Training a puppy to be chicken friendly.


13 Years
Dec 15, 2007
My wife just surprised me with a new puppy. He is a 6 week old German Shepard mixed Blue Heeler. I'm going to keep him as an outside dog, but I let my chickens run. Is there anyway I can train that dog to not kill my chickens? Should I throw him in the chicken coop with some hens and let them teach him a lesson? What is the most effective way to train him to not hurt them?
Definity do NOT just throw your puppy in the coop. Your chances of ending up with dead chickens and a confused dog is very high. Training any dog, especially a puppy, to be safe around your animals is going to be process and an everyday time commitment.

You need to start my focusing on excellent basic training and overall impulse control training.

Here is what I personally recommend: The most important thing to focus on overall is improving your dogs impulse control (puppy are all about impulse). No matter what your dog has a natural prey drive but more than that they are pack animals that want to please their master. Good basic training makes teaching them anything else so much easier. Make sure that you can snap your dogs attention back to you even when they see something they want. (I can't snap so I use an "aht." noise - this means sit and pay attention to me) One of the best ways to work on this without a live animal present is during feeding. Do you free feed your dogs or do they eat at regular times? I would recommend taking them off of free feeding if you are doing that. Focus on training your dogs so they they will not eat anything unless you give a specific command. I set down all four bowls of food and make the dogs wait. They do not eat until they hear their own name and see a hand gesture. Also work on them stopping eating at a command and willing stepping away from their food. I say "Name, wait." and they stop and sit until told to continue. These skills help with impulse control in many areas of training. It may seem unrelated but to a dog, the one who controls the food is the ruler of them all.

It is also a good idea to work on the “leave it” command with toys, food and other things. Also making your dog "wait."

I would introduce the dog to the chickens on a leash and just sit and be calm. (One dog at a time if you have more than one) As soon as she starts to fixate on the chickens in any way other than simple curiosity or barks or is excited (even happy excited) I would scold her with the same word every time (you only need to say it once, firmly) and immediately take her inside. It is important to take her in even with happy excitement. You are training her to ignore the chickens not to like the chickens and there is a big difference. With my dogs I brought them back when they were calm and started all over again. and again and again. lol. I allowed them to glance at them or sniff them but anything else was a no. It took a bit of patience but all of the dogs ignore the chickens and now find very little interest in them at all other than a sniff here or there. I never yelled or hit them or used a choke or a shock. I just said no and took them away immediately at any sign of fixation or barking. You will need to do this EVERYDAY until they get it. Patience is the key and consistency. It sucks because sometimes you are busy and don't want to deal with it but starting and stopping will just make it worse. I leave them all together unsupervised regularly.

Here is my pit, Lou, with a silkie chick who fell in love with her.

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