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Problems with my dog

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I got my first chickens today. We've got 4 and they're absolutely lovely. I was so excited but now I'm really worried because my dog has been going mad at them.


She's a 2 year old Jack Russell and is really lovely natured. She is constantly barking at them in a horrible tone. I've never heard her like that before. She was trying to bite the wire of their pen and get at them.


I tried putting her on a lead and giving her lots pf praise and treats when she was calm but as soon as we go inside and come back outside, she starts all over again.


Has anyone else had a problem like this? Can anyone suggest something to help? If it carrys on, I will have to fence them off.


My neighbour has got chickens in a pen and my dog was never like this with them. They pecked her nose and she soon got the message. Maybe I was naive but I had visions of them happily scratching around free range, whilst the dog wasn't fussed.


I'd really appreciate some suggestions.

Many thanks : )

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probably a territorial thing with your dog....they have invaded her turf.


MIL has a JR and when we dog sit we cannot have her outside at all with the chooks as all she does is yap.


Unless you want to keep perservering with the lead introductions/lots of treats idea I think fencing them off would be your solution.


Mind you it would have to be a good fence as you will probably know JR'S are great diggers :)

Just the natural terrier instinct I suppose!

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probably a territorial thing with your dog....they have invaded her turf!


My Sealyham terrier displays signs of jealousy whenever I am talking to the chickens or giving them treats. I think that he will eventually accept (and ignore) them being on his territory, when he realises that his status has not suffered. If the treat I am giving to the hens is something he can eat, too, like sweetcorn, I give him some first (top dogs eat first); and I try to remember to say "good dog" to him every time I say "good girl" to the hens. When he paws at the mesh around their run or growls at them, I make it clear that this is unacceptable. I'll persevere with this patiently for as long as it takes for him to see them as no threat to his position in the household.

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Hi, my terrier was very excited when the chickens arrived and he calmed down considerably after a few days when he realised they were here to stay. I had him on a halti style head collar and gave it a good yank with the lead when he was overexcited. If your dog is going for the pen then I would think about using a water pistol which I think is a very effective tool for aversion therapy with dogs. I suppose you would need a good aim to avoid getting the chickens :)


I really wouldn't worry too much at this stage, I'm sure she will calm down significantly after 2 or 3 days.

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sorry - no advice, but watching this thread for answers as we've just adopted an 18 month old Border collie who's spent the day chasing my hens :?


Not in a nasty way - more in a chasey way....


Would like to train her to round them up.... :lol: anyone ever done this ?

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I would recommend trying a water gun, my Spaniels were terrible when we first got chooks and taking them out into the garden on leads had no effect whatsoever.


It was particulary for Dylan a territory issue - he doesn't even like coming across a hedgehog in the garden at night :roll:


After about a week of trying the lead method we brought a supersoaker, let the dogs out , they raced over to the run, fired the water at them about three times and they left them alone, you have to make sure when firing the water it will be a shock - we also shouted 'water' (now by using that command I can stop him barking at the gate :D )


For the next week or so the water gun was left by the door, and just the threat of holding it as they went out did the trick.

Six months on they can all free range in the garden together. :D


There is the occasional 'herding' but the chooks are now more confident of standing up for themselves and the noise they make puts my two off - together with a stern shout from us :D



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Thank you for the advice. It's reassuring to hear that she should settle down in a few days. I think I will invest in a water pistol.


I took her out this morning and she was better than yesterday but there's still a long way to go i think.


Great Forum by the way! Excellent for a total novice like me! I'm really looking forward to enjoying my little flock and can't wait for the first egg! I even had a dream about it last night!!! (How sad!)


Thanks again :D

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Found this on another forum... wondered if it might help ?


We have a new puppy (Molly who’s a Brittany, 6 mon.) who is starting chicken training. I hope to periodically update you all as to the progress.


We only have three chickens and duck, but will be expanding. We had more birds but the fox and bobcat relieved us of them. The birds are strictly for home use and the birds are free range.


We have four dogs (2 Labs, 1 Retriever mix, 1 Great Pyrenees), all of whom are good with the birds. We got the Pyr as a puppy and it is her training that we are using as a model for the new puppy. The other dogs we got at a much older age. We never had a problem with them, but they are pretty obedient.


