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How to cure a chicken-killing dog?

 
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Has anyone managed to cure a chicken-killing female Heeler with the old trick of tying a dead chicken around her neck for a few days, letting it rot?

My grandpa said this worked for him.  I wish he were still here for advice. My dad eschewed all of Grandpa's country wisdom and became a city boy, so no good advice.

We have shock collars, but saw this particular action too late for it to be of use. After an evil deed is done, I won't discipline a dog other than scolding.
 
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Not a heeler.. but when I first got my pigs, my female Caucasian Shepherd got so excited that she broke into their pen and killed three chickens that I had free ranging with them. So I wired all three birds to her collar. She ate the carcasses over the next few days, until she had a necklace fit for a witch doctor.. just chicken feet. I wish I had a picture. Can’t say it “cured” her, but she hasn’t killed any chickens since.. ?
 
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What I have done is I tie up the dog on the outside of a secure chicken coop for a couple days. This way the dog gets used to being with the chickens while keeping them safe.
 
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About five weeks ago I took one of my dogs for a walk which we do regularly. One of her favorite parts of the walks is to go running and splashing into a shallow stream when I have her off-leash in the park (she is very well trained and has an instant recall, otherwise I would not let her off the leash in public). This particular day she must have stepped on something while in the stream that caused her a lot of pain on one of her paws. She yelped and kept on verbalizing her discomfort despite normally being a very quiet dog, and immediately came out of the stream. I checked her leg and paw thoroughly, but could not find the source of what caused her the pain. She stopped limping about a minute later and we continued on with the walk. Since that occurrence, she has not gone back into the stream on her own. I have to coax her a few times before she does so, and then only reluctantly. Just that one negative experience has caused her to no longer want to do something that she has enjoyed for over 7 years, since she was a puppy. She LOVED that part of the walk. Not anymore.
My point is that if it was my dog that was going after chickens, I would put a shock collar on her in a way that she does not realize it is being put on, let her run around with it for while so she makes no association with me putting something on her, then set her up with the chickens. Once she starts to go after one, I would immediately shock her with the highest level possible. I cannot imagine that it would take more than 2 shocks, 3 at the most, before she makes the association that going after the chickens is going to cause her strong discomfort, and she will leave them alone thereafter. It is how they also keep dogs from going after rattle snakes. Aversion therapy can literally save dogs' lives, or keep them in their current homes., whatever the case may be. It's worth the time to set the dog up, and worth the bit of discomfort for the dog for that short time, IMO.
It is important to have a quality shock collar for such a lesson. The timing of the shock matters a lot for the dog to understand quickly. I have heard that some of the cheaper collars can have a slight delay which can be confusing to a dog.
 
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I have never had a Heeler, so I don't have any experience there, but we do have guard dogs that have struggled with this. Tying the chicken to their neck did NOT work. Granted, we had two of them, so they ate the chicken off the others neck, but it just fueled their fighting (the two dogs in specific were in a really bad fighting phase) and did absolutely nothing about them killing chickens. We ended up taking the chickens out of their pen, but here's what we do to help desensitize our dogs (both LGD and house dogs). Bring them in the vicinity of a chickens, or chicks, and stand there watching their behavior. As they interact with the poultry, their body language indicates whether or not you need to correct them. If the dog is sitting or laying comfortably, ears relaxed, and body language sleepy or uninterested, then you don't have to do anything. If they perk up and zero in on one, their ears perking, and their body tensing or shaking, you have to correct them. When we got guardian dogs, we learned that your voice and body language does a lot in regards to teaching them correct behavior. No matter what you say to correct them, if you do it in a sweet tone of voice, and a casual stance, they won't think it's a punishment. When you correct them, do it right then, as soon as it happens (or as soon afterwards as possible, but if you wait too long, they won't connect the correction to the killing), and match your tone of voice to the sound of a dog growling: Heavy and rumbling, and make your body language match the tone of voice (stiff and alert). Hitting them won't work, all it'll do is make them scared of you. This will sound really cheesy, and I know it sounds like that, but when you're correcting a dog, you have to act like you're a dog. Speak their language.
Notice the difference between the dogs in these two pictures. Chester is relaxed and unconcerned. He's standing, but his body language is still different then Ann's. His ears are relaxed, his tail is down, and his body is loose. Now look at Ann. Her posture is upright and alert. Her ears are perked, and her tail is up. A lot of teaching dogs correct behavior comes from catching them before it happens, otherwise they still find out it's tasty. So take her in with the chickens, and watch her behavior. If she does well, praise her. If you notice ANY zeroing in, correct her. It will take some time and effort, but if she's smart (and if she trains anything like an LGD), then she'll learn.
Chester.JPG
Relaxed and unconcerned
Relaxed and unconcerned
Ann.JPG
Alert and tense
Alert and tense
 
Elena Sparks
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Annie Collins wrote:
My point is that if it was my dog that was going after chickens, I would put a shock collar on her in a way that she does not realize it is being put on, let her run around with it for while so she makes no association with me putting something on her, then set her up with the chickens. Once she starts to go after one, I would immediately shock her with the highest level possible. I cannot imagine that it would take more than 2 shocks, 3 at the most, before she makes the association that going after the chickens is going to cause her strong discomfort, and she will leave them alone thereafter. It is how they also keep dogs from going after rattle snakes. Aversion therapy can literally save dogs' lives, or keep them in their current homes., whatever the case may be. It's worth the time to set the dog up, and worth the bit of discomfort for the dog for that short time, IMO.
It is important to have a quality shock collar for such a lesson. The timing of the shock matters a lot for the dog to understand quickly. I have heard that some of the cheaper collars can have a slight delay which can be confusing to a dog.


