Socializing a new puppy to chickens, any successful strategies?

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
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DeWinton, Alberta
My Coop
My Coop
I am looking at purchasing a new puppy to fill the terrible void in my life that my very old dog has left upon her recent departure. She was really too old to be bothered with the chickens but I rather doubt that will be the case with a new puppy!

Does anyone have positive experiences to share in introducing a very young dog to chickens? I do understand that much of this will be breed and individual dog specific but I would dearly love for a new pup to live harmoniously with my birds. The dog will be a working breed, a Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs are workers but bred to retrieve fishing nets not hunted birds. Smart, mouthy. It will be my first intro to the breed so that is as much as I know so far.

I've got some ideas but would love to hear strategies that seem to have worked. Any proven suggestions for socializing to chickens are most welcomed!

I'm sure there are likely threads here that talk about this but lets face it, if people don't post questions then there is no discussion here right?!
 

micstrachan

Free Ranging
Premium member
Apr 10, 2016
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Santa Cruz Mountains, California
We have a border collie who was raised with the chickens. She (the dog) is not very high in the pecking order! I wish I could give you a strategy. Border Collies are super smart and she has always been eager to please. We taught her not to use her teeth on US by yelping. I think the chickens taught her themselves. They were pretty bossy and would peck her to put her in her place. If she tried to play rough, we’d firmly growl at her. She learned quickly that the chickens are part of the family and excitedly runs to their gate when it’s time to let them out for freerange time. Here she is with my alpha hen a few months ago...
FBCA1517-5483-4B71-A295-04669A6E9A5A.jpeg


And here she was with the hens as a puppy...
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NatJ

Songster
Mar 20, 2017
399
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USA
I read one story (homesteader who did everything wrong, then wrote a book about it.)
That guy would let an 8-week-old puppy (German Shepherd) out in the yard with a mother hen and her chicks. The puppy would run for the chicks, the hen would attack the puppy, the dog would be scared of chickens forever after.

That sounds to me like it's probably a bit fictionalized, but the idea of introducing the puppy to chickens that will not stand any nonsense from it may be helpful.

The one time I trained a dog to leave chickens alone, the dog was a young adult (labrador retriever) and the chicks were babies. The dog also knew the commands "stay" and "off" (meaning "don't eat that" or "keep your mouth off of that.") We had one adult designated to watch the dog (grab if needed), and let the dog see the chicks in the brooder. Then the other adult held a chick and let the dog sniff it. The dog was not allowed to grab the chick or shove hard with its nose, but it could sniff. We repeated various versions as the chicks grew, and never really had a problem. The dog lived in the house and the chickens lived in an outdoor pen, so they were only together when a person was available to supervise (which may be why we had no problems!)
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
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Holts Summit, Missouri
End point where you want dog's responsibility around chickens needs to be considered. If dog only to be with supervision or possibly where dog is to help move birds, then end point can be where dog focuses on owner. If dog to function as guardian in your absence, then human at some point is not to be the focus for control. My dogs dogs used for poultry guardians without supervision go through stages, especially in the very beginning, where I work on impulse control with me being the focus. As they mature I provide an increasing range of poultry related stimuli where I try to reduce my inputs through directly controlling dog. The dog can be under direct control for non-chicken activities. I have also used brood hens with chicks to help polish a late juvenile dog's activities around a flock. Even a rooster can be used for some of that.

I left my initial post very brief because because op not provided key information on end point for dog so as not to jump gun on suggestions to provide.
 

MotherOfCluckers

In the Brooder
Jul 21, 2019
42
39
44
I am looking at purchasing a new puppy to fill the terrible void in my life that my very old dog has left upon her recent departure. She was really too old to be bothered with the chickens but I rather doubt that will be the case with a new puppy!

Does anyone have positive experiences to share in introducing a very young dog to chickens? I do understand that much of this will be breed and individual dog specific but I would dearly love for a new pup to live harmoniously with my birds. The dog will be a working breed, a Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs are workers but bred to retrieve fishing nets not hunted birds. Smart, mouthy. It will be my first intro to the breed so that is as much as I know so far.

I've got some ideas but would love to hear strategies that seem to have worked. Any proven suggestions for socializing to chickens are most welcomed!

I'm sure there are likely threads here that talk about this but lets face it, if people don't post questions then there is no discussion here right?!
First, a disclaimer...dogs are like people and they all have different personalities; however, my four dogs are great with the chickens. They are all strictly house dogs who go outside to play and do their business, but I don’t have to supervise them with the chickens who free range in the back yard. I got my day old chicks May 2019, and my dogs were 13, 11, and 4 (boxer, pug, boxer). In the same week I adopted a mixed breed puppy (Pointer/lab/bulldog/Heinz 57) who was about 12-15 weeks old. When the chicks were in the brooder I would put them in a baby pool and let the dogs look at them. When I started letting the chicks outside with supervision, I just let the dogs out with them. They were harmonious from the very start. My only issues with dogs and chickens have been that the dogs are interested in the chicken food and poop, and in the compost and chicken scraps. Also, the puppy knows that eggs are food, because my dogs eat a raw diet that included whole raw eggs. So, if an egg is laid on the ground, it’s a snack for someone.

All of this to say that when I dog sat for my sister’s puppy who is the same age as mine, I didn’t put the ladies up when I let her outside. She chased immediately and had to go out on a leash the rest of her visit.

Consistency and reminding dogs what is expected behavior is the best advice I can give though. I speak to my dogs like the are human, and they act like humans.D27FD1D1-9978-48F7-81E2-BEC7DA7B3743.jpeg70E8EBB8-8F2C-41A9-8397-383A8EDEC341.jpeg70DAD8E2-3F6A-4DF6-A424-39C4784B9BAF.jpegFACCAB5B-B03D-49BB-B3D6-00E656B2911A.jpeg2E028A1A-BD32-4329-832D-02C8AC2BDEDF.jpeg474ECE19-90F0-4E30-AA7A-D9E12956E135.jpegD48CD69D-0F8E-4019-83C3-5906E04A5756.jpeg
 

MiaS

Songster
Mar 28, 2019
257
450
157
DeWinton, Alberta
My Coop
My Coop
Really has more to do with training the pup, good basic obedience first.
Recall is the most important, IMO,
and not putting them into a situation where they can get into 'trouble'.
Well that is a given for me so good to hear :)

I certainly don't intend to let pup out to 'hang out' with the chickens I'd just like to get to a point over time where I could reasonably confidently be out in the yard and not have to be constantly worried about my dog (won't help with neighbourhood dogs though..)
 
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