along with some advice.
  3. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    My advice is not to let the duck out when the dog is around.

    (wildsky, you are too funny!)
  4. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    You told the dog the ducks name didn't you?

    Wildfrys, Terri is right, you are too funny!! Course that is sort of a dangerous name for that duck! Maybe you could change it to yuck-yuck and the dog would leave it alone? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2008
  5. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    I'm going to bump this topic, as I am interested in the same thing.

    I don't have a dog yet, but we are looking into the same breed.

    It would be my guess that eventually you could train her to leave the poultry alone. I would be very careful about not letting her get at them in the mean time. I would imagine that you could have her on a leash around free-ranging poultry and gradually teach her with commands not to be excited by the birds.

    Bear in mind that I've also heard that some dogs just won't ever learn to do what they were originally bred to do.

    How well is she trained in other arenas of her life -- does she know how to sit, etc.?
  6. jkcove08

    jkcove08 Songster

    Apr 12, 2007
    Herding dogs need to keep buisy!!! Cattle dogs, collies, and shelties all need jobs to do. The problem with having them gaurd your ducks and chickens is that they are smaller then the dog and can not move as fast as a cow, horse, sheep , or pig. Plus poultry are just fragile. Dogs can be trained to leave them alone but it takes a LOT of work and a smart dog. I would still never trust the dog out without supervision for long periods of time. If you are wanting them to gaurd your poultry it is better to reenforce your pens and give supervised free range. There are a couple breeds of dogs meant to gaurd livestock but Ausies are not one of them. Same goes when people have a hunting type dog and want to know if they can break the hunting instinct. It is like trying to give up smoking or drinking. It is possible but VERY HARD TO DO!!! I have 3 cattle dogs that will mostly ignore my birds but if let alone for to long will finally think it is fun to chase and then kill. Not the dogs fault or the chicken, just mine for not supervising. Jenn
  7. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    I had heard that Australian Shepherds were the one herding dog that was smart enough to herd ducks (instead of chase them).

    That may not mean they are trustworthy alone with them.
    I think animals are unpredictable for the most part. Always good to exercise caution.
  8. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    How old is your dog? If she is not very young, it can take a long longer to "break" a habit she already has. On the other hand, if she IS young, it will be a long time before you can reliably trust her.

    After searching what seemed forever for a pup, we finally had someone bring over a collie mix pup and try him with our chickens and ducks. He was actually a bit afraid of them, and wasn't interested in chasing them at all. So we decided to give it a go. He was about 9 weeks old at the time.

    He's turned out to be a very smart dog (and I used to train GSD's as well as a few other dogs, so I can say that he really is smart). I believe he's got quite a bit of golden retriever or perhaps yellow lab into the mix as well. Although he's smart, I never intended to get a hunting-type dog around my birds, and a collie would not have been my first choice either. It was a case of beggars not being able to be choosers though, LOL.

    He does want to "herd" the ducks, especially when he sees me herding them into the coop. And when he is bored, he really would like to chase the chickens (and has done so once or twice).

    I've worked with him a LOT over the past couple of months we've had him, often keeping him tied to me when I'm outside. I've corrected him MANY times for even looking sideways at the poultry, and I did spank him when he chased the chickens once. I've never allowed him outside completely unsupervised with them ... the closest I've come is him tethered with the birds free-ranging with me watching from the window. Even that is after a lot of working with him.

    My red sex-links and RIRs want to "discipline" him as well, staring at him and pecking his nose if he watches them too closely, or if I get onto him. He will lie on the ground and let them come up and eat his food. (The drakes are a worse problem ... it's breeding season so they are becoming aggressive to him, and he thinks it looks like a fun game, so I have to be extra-vigilant.)

    Even with all that working with him, his good behavior (for the most part) and temperament ... it will be a LONG time (if ever) before I am willing to leave him loose with the birds completely unsupervised. I had hoped he would guard them but ...

    Perhaps his mere presence deters hawks. I hope. It should deter raccoons and such, since he wanders the yard both before the birds are let out and after they are put up. And he lets me know if dogs or cats get too near.

    Still ... I don't know if he will ever be what I originally hoped. And I've had some experience working with dogs, and put a lot of time into this one. And he really is smart (generally he "gets" anything by simply being shown 3 times so I can train him incredibly fast ... him WANTING to do the thing is another matter, LOL.)

    Basically though, he's a puppy, so I can't say right now how reliable and steady I will consider him to be when he grows up. I hope he DOES turn out to be a steady dog I can trust, but I just can't say. Especially with a mixed breed. Collies can be a bit flighty, and I know Aussies can be a difficult breed for poultry as well. They just have such a strong drive to herd and are so high-energy too.

    If it were my dog, I'd work on training her as often as possible. Not only how to behave around the chickens, but lots of work in obedience. And give her a "job" to do, one that burns a lot of energy. Frisbee-chasing seems to be great for Aussies, but it might be better to channel the energy into something that doesn't involve "chasing" at all. Maybe you can teach her to "find" things by scent, and let her work at that. Or long-distance recall and obedience work. My daughter wants to train our dog for "dancing" ... the way some people choreograph dog's moves to music and their own moves. Most importantly, just give her a way to burn off that energy so she doesn't build up frustration and then give in to temptation to discharge it by chasing the birds.

    Sorry for the long-winded post ... if you got through it, I hope something in there helps!


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