This is a really great point, and definitely worth checking out. I haven't personally tried it due to lots of dogs and the collars being super expensive, but it does work well from what I've seen in other's dogs. Which collar do you use?
 
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Elena Sparks wrote:When we got guardian dogs, we learned that your voice and body language does a lot in regards to teaching them correct behavior. No matter what you say to correct them, if you do it in a sweet tone of voice, and a casual stance, they won't think it's a punishment. When you correct them, do it right then, as soon as it happens (or as soon afterwards as possible, but if you wait too long, they won't connect the correction to the killing), and match your tone of voice to the sound of a dog growling: Heavy and rumbling, and make your body language match the tone of voice (stiff and alert). Hitting them won't work, all it'll do is make them scared of you. This will sound really cheesy, and I know it sounds like that, but when you're correcting a dog, you have to act like you're a dog. Speak their language.



This. If you are dealing with LGD’s.. or any dogs, you must be seen as the leader of the pack. Dogs, like people, have differing temperaments and behaviors. Being able to analyze this, and to give each dog what it needs to maintain your status is key. Some dogs are easy, and others nearly incorrigible, so there is no real one size fits all fix for chicken killing or other misbehavior. Having recently been forced to administer a lead cure to a particularly troubled dog (one of the worst gotdammed experiences of my life, that I wouldn’t wish on anyone) I know this all too well..
 
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Elena Sparks wrote: Which collar do you use?



The Dogtra or SportDog are 2 trusted brands. You are right, they are a bit expensive, but worth it. Quality really matters with these.
They also often have them on eBay for a lot less. Just make sure that it's the remote correction collar and not the bark collar which self-corrects and has no remote with it.
I hope it all works out for you and yours!
 
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Most dogs can be trained to not kill livestock, but some dogs can't.  How serious you are about training is often the difference.   This method sounds really mean, but remember, you are trying to save your dog's life.   Trying to find a home for a dog is difficult, and they often will end up in a pound or shelter and could die.   Remember that.

Almost every puppy we get ends up killing a chicken or two before they get trained.  We just lost one to a 5 month old puppy.   You have to supervise when they are young.  

But once a puppy hits 8 or 9 months old, OR is an adult dog, and they have basic commands down pat, the way we train them is to bring them along into the pens with us with a leash on.   Put them under a heel command and take them right in.   Watch the dog intently.

If the dog looks at a chicken too long, give it a sharp verbal reprimand and snap the leash along with a long, harsh glare.   Do it EVERY time.  Don't let them get focused.  Let them know you are serious about this.

If the dog jumps or snaps at a chicken, INSTANTLY pin him down and get right in his face, growling, teeth bared, and let him know that THIS BEHAVIOR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED OR I MAY KILLL YOU WITH MY OWN HANDS!!!    The idea is to do this so suddenly that you scare the crap out of the dog.   (You almost have to scare yourself to do it right)  He HAS to understand that you are not playing, and HIS ACTIONS are the reason for your wrath.   Once he goes limp and averts his eyes away, slowly relax and go back to business as usual.  Keep watching him.  If he starts to focus on the birds again, bark "HEY!" at him, even if he stares for just a second.  Do it again and I usually follow up with a growl of something like, "Did you NOT understand what I just told you?!?", while glaring intently.

If you do it right, you almost never have to pin them down a second time.   They will still be reeling from the first episode, so when you bark and or growl, they will instantly step back in line.  As soon as they are back in line, relax and go back to your normal, happy self.     The CONTRAST must be night and day.

Walk around the pen for about 10 minutes, and then take him back into his house, kennel or crate and give him about 1/2 hour to absorb the lesson.

The next day, do the same thing.  This time, you probably will only need minimal verbal commands, but do what you must if your dog is stubborn.   Don't relent or back down in the slightest.   10 minutes and then allow him 30 mins to absorb the lesson.

By day 3, the dog will probably not focus on the birds, but will be watching you.  He doesn't want to face your wrath again.   Only give him very light praise, as he is NOT doing anything special, but you want him to feel that he is being good and you are happy with him.

By the end of the week, he will be used to the routine, and will completely ignore the livestock.  

