They may be noisy and give the bottom of the yard a somewhat interesting smell, but your chickens are more than worth it when you’re tucking into your own, fresh eggs. Only problem is, your chickens are on the menu for a lot of nearby predators, and you’ve had more than one morning where you’ve trotted down to their coop to find one missing. What you need is an effective way of protecting them. That’s where your dog comes in. He spends much of his time lazing around anyway, so why not put him to good use?
Training him to protect the chickens will not only keep them alive and safe, but it could also make training him to protect other things easier too, such as your home. Not to mention that training of this sort means he’ll be less likely to attack the chickens himself.
Training your dog to guard chickens won’t necessarily be straightforward. You’ll need to use strict obedience training him to get him well-trained and following orders. You’ll also need to find ways to keep him motivated. Mouth-watering food and his favorite toys should do the job. You’ll also need to make the chickens feel part of his territory and therefore his responsibility to keep safe. If he’s a puppy, he should be eager to please and training may take just a couple of weeks. If he’s older and has spent more time chasing chickens than protecting them in the past, then you may need up to six weeks before you see consistent results.
Training him to protect the chickens will be invaluable. You’ll no longer have to go to sleep at night worrying about every sound you hear coming from the window. The strict level of control you’ll assert over your dog will also help you reign in other canine behaviors you’re not so keen on.
Before you get to work, you need to get up and collect a few things. You’ll need a long and secure leash for one of the training methods. Tasty treats or his favorite food broken into small pieces will also be required.
If you usually train with a clicker then having one of those on you will help reinforce the desired behavior. Set aside up to 15 minutes each day for training, at a time where you both won’t be distracted.
Once you’ve got all of that, you’re ready to get to work!