Puppy sees chickens as toys.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Free Feather, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got a female Border Collie x White Shepherd puppy I named Clover about a month ago to help protect the flock. The first night, I showed her the chickens and let her sniff them, and she seemed genuinely uninterested. I had been advised that the best way to get her acclimated to the chickens and accept them would be to have her sleep in the coop with them, somewhere she could not actually get a hold of them. I put her in the downstairs of my 8x7 two story coop with large birds who were on high roosts. Upstairs I had 3 silkie chicks, a bearded black male and two females- a blue splash and a slate. I figured I would be asking for trouble having the chicks in the same room with her, so I closed the hatch door between the two levels.
    I went back in the house for coffee and came back 20 minutes later to find a bloody, dying silkie chick on the floor. She killed my slate female. I was shocked, unmoving. The chick slipped through a crack in the door to get downstairs, where she was used to sleeping. When she saw what it was I was so interested in, she plopped it at my feet and licked my hand in pride. I put her nose to the chick and told her "No!" very firmly, then flipped her onto her back. A week later she killed the splash female when she got loose, and I reprimanded her in the same manner, but firmer.
    Clover fell very ill. She was having an allergic reaction to the Sulfur the vet gave me to treat the mange she came with. I thought she was going to die. Her skin slipped off in chunks and she would not eat. After a few weeks, she recovered save a few bald, bleeding patches on her pits and neck. While she was ill, she did not even notice the chickens. Now that she is better, she is obsessed with them.
    She constantly tries to run through the big chickens and play chases them. She smacks the ground in front of them, and tries to get them to play with her. She sniffs and licks the silkie chicks I recently got to keep Fiver (the surviving male) company. She wants them to play with her. I do not trust her at all with them, and she is never with them alone.
    What should I do when she displays bad behavior towards them? I would rather not hit her, but she does not respond to flipping her on her back. She likes it because she thinks I am giving her a belly rub. How can I train her to at least not chase them? Will she ever just be neutral to them? Help!
     
  2. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She needs to have gone through and PASSED obedience training before you let her anywhere near you chickens again even if she is supervised. She needs to learn to respond to your every command before you can even begin training her how to behave around them and even so, she may never get it because she already has the taste for killing.
     
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  3. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old and how much exercise does Clover get? Is she a puppy, as in 8 weeks or puppy as in 8 months. Never take her near the chickens if she hasn't been exercised. A hyper dog, which is what you have, will not listen well until you drain off that energy. Your dog is smart, make her think.
     
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  4. Dry Creek Ranch

    Dry Creek Ranch Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two Anatolian Shepherds and two Cocker Spaniels. The first time they met chickens the chickens were in an electrified poultry net pen and the dogs were on the outside. Needless to say it was a shocking experience to any dog that charged at a chicken. When I started letting my chickens out of the pen a couple of weeks later 3 of my dogs remembered the shocking experience and left the chickens and the fence alone. I even have a hen that lays her eggs in the Shepherds dog house now WHILE the dogs are in it.

    Make sure your dog is at least 4-6months old before introducing it to chickens. Before that it sees everything as a toy.

    Make sure your dog has another dog (preferably around the same age) to play with to burn off all that puppy energy.

    Make sure your dog does not have a high prey drive. My one cocker spaniel loses her mind over a laser pointer being flashed on the ground and searches for it 20 minutes after I have put it away. My other dogs have absolutely no interest in the laser pointer. The laser brain was the hardest to train to be around my chickens, ducks, and turkeys. The geese and goats kept her in check. :)

    I know some people will not agree with this method but I had to use a shock collar to get her to leave them alone. It only took about 4 times over a two week period for her to get the point. At first she behaved when I was outside with her but then when I would go in the house she would start stalking them. Make sure you are ready with the remote at a window. Also only take the collar off of her at night before bed time and put it on her first thing in the morning even if she is not immediately going outside with the chickens. Dogs are smart and will learn very quickly that they are "off the leash" without the collar on them. You want them to associate the shock with the chicken not the collar. Make it a memorable shock (highest or near highest setting) otherwise it will take longer and more shocks to take effect. To this day she will chase rabbits and squirrels but never one of my animals.
     
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  5. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My neighbors have two Australian shepards and after a year and a half of trying to train them to leave my flock alone (not to mention joggers, cyclists, cars and anything else that moved) they finally went with the collars that emit a high frequency sound. Just one zap for each display of unwanted behavior and all the chasing, digging, attempts to tear apart my coop/run has stopped. Now they'll do whatever I tell them to and the anxiety I felt every time I'd see them coming down the driveway has ended but I still don't trust them alone with my flock and I watch them like a hawk when they're around.
     
