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Thread: My Pup and the Chooks... :(

  1. #1

    Default My Pup and the Chooks... :(

    So I have a 5 ish month old lab..... she has always been interested in our chicken and has a couple of times been caught chasing them. Anyway went out this moring to get something off the line, and lilly came up with a chicken leg in her mouth..........
    I know the chook must have gotten out as there is no way for her to get in there, and all the other chooks looked happy and peacful. I know I have to make the pen so the chooks cant get out ( thought we had already but obviously not) but what training can I do with her? is it true that now she has the taste of blood she will want to always eat them? ( she actually ate the whole chicken minus the wings and a leg, so i guess at least nothing was wasted....) I am trying to decide what is best..... obviously it was not her fault, it was instinct but I am horrified and cant even look at her atm. I dont know if I should rehome the chooks for their own safety or what. We also have chickens at our neighbours place which hubby said she has been sniffing around the fence line the last few days... so I will speak to the neighbour and see if he can line the fence on his side as we will on our just incase she digs through......

    Any other suggestions? hubby says to keep her right away and tell her off if she even looks at them. But I dont know if I should go for abstinance or do more training with her around and with the chooks......

    and no there is no way I am getting rid of my dog.... not unless she turns nasty to my kids or other dog and i dont think it was a nasty thing.....oh god I really have no idea what it was.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by lillylovely View Post
    oh god I really have no idea what it was.
    It was prey drive, plain and simple. It's a natural instinct and your dog was exhibiting it for some time now by showing interest in the chooks and chasing them. It doesn't make her a bad dog or nasty or dangerous (except to your chickens and other small prey animals).

    Dogs with prey drive can be taught not to see other animals like cats and chooks as prey items but this will take specific and dedicated training from you. Dogs with decent prey drive can make really great obedient dogs if they learn that obeying your commands gives them drive satisfaction so prey drive is definitely not a bad trait and something you can actually use to your advantage.

    I would personally be getting a trainer in to help you - whereabouts are you based?

  3. #3
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    I dotn think that "taste of blood" thing is true at all.

    I can't help you with advice except to give an example of a similar situation.

    Lennox (a boxer/staffy x I used to own) killed a kitten we had when he was about 18 months old. I was horrified and couldn't look at him either. I even found a new home for him, though didn't go through with it. Anyway, a couple of years later I got another cat. I spent months and months introducing the dog and cat. First through the sliding door. Then with a tiny gap. Then the dog on lead and cat beign held...and so on and so on.

    After about 4 or 5 months I just left em too it. We had 3 cats after that and he never even snarled at any of them. Also, when one of them had kittens, she used to take the kittens out to lie with the dog while she fed them and he would lie there with his "family" LOL

    I dont know if with chickens its different, but just thought I would show you, just becaue they kill once doesnt mean they have to always

  4. #4
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    We bring rescues home and we have free-range chickens. Which sometimes has been a little disastrous, but none have ever got killed, just temporarily flattened......
    When we have a new dog we never allow them out alone when the chickens/ducks are out.
    When we do have them out we are watching them and we have a lunge-lead attached to the dog. As soon as the dog goes towards chicken/duck (and you had better be watching them) we step on the lunge lead and "ughggg" or "enough" loudly. Amazingly enough after quite a few weeks they do get the hang of it. And then you can trail with chicken/duck behind a fence and no lunge-lead. And everytime they look interested "ughgg" or such...Loud and rough sounding..... If they respond well, you can try with the chickens out again. We have re-trained quite a few rescues this way. If you do not let your chicken out, use the same method still when she goes near the fence. First on lead, after off lead and back on lead if it does not work. It takes very dedicated and 100% concentration from you. I have also been known to put them in our "sin-bin" when they have shown an interest in them. Even now, I have one newfie girl, who will only be out with Chickens/ducks when we are out and about too. She is still a little too interested. It is very natural and sometimes you have to improve the run the chicken/ducks are in and keep them separate forever. We have so far been able to re-educate everyone. Only with Annabelle I would never leave her alone with them.
    One dog we had we actually taught her to put the chickens away. Her prey drive is really full on. She will sometimes just put them all away and stay outside the pen. We use her to put them away every night. So now if the prey drive gets too much for her, she just puts them away. She has learned to control her urge. I still think overall it is best no to leave the two unsupervised, if they have the prey/chase already happening, even when it can be controlled......Good luck
    Pets are forever

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lala View Post
    I dotn think that "taste of blood" thing is true at all.

    I can't help you with advice except to give an example of a similar situation.