After that, the next step is bringing the dog into the pen and putting them into a down-stay command.  Give him praise for holding, and just sit and relax.   If he starts looking at a bird too much, tell him to stop, and he should.   The more the animals walk around him the better.    The dog will figure it out pretty quickly.

Bring the dog in while you feed the livestock and do chores, and watch him, but after awhile, the training will take.  Soon he will totally ignore the birds.

The real kicker is if you have predators come into the coop.    This may sound terrible, but if you can get the dog onto a coon or possum that got into the coop, they will see THEM as the enemy and won't give the chickens a second look after that.  They will go into guard mode and actually protect the chickens after that.    A GOOD place to be.  My male dog patrols the perimeter fence daily.  If a coon or possum comes in, he will find them.   I've also taught him to look out for hawks, and the puppy has even learned that already.  It's pretty cool.
 
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Tony Hillel wrote:Most dogs can be trained to not kill livestock, but some dogs can't.  How serious you are about training is often the difference.   This method sounds really mean, but remember, you are trying to save your dog's life.   Trying to find a home for a dog is difficult, and they often will end up in a pound or shelter and could die.   Remember that.

Almost every puppy we get ends up killing a chicken or two before they get trained.  We just lost one to a 5 month old puppy.   You have to supervise when they are young.  

But once a puppy hits 8 or 9 months old, OR is an adult dog, and they have basic commands down pat, the way we train them is to bring them along into the pens with us with a leash on.   Put them under a heel command and take them right in.   Watch the dog intently.

If the dog looks at a chicken too long, give it a sharp verbal reprimand and snap the leash along with a long, harsh glare.   Do it EVERY time.  Don't let them get focused.  Let them know you are serious about this.

If the dog jumps or snaps at a chicken, INSTANTLY pin him down and get right in his face, growling, teeth bared, and let him know that THIS BEHAVIOR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED OR I MAY KILLL YOU WITH MY OWN HANDS!!!    The idea is to do this so suddenly that you scare the crap out of the dog.   (You almost have to scare yourself to do it right)  He HAS to understand that you are not playing, and HIS ACTIONS are the reason for your wrath.   Once he goes limp and averts his eyes away, slowly relax and go back to business as usual.  Keep watching him.  If he starts to focus on the birds again, bark "HEY!" at him, even if he stares for just a second.  Do it again and I usually follow up with a growl of something like, "Did you NOT understand what I just told you?!?", while glaring intently.

If you do it right, you almost never have to pin them down a second time.   They will still be reeling from the first episode, so when you bark and or growl, they will instantly step back in line.  As soon as they are back in line, relax and go back to your normal, happy self.     The CONTRAST must be night and day.

Walk around the pen for about 10 minutes, and then take him back into his house, kennel or crate and give him about 1/2 hour to absorb the lesson.

The next day, do the same thing.  This time, you probably will only need minimal verbal commands, but do what you must if your dog is stubborn.   Don't relent or back down in the slightest.   10 minutes and then allow him 30 mins to absorb the lesson.

By day 3, the dog will probably not focus on the birds, but will be watching you.  He doesn't want to face your wrath again.   Only give him very light praise, as he is NOT doing anything special, but you want him to feel that he is being good and you are happy with him.

By the end of the week, he will be used to the routine, and will completely ignore the livestock.  

After that, the next step is bringing the dog into the pen and putting them into a down-stay command.  Give him praise for holding, and just sit and relax.   If he starts looking at a bird too much, tell him to stop, and he should.   The more the animals walk around him the better.    The dog will figure it out pretty quickly.

Bring the dog in while you feed the livestock and do chores, and watch him, but after awhile, the training will take.  Soon he will totally ignore the birds.

The real kicker is if you have predators come into the coop.    This may sound terrible, but if you can get the dog onto a coon or possum that got into the coop, they will see THEM as the enemy and won't give the chickens a second look after that.  They will go into guard mode and actually protect the chickens after that.    A GOOD place to be.  My male dog patrols the perimeter fence daily.  If a coon or possum comes in, he will find them.   I've also taught him to look out for hawks, and the puppy has even learned that already.  It's pretty cool.



Very good advice Tony. Our dog killed a chicken 3 weeks ago and since then we are very serious with this. The dog is a 5 months old mastiff, but it is time to teach her right. The chickens are closed, she found a way in and now we have closed that way. So chickens are more or less controlled. But we have ducks patroling the property, cause they are snail patrol, and it forces us to tie the dog all the time as we are afraid of her killing the ducks. I will do this with the dog and the ducks then
 
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Tony Hillel wrote:

If the dog jumps or snaps at a chicken, INSTANTLY pin him down and get right in his face, growling, teeth bared, and let him know that THIS BEHAVIOR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED OR I MAY KILLL YOU WITH MY OWN HANDS!!!    The idea is to do this so suddenly that you scare the crap out of the dog.   (You almost have to scare yourself to do it right)  He HAS to understand that you are not playing, and HIS ACTIONS are the reason for your wrath.   Once he goes limp and averts his eyes away, slowly relax and go back to business as usual.  Keep watching him.  If he starts to focus on the birds again, bark "HEY!" at him, even if he stares for just a second.  Do it again and I usually follow up with a growl of something like, "Did you NOT understand what I just told you?!?", while glaring intently.



