Advice re dog chasing chooks

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13 years 3 weeks ago #26763 by Telly
My 9 month old lab cross had suddenly decided to chase the chooks. He actually caught one the other day. Naturally, I want to teach him not to chase the chooks. What is the best way to do this.?

Please, please do not let this thread go the way of many other dog threads and turn it into a fight - these catfights (ha ha!)are close to making me pack up and leave LSB - this is my dog, my chooks and I want to do the right thing and teach him to leave them alone. I just don't know how.

Thanks

Goats: 4 boers + 4 kids (all does[:D]), 1 saanen + 2 kids, 1 toggenburg.
Chickens: Barred Rock, Light Sussex, Araucana, pekins
Pigs now in the freezer

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371085 by Telly
Replied by Telly on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
I should add that when he was younger, I have had him on a leash walking through the chook pen and growling/yanking the leash when he so much as looked at a chook. He does not chase chooks when I am around but does when he is about the property with my children.

Goats: 4 boers + 4 kids (all does[:D]), 1 saanen + 2 kids, 1 toggenburg.
Chickens: Barred Rock, Light Sussex, Araucana, pekins
Pigs now in the freezer

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371086 by Trace
Replied by Trace on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
I don't know of a 'best' way, more a training method that sits well with your feelings on dog training. One way is to have a plastic bottle with some stones in it, and whenever he chases the chooks shake the bottle which should distract him and should give him a bit of a fright (as you only use it for this, so he doesn't hear it all the time) while telling him in your best 'I'm the boss' voice NO.

However since he has lab in him and they are really food driven they can be pretty easy to train with food and lots of repitition. For this method you catch him being good - so every time you are out there with him, with the chickens and he is behaving, praise him, (and be specific, they can learn a lot of words - eg 'good sitting' or 'good waiting') give him a bit of his favourite food - he'll soon get the idea that life is much better when you aren't chasing those chickens lol.

Also labs are really intelligent dogs so if you can give him a job to do eg sit/stay while your out there it might help. Dogs go through their teenage years, just like kids, so it's highly likely he's just checking out what he can get away with and what he can't. All the best and have lots of fun with him.

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371087 by eelcat
Replied by eelcat on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
It's a horrible thing when it happens. Our BC has on a couple of occasions caught a duck, when she has been with me under supervision etc etc (please no fighting comments :) ) but she is so silly she doesn't know what to do next and so it is easy at that stage to convince her to let it go. I have at that stage yelled "NO" at her, and put her back inside - kind of naughty dog sent to bedroom treatment. We tend to work on the idea that the dogs can't get to the poultry and so don't get a chance to chase them. The only time they do is if they are out with us on our property and the poultry is, as often happens, in the wrong place. Then the younger BC will sometimes give chase. For her it is more a round-up exercise gone a little enthusiastic, because she is trying to put them back through the fence, but seemingly can't resist the last one as it goes through.

This is a quote from a puppy school in Manawatu (at least from their webpage)
More Info

Proper training is the answer to this age old farm problem. I have two dogs on my farm and have had both kill and eat chickens when they were younger. They now can be left to guard the chickens for hours all alone and never harm them.
First: You need to let the dog know the chickens are yours, you are the Alpha, the dog must do as YOU wish not the other way around.
Next: Leash the dog, take it with you when you are near the hens. Carry on your daily chores with the flock and include the dog in everything you do. Any wrong move by the dog must be met with a sharp tug on the leash and a harsh but not loud, NO! ( I say "my chickens not yours!) It is not necessary to hit the dog. Praise the dog when it gets near a hen and just sniffs but does not snap at it. Give it a rub and tell it "good dog" and go on doing this for a few days.
Eventually, take the dog in with you off the leash using the same commands. If the hens are free range then sit in the yard for a while while the hens scratch for food and run around , keep the dog with you and curtail any attempt at chasing with a sharp "NO". Toss bread for the hens close to where you sit and get the hens running near the dog. It may take a day or two of training but the dog will soon learn that praise comes from Not touching the hens and sharp commands come from chasing them.
There are no bad dogs just bad trainers/owners. My Chow/Shepard cross learned in two days, and my White Shepard took about 5 days to get it right but I have not lost a chicken since, not to dogs nor to coyotes or foxes as the hens are now part of my dogs pack.
New info as of 2008- I have added a King Shepard pup to the "pack" she took to the hens within the first week and has never harmed or harassed any of the birds.

Read more: wiki.answers.com/Q/How_can_I_stop_my_dog...ickens#ixzz1HkY8CcXd

1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees...

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371089 by Kalmara
can you crate him in the chook pen ? He'll get used to having them around about & after a while will ignore them.

Could be easier to dogproof the chooks area ?

