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I have always let my chickens out in the afternoon to free range. But we have a new pup - I guess hes about 7 months old now. He's a Cathoula. I have tried and tried to train him to stop chasing the chickens. But nothing gives. My husband wants to get a shock collar and train him with that. But I strongly dislike that idea. I think they are just cruel. But I'm at my wits end. He has already killed one. He laid it at my feet. I let him have it for that but he still chases them. Any ideas. Would the shock collar work?
 

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Shock collar or leash, that or put him down.

He's already killed one.

Or give/sell him to someone without chickens.

My corso has a high prey drive, I wouldn't put him near my food producers. He guards our home and yard.

Helps me when out in the bush to sniff out game.
 

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leash, first.. then shock collar.
put him/her on a leash and purposely take him to the chickens. if me makes a lunge at them, you stop him cold with the leash. NO !! is an all around word.
once they learn that word, you can use it on any situation that comes up.. chase a chicken ? NO.
trying to steal food off the table? NO
chasing cars down the driveway ? NO
say it like you mean it.. NO
if the dog has any amount of brains, he will learn.
I have even taught cats to leave baby chicks alone.NO
....
 

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I disagree with “no”. It’s in our language otherwise, person to person.

“Aaaaappp” is a much better command. It’s distinct.

You’ve got a killer on your hands, tough decision. Your fault, I’d zap or get rid of the dog. It feels good to kill, and lay it at feet.
 

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Catahoula's are a herding dog by nature. They are also very versatile as a farm dog, but have very high stamina. Run the dog away from the chickens, or keep the chickens penned up to tire him out. A tired dog is most always a good dog. Keeping a fence between the pup and chickens is a good way to teach "NO" or whatever word you use for that.

Shock collars are great when used properly. They should only be used as a way to reinforce a command that the dog already knows and on the lowest setting possible to get their attention. I use them all of the time on my personal dogs and dogs I train. They are an indispensable tool.

Pups should always be on a check cord or lead until they learn the basic commands. Take the fun out of playing with the chickens and he will learn that they are no fun and eventually that they are off limits. You must be consistent, firm, and calm. No yelling, screaming and flailing arms around, or hitting the pup.
 

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First things first. A shock collar is a great tool is used properly.

Put the collar on him one evening. Put him in the yard, pen, some controlled location. Leave the collar on him and turned on over night. The next morning from the house looking through a window, on the lowest setting buzz him a couple of times. Your looking for a physical response, head turn, shake, some indication that he feels it. Turn it up until you get a good mild response. Head shake, turning ect. Thats his comfort setting. His training with this collar always starts with this setting.
All dogs are different. 1-3 is normal...some greater.

NEVER put the collar on and train immediately. You do not want to have him connect the shock to you.

Get a handle on him.
HERE
5 minutes three times a day every day, use a 50-100 check cord. Let him range out then call ''here' firmly, pull him to you hand over hand, repeating ''here''''here'...... right up to the front of your body at your feet.then praise and pet. Do this religiously every day for a week, even when he is responding. Then add a choke chain, or big horse snap, and when he doesn't respond immediately, pop the cord good and hard and repeat pulling him to you. This works well if you do your part. Then do a week with a shock collar. Same as above. When he doesn't respond ! Immediately! Buzz him one number above his comfort level. Do this a couple of days (hell likley not need much correction at this point) but turn it up now two numbers above his comfort level. This time buzz, buzz,buzz him till hes at your feet..... Then tons of praise.

On the poultry or other critters, turn him loose, with the collar on. When he pays any attention, to the chicken, buzz him, if you get no response, turn it up. Buzz him while he is looking moving towards or noticing the birds... No sympathy allowed here. You want him thinking the chicken has powers lol....if i even look at her she shocks me....
If he actually chases, start at the mid range setting, and buzz buzz buzz repeatedly until he stops. If he continues past 6-8 buzzes turn it up. If he catches, turn it all the way up and buzz hard until he stops.

Watch him from the house, and don't cut him any slack. If he chases the neighbors Chicken he could get shot.
 

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There *IS* an upside to this problem. you know.;'

The pup that took me so long to train turned out to be the finest canine protection my chickens ever had. The year that my neighbor lost 25 birds which was her entire flock? I lost just one bird.

A prey driven dog- which is what I had and what you now have- puts their heart and soul into getting rid of what they have been taught is their prey. The PROBLEM is that at first, every small bird and animal they believe is prey. And it is a challenge to convince them that *YOUR* small animals are NOT prey.

I named my pup Einstein, as he was clever. He was a Brittany and bred to hunt, which was why it was hard to teach him to not hunt chickens and why it was easy to teach him to go after anything else.


.
 

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The Catahoula mentality has always seemed to me to closely resemble the hound brain. They are independent cusses, and have a high tolerance for pain and correction. Takes a lot to get through to them sometimes, but they WILL respect their pack leader (you) once leadership is established. They are not an easy dog to train. A couple of sessions with a shock collar probably wouldn't hurt, as long as it's done right. Do the research first or talk to a trainer.

