We have a 3 year old shepherd cross with a lot of energy. We've had her and chickens for a month. The chickens have a coop and fenced in area. Sometimes the dog charges at the fences but it hasn't fazed the chickens once. We are considering guinea for the summer and will let the adults free range during the day then go to a coop for the night. Would the guinea likely fly away from the dog or fight him when they are awake? She would not be off leash at night when they are roosting. Thanks for any info.
I think you need to train your dog to get along with the Chickens/Guineas, The Guineas are fast and maybe able to get a way from teh dog most of the time, but I would not count on that, at some point the dog will win and the Guineas and CHickens will be so stressed trying to stay away from your dog.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 6 years ago
Hopefully, the dog will put 2 and 2 together and realize that the ticks vanished once the Guineas arrived.
For that, she should be thankful.
Now, just get her a good set of ear muffs so that their constant chattering doesn't drive her up the wall. LOL
This could end badly, or you could end up with a better dog for it. Can you put in a little time?
Get some sort of yummy that will light up your dog even in small quantities. If your dog is a super pig, maybe her kibble will work (one piece at a time), or if she is not at all food motivated, a ball toss may work better. Best of all is a mix of rewards, so the dog isn't sure what she'll get. You need to be able to dole out at least 30 rewards in a short training session, so entire Milk Bones are NOT what we're talking about.
First order of business is to reward her for looking at you instead of the chickens. You may be able to start right outside the chicken run, or you may have to start 30 feet away, depending on how worked up the birds make her. You might start by saying "here" or her name, but the goal is to have her choose to look at your face instead of staring at the chickens. You keep your criteria low to start--any quick glance at you and you say "good!" or "yes!" and hand over a treat. (Yes this is operant conditioning and is often best performed with a clicker, but you don't have to have a clicker if your goals aren't too lofty.) Over time and repetitions you require that she hold your gaze a little longer before you say "good!" and hand over a treat.
If you've worked this a couple of days in a row (patience, grasshopper--laying a strong foundation will lead to more reliable results) and you now have a dog that sees you standing there and just stares at you non-stop despite the fascinating feathered squeak toys near by, you could start asking for more. Ask her to sit, or lie down, or whatever thing she's learned to do for you. Please know that dog learning is highly site-specific, and the first time they hear a command/cue that they do perfectly in the house in some new location they are not likely to offer the right behavior promptly. (What I've seen over and over is a dog slowly complying, with a look on his face like "this couldn't possibly work in the back yard. . . wait! it does?? Cool!") Anyway, if you work her usual tricks over and over in the presence of the hens it will help her "get over" them.
The rushing the fence thing needs to stop, although it sounds like you have some very cool hens if they aren't squawking and flapping in response to that. Hens are so very very tempting for dogs. They really act like giant squeaky toys. Still, there is hope. My dog Java had a hen in her mouth within 2 seconds of gaining access to some (she snuck into the coop as I turned to get a handful of scratch grains) but she dropped the hen when I yelled at her. I think the fact that I just about NEVER yelled at her helped with that, also, we had worked on "drop it" as a cue. A few weeks later, she broke into the run, and was repelled by the rooster. After that, I put some energy into letting her know these were MY chickens, and she never tried to break in again. A couple of years after that, at a new house, she became a first rate chicken guardian dog. She took ownership of the flock. They could free range right in front of her and she never touched them. I didn't know how much she'd been doing until we lost 5 hens over 3 nights a year after she died.