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Training/Teaching a dog about chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lcahill, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. boise cluckers

    boise cluckers New Egg

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    We have a lab/pit bull mix, a Chihuahua and a cat. There have been times when the hens escape their pen area and roam the yard. The lab/pit mix is oblivious to them - more interested in stalking squirrels. The Chihuahua usually mingles with the hens, but has nipped at one's rear end one time. That happened when I was trying to get her back into the pen. Not sure why she did that. The cat stays away. Both dogs have been in the pen with me on occasion when feeding and showed no aggression. I hope there continues to be peace and harmony.
     
  2. Lycan

    Lycan New Egg

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    I have a pure American pit bull terrier that is obsessed with the chickens that have moved on her land. She is very well trained but still wants to love them to death. I will try the suggestions you have shared. Thanks.
     
  3. Gifa

    Gifa Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have two dogs. Both "Herding" breeds. When we got our chickens, our Australian Shepherd was 1, and our Shetland Sheepdog was 10. Neither of the two had EVER been around chickens. And when we got our Aussie, we had to train her not to chase the 100 and 150 year old cats.

    My advice:

    Introduce the chickens to your dogs when they are small. Establish very early that these are YOURS and not THEIRS. And that any impulse they have to touch or chase = NO! And be consistent about this. This will only work if you are in control of your dogs in that they will listen to you.

    [​IMG]


    Regular supervised interactions are a must... because those chickens change size, shape and color quite a bit between day 1 and day 60... They are to be taught that there is no digging around the chickens, or obsessive staring... Leashes and tie backs come in handy. Note in these photos that there is no leash, but that the dogs are still restrained.

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    When they aren't pulling on their chain or leash or obsessing and drooling, etc... and you feel like you can trust them... you can start trialing them off leash.


    Here's the first off leash with our Sheltie... 10 years old at the time... Such a pro... Also... We trialed him first in front of our younger Aussie so that he would set a good example. You can see her outside of the run... and she is watching what he is doing, not what the chickens are doing...
    [​IMG]

    After about a week of successful off leash experiences with Ajax, we started trialing River. This is her first off leash trial. Note the difference in her demeanor over Ajax's and note that one of us is in the run with her for off leash trial because of it. In the beginning, she obsessed more... but still submitted to all verbal commands.
    [​IMG]


    After a couple few months of this, River obsessed less and less... and when we started letting the girls out of their run to range around the back yard. The dogs were always present.
    [​IMG]

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    I imagine the breed will have an impact on how easy training is... A dog with a high prey drive like a hunting dog might be harder to train than a herding dog... Either way, it takes time and patience and some training to be able to trust your dogs... But the rewards are worth it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  4. Zombified

    Zombified Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely agree with what Gifa mentioned, in terms of breed. Many Akita(both from American lines and Japanese lines) owners have said that their dogs only needed minor guidance, but were able to distinguish "pet" and "prey" pretty quickly. Generally, though, hunting and terrier breeds are going to be very difficult to train to be calm around prey-type animals without supervision.
     
  5. evoncarver

    evoncarver New Egg

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    Aug 29, 2013
    We have a130lb lab, American bulldog, and Chihuahua; none of them bother our chickens. They are in the same pen. The way we trained them was to desensitize the dogs by making them lay down and we allowed to the chicks to crawl on the dogs. We did this for several weeks as the chicks grew.
    We haven't lost a single chicken from the dogs and its been almost two years.
     
  6. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    Did the same with my Pyr. she got a hold of a bird I had only 30 mins and killed it. I have a shock collar that goes up to 127 correction levels. That day I leashed her up and walked her around the yard, every time she showed interest I shocked her and told her to leave it, it took 2 times and she started ignoring them. Now she can go out with them. If she gets that look as you said I shock her and she thinks the birds did it. I did have to pay 275$ for the collar but it has a 1 mile shock zone

    Quote:
    He never knew I could see him when I shocked him, because I went back inside and watched out the window.

    As far as he knew the CHICKEN did it.

    Like I said, just TWO shocks cured him for life
    For problem dogs, you can get dummy collars

    The quickest way to train them is to leave them alone with the birds, so they have no clue you're watching.

    They don't behave the same if you're there.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  7. Zombified

    Zombified Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe that if you do plan on using physical or verbal punishment, you should also make sure you know to SHOW your dog what you want them to do - such as ignore the chickens.
     
  8. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    I wouldn't use physical punishment on your dog, it will only learn to fear you
     
  9. Biancas Hens

    Biancas Hens New Egg

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    Oct 11, 2013
    You must establish that you are the alpha in the pack. DO this by grabbing the dog and throwing them onto their back immediately when they go for one of them. THen, grab their throat and growl. Then, any time they start, growl at them. If you also walk outside with thme with a leash, and they bolt, yank the heck out of the choke collar (you can;t hurt them) and growl at the same time. THis will take a few weeks. I have raised yellow labs and Golden Doodles. I love dogs and can't abide mistreatment, BUt, a dog ythat is a bad neighbor is not bad, just needs to be trained.

    When I got my chicks, I took each one and held it in front of my golden retriever's nose and talked to her., After a few moments she gave each one a great big kiss.
     
  10. Zombified

    Zombified Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can hurt them. Dogs have extremely sensitive organs in their throat that can and will be damaged if you yank on them. There is a *massive* difference in "yanking the heck out of the choke collar" and giving them a collar correction.

    The other stuff you mentioned will not make a dog "respect" you, either. Throwing them on their backs and grabbing their throats is not even a reasonable punishment.

    Here are just a few articles on dog dominance and its role in dog training. There are articles on Cesar Millan, as he is often associated with dog dominance.

    http://www.woofology.com/alpha myth.html

    In this list of articles, it also has articles on tools to avoid. I do not necessarily agree with this, as I don't believe any tool is particularly more dangerous or harms a dog more than any other tool. However, I do believe that you should have a PROFESSIONAL show you how to use and fit tools. The dominance articles are at the bottom.

    http://www.dogwilling.com/articles---alphadominance-theory-and-other-training-myths.html

    Another article on the "Alpha Dog"

    http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/14_12/features/Alpha-Dogs_20416-1.html

    More information about dog dominance.

    http://www.4pawsu.com/dominancemyth.pdf

    After several years of research, I do not think dominance doesn't exist. BUT, I do not believe it is controlled using physical means. Dominance is not a linear thing - it is very fluid and changes very often. In my dog's case, he is "dominant" in situations involving places to sleep. Meaning, he does not want to give up his sleeping place to another being - human or animal. In other situations, our other dog is "dominant." Especially when it comes to food. My larger dog is happy to give the smaller dog food, but the smaller dog does not relinquish his food. The smaller dog is "dominant" in that situation. My ducks are "dominant" in food situations as well. My sister's cat is "dominant" when she meows for food and food is given to her for meowing.

    You see how it works? Dominance is real, but it isn't about being the leader. Humans are already naturally the leaders because we have opposable thumbs, are able to feed the dogs, and dictate when they go out, where they go when we do let them go out, where they can sleep, where they can eat, etc. We control nearly every aspect of a dog's life. That does not dictate whether they will be "obedient" or not. My Akita/Husky mix is very obedient, and yet I do not practice the dominance theory(as in, I do not physically pin my dog down, nor am I physical with him at all unless it's to pet or play-wrestle with him - which, btw, he often "wins" at wrestling).
     
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