Using a training collar on my new dog.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sooner Magnolia, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Sooner Magnolia

    Sooner Magnolia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We recently added a 4 year old red heeler/border collie mix female to our family. Her previous owner said she was miserable after moving to town and needed a home in the country. He said she stayed out of the road for the most part and that he was not sure how she would do with chickens because they did not have them. They rescued her about a year ago from the pound and had her very well trained. He said she would keep the coyotes away, etc.

    We have had her about a month. A day or two after we brought her home, I tried her off leash and she ran to the road, chased a car for a second, and went exploring the property across the road. She did return when called, but it took a couple of minutes. The next day, I decided to take her out with a few treats in my pocket and see if she would stay relatively close to me with the chickens locked up in the coop. I was not aware that one hen had decided to roost in a tree, and was loose. She chased the hen, caught it, and the hen lost some feathers and hid until evening. Since then, she has only been outside on a leash or long line. We have been working on "leave it" and I have had her in a down stay multiple times with the chickens wandering all around. She stayed pretty focused on me even though they were close. She is definitely less interested in the chickens and knows they are not to be messed with,but her ears perk up when they make a lot of noise or go running across the yard.

    Her manners in the house are excellent and she stays inside all day while we are away with no problems. She does have good impulse control as far as waiting for permission before eating dropped food, etc and knows we are in charge.

    I ordered a training collar from Amazon with a beep and 100 levels of shock and vibration. We figure that as smart as she is, it will probably only take one or two small zaps to keep her away from the chickens. We would also like to teach her that the road is off limits too. I would not trust her alone with the flock, but would like for her to be able to run around and dig up moles, etc.

    Does anyone have experience with these? Should I use the beep as a warning before shock or vibration or reward her for coming to me if she hears it? I think most people use the vibrate to warn, or it is sufficient alone. Of course the directions that come with the collar are not great. She is a super dog. I don't want to totally stress her out, but I also don't want her to have to live in the house all the time if she loves to be out, or to be hit by a car or shot by a neighbor for chasing their livestock.

    I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
     
  2. NanaKat

    NanaKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We live on a relatively busy country highway and have used shock collars on both our dogs. We use a mild shock without the beep warning. When a dog is headed to the road, milliseconds count
    The trick to using a shock collar is catching the dog in the act when the dog can't see you. Whe the dog knows you are there then they react to your "alpha" presence.
    Training my dogs to the chickens (Australian Shepard and a Catahoula/Labrador) was done similar to you...with us outside to begin. Then you have to let the dog get used to being around the livestock without you being present. I would stand inside the back door or in the barn out of sight and send a mild shock if one of the dogs was inappropriate. You want to get their attention, not hurt them so keep the levels low. The learning curve depends on the dog reacting to its natural instincts.

    Training is an ongoing process. While the dogs know the rules now and don't wear their collars 24/7, I will give refresher training a couple of weeks each year.
     
  3. Sooner Magnolia

    Sooner Magnolia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That sounds good. We had one session, and she already seems a little leery of the chickens. We decided to forego the warning too; better if she doesn't associate the shock with us, just doing the wrong thing. Thanks!
     
  4. patvetzal

    patvetzal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bancroft, Ontario
    We share 80 acres of rocky bush on a lake and provincial highway with a few chickens, Golden Retriever, and a tenant who has also started raising ducks and chooks.
    We got Willy as a 6 wk old pup and want him as a pet, not a hunter...
    When we got him home, it didn't take him long to notice the RRs roaming the lawn and driveway. At that time each bird weighed more than he did so they showed him the proper pecking order.
    We also bought a Dogtra training collar. Best move we ever did as we have both spent hours chasing, calling, beating, rewarding other dogs/pups we have had in the past forty years. This collar has a rechargeable battery so it gets plugged in each night then in the morning we rattle the collar and he comes to get dressed. We use the vibrating feature as a pager and the shock feature was used to change behaviour, no warnings, just a quick tingle.
    We have also used the collar on visiting dogs and find that we can train them to stop scratching the door, chasing the birds, etc with one or two "shots". Our biggest problem over the years has been keeping track of the sender unit as now we often go weeks without using it.....
    It's going to be much cheaper to pay for one with a built in rechargeable battery when you start out. Ours just plugs in, no need to remove the battery each time.
     
  5. Sooner Magnolia

    Sooner Magnolia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again to both of you. We had a session off leash today. The only zap she got was for starting to try to go under the fence to the neighbor's property. Lots of treats for "come," etc. The beep works well for getting her attention if she is sniffing around in her own little world.
     
  6. Sooner Magnolia

    Sooner Magnolia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, we have been out a few times this weekend with the chickens loose and the dog off leash. I don't trust her 100% yet, but she walks the other way when she sees them coming. We will see what happens when she doesn't know I'm around.
     
  7. Sooner Magnolia

    Sooner Magnolia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update:

    We now let her out alone. Haven't used the collar in months. She chases rabbits and catches rats, but leaves the chickens alone, even the juveniles. I would recommend the training collar wholeheartedly!
     

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