Our LGDs killed a hen this morning.


Jul 6, 2016
Training! Supervision! More training!
These new dogs won't automatically feel that your chickens are to be protected, especially if they haven't ever had chickens to protect before. These breeds are meant to be raised with, and identify with, four footed mammals, not birds, and not new birds in a new location.
They have discovered the fun of chasing and killing easy targets, and need to be retrained.
Talk to your seller, get advice from other LGD people, and fix it soonest.
We spoke with seller. She said to discipline them - not harsh but firm. We did that all day outside yesterday.

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goat Kids
Premium member
Sep 8, 2015
The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
We spoke with seller. She said to discipline them - not harsh but firm. We did that all day outside yesterday.
Maremma don't take to disapline or training like other breeds. They have a mind of their own. Don't do well in the wrong environment without knowing the breed first.


Jun 27, 2017
Bedford, Massachusetts
My Coop
My Coop
You can't put any dog untrained in with livestock and think they will know what to do. It takes a LOT of training.
There are books on it and maybe some videos on line. But most LGD learn from the parents Before they are sold as a Livestock dog.

I had 2 mid aged Great Danes that were fine with the grown hens in the yard. but had chicks that squeezed through the fence and got into the yard, dogs used them like little flip toys :(


Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
California's Redwood Coast
I have them penned up for now - am worried about what to do. How old is yours. Did you train him"
Hi there, hope you are enjoying BYC! :frow

Very sorry for your loss. :hugs

Listen, don't obsess or even focus on details like the guts being ripped out. Puppies play and one of their favorite games is tug of war... it never ends well for the prey animal caught in the middle. This was NOT aggression or anything to that effect at this age. Plain and simple, your dogs are puppies, babies who's protective hormones haven't really even hit the stupid puberty teenage phase YET.

Your seller sounds like a Stew Pidasso! Don't recommend them them to anyone! Who doesn't give a little advice to a new owner to set them up for success??? :duc

You can't punish a puppy hours later, they won't understand. What they need is guidance! Exercise them until their dog tired... then take them ON leash and do your chicken chores. If they show obsessive interest, like super focus... a little tug on the leash and redirection. (NOT enough to cause trachea damage or whip lash)

The dogs are 100% NOT at fault here and just doing what comes natural. All dogs ARE natural hunters... they only GAIN the protective intstinct towards what they deem THEIRS once hormonal changes are taking place.

My standard shelter pup was a happy go lucky pup... but I won;t forget the day I was on my treadmill on the patio and saw his demeanor change towards the gardeners... his tail went stiff pointing in the air (maybe a pointer) his body posture and even his breathing pattern changed as he trotted differently and with purpose along the fence line.

To be fair, and insight some stereotype-ism let me use an example... (I'm married to a Korean) Asians are supposed to be great at math... but can a 12 week old Asian do ANY? Not likely... they may be more prone towards it, but it is something they LEARN and then retain and excel at in the future... they aren't born mathematicians or scientist. And LGD aren't born protecting livestock... They learn it then often excel. :)

I would spend time doing basic training including sit, come, stay, etc... For most creatures I come in contact with, positive reinforcement works wonders... including simply praise and love when they are doing something right.

To be clear... all my shelter dogs are LPD's... (livestock predator dogs)... including a hound mix and a bully mix. I do also have a Queensland Heeler. I recently rented a room to someone who has a very high prey drive little dog. That dog is 7+ years old and OBsessive.. used to chasing ducks and any other bird or what have you... But when you build a relationship with them yourself... they also want to please you and trust you... I communicate with him by using calm assertive terms like NO when he starts to FOCUS. Then redirect into a positive activity. He has a HARDER time when his mom is around because he is used to protecting and being her only... so we do training when she isn't around in order to set HIM up for success. With me.. I can SEE him shaking in his boots as they walk by... he is practicing extreme self control... for which I praise him.. and BEFORE it gets to much and results in a lunge at the animal, we walk away and do something else...

We have been working for a few months now, and the bantam chickens and chicks are very challenging... but they HAVE become part of the environment that he NOW knows he is expected to tolerate... and avoid if needed... as HE will be the one facing mine and his mom's disappointment. Now that isn't to say we haven't had a few close calls. He is finally chilled about the birds... but the rabbits... are a bit harder.

Folks said I could never keep goats with my LPD's... wrong! I did so very successfully... again it's about MY relationship with the dogs themselves. I could NEVER have just turned goats loose in my lot and let the dogs after them... I had to do training... my dogs were NOT raised with livestock... and will happily gang up to take down anything that enters our property.