    Lennox (a boxer/staffy x I used to own) killed a kitten we had when he was about 18 months old. I was horrified and couldn't look at him either. I even found a new home for him, though didn't go through with it. Anyway, a couple of years later I got another cat. I spent months and months introducing the dog and cat. First through the sliding door. Then with a tiny gap. Then the dog on lead and cat beign held...and so on and so on.

    After about 4 or 5 months I just left em too it. We had 3 cats after that and he never even snarled at any of them. Also, when one of them had kittens, she used to take the kittens out to lie with the dog while she fed them and he would lie there with his "family" LOL

    I dont know if with chickens its different, but just thought I would show you, just becaue they kill once doesnt mean they have to always

    I think that was exceptionally lucky.

    I don't think it's about getting a 'taste for blood' but that killing the chicken would have been a very rewarding experience for the dog and would have reinforced to her that killing chickens is a good way to get drive satisfaction. IMO I would guess this dog is very likely to kill or try to kill the chickens again unless the right training is undertaken and soon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    I agree with smeagle.

    This dog has found chasing chooks huge fun, and then killing and eating one even more fun. So she has been very rewarded for doing this thing. She will try to do it again every chance she gets from now on. It's not really got to do with the "taste of blood". Just chasing them was enough fun and reward -the food was a massive bonus for her though.

    I am not sure that the dog cannot get in with the chooks. She may have made the hole the chook got out of, and with a little bit more work - she would be able to get in.

    Ideally you train the dog to leave the chickens alone before she learns how much fun chasing them is. When my dog showed an interest in my brother's chooks, she went straight on lead and I took her away from the chooks and rewarded calm behaviour and attention on me. This teaches her what is and isn't acceptable.

    Any time my dog chases anything or shows an interest (if I'm quick enough) in chasing or doesn't respond to me calling her, she goes on lead. Otherwise she learns that chasing things without permission ("go play", Roundemup") is ok and blowing me off when I call is ok.

    I suspect given how much reward your dog has had with the chooks that re-training her would be extremely difficult. As part of the training you cannot let her off lead near chooks - including your neighbours chooks. You should make your side of the fence dig proof too. It may take months and years of total abstinence for your dog to get the idea that chasing and eating chooks is not fun for dogs.

  7. #7

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    thanks guys.
    Now the initial horror has gone and I can look at her again i am able to think clearly.... She has alway shown interest in the chickens and we have always been on the ball with her while we are around, the problem came when we werent home though. i guess the chicken got out.... and that damn chicken was a pain in the bum, always escaping even with high fencing and a clipped wing......and she thought yay lets play.....
    We are again raising the fences ... from 1.2 to just over 2m....and fencing the vegi garden around it, so hopefully if they do get out again and we arent home they stay in there and she wont be able to get anywhere near the pen....
    Thanks newfsie that is pre well what hubby had wanted to do, and had been doing since she first showed an interest in them.
    I will have a chat to our instructor tomorrow night as well......

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by lillylovely View Post
    thanks guys.
    Now the initial horror has gone and I can look at her again i am able to think clearly.... She has alway shown interest in the chickens and we have always been on the ball with her while we are around, the problem came when we werent home though. i guess the chicken got out.... and that damn chicken was a pain in the bum, always escaping even with high fencing and a clipped wing......and she thought yay lets play.....
    We are again raising the fences ... from 1.2 to just over 2m....and fencing the vegi garden around it, so hopefully if they do get out again and we arent home they stay in there and she wont be able to get anywhere near the pen....
    Thanks newfsie that is pre well what hubby had wanted to do, and had been doing since she first showed an interest in them.
    Containing the chickens more securely may prevent them from getting out but your dog has clearly shown she needs an outlet for her drive, if she doesn't get this, she will look for other ways to satisfy her drive and I can guarantee you will not like them.

    I will have a chat to our instructor tomorrow night as well......
    Not bagging out instructors (I am one) but very few obedience club instructors would have a clue about how to help you properly in this situation (even if they think they might).

  9. #9

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    So are you going to suggest something or just have a go????

    If it was any other club I would agree ( and i attend 2 obiedience clubs) but the lady in question is very very good, and if she has nothing to offer i will contact another who i am sure will be able to help.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lillylovely View Post
    So are you going to suggest something or just have a go????

    If it was any other club I would agree ( and i attend 2 obiedience clubs) but the lady in question is very very good, and if she has nothing to offer i will contact another who i am sure will be able to help.
    Are you serious? I wasn't having a go, I already gave my suggest in my initial posts. I think this is definitely something you need a behaviourist with experience working with prey driven dogs to help you with.

    Geez Louise, sensitive much?

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