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Dog `vs' Chicks
May 21, 2013
9:49 am
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starcatcher
Montana
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I have a male Catahoula dog, who is about 8 years old, got into my hen yard and killed two of my chicks yesterdayno. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can correct this problem with him? I am not going to kill him as that is out of the question. And yes, we did fixed the problem are in the fence.  

Thanks,

May 21, 2013
10:20 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Oh my, I can’t imagine anyone here suggesting such a drastic thing Starcatcher!!   Does the dog tolerate other animals well?  Cats, other dogs, livestock?  Is the dog well leash trained?  Does it normally listen well?  If he tolerates your other animals and even children well, I’d say getting him used to the chicks while on a leash, correcting him at any hint of wanting to ‘chase’ and reprimanding with whatever is appropriate for him is a start. 

Don’t let him near the pen unless under close supervision, and watch his ears and attitude for his cues and stop him from even considering it. 

We’ve always had dogs of some sort or another and the only one who could never be trusted with the chickens was a Pomeranian who just went off the deep end!

Once they knew the chickens were “ours” and that we protected them (from the dogs too), they became protective of the chickens too.  I don’t know a lot about that breed, but I know they’re used for hunting so this may be a little difficult, but not impossible.

Letting him see you holding a chick protectively, telling him no sternly if he is considering them flappy squeeky toys, firm control and monitoring him closely.

You may have to pen the chickens in heavier fencing, chicken wire is for keeping chickens IN, not keeping predators OUT.  There aren’t many predators out there that can’t break into chicken wire.  If the dog learns to see chickens as your property that needs to be protected, not as a ‘hunting dog’ (predator) might, he can no doubt protect them from other predators though.

Located in N.E. Ohio

May 21, 2013
10:41 am
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starcatcher
Montana
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Thank you so much for your response. Yes he is great with other animals: dogs, cats, horses, sheep, pigs, cows, etc. He is leash trained and he listens to me extremely well. In fact when we go out, he can be off least because he stays right by my side. I have never had any problems with him except that he likes to sneak in kisses when you least expect it.

I love your suggestion of putting him on a leash while he gets use to the chicks. I am going to implement that immediately. Right now, I am sending him away from the coop anytime he glances at it. (Cesar Millan might even be impressed), but I really need them to be able to co-exist whith the chickens if possible.

You would be surprised at how many people have already told me that I have to “put him down”, because, “once they kill, they will always kill”. I appreciate the concern that others have, but I just don’t believe my dog is now a “killer”. He just needs to learn how to behave (or not behave) around chicks & chickens.

Thanks for your quick and helpful response.

May 21, 2013
12:32 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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There are times that a dog cannot be corrected, but then to me the answer is to keep them apart, not kill the dog.  I suppose the only exception I would see is in the case of an uncontrolled neighbor’s dog who is loose and breaks into the coop or pen etc.  Part of the issue (as with that Pomeranian I talked about) is that chickens flap and squawk and make very interesting “toys” and dogs really can get into a frenzy where they will just want to kill everything that is there.

If a neighbor insists on not controlling their dog or working with you on the problem, and it gets on your property, that’s a hard thing to deal with. In our township/county, if a dog is loose and harassing livestock or poultry, it is legal to shoot them.  Now, I may or may not go that far but I do believe in protecting animals I have, so I might consider it if I’d exhausted all other options.  A dog that you can work with and control, and if need be keep separate from the hens should be workable, or else you can build a Fort Knox pen for them. 

Since we live in farm country though, and people recognize that they need to control their dogs or they ‘could’ get shot, and even though most farmers would rather not do it, if it’s a choice between some dog and your stock, well…  Since it’s your dog and he sounds smart and workable, I bet it will work out.

Located in N.E. Ohio

May 22, 2013
8:58 am
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starcatcher
Montana
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Every time he had to go outside yesterday, I went with him. He was off leash, but I had to redirect away from the coop and out to the yard, about half the time. His entire demeanor has changed since Monday though. He is more reserved and he has a look like I am going to hit him. I have no idea what that is about other that we adapted him in ’06 from a dog pound so perhaps his previous owners disciplined him that way.

I do know that he is going to require as much attention as I can give him over the next few weeks. I don’t know why I actually thought I could easily pull off 6 chickens & 4 dogs in a small suburban yard, but now that I created it, I have to deal with it.

Thanks again for your help.

May 22, 2013
11:16 am
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Squeegees Mom
South Texas
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I don’t know what size of yard you have, nor your exercise routine for your dog, but could his misbehaving be due to boredom? Catahula’s need a lot of exercise/stimulation or they can get mischievious/destructive. Have you adopted another dog recently that might be challenging his position in his pack? That could cause his  aggression to manifest elsewhere. Since he was adopted from a shelter, I am assuming he is neutered, if he isn’t, that could help.

There as so many variables that cause an animal to act differently. Usually it is a change in the animal’s perceived environment. (new home, new pack member, new chickens, family member going to work after being home for a while. Etc.)

BuckeyeGirl has good suggestions. Definitely watch him carefully around the chickens. But also try to look at it from the dog’s perspective. Has anything changed. If it has, how can you minimize the trauma of the change?

