Would like Dog and Chicken Advice


Yoga...The Chicken Pose
11 Years
Aug 4, 2008
Fuquay Varina, NC
My DH has been dying to get a dog. He wanted a lab...BAD! Well today we got a rescue pup who's between 5-6 months, she's a lab/dacshund mix (don't ask me how it was done, I'm still in shock!). She's already nipped at the chickens and got a bonk on the nose for it. Any suggestions on teaching her Chickens are friends not food?

On a side note, we walked her in the back yard and one of the neighborhood strays was sitting next to the coop, and she started barking and going after her like saying "this is my territory now fuzzy".
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Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 21, 2007
Thousand Oaks, California
What I did with my adult dogs was I wouldn't let them even look at the chickens. If the chickens are out and we throw out treats, the dogs are NOT allowed anywhere near the treats. When the chickens are done with the treats, the dogs can go pick up the rest. The chickens run the back yard. The dogs do not. If the chickens want to drink the dog water, eat the dog food, or go in the dog house (yes, Potpie is guilty), every single one of our dogs will clear out.
Of course, all three of our dogs have been taught manners with consistancy since we got them. You can't take a bad mannered dog and do what we did.
I wouldn't let the dog and the chickens out together. What I would do is start letting the dog know that it's NOT ok to look at, smell, or think about the chickens. Don't go near the chicken coop, don't smell the chicken scent on your shoes, nothing. The dog is still too young to be out with chickens and it's going to be months or a year or more before they can all be out together. Some dogs will never be ok with chickens.
When it comes to the chickens, the thought in my dog's head is, "I'm not allowed." Period.
And no, it's not mean. It's thinking like a dog. DH and I are the leaders, the chickens come next, and all three of the dogs are last. The dogs are ok with it and everyone is happy and safe.


11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
I am going to take the opposite train of thought here...seems to me it is only a matter of time before your dog WILL find himself with the chickens...so in my opinion, better that you introduce them properly. Dogs have a strong sense of pack order, and if you convince him the chickens are part of his pack, he will treat them as such, rather than as food. We neglected to do this with our dog, assuming he would just KNOW...and he killed 2 chickens. Part of his training afterwards involved having him lie (on leash) in the chicken coop and let the chickens roost all over him. At first he did not like it one bit, but he quickly came to get the idea that these birds were to be allowed "privileges" Now he runs right into the barn at night and is happy to sleep next to the chicken pen. Not quite guarding them yet, but he does appear to be making attempts at herding them back into the yard when they wander off. At least he is no longer killing them! Labs are pretty smart-I would bet your pup can catch on to the idea very quickly.


Free Ranging
14 Years
Feb 14, 2008
This world is not my home.
I used the "mother" method with my Lab mix pup and he won't hardly even look at a chicken now. I free range chicks and big chickens with my dogs every day, unattended, with no mishaps. It took 3 corrections "mother dog style" the very first day I got the chickens...and then no more! He got the message and hasn't needed reinforcement.

Every time he advanced towards my new chickens, I jumped at him, rolled him over and gripped his neck hide at the throat (this doesn't have to be tight or painful...just gripped) and growled at him. The sudden movement and the quick correction is very much like a mother dog with a pup...or an alpha dog with a lesser pack member. Then I would point to the chickens and tell him, "MY CHICKENS!" in a very firm voice. I let him smell one, lick one and I let one peck him. If I even hold a chicken in his direction now, he will turn his head and walk away!

Hangin Wit My Peeps

11 Years
Apr 20, 2008
Birnamwood, Wisconsin
The more you let your dog around them the more he will get used to seeing them. My boxer chased mine at first and I yelled at him and put him in his kennel for a while afterward. I did this over and over and it didn't take long and he was totally fine with the chickens. He never tried nipping at them tho...he just chased them around. Now he just walks around by them and they even go under his belly and he's fine now.
I still would never trust him totally alone with the chickens because it is a dogs natural instinct to give chase. They just can't control that instinct no matter what we do


11 Years
Sep 8, 2008
North Carolina
I agree. A dog is a dog and if they get the change they will attack the chickens. That's their instinct.
We have a small chihuahua and he chase the chickens every day.
He had even killed one when we first had them. He was playing with it end ended dead.
It wasn't the dog's fault it is the nature of the animal.
Now my dog leaves the big chickens alone most of the time because he gets pecked by them.
Keep your eye on the dog and the chickens.
We keep the dog in the beginning on a leash in the backyard when we were there with the chickens. So he could get used to them.


11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
I used the same approach alot of people do with herding dogs around here. Tie the pup to you and go about your chores. The dog goes everywhere you go. All around the chickens and their food and water. You reprimand for showing too much interest in the chickens and praise for following you and paying attention to you while ignoring the chickens. Actually attempting to pounce on or chase a chicken results in a severe punishment and being tied outside the coop or other area away from you while watching you do chores. When the pup stops throwing a fit and sit or lays down to wait quietly you go get the pup, tie the leash back around your waist, and go on with your day. Then the puppy slowly gets acclimated to the chickens and learns manners while being completely under your control. When the pup starts ignoring the chickens and listening to your commands without needing to pull on the leash then you start letting them drag the leash. Using the same praise, reprimands, and time outs. Eventually they learn chickens and other animals are a part of the property and they aren't allowed to be rough with them. Then you can start working without a leash. I can put my akita in a down/stay next to the coop, go back to the house 200' away, get a new bag of feed, haul it out to the coop, and she will still be watching the chickens through the doorway 5' away. I also have little trouble with keeping her around my cats, button quail, guinea pigs, gerbils, degus, horses.... I wouldn't leave her alone with any though because she does have a high prey drive and gets overly excited playing so sh might accidently hurt something. She's also a typical territorial overly protective akita and if another animal shows itself as a threat and comes at her she will not hesitate to fight back and injure them. That's just always going to be a part of her personality and we work hard to limit the situations that might go badly.


12 Years
Apr 21, 2007
SW Florida
I have 3 dogs, 2 mini dachshunds and a golden retriever. My first chickens were barked at and chased alot. Then I got chicks that I rasied in the house and for some reason these were accepted as part of the family. Now they all just live togeather with no problems, other then the dogs want to eat what the chickens are getting.

My golden seems to think they belong to him, he watches over the flock. The dachies like to get the rats that tend to get in the coop. So all in all it works out well.


Yoga...The Chicken Pose
11 Years
Aug 4, 2008
Fuquay Varina, NC
Wow.. there are several ways to go about this. I just don't have 'chicks' to try the inhouse way. (Though I would like to!

I just warned my DH if a chicken goes because of the dog, the dog goes. I like her so far, but I LOVE my chickens.

I've been working on 'down' because she's jumpy, and the sit command. I figure if I broke a dalmation I can break here. She responds to sit very well already after about 4 treats. So she's smart. Its just the Lab part of her with the birds.

So after this storm passes I think she will be at my side for the yard chores. I have a short leash and an extension leash... we'll start with the short and work our way up.

She's already got a smell for them and got a whack on the nose for nipping... so she knows they are there and I will have to teach her the order of things now.

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