Personally, I find all that completely unnecessary and detrimental to your relationship with your dog.  I've trained big, strong, sometimes very stubborn dogs for many years, including professionally for a time.   I have big strong dogs right now of different breeds and all of them are perfectly sound around our 11 cats and 32 chickens.  I never had to do any of that bullying.  

It's very easy to establish yourself as pack leader without trying to scare your dog into submission.  That type of dominance theory was long ago determined to be incorrect and based on faulty information determined by watching packs of wolves that were not family units thrown together into artificial packs.  This type of behavior, pinning the dog, forcing submission, and just generally ruling through terrorizing the rest of the pack is not seen by observing true wolf packs in the wild. John Bradshaw and many others have written pretty extensively on new ideas and discoveries of dog behavior, but for some reason, people think nothing new has been figured out in the last 100 years about dog training and behavior.  

If you want your dog to do something or not do something, just tell it, and show it, what you want.  Establish yourself as pack leader by hand feeding your dog and by walking the dog 45 minutes or so a day, on a leash, until they understand what is expected.  If the dog starts to act overly interested in your animals, just say "nope" and keep walking.  Dogs are far smarter than people give them credit for.  They are easy to train.  People?  Not so much.

Here is my disclaimer.  People that only believe you can train a dog by terrorizing it into submission are not usually open to any other ideas of dog training.  I'm just giving my point of view based on my years of training, breeding, and raising dogs.  I like this way better, and I believe my relationship with my dogs is stronger than that of a person that scares their dog into submission.  There is no question in my, or my dogs', minds as to who the leader is.  I just got to that point through different methods.
 
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There is a definite difference in the way a homesteader or farmer handles dogs and a "pet owner". I've had many dogs over the years, and just about every kind of livestock imaginable, some dogs are more disposed to hunting than others and that can be a factor; but all animals are trainable.

Years ago I had a Catahoula Leopard Dog, he was bound and determined to get into the chicken coop. One day while I was out he ended up chewing through the chicken wire (one reason I switched to welded wire), I had a flock of about 12 hens and a really good BIG rooster in there.

When I got home the hens were safe inside the elevated hen house, the dog was sitting terrified on one end of the enclosure and the rooster was dead on the other end. That rooster had absolutely no feathers, he must have fought to the bitter end. And the dog was still scared of his corpse!

Anyway, I put the dog on a chain as punishment and whooped him for about 3 or 4 minutes with the carcass of my good old rooster.

He never went after a chickens again, now was it the rooster's legendary fighting ability or the whooping? Who knows, I only know he understood implicitly that the chickens were off limits.

Pinning a dog is also a great way to let them know they are out of bounds, and it beats whipping them.

 
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Trace Oswald wrote:Personally, I find all that completely unnecessary and detrimental to your relationship with your dog.  I've trained big, strong, sometimes very stubborn dogs for many years, including professionally for a time.   I have big strong dogs right now of different breeds and all of them are perfectly sound around our 11 cats and 32 chickens.  I never had to do any of that bullying.  

It's very easy to establish yourself as pack leader without trying to scare your dog into submission.  That type of dominance theory was long ago determined to be incorrect and based on faulty information determined by watching packs of wolves that were not family units thrown together into artificial packs.  This type of behavior, pinning the dog, forcing submission, and just generally ruling through terrorizing the rest of the pack is not seen by observing true wolf packs in the wild. John Bradshaw and many others have written pretty extensively on new ideas and discoveries of dog behavior, but for some reason, people think nothing new has been figured out in the last 100 years about dog training and behavior.  

If you want your dog to do something or not do something, just tell it, and show it, what you want.  Establish yourself as pack leader by hand feeding your dog and by walking the dog 45 minutes or so a day, on a leash, until they understand what is expected.  If the dog starts to act overly interested in your animals, just say "nope" and keep walking.  Dogs are far smarter than people give them credit for.  They are easy to train.  People?  Not so much.

Here is my disclaimer.  People that only believe you can train a dog by terrorizing it into submission are not usually open to any other ideas of dog training.  I'm just giving my point of view based on my years of training, breeding, and raising dogs.  I like this way better, and I believe my relationship with my dogs is stronger than that of a person that scares their dog into submission.  There is no question in my, or my dogs', minds as to who the leader is.  I just got to that point through different methods.



Well, Trace, there are a number of ways to train dogs, and being successful very much depends on the dog and the genetics you are working with.    Some dogs are more dominant, and some more submissive.   Some dogs have a strong play drive, while some have a very strong prey drive.    Some dogs, all you have to do is say, NO! and they submit.   But not so with others, particularly hardened working dogs.    The methods you use for a typical Lab do not work well with a typical Akita.    They have different temperaments and instincts.

