Suddenly our dog is interested...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JoyfulChaosMama, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. JoyfulChaosMama

    JoyfulChaosMama Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 16, 2011
    We have had Maggie for two months now. She is a three year old walker coon hound. A very good dog. Great with the kids, stays on our property, etc... She has pretty much ignored the hens.....until yesterday. The hens are in a large barnyard (they can come and go out of the barn as they please.) that is fenced with poultry fencing. They can kinda get in and out of the barnyard too though, depending on how desperate they are to forage the garden. All of a sudden, Maggie has pushed her way under the fence and chased the hens. I pulled one from her jaws yesterday afternoon and that one took off into the cornfield and has not been seen since. [​IMG] She got another, the mean leghorn. When I told her to drop her, she immediately did. I picked the hen up to check her over and she pecked Maggie HARD in the nose. She yelped and stayed away the rest of the day. Well, just now I heard a ruckus of kids dogs and hens. I went running to find Maggie had a red in her mouth. She seems to be okay, thank God.

    Why would this dog, who ignored the hens for the last two months, suddenly decide they are kibble??

    The irony, our 3 year old English Setter, who we have had for three years, is afraid of them! LOL! (setters are even bird dogs!)

    Thanks for any input!

    ~Lisa, with a brood of kids and a flock of hens in Michigan
  2. JoyfulChaosMama

    JoyfulChaosMama Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 16, 2011
    I forgot to mention, we don't have a rooster - just 12 hens. (oooops, I mean 11, I forgot we lost that one yesterday) Would a rooster help? I'm considering a cockerel, to kind of 'raise' him around the kids. Thanks.
  3. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    a dog in a new home goes through what a lot of trainers call a "honeymoon period". That is when they learn the lay of the land and get comfortable in their surroundings. The dogs are usually more reserved, kind of like a little kid on their best behavior. As they get more comfortable, they start to push the boundaries to see how much they can get away with.

    Have you been doing any training with her? If she never learns anything else, "Leave it" and "Come" are 2 commands no dog should be without.

    Step 1) supervise supervise supervise. Don't give her a chance to get into trouble. If the chickens are out, she is on leash and under your complete control.

    Step 2) with her on leash, go to a distance where she first starts to notice the birds. When she looks at them, tell her "leave it" and give a tug on the leash. When she looks at you, reward. Keep this up (a few 5-10 min sessions a day) until she is reliable. Then move a bit closer and begin again. If you move forward and find that she is completely blowing you off, back up a few feet and try again. The important thing is to break the focus before she gets zeroed in on the birds. So get her attention when she first glances their way.

    Step 3) Once she is reliable on leash, switch to a long line and let her come with you to do the chores. That way, if she can't resist the urge you can grab and correct her. It also lets her know that you are in control, even at a distance.

    Not all dogs can be trusted unsupervised around birds. They are just too fun for some to resist. It's a self-rewarding behavior, so you've got to be more interesting and nip it in the bud.

    It's highly unlikely that Maggie thinks that the birds are food. More like the ultimate squeeky toy.
  4. Gvnam

    Gvnam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2011
    My lab had been interested since the day we had gotten the chickens. I had let her go outside with them and whenever she got too close, I would yell a warning. If she continued to get closer, she would get a good old paddling and then put in the house. After a few months she didn't even seem to notice them. She has even chased off a few would be predators. [​IMG]
  5. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    I think the best thing with dogs is to introduce them as a little puppy to your dominant badass hen's and rooster if you have one. I did this with my goldie, if he got too close or tried to chase them they would ALL turn on him and attack. If he was calm, they were calm, they just refused to take any crap.

    Now he makes a good guard for them, shares his bones with them! He even reacts to their neck feathers puffing out and backs away before they get angrier at him! lol

    Are you sure he's trying to eat them or just catch them?
    Again my goldie would chase our house rabbit and put his mouth around her. Then just look at her, she'd run off again and it would happen over and over. We were worried when it first happened until we saw the rabbit provoking him into chasing her!

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