8 month old pyr/toli pups

Coolbreeze89

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Hello, all! I’ve been reading through the many threads, and very much appreciate everyone’s insight and experienced guidance. I would appreciate some direction. I have a 3yr old pyr/toli male, Baba, who is very protective of his domain, but not particularly bonded to my Nigerian dwarf goats/Kunekune pigs/chickens. He doesn’t mind (or bother) any of them, but he doesn’t seem attached. He will, however, keep away all unwelcome critters and vultures/hawks. Any new animal additions are quickly inspected and accepted once I present them to him. He’s a very good boy.

As we have a lot of coyotes nearby (by sound - Baba has never let one on our fenced property), and because I love LGDs, I added two brother pups about 6 months ago (at 2 months of age). They initially did great with the chickens, but true to their developmental expectations, they’re hitting the “chicken chase” phase. The chickens only free-range a couple hours in the evening, so I started kenneling the younger pups while the birds are out after I found Clark had captured a chicken (he did not kill it - was “playing” with it). The kennel is out where the chickens are, so they’ve been surrounded by them and their activities. It’s been about a month now, and as I’m finally over some health issues, I’m trying to work with them on leash to acclimate to the chickens. Eddie is very passive/submissive and has been well just watching with me (though he still plays “chase” through the run mesh in the mornings). When I’ve tried him off leash, he has made some half-hearted chase attempts, but stops immediately when corrected. Clark will watch the birds from the Down position as long as I’m with him. If he thinks I’m not watching, he’ll try to chase them. Clark is much more independent and dominant. He does not push back against me when I correct him or have to “man-handle” him, though.

My questions: should I not kennel them where they can see the chickens? Sometimes I think they’re drawn to all the flapping/scratching in a bad way. I hoped it would get them used to the sights/sounds, but I’m not so sure.

How old are they generally when this phase is less pronounced? I know I have to work with them daily, praising good, correcting bad, but with appropriate reinforcement, what is a reasonable age for them to develop the appropriate temperament? (Baba will not intervene if the pups harass a chicken, btw, since the pups are “allowed” in his domain). I don’t want to set them up for failure by expecting too much too soon.

Any other guidance of any sort always appreciated.
 

Baymule

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I took a give away chicken killer and she hated chickens. I don’t know what her former owners did to her, but she blamed the chickens and rushed their coop snarling. It took me 2 years to turn her around. We moved here 4 1/2 years ago, then got Sheep. All she wanted to do was hit them like a bulldozer. I had to put her in the back yard.

When we weaned our first lambs, we built a pen in Paris’ Yard. Since they were in her territory, she grew to protect them. Then it was weeks of letting them out for short periods under supervision. She gradually accepted them. That said, Paris is now 10 years old and a good LGD.

With your puppies, let chickens out, take one at a time on a leash and spend time with them. Next day, work with the other pup. It will take time. They have to grow up some, and they need time and training with you.

You may have to keep the chickens cooped for awhile. Take a puppy in the coop, sit on a bucket or something and wait for any inappropriate behavior. Even a hard stare, looking too interested is not good. Scold. Praise when puppy is ignoring chickens. That’s what I did with Paris.

How about some pictures???
 

Coolbreeze89

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I’ve read some of your other posts about your success with Paris - they give me hope as well as guidance! None of my boys have exhibited anything that strikes me as “terrible”. I just want to get them to their best possible selves ASAP. I spent a good bit of time with Clark this evening - he did so well, even with some young pullets running a couple feet from his nose. His eyes watched CLOSELY, but he stayed down and didn’t move! (Leash/harness, but no tension).

Happy to oblige with pics! The fluffy dog if Baba, my 3 yr old. The pic of him with a baby pig cuddled up is my favorite. That pig is now 100+pounds bigger but they’re still friends (no spooning, though!). The two younger pups are shorter-furred and sweethearts, too. They get along fairly well with the pigs (until a pig decides to get testy - then they just yield). The last pic is my goats going for treats up on the deck box. If I put the treats lower, the piggies push the goats out of the way and “hog” the treats! They all bring me such joy. I’m very thankful.
 

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Beekissed

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My questions: should I not kennel them where they can see the chickens? Sometimes I think they’re drawn to all the flapping/scratching in a bad way. I hoped it would get them used to the sights/sounds, but I’m not so sure.
Nope...I wouldn't. You are right...it lets them engage in all kinds of bad behavior towards the chickens without any correction. Pretty soon that becomes a habit.

I agree with Bay...get them with the chickens and give corrections for any prolonged stares, any sudden attention towards movement and sound. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I do initial training on pups and then truss a chicken's legs and leave pup and chicken alone while I back off and watch from a distance. I've even gone inside and watched from a window, as a smart pup won't react while you are there. Any overt attention towards the chicken as it flops and tries to move or stand gets a good shout of correction...they get the idea you are watching. Gives them the idea you are always watching.

In a worst case scenario, a $30 shock collar works wonders, even if set on vibrate, for long distance training off chickens. A quick zap each time they focus on or move towards a chicken with intention can give them the idea it's a no-no, but I wouldn't use that often...a smart dog will soon realize that he only gets a vibrate or shock when he's wearing the collar and can revert back to chase mode when he's not.

I also hold the chicken on my lap, petting the dog and the chicken, I repeat "my chicken" often and sometimes even use those words as the correction. I've even put the dog on his side in a submissive posture and placed the chicken on his neck and held it there until the dog relaxes fully...sometimes that takes awhile, but he gets the idea soon enough.

Pups are easy to train off of chickens...it's the older dogs that are hard, IMO.

I've never had to train a pup longer than about 20 min. total on chickens and it lasts all their life. Just got to get them while young enough to think you rule the roost.
 

Coolbreeze89

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Nope...I wouldn't. You are right...it lets them engage in all kinds of bad behavior towards the chickens without any correction. Pretty soon that becomes a habit.

I agree with Bay...get them with the chickens and give corrections for any prolonged stares, any sudden attention towards movement and sound. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I do initial training on pups and then truss a chicken's legs and leave pup and chicken alone while I back off and watch from a distance. I've even gone inside and watched from a window, as a smart pup won't react while you are there. Any overt attention towards the chicken as it flops and tries to move or stand gets a good shout of correction...they get the idea you are watching. Gives them the idea you are always watching.

In a worst case scenario, a $30 shock collar works wonders, even if set on vibrate, for long distance training off chickens. A quick zap each time they focus on or move towards a chicken with intention can give them the idea it's a no-no, but I wouldn't use that often...a smart dog will soon realize that he only gets a vibrate or shock when he's wearing the collar and can revert back to chase mode when he's not.

I also hold the chicken on my lap, petting the dog and the chicken, I repeat "my chicken" often and sometimes even use those words as the correction. I've even put the dog on his side in a submissive posture and placed the chicken on his neck and held it there until the dog relaxes fully...sometimes that takes awhile, but he gets the idea soon enough.

Pups are easy to train off of chickens...it's the older dogs that are hard, IMO.

I've never had to train a pup longer than about 20 min. total on chickens and it lasts all their life. Just got to get them while young enough to think you rule the roost.

I feel like I’m already making good progress with them with short sessions. They are smart! Thanks for the input. I’ll keep at it til they’re set!
 

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