What you say about feeding and walking the dog is the basic start that should be done with EVERY dog from the beginning.  Pack leadership should be well established, as well as affection between the dog and owner.   In fact, advanced training only works well IF you are a clear leader.   And if there is a shared affection, it's even easier.

You use words like "Bullying" and "terrorizing", but clearly you don't understand the process.   It is not either one, nor is either the goal.  

What the process does is surprise the dog, and makes it clear to the dog that stalking or killing one of the flock will not be allowed or tolerated by the pack leader.    They see an instant change in your demeanor, and that stark contrast is the key.   The dog is not "terrified", but it should be shocked to see your sudden reaction.  They typically make the connection almost instantly.   That's why the dog accepts it so quickly.    And once that mental connection is made, the dog won't do it EVEN WHEN ALONE and out of your control, which is extremely important in a LGD.

Remember, we are talking about dogs with a strong prey drive that have probably already killed and are determined to kill again, not playful house pets.   These are the dogs that will dive into a pack of coyotes and tear up a bunch of them and chase them back into the woods.   Dogs that will kill racoons trying to dig under the fence, and try to snap a hawk out of the sky if they swoop too close to the ground.   Dogs that will fearlessly snarl and snap at a black bear if it gets too close to the fence.  Not some little lap dog.

Have you ever watched a dog pack hierarchy?   The pack leader lets the other dogs know what will and will not be tolerated.   Usually, the leader does not have to fight, but they might, suddenly and viciously, but only if they are truly being challenged.   You are using that instinctual behavior to your advantage.

If you are also a breeder and a trainer, we could go around and around, but I see no point in that.  There are several schools of thought, when it comes to training, and some methods are more or less effective than others in various circumstances.     I have studied numerous methods, and I have 30 years of success under my belt.  I have saved dogs that were "dangerous and untrainable", and my dogs have saved human lives.    And the bond of affection between me and the dogs is very strong and visible, if you have ever seen me with them.    

And THAT is one of the most important points.   If your dog is bonded with you, although it's natural instinct may be to kill, because of that bond and respect for you, it will suppress that desire and focus it on the real enemies.     When you reinforce it with praise and love, it becomes a cemented behavior.   But you MUST show the dog what you will not tolerate clearly.    That is only fair to the dog.

That being said, there are some dogs that do not make good LGD's,      Wolf-hybrids, for instance.   Their prey drive is just too strong.   Those can be very dangerous animals that require very specific handling, quite unlike regular, domesticated dogs.   I started researching them, but decided that I didn't want the liability.  Know your limits, they say.
 
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Tony Hillel wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:Personally, I find all that completely unnecessary and detrimental to your relationship with your dog.  I've trained big, strong, sometimes very stubborn dogs for many years, including professionally for a time.   I have big strong dogs right now of different breeds and all of them are perfectly sound around our 11 cats and 32 chickens.  I never had to do any of that bullying.  

It's very easy to establish yourself as pack leader without trying to scare your dog into submission.  That type of dominance theory was long ago determined to be incorrect and based on faulty information determined by watching packs of wolves that were not family units thrown together into artificial packs.  This type of behavior, pinning the dog, forcing submission, and just generally ruling through terrorizing the rest of the pack is not seen by observing true wolf packs in the wild. John Bradshaw and many others have written pretty extensively on new ideas and discoveries of dog behavior, but for some reason, people think nothing new has been figured out in the last 100 years about dog training and behavior.  

If you want your dog to do something or not do something, just tell it, and show it, what you want.  Establish yourself as pack leader by hand feeding your dog and by walking the dog 45 minutes or so a day, on a leash, until they understand what is expected.  If the dog starts to act overly interested in your animals, just say "nope" and keep walking.  Dogs are far smarter than people give them credit for.  They are easy to train.  People?  Not so much.

Here is my disclaimer.  People that only believe you can train a dog by terrorizing it into submission are not usually open to any other ideas of dog training.  I'm just giving my point of view based on my years of training, breeding, and raising dogs.  I like this way better, and I believe my relationship with my dogs is stronger than that of a person that scares their dog into submission.  There is no question in my, or my dogs', minds as to who the leader is.  I just got to that point through different methods.



Well, Trace, there are a number of ways to train dogs, and being successful very much depends on the dog and the genetics you are working with.    Some dogs are more dominant, and some more submissive.   Some dogs have a strong play drive, while some have a very strong prey drive.    Some dogs, all you have to do is say, NO! and they submit.   But not so with others, particularly hardened working dogs.    The methods you use for a typical Lab do not work well with a typical Akita.    They have different temperaments and instincts.

What you say about feeding and walking the dog is the basic start that should be done with EVERY dog from the beginning.  Pack leadership should be well established, as well as affection between the dog and owner.   In fact, advanced training only works well IF you are a clear leader.   And if there is a shared affection, it's even easier.

You use words like "Bullying" and "terrorizing", but clearly you don't understand the process.   It is not either one, nor is either the goal.  

