Weimaraner and Chickens - need help

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lhrbeauty, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. lhrbeauty

    lhrbeauty New Egg

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    I saw that several people have weimaraners and I'm asking for advice about weimaraners and chickens. My daughter has just started her chicken coop over the last year. She has 7 year old Weimaraner who is typically wearing a collar for her wireless fencs and so can not reach the chickens or chicken coop. They also have 2 other dogs - a golden who has gotten one chicken (first) and a Australian sheep dog who has not bothered the chickens. The weimaraner, who I absolutely love, realized one day his collar wasn't working and paid a visit to the chicken coop and killed 4 chickens. Today, he didn't have his collar on, tore a hole in the chicken run and killed 14 chickens (not eating them - just shaking and killing them). She is considering putting him in a kennel and of course, is totally distressed that she even had him out without a working collar. Once he knew he was in trouble, he now acts as if his collar is completely working, of course. Could those of you with weimaraners make any suggestions in addition to ensuring he has a working collar. Should he actually be in a kennel? He has always been a great pet, but this is obviously a serious problem that he now has. She is distressed with him, upset that she has lost a year with her chicken coop (because she has lost her breeding pairs, she likes hand-raising her chickens so that they are friendly, etc.). She has always kept the weimaraner completely separate from the chickens and, quite honestly, the chickens apparently knew exactly where his wire fence ended and would literally walk back and forth just out of reach of him to watch he bark at them and not be able to get to them. The dog always barked continuously when she would go up to the coop because as with all weimaraners, he is clingy and loves his owner. This dog is around the cats in the house, the other dogs, etc., and his only other previous kill of anything was a racoon that fell in to his backyard and attacked the dog when he was about 3 years old. Otherwise, he is the biggest, sweetest, lunk around. So any help people can give would be appreciated. I realize that what he did is completely within the instincts of the dog and don't know if that could now be corrected. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    Weimaraner's are a GORGEOUS breed of dog. [​IMG] The few that I've met have been very neurotic because they were not exercised enough. I'm proud of your daughter's Weimar for getting that raccoon, but wonder would the dog have behaved in a similar fashion had it been a cat, bunny, unfamiliar dog, etc, etc. Currently my neighbor has a Golden Retriever that is a LOVE to humans, but will basically kill anything that comes into her yard, and tries to attack anything else within the near vacinity (most recently my fenced in alpacas!). She has come onto my property and tried to kill my chickens, my small dogs (even barging into my house to do so), and my alpacas. I know she has succeeded killing the barn and pet cats on their property and squirrels. She is penned up all day outside. She barks constantly. She gets no real exercise.

    My question is (please don't take offense to this)...does her Weimar get adequate daily exercise? A good run or long walk daily and firm discipline could do wonders. That would be the first thing I would look at. I truly don't feel it is a "breed" thing. So many different breeds display similar "naughty" behavior. If you and your daughter could help him indulge his "hunting" instincts, by running or taking long walks (working him in some capacity), it would not surprise me if he quit attacking the chickens.

    What kind of chickens did your daughter have? Maybe those of us on BYC can help her by sending new hatching eggs (or chicks) so she can start again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  3. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

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    When we were looking into dogs, considering getting a weimaranar, until we red an article that said this dog is a bird dog and should not be considered for a home with birds. period. It is bred into them so strongly, that it will be a constant battle.
     
  4. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    Actually the Weimaraner has been bred for far more than being just a bird dog. It was originally bred to hunt bear, wolves and deer. Most recently they are used for tracking, hunting, police work, retrieving, pointing, watchdog, guarding and service dog for the disabled. They likely still have a strong hunting instinct. That instinct can be buffered by adequate exercise. Not completely taken away, but exercise can calm the hunting urge severely. Have your daughter work on a stronger coop, if the Weimar can't be kept at bay, or exercised religiously.

