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Started training my "Livestock guardian"

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Autumn Leaves, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. Autumn Leaves

    Autumn Leaves Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2014
    Cincinnati Ohio
    My Orphinton chicks are 6w old now and I have one boy who is crowing like crazy. Since I don't want any roos I decided to use him to train my dog. Today's training went well. My dog Arwen is an 8 year old Australian Shepherd. She still has the energy of a 1 year old! She has been dying to see the chickens up close. She gets very excited with new animals so the trick is to keep her from hurting them out of excitement until she does not see them as novel anymore.

    I used the same method I use with introducing her to my new rabbits. The trick is not to let her chase and to have her control her herding instinct. I put her in a down stay and got the chicken. I held the chicken and made her stay. I then let the chicken go and it walked around clucking. Arwen's tail was going to fall off and she was soooo excited. When she stood up, I made he lay down. If she was laying she could sniff the chicken, if she stood I made the chicken leave. We did a 10 minute session and it went well. She sniffed him all over and gave a few kisses. I'll do it again this afternoon in short sessions.

    Eventually I'll build up the sessions to longer times and then let her start walking around. She will eventually not be so excited about the chicken, then I'll bring two of them out and see how she does with them moving around more.

    My ideal goal is to have her in the yard when they are out to keep an eye on them, and to help me round them up when needed. She is excellent at "finding" my pets for me when I can't find them (like when a rabbit is under the couch). She will find all my pets by name.

    She also hates hawks and vultures flying overhead and is always looking for them. She will chase them away by running under them and barking. She is going to be a great chicken protector.

    Arwen also likes to enforce the "rules." (What she thinks are rules). Once she realizes that chickens have to stay in the yard I am hoping she will automatically herd them back to the house or "tell on them" with barking. She does this with the cat so I think I will be able to transfer the behavior to the chickens.

    I have a lot of work but I think she will be very useful. On the same note - I do not leave my pets outside alone ever. If my pets are out, I am out. I am just going to use her as an extra line of defense for supervised free-ranging. She is so alert, she sees things I don't even notice.
  2. RavensRansom

    RavensRansom Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 24, 2014
    Kent, WA
    Sounds like a good plan. Arwen has already proven she understands what you want her to know based on her care with Zander & Castiel.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Autumn Leaves

    Autumn Leaves Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2014
    Cincinnati Ohio
    Arwen spent some more time with her chicken friend today. She was much better and calmer. The chicken got some more kisses and sniffs. At one point she got up and walked away from the chicken - a good sign that she is beginning to think they are ordinary. I still made her lay down to see the chicken. I'll do this a few more times this weekend and then see how calm she can be when allowed to walk around with a chicken in the room.
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    My sister had a border collie, and he was very intelligent and could figure out what she was trying to get him to do pretty easily. He could outrun my German Shephard, and often looked over his shoulder while running as if to laugh at the other dog.

    I have a teacup poodle that weighs about 3 1/2 pounds. He is completely blind (he's 17), but I'll let him out in the back of our property, and the chickens will come to investigate. They all roam around together! It's funny to watch. He looks like an 11th hen if you don't look to closely.

    My other two dogs would love to eat my chickens, but will come back when I call them if one of the birds has gotten into the backyard, so that's an acceptable situation for us.

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