What the process does is surprise the dog, and makes it clear to the dog that stalking or killing one of the flock will not be allowed or tolerated by the pack leader.    They see an instant change in your demeanor, and that stark contrast is the key.   The dog is not "terrified", but it should be shocked to see your sudden reaction.  They typically make the connection almost instantly.   That's why the dog accepts it so quickly.    And once that mental connection is made, the dog won't do it EVEN WHEN ALONE and out of your control, which is extremely important in a LGD.

Remember, we are talking about dogs with a strong prey drive that have probably already killed and are determined to kill again, not playful house pets.   These are the dogs that will dive into a pack of coyotes and tear up a bunch of them and chase them back into the woods.   Dogs that will kill racoons trying to dig under the fence, and try to snap a hawk out of the sky if they swoop too close to the ground.   Dogs that will fearlessly snarl and snap at a black bear if it gets too close to the fence.  Not some little lap dog.

Have you ever watched a dog pack hierarchy?   The pack leader lets the other dogs know what will and will not be tolerated.   Usually, the leader does not have to fight, but they might, suddenly and viciously, but only if they are truly being challenged.   You are using that instinctual behavior to your advantage.

If you are also a breeder and a trainer, we could go around and around, but I see no point in that.  There are several schools of thought, when it comes to training, and some methods are more or less effective than others in various circumstances.     I have studied numerous methods, and I have 30 years of success under my belt.  I have saved dogs that were "dangerous and untrainable", and my dogs have saved human lives.    And the bond of affection between me and the dogs is very strong and visible, if you have ever seen me with them.    

And THAT is one of the most important points.   If your dog is bonded with you, although it's natural instinct may be to kill, because of that bond and respect for you, it will suppress that desire and focus it on the real enemies.     When you reinforce it with praise and love, it becomes a cemented behavior.   But you MUST show the dog what you will not tolerate clearly.    That is only fair to the dog.

That being said, there are some dogs that do not make good LGD's,      Wolf-hybrids, for instance.   Their prey drive is just too strong.   Those can be very dangerous animals that require very specific handling, quite unlike regular, domesticated dogs.   I started researching them, but decided that I didn't want the liability.  Know your limits, they say.



I have LGDs right now, so I know a little about them.  I also started training using the Koehler method and other "force" methods.  Bottom line for me is, your post comes across as really patronizing.  I know the difference between types of drive and I "understand the process". Everyone that has ever worked with any dog likely knows some dogs are submissive and some are dominant.  I've bred raised and trained dogs for a lot of years too, so yes, I've seen how "packs", families really interact.  I also know that with a really hard working dog, you trying to flip the dog and scream and growl in it's face is a good way to lose a large portion of your own.  Some dogs simply will not submit to those methods no matter how intimidating you try to be.  Either way, I've been caught up in enough of these discussions to know no one ever really changes their mind once it's made up, so I guess it's just up to the people reading to decide how they want to interact with their dog.
 
Tony Hillel
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Well, the intention is not to be patronizing to you, but your use of terms like "bullying" and "terrorizing" and "screaming" are incorrect and are accusatory and triggering.

Because your descriptions are not accurate, it still doesn't sound like you really understand the process.   Some Kohler training methods have their place, and some are not so good, depending on the situation.    You don't scream at your dog, but quite the opposite.  A low, but forceful growl is more the intention, and when you say, "HEY!", it is very much like a bark.   And you don't "flip" a dog, unless it's a little puppy who likes to bite.  

If your dog would turn on you and bite your face, it  does not sound like you have the relationship you should, at least not to me.   But I agree there are some dogs that must be handled VERY carefully.    One of the reasons I'm not so thrilled with wolf-hybrids and other dogs with uncertain genetics.

It sounds to me like you are the one whose mind is stuck in a single line of thinking,   But perhaps my writing skills are just not very clear.   Perhaps, the mental image that you got when you read my post was just not what I intended.

Either way, enough of this.   To each their own.  

I wish you success in whatever methods you use.   If anyone trains their dog AT ALL, it's a very good thing.  So many dogs are thrown away or worse, because no one would take the 10 minutes a day to bond with and give their dog the most basic of training.   So good for you to care for, train and love your dogs!
 
Trace Oswald
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This has gotten pretty far afield from the original question.  For the OP, heelers generally have very high prey drive, so teaching it not to kill chickens is an uphill battle.  LGD on the other hand, almost always have very low to no prey drive.  They have been selectively bred for thousands of years for that very reason.  It's very easy to teach them which animals belong on your property.  You can train a dog to do, or not do, almost anything if you work at it long and hard enough, but it's far easier to train a dog in accordance with it's natural tendencies, rather than to train against them.    
 
