Training a dog to not attack poultry.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by johari, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. johari

    johari Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2013
    I really need some help here. My dog really wants to kill my chickens and ducks. She already killed a few of them. I just don't know exactly how to train her to not kill them, or if that is even possible.

    Had anyone trained a dog that had shown that they want to kill poultry to not kill poultry?
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It is possible, but I can't give any advice on the training, as my dog was very easy to train. But then, we started when we got him as an 8-week old pup and I think that helped. There are several helpful threads and resources that you can read to help learn how to train your dog. Until she's trained, is there any way you can keep her separated from the birds? Or keep her in while the birds are out, and keep them penned while she's out?
  3. mudd32

    mudd32 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 22, 2013
    downtown Nicholson, ky.
    I've read that the "positive re enforcement" method is way better than discipline for most dogs.
    Dogs loves to please their masters...makes sense.
    Seen the video on You tube...if I can find it I will leave a link to it.

    I've also heard that certain breeds of dogs will just not mix with chickens.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  4. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    Hi johari,
    In my experience, a dog that's killed more than once is very, very committed to the sport.
    The best thing would be (while still training it not to kill) to always, always keep them separated by a sturdy fence.

    If you want to give the dog the best chance at learning it would mean keeping the dog on a leash to start with, and reinforcing that it shouldn't even look at the chickens. Take it around on your daily chores, always on a leash, always correcting it when it tries to look at the chickens (or needless to say chase them). I don't believe positive reinforcement alone can do the trick; I believe you need to correct the behaviour with a firm but not painful tug on the leash. (People will differ about this but I've found that firmness is much much better understood by the dog than trying to win it over with treats.) The ideal is a combination: treats for good behaviour and correction for the slightest bad.

    Gradually the idea is to start doing the rounds (once the dog has learned to stop looking at the chickens when you tell it not to) with the dog off the leash but still under your control. Sometimes it's good to encourage the chickens to act flighty so you can test the dog's training so far; if the dog goes for the flighty birds then training has to start over, with a firm leash tug and so forth.

    Always make sure you reward good behaviour, not necessarily with food, but with warm praise and pats.

    I have a 6 month old pup who is very chase oriented, so I'm doing all these things with her, and I'm finding (2 months into the process) that she's coming around. She doesn't look at the chickens any more unless they really start to squawk and squabble, and if I call her through the chicken flock she tiptoes around them, as she knows she's not allowed to upset them. However I've seen her still eyeing them off hungrily when I'm not out there with her, so I have a feeling she's never going to be 100% reliable with free ranging birds. In this situation a fence is going to be my best bet.

    You'll never get a not-very-well-socialised or disrespectful dog to behave around chickens. The best chicken dogs are those that absolutely understand their place in the family and really want to help. A dog that sneaks off on its own is more likely to be wilful and prone to attacking what it sees as sport or prey.

    I reckon 2% of dogs are ideal, 15% okay if trained very very well, and the rest are going to be best kept behind fencing wire at all times (while some will be unreliable even with the best fences).

    Just my thoughts, all totally personal and non-expert of course.

  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: If the dog is fairly smart, one or two lessons with a shock collar will cure chicken chasing
  6. GasMenagerie

    GasMenagerie Out Of The Brooder

    May 14, 2009
    California Foothills
    I've had three dogs that I've had to train. The first two were here before the chickens. My shepherd mix pounced on the first hen out of the box when I brought my first 11 girls home. I yelled "NO" in my loudest voice and dragged him away. He never looked at another chicken 'till the day he died.

    The second (an aussie) was much more interested. Not a killer-type interest so much, but a chase chase chase kind of thing. So I put him on a leash every time I went outside and tied him to my belt loop while I did my chores and the chickens roamed around. He got a stern correction from me everytime he went toward them. Then it got to the point after a couple days where he knew better than to walk at them, so I started correcting him with a poke & a noise when he just gave them his "obsessed" look. It took about a week before I took him outside off-lead and when he looked at them I made my noise and he stopped. That seemed to work.

    My latest dog is a German Shepherd. I knew he had a lower prey drive when I got him, but I still had to give him verbal corrections to not chase the chickens. He's very smart and highly motovated to please me, so it was quite simple. He will sometimes forget he's not allowed to chase them if the chickens get excited and run - I know that's just pure instinct. But when I correct him he stops.

    I free range the chickens and leave them out with the dogs when I'm not home and all is well.

    Good luck!!

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