Our training method is similar to how a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) is trained. The difference is we are training to guard chickens not sheep. So, the demands of this training are a bit easier. All we need the dogs to do is guard a fenced area and to not eat or chase the chickens. Simple right?


Well, as one might imagine, puppies like to chase feathery objects that make interesting sounds, run, flap wings and fly a mere three feet off the ground; what fun. A key factor in the training is to break the association of chicken with fun. It is a sort of socialization process. Here’s how it goes:


Level 1

1. Once house broken, the puppy sleeps in a crate in the chicken coop.

2. The puppy eats meals near the chickens. We do this by feeding the dog next to the chicken coop with the birds near.

3. Chicken chores are done with the puppy tethered to you.

4. No playing is allowed. All other dogs or playmates (children, etc) are not allowed in the area when the puppy is “working” with the chickens.

5. The puppy is not allowed to chase the chickens. Any attempts are corrected with a snap of the leash and a bark-like “NO”.

6. Closely watched bird introductions are done. With the puppy on a leash, we hold a bird and allow the puppy to calmly sniff the bird. Excited attempts to “play” with the bird are reprimanded. We are trying to desensitize the dog to the birds, so this is done a several times.


Once Level 1 is working well – this can take a few weeks - we move to Level 2:


Level 2

Most of Level 1 still applies, except now we try some limited “off leash” interaction with the puppy and birds. All contact must be closely supervised. It is important that the dog is responding to your commands to not pursue the birds. Commands like “NO” and “Leave It” should be understood by the dog. We believe obedience from the dog is the critical factor.


If a chase does begin, one technique used to show your disapproval is to bark a “NO”, take the dog by the scruff of the neck and roll the dog on its side, now glare at the dog. This is similar to how an adult dog reprimands a puppy. As you might notice, for this to work you must be close and watchful of the dog.


Level 2 progresses with more time with the dog with the birds. The goal is for the dog to ignore the birds. No stalking, no excited lunges as birds dart around or fly to a roost, no staring imagining how tasty they might be, nothing. By the end, the dog shouldn’t even look at the birds and it she does she should be reprimanded, LEAVE IT!


So, that’s it. That’s the plan. I think if one can train their dogs along these lines, the dogs can be expect to behave whether the birds are fenced off or free range with the dogs.


How did we do? Well, Fluffy, our Great Pyrenees puppy is now 2.5 years old. Our chickens run free with the four dogs in a fenced in acre of yard. At some point after our little program, she apparently attacked a chicken. We expressed our displeasure. After which we have never had a problem. As testament to the breed, we have never had a predator loss with Fluffy on guard duty. She barks a bit, but keeps the fox and bobcat away. It is not as if she watches over the chickens, but they happen to be in her territory which she keeps rather secure. The Labs on the other hand have been rather useless in guarding the flock.


We have had the new puppy Molly for two weeks and she is already into Level 2 with our first off leash session today. She has improved greatly. Molly assisted me with letting the girls in for the night. We had some following of the duck into the coop and some nervous chickens, but no all out chasing of the birds. We hope this good progress will continue.

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I was really worried about my daughters Jack Russell X who is about ten months old now. Since I had the chooks last October I made a special effort to keepher away from the chickens when they visited. A couple of weeks ago the dog managed to breech the barricades and got over the wall to the grass area when the chooks were free ranging. We didn't immediately realise she was in there and when we did we found the dog in the eglu run and the chooks ourside looking at her. The dog was scared to come out and since then she has given the chooks a wide berth and seems frightened to death of them.


I think she must have tried to chase them and ended up on the receiving end of some pecks. The chooks can certainly stand up for themselves. At least I don't have to worry about trying to keep the dog out of the garden now, she doesn't want to go anywhere near the chooks now.


Glad to say that my own two elderly westies and my three cats all get along fine with the chooks.


I'm sure if you persevere, eventually your dog will accept the chickens.


Good luck.

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Well, it was my dog and not me who noticed that something had been trying to get through the wire mesh into the chicken run.


This afternoon, he started to whimper and scrabble at one corner of the run and when I looked, there, right down at ground level, something had chewed through one side of a mesh square and bent together a couple of the squares above it. A rat, I guess. I am not sure if it got into the run (the floor of the run is covered in house bricks, and I will be putting paving slabs over them when I have time to organise this. But when I put the hens to bed, I took the grub indoors this time.

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