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Sometimes my small chickens get out through the fence. Our bird dog, popple, likes to kill them. I get mad and overreact violently with him, and feel bad afterwards. It doesn't help that I was angry before the matter, and that I really don't like the dog to begin with. Anywho, that line of training just isn't working and I hate it. I"ve got the chicken he just killed strapped to his collar, but there is no way we'll be able to keep him out in a pen until it rots of, like some suggest.

If I were to take him into the goat pasture often and reward him when he doesn't hurt the chickens, would that teach him not to kill my chickens?

I'm gonna go repair fencing now. Don't know how well it's gonna work because they get out the gate and the space between the gate and the post, too... Hmm...
 

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Honestly I'm not sure if there is a way to re-educate a bird dog not to eat/play with birds...it is their nature after all. I don't really follow the whole rotting bird tied to the dog school either. It's pretty much either keep each secure from the other or learn to accept your losses .
 

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They can learn the difference, I know they can. I'm thinking he just needs to be around them often enough to get used to them, so they're not a novelty anymore? I think I'll try just fixing the fence.
 

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You can train *most* dogs not to kill chickens, but it takes a lot of training and dedication (as in this may take several months and he can not be allowed access to the chickens unsupervised during this time). You are right, he needs to be around them more in a controlled fashion. He needs to be on a leash or long line when around the chickens. Correct him any time he even thinks the chicken looks like dinner. You slowly work up to a bit more freedom for him with the chickens (you at the end of a long line). An electronic collar works well for this type of training too. He absolutely can not have ANY access to the chickens when he is not directly supervised and under control. If he catches/kills a chicken during this process you have to start from the beginning again. Good luck.
 

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I have used a shock collar, with good results, on my AmStaffs which have very high prey drive. I don't know how this would affect your bird dog in regards to his hunting job so I would consult someone more experienced in that field before trying it. I do know that they use electric collars to train bird dogs, but not sure in what way. If it wouldn't 'ruin' him I would certainly give it a try.

Dianne
 

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Discussion Starter #6
An electric collar would probably work! I do have one on hand somewheres... I took him out to the pen today with me while I was in with the chickens. He's good when around them and I'm right there. HE tried for a couple but I was able to call him off easily. That's the way it's always been with that dog though... He's sneaky and that's what I hate the most.

Maybe after he goes in the pen with me a few times I'll start letting the chickens into the backyard with popple (wearing shockcollar). Then I'll watch him close without being nearby, and try to catch him in the act while he's 'not' supervised.

I think I can do this... I just worry he'll go on to my baby goats after killing chickens... He's been eyeballing them, too, though I once thought he would NEVER kill a baby goat, this worries me.
 

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yankeeterrier said:
I have used a shock collar, with good results, on my AmStaffs which have very high prey drive. I don't know how this would affect your bird dog in regards to his hunting job so I would consult someone more experienced in that field before trying it. I do know that they use electric collars to train bird dogs, but not sure in what way. If it wouldn't 'ruin' him I would certainly give it a try.

Dianne
Well I can answer some of those questions-my dogs are golden retrievers and I do field work with them. I don't think it should affect the dog's bird hunting abilities, especially if he already hunts. He will be able to see the difference in environment when he is allowed to hunt birds and when he is home (and NOT allowed to hunt birds). Collars are used in hunting dogs for control purposes, usually at a distance. They are used when teaching a remote sit, to come, to be steady, etc.
 

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they'll know the difference between field and home. They'll also be able to smell the difference between pheasant, quail, woodcock etc and chicken. They all smell different, so if I can teach him not to attack the chickens, we'll be golden. I'm just never gonna raise pheasants!

I'm gonna have to dig up my electric collar and some doggie treats. :)
 

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Good friends have a Boykin spaniel. Wonderful dog. Sweet happy. Small too, like maybe 20-25 lbs.

He's a convicted goat-chicken-turkey-robin killer/attacker. :shrug:

He goes after full grown goats, taking them down quite hard. Ripped open her thigh before they pulled him off.

