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Old 02-09-2013, 07:15 PM   #1
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Pups and chickens

We finally have a new puppy at our house. She is an absolute sweetheart. She has not met the chickens yet-- she arrived the night of the storm and the chickens have been cooped up since then due to the sheer amount of snow we have here.

I am looking for great tips to train her how to behave around our flock. I have been told and have read that we can teach her "leave it" if she even looks at the birds, using a sharp tug on a leash to correct. Has anyone successfully trained a pup to ignore or behave around their flocks?

Oh, if it helps, she is a mixed farm mutt. She has some border collie, some lab, some shepherd and goodness knows what else in there.

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Old 02-10-2013, 12:40 PM   #2
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Re: Pups and chickens

We have 3 dogs that do well around our chickens. The other 2 are house dogs and older, so I won't go there with them for now. Our LGD's job is to protect the poultry and other farm animals, so we had to guide them to be good around them!
We make sure that our pups are on a leash whenever around the poultry when young, I generally wrap the leash around my wrist or even onto my belt during chores and bring them along with me wherever I go. I don't get hyper-excited about them being interested in the birds, that's normal and if I get excited I think that teaches the dog that it's something that they should get uptight about. They only get corrected if they open their mouth around them, or try to paw at them playing, and at a young age they don't know any better so it's just a tug on the leash and "no" or "leave it". When they're bigger they can cause more trouble - they can SO easily "play" with the birds, but often it doesn't end well for the chickens. Wear out the pups then before they come in the barn.
"Leave it" is a great command. We teach it in the house, and bring treats out in the barn and make sure the pup attends to me on leash to do different tricks (attention on me) before she goes off leash. Make sure "come" is good before going off leash (duh ). Sometimes if I see her excited around the poultry I just "distract" her by going somewhere else or doing tricks, as "leave it" gets boring after a while and it's so hard for herding dogs to "leave" a flapping anything!
Congrats on your puppy!
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:04 PM   #3
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Re: Pups and chickens

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Originally Posted by missc View Post
We have 3 dogs that do well around our chickens. The other 2 are house dogs and older, so I won't go there with them for now. Our LGD's job is to protect the poultry and other farm animals, so we had to guide them to be good around them!
We make sure that our pups are on a leash whenever around the poultry when young, I generally wrap the leash around my wrist or even onto my belt during chores and bring them along with me wherever I go. I don't get hyper-excited about them being interested in the birds, that's normal and if I get excited I think that teaches the dog that it's something that they should get uptight about. They only get corrected if they open their mouth around them, or try to paw at them playing, and at a young age they don't know any better so it's just a tug on the leash and "no" or "leave it". When they're bigger they can cause more trouble - they can SO easily "play" with the birds, but often it doesn't end well for the chickens. Wear out the pups then before they come in the barn.
"Leave it" is a great command. We teach it in the house, and bring treats out in the barn and make sure the pup attends to me on leash to do different tricks (attention on me) before she goes off leash. Make sure "come" is good before going off leash (duh ). Sometimes if I see her excited around the poultry I just "distract" her by going somewhere else or doing tricks, as "leave it" gets boring after a while and it's so hard for herding dogs to "leave" a flapping anything!
Congrats on your puppy!
Thanks!

So far, so good. She has been to the barn, and has been very good, eyes on us the whole time. DH let her see in the chicken coop this morning and the ladies didn't like it at all made big noise and she turned away. Just now I took her in with me, and she actually went out of the coop and sat by the door on the outside as soon as she saw the birds.

What you said about playing is exactly what I was trying to explain to the kids this morning. Play now could be deadly to a little hen later, even if the pup means no harm.

We have done the leash on the belt in the past with our other dog and it worked a treat in the house. We didn't have birds, though, and she was a pure hound... She never got "leave it" with the birds, so she always had to be contained when the birds were out. By the time we got chickens, she was over 10 and there was no point in putting any of us through much. I am hopeful that this little one will be a good addition to our little farm and just take it in stride.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:48 AM   #4
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Re: Pups and chickens

No advice since our pups are about 9 months now but thats our plan, to keep them leashed around the chickens until they learn.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #5
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Re: Pups and chickens

That's what we use, "leave it". Meg kinda gre up with our girls. She knows them from the indoor chicks too. She has resently started misbehaving, ex...chewing up stuff, poo'ing in the house, niping, draging belonings around the house, and worst, chasing the chickens. Leave it is working again. We hadn't needed to say it in so long. i guess she just needed a reminder.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:24 PM   #6
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Re: Pups and chickens

I was unsuccessful with my shih tzu mix house dog. She just wants to get them so bad!

We had an incident a while back:
I went out very early in the morning when it was freezing to give the chickens water. I opened the run and one hen got into the yard just as ds had gotten up and opened the back door to look for me.....and let the dog out.
Oh.my. Now, I am not a good morning person. I was in my pj's with my robe and farm boots on. My hair looked like one of those troll pencil tops, and it was barely dawn. I live in a subdivision. As soon as the chicken got out the dog was in hot pursuit. The chicken was squawking like mad as the dog chased it and I chased the dog screaming for her to "leave it" all around my back yard. My new neighbor (whom I had not yet met) comes flying out his back door to see what the commotion was and his raised back deck pretty much overlooks my fenced in yard. What a sight!

I did get the dog before she got the chicken. It made for a interesting first convo with the new neighbors.

I don't think my dog will ever be able to be out with the chickens. Sometimes it seems like she doesn't give them a second thought, and the next it seems like she is just waiting for her opportunity. *sigh*
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