My training generally includes claiming ownership of the animal to be left alone (Victoria Stillwell style)... towards the aggressor (after exercise)... make them know they are NOT welcome to it but welcome to respect it's space. I let them sniff the air, and take them onto the ground where the animal has been... getting them familiar with the scent that is expected to be there

My dogs tolerate my mini pigs... but if left to their own vices... my mini pigs push and push until my top dog or any of them respond... they say pigs are smart... I'm not so sure, but they are determined and pig headed. FWIW... all animals have hormonal changes that effect their behavior... my female pig was less pushy before maturing and now challenges my dogs and any other animal that crosses her path daily... She got's pet princess syndrome I think and tries to rule the places. I even recently brought in 2 adopted feral kitties (expected to hunt after a feral mama raised kittens and cleared my pole barn of rats), it took several months... and the dogs still act like fun time jerks... sometimes placing a little bluff chase to get the cats to respond... and my biggest huntress (always killing gophers and cats) loves to play with them... growling, diving in to bite at their necks, etc... clearly a playful expression to which the cats usually respond by slapping or jumping away. The dog KNOWS they are more feeble than say other dogs... she knows her limits and minds them to NOT hurt what is EXPECTED to be there. Another cat... ALL bets are OFF!

2 dogs together can be more effective WHEN the time comes. Training two at the same time... a giant nightmare. Definitely take turn training them... working with your MOST trainable... teach it something then it might help you teach the other. Dogs do learn from each other, both good and bad. If you keep them penned up too much without enough outlet for their energy... they will get worse not better... so use the pen while needed but don't forget to make them pups a priority... You WILL get back what you give... So your training now will pay off for the rest of their lives. Even though they aren't set it and forget it as puppies.. nothing worth having comes without effort on our part... EVER, in my experience.

Spaying or neutering is HIGHLY recommended... sometimes when a dame has offspring... it isn't beneficial to the farm animals around.. as she *MAY* be protective of her pups or may have a challenging time teaching them not to chase the animals. Plus, them being siblings and maybe not knowing if their parents were ALSO siblings... many so called breeders aren't breeding for the good of their animal or the breed but just for the good of their pocket... as already indicating by WHY you even had to post this in the first place... Though I do understand accidents happen and folks may be facing things I don't realize.. so maybe they aren't in a position to thinking helpful to patrons... But, NO excuses.. they should have been MORE informative and asked more questions if they cared anything about be responsible stewards of livestock... Not everyone has the same heart and conviction, I do... Thank God, for all that has shaped me... as challenging and heart breaking as it has been. :yesss:

I'm so thankful also for this community and the MANY members who really do care enough to try and help others solve for happiness and health in our pets, livestock, and families. :highfive:

You are NOWHERE near lost cause with your pups at this point. Just at a crossroads of realizing they will take more effort than first thought. You've got great community support here and YOU CAN DO THIS! Hang in there. Be patient, and consistent. :fl

ETA: curious what you did to "discipline" them all day yesterday?
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6 Years
Jul 29, 2013
Cleveland OH
It sounds like you could use a course on how to train a dog in the first place. Have you ever trained a dog before or is this your first time? Training a dog to an instinctual task is harder than training them to respond to a simple and common command before getting a treat.

Forget about the chickens for now. Don't even bother with them yet. Start with basic commands - sit, stay, come. Teach them their names and how to walk on a leash and how not to run under your feet when you're walking past.



Dec 29, 2019
Wichita, Kansas
There is some great knowledge in these comments!! I love that these people are obviously good dog owners.

I really don’t want to be negative, so I hope I don’t sound so, but it sounds like maybe you weren’t ready for the challenge of new pups.
Do you have other dogs? Are you familiar with raising them? They are a commitment like the chickens are. Possibly more so, as they are mammals like us that take a lot longer to mature.
It isn’t advisable to get dogs and then learn how to take care of dogs.

That said, I would highly recommend learning quickly about basic obedience first. Learn with them. Together, with dedication, you can figure this out.

If at all possible, find a trainer who trains people to work with dogs, not a trainer who trains dogs.
If that’s not possible, start doing research quickly on training. Basic first. Get it down pat. Read books. Read the internet.
In the mean time, keep these pups away from other animals until you have learned, and they have learned, how to behave. There must be no more interaction that could allow these pups to hurt the flock.
I wish you the best of luck!


Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
I use dogs extensively with chickens. Approach I use is have pups having access to chickens only under direct supervision. Pups are dogs less than 2 years, in some cases less than 18 months.

The immature dogs can be penned during those times when direct supervision is not an option. My current pups are penned during day except when I take them out for play time and training. At night chickens are now all penned except two. Pen location for pups and bulk of chickens is in the barn. Soon pups will be released singly in barn but they will not be able to get to penned chickens or two on the roost. In the summer pups will be able to hang out with adult dogs (I have 3) at night without supervision and penned shortly after chickens released for day.

This year we will have exceptional opportunity to mind pup x chicken interactions.
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