I wish you sucess! Other than this mistake, he sounds like a good friend and just needs your help.

 

 

May 22, 2013
1:49 pm
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starcatcher
Montana
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Thank you for taking the time to write a reply Squeegees Mom, I really appreciate it.

No nothing has changed except for the chicks and we have never had a mischievous or destructive behavior problem with him. He is really one cool cat, pardon the pun. For some reason he is just enamored with the chicks.

My husband and I have been rehabilitating adapted dogs for 16 years now and this is the first one who has ever caught us off guard. It really has to be his instinctive hunting nature that just kicked in. Although we hike the Rockies often and he has never chased birds, ground squirrels, deer or any other critter. So we are on unfamiliar ground.

I think it is just going to take time, but by following Buckeye Girl’s advice we are setting boundaries that he is slowly coming around to. 

May 22, 2013
2:59 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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If he’s as smart as he sounds, he’s probably reading that you’re worried and not quite trusting him, and trying to figure out these strange new rules!  My current dog is an Australian Shepherd and he’s smart enough that I swear I can see his wheels turning sometimes!  He’s just fine with the chickens other than enjoying racing through the flock now and then to send them squawking for the fun of it, he’s fine with it and never truly chases them. Just kicks up a ruckus now and then!

If he’s got plans on slipping away to “visit” the neighbors chihuahuas, he gets that furtive sneaky look to him, which makes it easy for me to divert him with a toy he likes as a distraction and a cheery thing to focus on instead of the guilty pleasure of heading to the neighbors.  It usually only takes a few throws and some praise and loving to give him a change of attitude as well as keeping him home.  I have a special toy for those times, he loves it but doesn’t get to keep it otherwise because he’s destroyed several just like it already.  It’s just his throwing toy for when I’m with him in the yard.

Located in N.E. Ohio

May 22, 2013
3:03 pm
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Squeegees Mom
South Texas
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Wishing you success. Taking on a dog from a shelter is never a sure thing, but think how many beautiful animals do not get the second chance. Thanks for being givers of second chances for so many years.

May 23, 2013
9:28 am
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starcatcher
Montana
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This morning I woke up to about 4 inches of snow and I did not fell like going outside to babysit the dog. Since the chickens were still locked up in the hen house, I let Pantera go outside by himself. A few moments later I changed my mind so grabbed my camera and headed out the back door to snap some pictures of the newly fallen spring melancholy. Much to my surprise the dog was in the garage. Curiously I went out and looked for his footprints in the snow and they lead right past the hen house and headed directly for the back yard where he did his business and he came straight back inside the garage. No hesitation at the hen house at all. Whew! What a relief. May be this is not going to be so hard after all. 

May 23, 2013
3:38 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Sounds like great progress!  Hopefully he’s getting the idea. 

Located in N.E. Ohio

May 23, 2013
5:06 pm
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justdeborah2002
ottawa ON
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Starcatcher, you named your dog Pantera?  Please please please tell me it’s after the band.  That would totally make my day.

queen of make it fit

May 24, 2013
11:22 am
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starcatcher
Montana
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Yup. He was a birthday present for my oldest son years ago and Pantera was his favorite band at the time. Plus the dog is black with dark brown patches like a Pantera (panther). It all fit together.

May 24, 2013
4:08 pm
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justdeborah2002
ottawa ON
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That is fabulous!  Pantera isn’t my favourite band, but I do like their music, and their personas, very much.  
I love when animals are given great, distinctive names. 

queen of make it fit

May 24, 2013
5:20 pm
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starcatcher
Montana
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May 25, 2013
11:28 am
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rileysmom
Rural Montana
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Hi starcatcher!   You got snow?!  What elevation are you?  We’re only 3200, so we got 2 inches of rain last Sunday!  We needed it desperately!

A friend trained her Border Collie to stay away from the chickens with 1 poke with the cattle prod.

Nor sure if would be something you’re willing to try.

May 25, 2013
5:35 pm
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starcatcher
Montana
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Hi Rileysmom, we are at 4500 feet. The snow was really good for the ground, but I wish we had your rain. There is just something about snow in May that brings on the blues.

I love the cattle prod idea because we were having problems with him again today. It’s weird, he was good and listened to me for several days then today he acts as if I am not even there. My husband and I have been talking about a remote control collar, but I like the cattle prod idea just as well. Plus I can get the cattle prod right here in town, the collar I would have to order. Thanks for the tip.

May 26, 2013
1:58 pm
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rileysmom
Rural Montana
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Hi starcatcher!  Well, I’m not gonna be picky about moisture after last summer…..we were coming home last night and there was lightening.  I did not sleep very well last night; I kept looking out for the “glow.” 

I know those collars can be pricy…..and the cattle prod works well on a number of “intruders!”

Hope your having a great holiday weekend!

June 3, 2013
4:16 pm
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Wm.Mike
Banty
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Watch out using the cattle prod, you do not want the dog to associate you with the shock. I have a Rowandin ridgeback pitbull mix that love to grab the chickens. She is high energy and high prey drive but she has never killed one just rufs them up. I currently have two roosters with no tail feathersdevil-with-fire I use a coller one her and she doesn’t know where the shock comes from. she looks around but nothing is there.

 

Mike

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