Sad, Sad, Sad

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by AllCoop'dUp, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. AllCoop'dUp

    AllCoop'dUp Songster

    May 12, 2010
    Creswell, Oregon
    After waiting 2 years to get a Great Pyrennes Puppy to guard my chickens, ducks and geese, I picked up my 9wk old bundle of fluff on 10/7. Paid $$$$ for him, but felt it was worth it to finally be free of the worry while free ranging them. After careful supervision over the past month, he barely paid attention to them so there wasn't any need for correction. He was spending all day long running around outside with them, and locked in next to them at night. Imagine my surprise when on Wed. 11/2 I find a young duck mauled to death and missing her feathers, skin and meat from the back of her neck down past her wings. Surely this innocent little guy didn't do it but then I came home Thursday to find a second duck badly mauled but alive. Same injuries as the first. I slather on infection ointment and put her in the hospital. Tell my boyfriend, that new puppy CAN NOT be trusted and we will have to start over with training. Apparently boyfriend doesn't believe me, so he lets cute little ball of fluff out this morning after I leave for work and now my Amercian Lavendar Ice goose is dead. I am sick to my stomach to think that I just spent all this money on a dog that has now killed and concerned that he can never been trusted alone with the poultry. Is there hope that I can retrain him as he is only 12 weeks old? The breeder has said she would take him back, but I don't want to give up on him. Because of work, I don't have a lot of time to spend training him during the week, but spent the entire weekend monitoring him and correcting him whenever he showed any interest in the chickens, ducks or geese. Boyfiends not reliable to do the training on a consistent basis and I have lost more poultry to "accidents" from boyfriend actions then I care to count. Not easy solution to get rid of said boyfriend, but I am tempted. Would getting an older, proven LGD teach him manners, or would he get killed by it? Has anyone else successfully turned a puppy that's killed around to be a great LGD? Thanks...

  2. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Replace boyfriend. Keep puppy.

    It can be done. It takes time and dedication. I feel so fortunate that my dogs immediately avoided my chickens.. Very sorry for your loss [​IMG]
  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Dogs must be trained to ignore chickens and they can't be left unsupervised with poultry at any time while they are still puppies. Injured birds often first starts with playing.

    Your dog had no way to know that birds aren't play toys because you didn't train him.

    Yes, he can be re-trained. It will be a lot more work now that he has already killed a bird and he should not be left unsupervised, ever, with poultry until he is completely grown up and over playing with found items.

    It's a lot easier to train them before they show any interest.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Unfortunately, puppy needs more training than just on weekends. As far as age, when I was researching how to train a hunting dog years ago, I read that the younger you start training, the better. As young as 7 weeks. I believe that with consistency, you can train the pup to leave the chickens alone. Do you have a run for them where you can keep them during the day while you're at work? Let them and the pup out together in the evenings when you're home so you can be there and supervise?

  5. peteyfoozer

    peteyfoozer Chirping

    Jul 5, 2011
    SE Oregon
    LGD's are puppies until they are a year and a half to 2. You can't expect them to be ok with the livestock alone when they are just babies, because chickens look like squeaky toys. I had a few chickens killed by both of my LGDs as pups. I corrected them and kept the chickens penned until the dogs were more mature. AT 18 months, they finally clicked and now they are extremely good with the chickens. The dog that was the worst offender is the most dedicated to their defense now. Give the pup time to grow up and keep helping him learn that they are your flock and not to be molested.
    Let boyfriend know that the more the pup has the opportunity to kill birds, the less likely he is going to learn NOT to. Your instincts are correct. An older LGD that is already known to be good with poultry would likely train the pup for you. It will SOUND like its killing him, but the best trainer for a young dog is an older proven dog. I still would not leave a pup that young loose with the stock tho. I highly recommend joining the workingLGD's board on yahoo. They are an invaluable asset to learning how to own a successful LGD.

    Best of luck!
  6. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Sounds like the exact same story as mine. I also purchased a Great Pyr. puppy several years ago.. loved her but upon maturing she kept killing the chickens she was supposed to protect. I tried about everything as I used to raise and train dogs for years. [​IMG] Nothing worked. I think once a dog kills there is not much hope of retraining...and if tried will be at the expense of alot of chickens.

    I finally sold her to a wonderful family that had a large farm and NO CHICKENS or ducks! She was happier, I was happier and my chickens and ducks were definitely safer.
  7. annep

    annep Songster

    Mar 4, 2011
    My pyr killed one of mine when we first got her, but she wasnt a puppy..she was 4
    We then took a chicken, my hubby held it, and made her submit to it..Made her lay down, and not look...over and over again...never happened again...She also went into time out for a day too..

  8. peteyfoozer

    peteyfoozer Chirping

    Jul 5, 2011
    SE Oregon
    That's what i did too. Made my big Maremma lay down while I put live chickens on him and let them walk on him. I corrected him every time he wanted to move or get up. It humiliated him, but he has been watching over the chickens now since last spring. I had 3 week old meaties out in the yard til it was time to butcher, plus all the egg layers run loose. He kept flying predators away, as well as others, and he likes to lay where he can see them. He's been great and he is the one who had such a problem playing with them as a puppy. If you can keep your pup from being loose with them unsupervised, you can probably make a poultry guardian out of him. These are great dogs, but they need to grow up and need to understand.

    Good luck, I hope you get it all worked out.
  9. Capvin

    Capvin Songster

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    12 weeks old is just a baby. Of course he can be trained. The boyfriend, on the other hand, obviously can not be trained.

  10. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Songster

    Sep 27, 2011
    It helps to have general obedience training, too, as opposed to just livestock guarding. Make sure your puppy knows "Drop it!" or "Leave it!" before you reintroduce him to any of your poultry. The book "It's me or the Dog" by Victoria Stilwell (I think that's how her name is spelled) was really helpful when we trained my mom's Australian Shepherd/hound mix a few years ago. The Aussie part of her wanted to herd the chickens around but the hound part of her wanted to give chase. She's an awesome dog now and even though my mom doesn't do a lot of obedience work with her now, I never have to worry when we bring our 6-month old daughter to visit them. If Zelda (the dog) gets too excited, a simple "Leave it!" command gets her away from baby-carrier level and she lies down until our daughter is safely out of curious dog reach. I'd use the same approach with any livestock dog- you'd NEVER leave any dog unattended with a baby, so take your time in leaving a dog unattended with your birds until you are absolutely certain you can control any potentially harmful situation.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by