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Marc Dube. (Sorry I'm new and don't know how to attach a person's previous message) I have been studying dog behavior and have a border collie mix who's 2 and a half and I've been training her her whole life. (I've had 7 dogs so these are just my experiences so things may be different for you)
While tying the dog up outside a chicken coup for a couple days could desensitize the dog to chickens it could also create barrier frustration/aggression where the dog is pulling and pulling, really building up all that excitement!
so when you let the dog go it's like a wind up toy. I'd say tie the dog up for about 30 minutes every day(short high reward training sessions) and reward with a quick "YES!" and a treat anytime the dog disengages with the chickens. This all really depends on your dogs personality and getting to know your dog's disposition and your dog's values. I'd suggest listening to Susan garrett's podcast she's a little old fashioned but she's got amazing knowledge in dog behavior. Kat_the_dog_trainer on tik tok. Is also very good.
 
Trace Oswald
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Naia Ratte wrote:Marc Dube. (Sorry I'm new and don't know how to attach a person's previous message)



Naia, to attach the previous person's message, you just click that quote button in the upper right of their message.  It will open a reply box and you will see the person's message in html code.  You can just type under that like you normally would.  I took a picture and attached it so you can see what it looks like.
quote.JPG
[Thumbnail for quote.JPG]
 
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So what ya do is....

Tie the dead chicken around the dogs neck. Leave it until it rots off. That dog will never go after a chicken again.

That's how them ol' boys done it.
 
Ted Abbey
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Dan Fish wrote:So what ya do is....

Tie the dead chicken around the dogs neck. Leave it until it rots off. That dog will never go after a chicken again.

That's how them ol' boys done it.



I have done this.. (see earlier post) Seemed to have worked, but recently a rooster got too close, and my female Caucasian Shepherd couldn’t resist. Not the end of the world, but one less bird for my crock pot this winter..
 
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This post caught my eye because just yesterday I was at a friend's house helping with logging chores.  A neighbor's german shepherd broke into her chicken pen, killed seven of 12 and then got stuck in the fence.  This is one of two dogs in the neighborhood who kill livestock,  owned by the same person,  who lets the dogs wander, and doesn't even feed them properly, and has been warned repeatedly through the town animal control.   That was a run on sentence equal to the exhaustion level of the problem.

My friend shot the dog.  

She has a dog herself and is completely in love with it so it broke her heart to do it, but she depends on the chickens.  The sad part is the dog is less at fault than the human "owner" and yet the dog pays the price.  

I think the "owner" should have to wear the seven dead chickens around his neck until they decompose.  Then maybe he will be kinder to his animals and more respectful of his neighbors.

Still feeling sick over the whole unnecessary event.

 
Ted Abbey
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Cynthia Shelton wrote:This post caught my eye because just yesterday I was at a friend's house helping with logging chores.  A neighbor's german shepherd broke into her chicken pen, killed seven of 12 and then got stuck in the fence.  This is one of two dogs in the neighborhood who kill livestock,  owned by the same person,  who lets the dogs wander, and doesn't even feed them properly, and has been warned repeatedly through the town animal control.   That was a run on sentence equal to the exhaustion level of the problem.

My friend shot the dog.  

She has a dog herself and is completely in love with it so it broke her heart to do it, but she depends on the chickens.  The sad part is the dog is less at fault than the human "owner" and yet the dog pays the price.  

I think the "owner" should have to wear the seven dead chickens around his neck until they decompose.  Then maybe he will be kinder to his animals and more respectful of his neighbors.

Still feeling sick over the whole unnecessary event.



Sorry to hear about your friend’s predicament, but glad to hear she had the temerity to handle the situation properly. Nobody should have to tolerate an invasive and destructive killer, and defending yourself and yours is to embrace life. Nature can be cruel, and harsh, but doesn’t care one bit about death.. it is only a means to an end for more life! Thank you for sharing your story, and best wishes to you and your friend.

p.s.: If the dogs owner feels put out.. he should be reminded that the loss of the dog is ultimately his fault.
 
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Depending on where you are and your local laws (which I advise everyone involved with animal care of any sort look into - most of the time they can be found online), the owner /caretaker of the dog is not just responsible for the dog, but also for any damage the dog does. They can't get recompense for the injury or death of their dog if that dog was doing something wrong. So, any chickens killed by the dog before it was shot, and the damage to the fence caused by the dog is the dog-owner's responsibility.

Most people don't go that far unless they have a problem in their neighborhood or a serial owner who is just refusing to take any responsibility, but knowing what the laws are and getting law enforcement involved is always an option.

I have never been in a situation where tying decomposing animal parts to any live animal was at all successful in anything but mental abuse. I do not recommend it as a dog training method and find it an abhorrent practice, but different people will do different things differently. If it's worked for you? Okay.
I have had experience in working with dogs. I used to be very active in dog and breed rescue. I had successfully trained dog aggressive dogs to be calmer and good with other dogs, and dealt with different dogs with particular problems. Training dogs using different techniques that involve lots of good rewards with sudden, sharp, and non-damaging corrections has always seemed to be the best. Carrots work better than sticks, in my experience.  Different dogs respond to different things and some dogs need more or less reward or correction depending on the dog and the situation.