He's 3 & they just keep him clear of all farm animals. Unfortunately, he was hit & killed by a car last week. Sweet, sweet dog, just too much prey drive in him :shrug:
 

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Here is something to keep in mind about hunting dogs and hounds. They have been bred for hundreds of years to hunt specific types of prey. When they went after the wrong bird or animals they were "broken" off of them. These dogs were bred to work closely with humans and be obedient. The ones that could not be broken were not used for breeding since they usually did not live a long life. In other words, the usally did not return home from the field. Alot of people who hunt now days still need to "break" their dogs from running deer. In the old days the method was likely to beat your dog till its almost dead but we have evolved a bit and now have better training tools. I am usually not an advocate of e collars, but I would suggest it in this case, since it appears the dog is in need of a harsher correction to get it off of the chickens. Your idea about not being in the dogs view but able to watch it with in range of the collar is great since the dog will not associate you with the correction. You do need to make sure though the dog does not associate the collar with the shock, alot of dogs have figured out they only need to behave when the colar is on. Like you already know dogs can tell the difference between a chicken and a pheasant. I believe dogs are smarted then most people anyways since they have figured out how to train their owners. I commend you for trying to train the dog instead of changing dogs, which is pretty common place in our lazy throw away society.
 

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i dont beleive that putting the chicken on him till it rots ever works--imo. plus what kinda illnesses or diseases will happen
 

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I have a wonderful dog who is my chicken protector. He used to kill my chickens. I got him at nine months old from a rescue group, and he was young and energetic and playful. He had been returned two times to the rescue before I took him, and they were getting ready to take him to the pound, because they thought he was a problem dog.

He killed my chickens off and on, when I was at work, for about six months. I'd come home and find the carnage and yell and yell, and even hit him (which broke my heart, but I was stupid and didn't know any better), and he was smart enough to know I didn't like it, but he needed an outlet for his incredible energy. He was bored when I was gone.

He was an Aussie mix (maybe shepherd, maybe something else), so he had an instinct to chase (herd) animals. Herding dogs, without training, can become chasers, and can injure or kill livestock. He needed a job to do to keep him busy.

I didn't do this deliberately...it was an accident, but one day a red-tailed hawk attacked my chickens (which I did not see) and I saw him run into the trees where the screaming was going on. He was too frenzied and wouldn't come back when I called him, so I went in there, expecting to find another dead chicken, and him the culprit. What I found, instead, was that he'd broken the neck of the hawk that had my chicken pinned down, and the chicken got away. I praised him to high heaven. I said "good dog...you killed big bird"...over and over again. The next day when I saw a hawk fly over, I said "big bird" and started yelling "go away big bird" at the top of my lungs. He got excited and started barking and chasing the big bird.

He never killed another chicken (and I've had him almost nine years now). Now he chases hawks instead, and is the proudest dog I've ever seen when doing his duty, protecting my chickens. He knows if he hears the chickens squawking that something is wrong and he goes out patrolling for big birds (or any other danger). I lost several chickens to hawks before I got him. They don't come down any more, because they know he's going to chase them.

I still reinforce him by praising him whenever he barks at a hawk, and I also yell "go away big bird" now and then too, for reinforcement.

Dogs want a job to do. They need to use up the energy they would otherwise extend on getting into trouble. Teach your dogs a job...and teach them to protect you and your livestock and you will have happy, trouble-free dogs. You may not be able to use the same method I did (it was just one of those lucky things), but you can redirect their energy to something else, when you see them chasing your livestock..whether it's a stick or ball or whatever...give them another way to expend that energy. If you see a hawk fly over, yell at the hawk and get your dog barking and excited, and then use that same command (where's big bird) while pointing at the sky, the next time he looks like he's going after one of your own. Get him protecting them instead.

It also helps to give them exercise every day...if they are not running a lot working for you, take them for walks or throw balls...just give them a positive way to work off that energy.

I don't know what I'll ever do without wolf (the trouble dog) when he's gone. He and I have also trained my other two dogs to chase hawks too...but they don't quite get it the way he does. It helps to have working breeds when you live on a farm with livestock.
 