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    No matter her age, be it 8 weeks or 6 months, training should've started the moment you brought her home. It will give her manners and give you both a great opportunity to bond (and the sense of pride that comes with a well trained dog). Try to make all of your sessions a good experience, and always end them on a positive note. If you find yourself getting frustrated, stop and try again later. Start off by teaching her basic obedience commands such as sit, lay, stay, watch me, come, leave it and drop it (with much focus on the last 2, they will be very important if your chicken training takes a turn for the worst). When you start your chicken training, always keep your dog on leash, and never leave her unsupervised with them. You can't correct bad behavior if you don't see it happening, dogs are very much in the moment creatures and the idea here is to set her up to succeed, not to fail. If she can't commit an offense, she is succeeding.
    While on leash, walk her as close to the chickens as you can manage without her giving a response. If she gets excited, obsessive or overly focused, back her up until she calms down and use that as your starting point. When you find that spot, use it to continue to work on your basic obedience commands (if she ends up focusing on the birds, give her a gentle but firm aht-aht or no, whatever you choose, stick with it). As she becomes used to the routine, gradually move her closer until you're right next to the chickens. When you've gotten close and feel she can be somewhat trusted (meaning she remains calm, no lunging, obsessing, ect- she should ignore them for the most part) give her the opportunity to investigate them, ON LEASH. You should always be able to have control over her while training her off the birds, if you can't control her, you're getting nowhere. Whenever you reach the point of letting her get close with the leash, and she doesn't engage in bad behavior, let her off and observe her. If she gets out of hand off her leash, call her back to you, put the leash back on and start again.
    You're going to have to start at the beginning, she'll need to learn some manners and that she is expected to listen. 15 minutes of training every day is plenty, and you can make your sessions longer as she progresses. She also needs regular exercise, that includes interaction with you. Throw ball, go for a walk or jog, whatever you like to do, but physically wear her out (the training will take care of mentally wearing her out- and you'll likely find she'll be very eager to learn).
    I think its a little unrealistic to just put an untrained puppy (which I'm assuming she is, given her described behavior) in with a bunch of flapping, squeaking, feathery prey animals (whether you intended for them to meet or not, always be prepared for the worst case scenario) and expect her to know how to behave around them. Breeds bred to be LGDs don't always get it right the first time and they require some degree of training also. Also, Collies and Shepherds are both working breeds, they need to have a job to keep them busy, require quite a bit of exercise to stay fit and training to keep them focused. If you've ever had a job, I'm guessing you weren't just thrown into it without a lick of training, you wouldn't know what to do. Your dog doesn't know how to do its job either, it needs to be taught.
    I have 2 dogs, a Bulldog and a Doberman. My Bully is as lazy as they come. He requires (yes, we still train everyday, he's 2 and chicken safe. He is trusted around the birds without supervision) very minimal training and was SUPER easy to train. He's also a very sensitive little soul, and using negative techniques would crush him. Seriously, he pouts if he gets a firm no. My Doberman is another story all together. While she's also a highly sensitive dog, she's very high strung and stubborn. She needs a lot more attention than my Bulldog. But, she is also chicken safe (unless you count their leavings, no chicken droppings are safe, she's a turd burglar).
    Training your dog can be easy, fun and extremely rewarding. She'll thank you for it, and you'll enjoy her company much more if you can control her. I used the method mentioned in my post to train both of my dogs, it was a pretty simple process, but you might do some research and decide that something else might fit your situation better, and that's okay. If you aren't sure where to begin or how to go about it, there are tons of great videos on Youtube. I really like the ones made by kikopup, they're very informative and step by step.

    Good luck to you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2014
  7. Hannah15

    Hannah15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ultimately you may NEVER be able to leave her with chickens unsupervised. She is a mix of two breeds that can have a VERY high prey drive (not really ideal as flock guardians, though it can work with the right dog). I own two German Shepherds and a Border Collie, and oddly, the Border Collie is the safest around small animals of all of my dogs. But she is relatively unusual, especially because she IS a high drive dog. One of my German Shepherds is 9 years old. I have had her since she was 9 weeks, and she is still NEVER allowed around small animals, including cats, without supervision. She will stare at a door all night if she thinks a cat is on the other side. I have tried everything with her, and eventually realized that her drive is strong enough that she will just never be safe around them and must be separated unless under direct supervision.

    The best chance that you have is to have this dog very solid in basic obedience. You must be able to control her behavior around the birds before you attempt to teach her that they are not toys. I don't have a huge problem with flipping dogs on their back, but it will do nothing for a dog that is simply using its innate prey drive. Overall, howfunkyisyourchicken's advice is very good and very detailed. Depending on the dog, a correction may have to be added eventually, because behavior that is self rewarding won't be extinguished just because an extra reward isn't added by the human, the reward is already there.
     
  8. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:very true. But punishments can only be added once the dog knows what is expected. And, especially when dealing with puppies, the easiest method is simply to prevent the dog the opportunity to learn how FUN it is. An ounce of prevention and all that :) Self-rewarding behaviors can be extremely difficult to break because even a single instance of "fun" can derail months of training. So careful management is key. The fact that you punished the dog for simply being a dog and doing something that she didn't even know wasn't allowed can set back training immensely. Also, one of the most important factors of dog training is "only punish if you catch them in the act" There is a very small window in which she will associate her behavior with the punishment. She won't understand that you are mad because she killed the chicken. As far as she knows, you go mental seeing a dead bird and you took it out on her. It won't stop her from killing chickens but it will cause her to avoid you. This is also why many people become convinced that their dog "acts guilty" when he gets into the garbage while the humans are gone. In actuality, the dog knows that you get angry when you see trash on the floor. He doesn't understand that he isn't supposed to get into the trash. He just knows that you will see garbage on the floor and he will get punished.
     
  9. Hannah15

    Hannah15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  10. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    it's Not That The Dog Feels Guilty Over Something That They Have Done Wrong. They Do Relate Situations To Some Extent And If You Were Upset About It Before Will Be Upset About It NOw.
    Her Reaction Would Be The Same If She Did The MisDeed, If One Of The Other Dogs Did It Or Even If You Did It Yourself.
    DOgs With Soft Temperaments Are Especially Probe To This. There Have Been Numerous Studies On It. Each Time, TheDog Reacted With A Guilty "Conscience" Even Of A Human Did It While The DogOg Was Out Of The HoUse. For Example, The Scientist Places Trash On The FLoor (OR Poop) Then Signals The Owner To Being The DOg Into The Room. Immediate Reaction When The Dog SeesThe Mess Is To "Act Guilty"

    Surety, Posting From My Phone And It Didn't Like This Website! When My Internet Is Back Up, I'll Share Some Links If You Are Interested
     

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