If your dog doesn't have basic manners - sit, stay, lie down, recall - and cannot be trusted to not bite, then that dog should not be in a position where it might harm another animal. If someone else has a dog, they are responsible for that dog's behavior. Check your local laws and find out what your options are before you have to start protecting yourself or your livestock and you will be happier.

I have had to shoot one of my own dogs for being a chicken killer. I will go a long way to make sure I don't have to do that again. I have had to shoot stray and feral dogs because they went after my chickens. I have a live trap to intercept them, if I think there's a problem starting, and am careful to make sure I follow the law when I use it.

All the "How to train a dog to not kill chickens after it's killed a chicken" advice aside, it's hard to change an animal's behavior once it's done a thing. Dogs are predators. Different dogs have different levels of prey drive and react differently to other animals. Age and previous experiences also play a part in any animal's behavior. Once the dog has killed, it becomes harder to correct that behavior unless it was a misplaced play-behavior. The type of behavior the dog was exhibiting is beyond the scope of internet text commentary to describe and equally difficult to correct.

So. Aside from checking into local laws and brushing up on basic dog obedience, my best advice on training a dog to not kill chickens is to stop it before it has a chance to kill a chicken. If it's not possible to train a dog before it has the chance to kill a chicken and you're trying to fix the problem, never leave the dog alone near chickens. Whether that means needing to keep the chickens *and* the dog locked behind fences or in some otherwise safe place while you aren't there to intervene is a personal decision.
When I had dogs that I did not trust around livestock, I would make sure the dogs were kept separate from the livestock as best possible. If that meant locking the dogs in a crate/kennel before I released the livestock from their pen or making sure the livestock were in a secure pen before letting the dogs out, I made sure there was no chance of a problem. Anything that happened after that, I was present and able to take steps to prevent problems.
With time and handling, patience and repetition, it's possible to train a dog to do just about anything. You need to know what your dog responds best to, have control over your dog, and be able to take the steps necessary to keep you, the dog, and the livestock safe.

There are no easy answers and absolutely no quick fixes.
 
Reno Husker
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Dan Fish wrote:So what ya do is....

Tie the dead chicken around the dogs neck. Leave it until it rots off. That dog will never go after a chicken again.

That's how them ol' boys done it.



We did exactly that with a young neutered female heeler who had killed four just for fun.

It seems to have worked. So far ... she really stank from that chicken, had to stay outside for several days.

Since then she has not been aggressive towards our flock of free rangers.
 
Tony Hillel
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Dan Fish wrote:So what ya do is....

Tie the dead chicken around the dogs neck. Leave it until it rots off. That dog will never go after a chicken again.

That's how them ol' boys done it.



I have found that leaving the dead chicken flopping for a day is sufficient.  They get the point after a few hours.

After the first day, your dog may end up eating the dead chicken.   This happened the first time I tried the leave it.  Taught me a lesson.
So far, I have been able to break all the dogs of killing chickens.  Most of them get one before that happens, though.  
 
Tony Hillel
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For what it's worth, most counties have specific laws about this, so best to ask an officer what the law is.  Here in my county, if a dog is attacking my livestock, I can shoot it lawfully, and the owner has to remove his dead dog and recompense me for my livestock.

That being said, it's always smart to think carefully before you shoot.  I've faced this issue a number of times.  I almost killed a dog once, but then pulled the shotgun to the right and just scared it badly.  That dog moved FAST and never came back.  He made a wide berth around our property after that.   A VERY good outcome.

In the case posted above, if the dog was trapped and not still killing, I would have called 911/animal control and have an officer come out immediately.   Tell them the story, and tell them you want to pursue the issue.  They will take the dog away and an officer will go knock on their door and tell them to either recompense you for your livestock immediately, or he will personally be a witness in the lawsuit that they WILL lose.   Also, they will have to pay to get their dog back.

This has worked for me twice, once great and another not so great.    

The first time, the neighbor was very compliant and wanting to work it out, and we did.  Issue over.

The other time, a different neighbor turned nasty for a number of years.  Eventually, one of my young dogs got out and didn't come back.  I was pretty sure they killed it, and later another neighbor confirmed it.   The offender knew that I knew, and were tensed up for me to retaliate but I decided that my dog got out, so it was my fault ultimately, and with great difficulty, I let it go.

A year or two later, that neighbor's 16 Y.O.  son died in a tragic car accident right after getting his first car.  Regardless of the past, we visited them to offer them comfort, and the neighbor kept apologizing, over and over again.   I knew he was sorry, and that ended the issue he had against us.

Shooting the dog may have been the best choice in your circumstance.   That is a decision you have to make for yourself, as you have to live with the fallout.
 
Naia Ratte
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Naia Ratte wrote:Marc Dube. (Sorry I'm new and don't know how to attach a person's previous message)



Naia, to attach the previous person's message, you just click that quote button in the upper right of their message.  It will open a reply box and you will see the person's message in html code.  You can just type under that like you normally would.  I took a picture and attached it so you can see what it looks like.



thank you I appreciate the help! 😊
 
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