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371092 by Telly
Replied by Telly on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
Thanks for your suggestions everyone. I would prefer to try to train him to ignore them as our neighbours also have chickens and I would be mortified if he harmed one of theirs. I will have a sustained go at training him to ignore them again. I guess I should also get the children to have him on the leash and do it too as he usually misbehaves when he is down near the chooks with them - the children need to assert themselves so he kn ows they are higher up the pack ranks than he is. It is like he is going through teenage years at the moment and is certainly testing boundaries. he gave me the run-around when I tried to put him in his kennel the other night. Naughty dog.

Goats: 4 boers + 4 kids (all does[:D]), 1 saanen + 2 kids, 1 toggenburg.
Chickens: Barred Rock, Light Sussex, Araucana, pekins
Pigs now in the freezer

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371097 by goatmama
Telly, you said that he doesn't chase them with you. I would put that down to the early training. Yet he does it with the children. How do they act around the hens on their own? ie, rowdy and lots of running to get the hens running, or are they relatively quiet around the chooks? Are the children old enough to try the dog on leash treatment also?
Please, I want to make it clear that I am not pointing fingers at dog, children or anyone else for that matter. Just noting what I have seen with regards to my own children, dogs and hens get up to when none of them know they are beeing watched. Sometimes the thrill of run and chase gets the better of younguns without realising where it will lead. Hope everyone learns their boundries.

10 acres in sunny Southland. Husband and 3 boys. 17 Wilties, "Clucky quarters" 2 doz + chooks, rouen clair ducks, Coffee our Irish Terrier and Kaz and Mooch our wee Kitty's. Our Big White Shepherd, Nena. Bennie and Mo the moos
Prov 27:27

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371107 by madeit
Replied by madeit on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
Hi I have a black lab who also used to do this when he was about 9 months old particularly, we fenced the chooks which di the trick but now we have moved property and would like the chooks to have a free range so we''l have a go at the training too. I have been told though that as a lab ia a 'bird retriever' we won't be able to train it out of him . we''ll see ! good luck with yours too ,ours is now 14 months old and much calmer.

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371109 by Trace
Replied by Trace on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
You can certainly train it out of them...otherwise just think what all those labby guide dogs would be doing LOL.

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371112 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
I'm wondering whether a particularly stroppy broody or a rooster might be useful in teaching it a lesson? It would have to learn that hens don't always run away-which is the fun bit!
I have a Labrador too (but no chooks!) which loves to carry stuff around-but she doesn't chase Pukes, even when I try to encourage her to chase them out of the garden!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371126 by DiDi
Replied by DiDi on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
I just want to add that goatmama is onto it in picking out that the dog is great with you (obviously respects you as intended with your training - well done) but the problem arises with the children who he obviously does not respect in the same sense. So - either more training with them in tow so that he realises he must listen to them as well OR is there an area where the children can play with the dog but not on chook territory. Hope that makes sense.

If it were me, there would be a collar on the dog that gave him a shock and a plan with the children that if the dog chased the chooks in their care, you hidden in the bushes would be hitting the button when you heard your child yell NO and be ignored! Mind I have no clue how old your children are so may not be feasible.

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371195 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Advice re dog chasing chooks
Try the electric collar. My brother and some of his friends use one for stock training their pig dogs and it works. The only thing their dogs catch is pigs.

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371206 by Cinsara
When I get a new dog I use the growly bbbaaaahhhhhhhhh word when ever they so much as look at the chooks even if it's to be friendly, I know how friendly can become too friendly. I then praise, praise and praise some more when they look/come away, they always look back at the chooks they are leaving behind to start with and get the word as soon as they do for as often as they do, then lots of praise again. It doesn't take long for them to associate the chooks with the bad word and not looking at them with the praise. It has worked for all of my dogs after a few days although the South Auckland Special took a few months and I lost a few chooks but she did learn and lived happily amongst them for many years.

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Save the Earth... it's the only planet with chocolate!

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371216 by stephclark
good luck.. i think there is plenty of good ideas here.. and he is a young teenage dog, easy to train and intelligent.. this problem wont last long..definately agree with the possibility of over excited with the kids.. they run and yell, the chooks take off and a young dog gets caught up in it...
love the different things we all 'growl' at our dog with thow.. ha ha...
mine knows very well what " DONT you BL**DY dare! " means :)

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13 years 3 weeks ago #371276 by GloPony
That was going to be my first question too; how are the kids around the chooks? Do they get them running? I agree with getting the children involved in the training.

I would go for positive reinforcement type training as well but I can say, electric shock is VERY effective! Our neighbour's lab x retriever inadvertently trained himself not to chase sheep, the very first time he met them. He didn't realise the fence was electric & ran into it while running toward them. He now won't even look in the general direction of the sheep! Poor sod! But it certainly worked!! :D

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