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Well the problem is, he does have a job... He's the local 'monster catcher'. He often imagines the monsters, but he sure tells them off! hehe. No local destructive wildlife is safe... We sic him on the woodchucks, rabbits, coons and possums. That's his job. He's also our hunting dog. However, it's off season. He gets tons of excersize, we have a huge yard and 4 dogs live on the property to wrestle with. They're outside most of the time and when they're inside, they're lazy. I think the fact that we've trained him to kill stuff and also that he's a hunting dog has resulted in this... But I think with proper training he'll exclude said chickens. Still looking for that shock collar... :)
 

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naturewoman said:
Sorry..I don't think you got what I said at all. :shrug:
No, I completely understand. It's just that he already gets a ton of excersize while playing with the other two young dogs on the property, and has a 'job'. He 'patrols' our property. I wasn't joking when I called him a monster catcher, hehe. Whenever he barks at the back property we say he's scaring away the monsters. :) There's not much else you can do with this dog as a 'job'. He is to exhuberant in public situations, so taking him out and about like a therapy dog is out. He tolerates fetching for a few throws, then gets bored. He likes hunting as he is a hunting breed (He's a Weim) but it's off season so we can't really go. And I don't really think this dog would make a good hawk catcher. :)
 

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My point is that every dog has (or wants) a purpose...you just need to find it. You say he has a purpose of protecting your farm, but for some reason he doesn't include your chickens as yours to protect. He doesnt get it. You need to find a way to praise him for not chasing your chickens.

It's not always easy, but you need to understand what motivates him to be able to direct that motivation.

Negative reinforcement may eventually work, or you may end up having to put him down.

Positive reinforcement always works, if you find the right tool.
 

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Maybe I shouldn't say his purpose is to protect our farm. The reason we got him is because we are a hunting family. We own hunting dogs for no other reason, and they are expected to do nothing else around the farm. The problem-animal killing that he does for us is just something nice about him. We won't kill him or get rid of him because he kills chickens.. We believe at this point, he's been trained to kill everything that comes on the property, so now he just needs to be trained to not kill said chickens. He isn't crazy nor does he 'need' another job in life... He seems quite content just living here, playing with the other dogs and being loved by us... as has every other dog we've ever owned. I don't think it's his boredom that is causing him to be a chicken killer. After talking with my father about it, we've decided it's his training to 'kill everything' and the novelty of being able to catch the chickens that drives him. After he gets used to being around the chickens and the novelty of attacking them wears off (along with some disciplinary action when he tries for them, under close supervision but out of his sight/mind) we believe he'll stop doing this. We've trained bird dogs not to kill chickens, but he's just been the toughest to break so far. Now that we've decided our cource of action, I doubt It'll be too long in training.

I appreciate all responses, thanks guys!
 

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It's true all dogs need a job, no matter what size or breed. That's how they stay out of trouble.

When I get a call about a dog chasing cars and I ask what breed it is, I just know it's a herding breed. And it always is. The dog is attempting to herd the vehicles. Folks don't do research when they want a pet.

My dog is my livestock guardian and that includes poultry. The dog took the job upon herself when she was a pup. She's been on the job for 5 years. Nothing gets near her free roaming flock or stock. The dog is an American Pit Bull Terrier.

If you want to save your poultry, you're gonna have to lock them up. Give them a good sized run with heavy wire also on the top, a pen the dog can't tear down.
 

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our little dog, Sarah, is 8 years old. She is part collie/sheltie, german shepherd, husky, & springer spaniel on her dad's side. She doesn't quite get the herding thing, but her gut tells her to chase 'em & OH BOY kill em (doesn't eat them!). She leaves the grown chickens alone, but quivers like crazy for the babies & teens....I think it is the quick movement. Thankfully, she is a very sensitive dog, very tuned in to our tones, she won't chase the deer...1 "no!" did it. This year, no chicken deaths, but last year she chased down 5 young pullets. She & her sister were death on rabbits, literally "tag teaming" & running them down.

It will take a lot of work to change your dog. He has got to want to obey you above all else. Exercise & play with the other dogs is good fun, but not the same kind of outlet as having a "job", or a purpose for you. He can have a purpose in addition to hunting, but it is a matter of shaping his desire & instincts to please you. Good luck, be consistent, perisistent, be patient, use plenty of positives for the right behavior.
 
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