training a dog to be safe with and even guard my flock...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by redhen, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Any tips/advice please?..I am getting a English Mastiff pup this week..and i REALLY would like to have him outside during the day with my flock for protection...and then bring him inside at night to snuggle with us...so..i know they say..if you are going to have a livestock guardian dog..they need to stay outside ALL the time..but..i wont do that..so...i mean..even if he just deters a hawk from swooping down..etc..i will be happy...any advice at all to help me train him in this...thanks, Wendy

    edited to add:...i dont really need him for night time protection...my birds are locked in a coop..and my goats are locked in their little shed...AND we have a big problem with coy dogs here..and i dont want him getting attacked at night...so..he will come in at night..
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

  3. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Thanks!...there is some useful information in that link..[​IMG]
     
  4. Pupsnpullets

    Pupsnpullets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Redhen,

    My dogs were NEVER alone with the chickens during the dogs' first year of life, longer actually. In fact, I only realised the dogs could be trusted when the gardeners accidently left the gate between chooks and dogs open one day when I wasn't home. Peaceful cohabitation greeted me when I got back [​IMG] Up until then the dogs came with me everytime I did anything with the chickens and I kept my eyes on them the whole time. During that time I learned that one of the dogs could never be allowed to 'help' me with catching or moving any birds, she just got too over stimulated and had the potential to harm them, whilst the other was my extra pair of hands. He can always be counted out to safely pin a chicken I want caught or herd it into the coop.

    Seven years later both dogs have proven to be 100% reliable and can be left loose with the chickens anytime. In fact, they will drive off hawks, road runners and even crows that come on the property and yet not touch a feather on a chicken's body.

    My advise to you would be to be hyper vigilant and not allow your puppy to make a mistake. My dogs didn't need a heavy hand to train them, a simple 'uh,uh' and a redirect if I felt they were paying too much attention to the chickens was all I needed.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Quote:Hi!..yes!..this helps alot!....can you give me advice as to "first" introduce them?...becasue i think that is going to be the big thing...his first impression of them..he is still very young..so...
     
  6. Pupsnpullets

    Pupsnpullets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sure ... as far as I can remember, [​IMG] I think I let them putz around behind me as I worked OUTSIDE the coop for the first week or so until the chickens were used to the pups, then I picked up the pup and carried him inside with me while I fed and watered (one handed!). I kept my movements quiet and calm. The key is being quiet and calm and treating the feeding routine as an everyday occurance, which of course, it is. Don't go 'hey, puppy look at the chicken!! Wow, puppy, it's bigger than you!' or anything like that. When the chickens are calm and relaxed put the pup down and pretend to not pay too much attention to him, just be matter of fact as you go about your routine. Try to keep your body positioned between him and the girls, at least at the start. If he acts curious and starts to move towards them, say 'uh, uh' or whatever command you normally use, and step smoothly up to him and use the side of your let to push him off balance slightly and away from the girls and encourage him to follow you. Or you just have him sit if he listens that well yet. Just enough to break his attention. Heap lavish praise on him and repeat until he understands you are much more fun than silly chickens!

    Everytime you go to the chickens, even if it's just to give them treats, take the little fella along. However, if the girls ever get into a 'flap' over something it can be stimulating for the pup so just quietly move away and let them settle down again.

    I let my girls free range for part of the day and when my dogs were young I could contain them to the front yard and the chickens to the back so they weren't together unless I was with them. Now, I can be gone all day without problems.

    I think you will find it quite easy to train him especially when you are starting with such a young cuddle bug. But the thing you are going to have to be careful with is when he gets to be a teenager. You can't let you guard down until he reaches emotional maturity, which can take a while with the bigger breeds, right?

    Anyway, that's how I managed my managerie. Problem times for me were when another dog comes onto the property ('of course my dog won't hurt chickens!!'). Yeah, right! One out of control dog can teach your carefully trained pup how to kill a chicken in an instant! Another problem time is when kids get excited and chase chickens or, in one case, the pony got loose and started to gallop amongst them sending chickens everywhere with much noise and feathers. My dogs were about 10 months and 16 months old then and started to join the melee. A recipe for disaster but I was able to prevent any carnage, thank goodness.

    I'm sure it will work out for you if you are diligent about keeping an eye on all interactions. You'll be exhibiting leadership by being is such close contact with him and that, by itself, is the key to a well behaved dog. Good luck and congratulations on your new baby!
     
  7. Pupsnpullets

    Pupsnpullets Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Just rereading your post, Redhen, and it just occurred to me that your 'first' introduction between pup and chickens is only going to be big to you. Little puppy is going to be overwhelmed by new house, new smells, new people, new food bowl, new bedding etc etc etc so new 'chickens' isn't going to make a huge impression amongst all the other new things. Introduce them soon after you get him and when he's ready for his nap. Be very matter of fact about it and let the first introductions on the outside of the coop be brief, or, if he's pretty mellow, make it a little longer. Don't sweat it too much.
     
  8. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Quote:You are so nice! Thank you for all the help!...i do have 3 other dogs..and i was able to train them to "leave" my cats...pigs..etc....and they mind me very well....they know that i am the dominant dog.*ever try to do a dominance roll on a 100# Saint pup?*..[​IMG].. but, they are all really gentle giants... .but..they are all older now(from 1 1/2 - 3 years old...)...when they were pups i didnt have chickens..so, now...i just am very careful that my older dogs cant get to my chickens..(i honestly dont think they would kill them on purpose..BUT..they still romp like puppies..and they are all 100-140 pounds...so...lol..one bad romp when they are excited will kill a chicken....heck..its knocked me on MY butt a few times!.[​IMG]...)...and since i have lost a chicken to an Eagle recently..and then it attacked again on another day...*my bird lived...thankfully!*..i really want to train a dog from a young pup to be safe/gentle around my flock...so i can let them out of their run again...so they can play in my yard again..and have my dog there to protect them...what do you think?..is this even realistic?...to leave a dog unsupervised with my chickens?..[​IMG]...or am i just asking for more trauma/drama?.., thanks again, Wendy
     
  9. Sierra pachie bars

    Sierra pachie bars Queen of the Lost

    Nov 8, 2008
    Well I as highly trained as my Milo is , I would still never ever allow him alone with my chickens. He does enjoy going in the main coop and sitting and watching the hens as they do their thing. He has never harmed a hen or chick. He does seem use to them, and is very attentive to the chicks. They make a little noise he goes to look whats going on. I'll have to take some pictures of him with them , it's kinda cute. But even though I know he is safe, he is a dog and I wouldn't trust him without me near by. Also being a beagle he is a hunting dog so I always worry his instints would kick in. But he has been raised with them so sure that helps .
     
  10. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Quote:thats my fear...can ANY dog really be trusted to be alone with them?...or am i dreaming?...[​IMG]..
     

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