    Edited for repeated mispelling of "Weimaraner"! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  5. dutchhollow

    dutchhollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have six german shorthairs with the chickens and ducks. Add to this the fact that mine are training and titled hunting dogs (upland, waterfowl and tracking). People are often shocked to come to my farm and see the gs's out with chickens free ranging. Killing chickens in a pen is not hunting and has nothing to do with hunting instinct. Now it is triggered by prey drive, which almost every dog has to some extent, the difference is in self control. Something most weims lack for the most part (I know there are some out there that are great, mentally stable dogs before you flame me for saying that) The best way to fix the weim if with aversion training at this point. It is going to involve an e collar, and if you can find someone in your area that trains hunting dogs and knows how to deer break dogs you should consult them for some help. You basically convice the dog that chickes bite and hard.
    Imo I don't see it as an excercise problem, dogs that kill chickens can run 20 miles and come home and do it if the opportunity presents itself.
     
  6. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    Quote:2 things...first, my former neighbors had 2 German Shorthairs and we LOVED them. Great dogs. Second, if a dog is given an exercise regime where there had been none, and also discipline, after a short span of time it absolutely COULD improve upon his/her "prey" drive. It should be a starting point. An e collar could have it's uses, but is also not an absolute...it could acclimate an already neurotic behavior. Insert Cesar Milan training here.

    I must add for the sake of honesty, I had a Jack Russel/Pug mix that was so HIGH energy, that I would run and run and run her...from 2-3 mile jaunts with ankle weights strapped to her, to come home (myself exhausted) and she would still be wanting to go-go-go. I would hop on my bicycle and run her around the block a few times (an added 1.5 miles). I would take a tennis ball and racket and whack the ball great distances for her to retrieve (after our daily runs) over and over again. This did not tucker her out. It made her thirsty. But did not help her hyper disposition over the course of 2 years, combined with discipline. She now lives with my MIL! [​IMG] She was an example of a dog that could not be helped by exercise, but that does not mean that this Weimar in this situation couldn't be helped. Lord knows my current neighbor could use this tactic on her Golden. The OP's story seemed to parody my neighbor dog. Finding someone who trains hunting dogs is a form of giving this Weimar EXERCISE and discipline. It will stimulate her/him where she/he possibly hasn't been.
     
  7. cheri222

    cheri222 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had a Weimaraner for 11 years. He was by far the most beautiful dog we ever owned. He was also the most neurotic. He could be very jealous of our child receiving attention, and would head butt him and knock him down. Very destructive in the home also. Yes lots of exercise, 1/2 acre fenced, long walks the whole deal. Our vet even stated he would never own one. We never had any issues with him interacting with other pets. I don't think we ever heard him growl. We also did not have chickens at that time. Our current dogs are and australian sheppard and an English Springer. They like the chickens but only get limited alone time with them. The springer likes to lick chicken butts, the chickens get upset and try to fly away.
     
  8. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    Quote:Wow...that made me laugh!!! [​IMG]
     
  9. kmclay

    kmclay Out Of The Brooder

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    When we first got chickens, we had a Lab and a Vizla, neither of whom bothered the chickens at all. They considered them minor nuisances. 3 years later, I had to put my very much loved Lab to "sleep", and we got a Pointing Griffon to replace him. This puppy has killed at least 10 chickens since he was old enuf to figure out how to kill them. We've since learned a routine of letting dogs run free and letting chickens run free, but not at the same time. In other words, I don't think my dog will ever stop despite ecollars and angry voices. He just can't help it! Maybe we should do something else.

    Sorry for your chicky losses. ticked me off and broke my heart too! [​IMG]
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    We have 3 dogs, a Jack Russel, a lab, and a mix who looks like chihuahua and dachsund. They were trained the "leave it" command and do not bother our dogs. A fourth one died in recent months, a retriever mix, and she had killed a chicken via the shake and play thing, but we also trained her along with these 3 to leave them alone. It took a few months of supervising and repeating the leave it command but now they all run together. The dogs ignore the chickens but bark and chase the fox, skunk, coon, etc, etc. that are around here. We stopped losing our free range chickens after the dogs got trained.

    I have never and would not use negative methods to train a dog -- shock collars, punishment or anger, any of that.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010

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