I understand this is a 7 month male - intact? Neutered? He's probably even more bone-headed right now in his "teen" months than he will ever be again. ;) Take heart in that likelihood. They are great dogs once they mature and learn their place and job.
 

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Our Catahoula, didn't grow up until she was about 14 or 15 months old. Until then, get yours plenty of exercise (2-3 hours of running/playing a day minimum) and only allow him to be around different breeds of animals with supervision.
Our Catahoula is very smart and now is a great dog, but it took lots of repetition training and me being a solid pack leader to get (and keep) her in line, but when she was about 6 months old I called her a demon dog and had it not been for a Dog Whisperer type trainer and plenty of exercise she wouldn't have made it with us.
 

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I disagree with “no”. It’s in our language otherwise, person to person.

“Aaaaappp” is a much better command. It’s distinct.

You’ve got a killer on your hands, tough decision. Your fault, I’d zap or get rid of the dog. It feels good to kill, and lay it at feet.
Dogs learn words, a sharp NO is one of the first words our dog learns. The average dog can learn about 165 words.

from: http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/how-many-words-do-dogs-know/
 

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Shock collars work great for this especially with independent, prey driven dogs.
Catahoula's are herders and need a job to do, lacking a job they need a LOT of exercise.
 

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And by that fact I recommend not using “no” in your vernacular with a dog. It’s a common term that is used to communicate with, how is the dog to know that it is, or isn’t, directed at them?

Aaaaaaappp! It’s distinct.
My dog looks at me. If I am looking at him he knows the "no" is directed at them.
 

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Shock collar is the best option available. I don't always use a shock collar to reinforce commands. Sometimes I don't want a dog to connect me with the discomfort. This kind of training can lead to a dog that follows commands when you are around, and when you are not, then not so much. I like to hide in a window for anti-chicken training. Zap them for messing with a chicken. If they don't lay down and squall you are just wasting time. Then come out like "hey buddy, what happened, did that mean old chicken bite you?"
 

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My Australian Shepherd was a problem for awhile. She managed to kill 4-5 of my free range flock before I got super disciplined on her and it worked. She was just at year old when she started getting the chickens, before that she'd not even really notice them until she "snapped" one day and started killing chickens. After a bit of discipline (that did not seem to work) I started pinning her up all day long in the chicken run while my chickens were out free ranging. She'd be put in the run when I let the chickens out in the morning and then she'd be let out in the evening once the chickens were in the coop for the night. Every evening for 2-3 months I put her on a leash and would spend around 30 minutes disciplining her and teaching her "no" while walking around the yard. If she tried to pull me on the leash I yanked the crap out of it and gave her the "no" command. I tightened up the leash so she could only walk right by my side. Every time she tried to take off I yanked the leash and reinforced the "no" command. At the end of each session I'd unhook the leash and see if she'd stay by my side or bolt off to do something else. I knew we'd go through this entire process daily until she would not bolt off or run away....that took at least 30 days. I'd even change directions abruptly and if she was not paying attention and kept walking to a tight leash then I'd yank her leash. I wanted her to have to pay attention to me 100% of the time and what I was doing.

After 30 days and getting her under control I then started letting her out earlier while the chickens were still out. I'd still use the leash but now we'd just hang out around the chickens for 30 minutes or so. I had her "sit" and "no" commands instilled in her and now it was time to teach her that the chickens were off limits. Took about two weeks at 30 minutes a day to break her from wanting anything to do with chickens by yanking on that leash when she wanted to go after them.

It's been well over a year since I worked with her and she's one with the chickens in the universe...they even steal a bit of dog food from her while she's eating. One thing for sure is that neither one of my dogs will even look at a chicken when one is close, they turn their head/gaze away from them. I didn't train them to do it, they just know that the chickens are off limits and that they better just look away to resist the temptation.

Whatever you do only use the command "no" (or whatever) when you have to. I do not overuse the word. When I call them by name in an authoritative voice they simple stop whatever they are doing, sit, and then look at me. When I yell "no" then you better not be in their path to get under the shed because they will run you over. They seek shelter under the shed from the incoming artillery that comes with "no". The command "no" in an authoritative voice finds them whimpering under the shed for about an hour each time. They know they have messed up. They just wine, mope, and pout for an hour then eventually come out once their feelings are no longer hurt.

I have dogs for a reason and they need to earn their keep. I train my dogs to earn their keep and in exchange they get to live on a rural property that all dogs dream of. They are free to laze about wherever they want within 3-4 acres of "yard" around the house, get fed great chow, and get loads of attention from my family of 5...but they have a job to do.

Train your dog, make it do what you want it to do. If it can handle those tasks and obey commands then it is rewarded to do whatever it wants in it's spare time. Dogs serve a purpose, they are a rural family's first line of alert and defense, they also guard over our livestock and critters. Train them with a firm hand and you've made a great investment for 8-10 years. Takes some effort but is well worth it. Good luck.
 
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