Does your dog chase your chickens? Has he managed to slim down your flock of chickens or, worse yet, your neighbor’s flock? While dogs are predatory by nature for survival, this trait is not a behavior that most of us want to see in our dogs. One thing that many people fail to consider when they choose a particular breed to add to their family is that some breeds are more predatory than others and some were bred specifically to hunt certain animals.
While you cannot take away your dog's inherent desire to hunt and kill, with the right training, you can teach him to stick to eating out of his bowl and maybe just hanging out with the chickens. You never know, they might even let him become an honorary flock member. With training like this, the sooner you start the easier it will be to train your pup to behave.
What you are likely to need to train your dog not to kill chickens will to a certain extent depend on the training method. However, you will need plenty of your dog's favorite treats, a leash, and tons of patience. Remember, you are trying to train your dog not to do something that is among his basest instincts, the desire to survive.
While it would be nice to train your dog not to kill chickens in a quiet atmosphere, most of his training is going to take place around your flock of noisy chickens. However, you do need to keep others (like the kids) away while you are working with your pup as they might prove to be too much of a distraction. No matter which command you will be using to train your dog to leave the chickens alone, be sure to use a firm "no nonsense" voice so that your dog knows you mean business.
I know he is killing my chickens but never see him do it or act aggressive toward them.
Hello Sharon, I suggest teaching him a strong avoidance so that he doesn't go near them to begin with. Check out the YouTube channel that I have linked below. That trainer works with clients who are dealing with livestock chasing and killing behaviors. The training that he uses for sheep and cattle can also be applied to chickens as long as your dog has enough space to choose to avoid the chickens, opposed to be confined in the same house with them indoors like other small pets. Day 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNbWCK9lFc Day 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpf5Bn-MNko&t=14s Day 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj3nMvvHhwQ Day 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxrGQ-AZylY Find a trainer who is very experienced with e-collar training and can teach the type of training found in those videos. In addition to doing what's called "Working level" training, which is when you use e-collars on the lowest level required to elicit a small response from your dog, such as a scratch or indication of feeling something annoying, and teaching the dog through repetition to get away from something, you will also later need to do what's called "Act of god" training, which is when a higher stimulation is given while no one is present, so that the dog thinks that the stimulation came directly from being close to the chickens and not a person. You train avoidance on a lower level first so that the dog understands that he should leave the chickens around, then when you use a higher stimulation later when you are not present, the dog understands what the correct is for and should learn that the correction will be given whether you are present or not. The higher correction is often needed for killing behaviors but if you do the lower corrections while first teaching this, you will be able to do very few higher corrections because the dog will understand the lesson. That makes the training more gentle and fair to the dog in the long run and also more effective. E-collars are powerful, potentially dangerous tools if not used correctly. They can also be extremely effective and more gentle than other methods if you know what you are doing with them. That is why I highly recommend getting a trainer to teach you in person how to do it effectively and safely. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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