How To Hack A Chicken Killing Dog

 

How To Hack A Chicken Killing Dog - SledDogSlow.com

 

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Anyone who has chickens and dogs at the same time knows the anxiety that goes with introducing the two. Our dog, Link, killed 15 of our birds the first time he was ever trusted alone around them. Now he is left alone with them regularly and hasn’t touched one since. How did we manage this? By hacking Link! So no more chicken killing from him. Now we have a new rescue husky, Laska, and unfortunately she killed a chicken her first time around them. We used the same trick on her, and two days later she ignores the chickens when they walk up to her.

How did we manage this?

We used an old farmers trick for dealing with dogs that are chicken killers. I’m not sure where I first heard about this, but I’ve used is successfully on three dogs now.  And each of the dogs I’ve used it on has been a breed with a high prey drive. That leaves me fairly confidant that it will work on most dogs.

There are a few important details about how this dog hack works to get the fastest results. The biggest downside is that the dog in question has to kill a chicken. I would never suggest giving a dog an animal to kill as part of training it. However, if a dog kills a chicken and I want to prevent it from happening again, this is the training method I use. I suppose you could use a bird killed by another animal or that’d died of old age, but I can’t be sure it would be as effective. I’ve also never tried this method with any animal besides a chicken, but I assume it would work for other small farm game.

For best results, be sure to use this method the first time the dog kills a chicken.

When the dog is caught having killed a chicken, immediately scold the dog. This can be done in whatever training manner you apply to other training. Then take the dog and separate it from other dogs, placing it on a lead or in a kennel. Now comes important part number one: Make it so the dog can’t escape the dead chicken. I’ve done this on a lead by attaching the chicken to the dogs collar, or by placing the carcass inside the kennel with the dog. I’ve never had a dog attempt to eat the dead chicken after being scolded for killing it. Afterwards, leave the dog and dead bird in close proximity for at least 24 hours, and up to three days.

I’ve had dogs that have learned after a day, and others I wouldn’t trust to learn in less than 3 days. Use your best judgement with your dog on how long it needs.

Important part number 2: The only attention the dog should be given during this time is receiving food and water (and potty breaks if they are kenneled). Any whining, crying or puppy dog eyes should be thoroughly ignored. The less you can interact with the dog during this time, the better. Once the time is up, remove and dispose of the dead bird. Give the dog lots of praise for not eating the bird, and a bath. Then he should be ready for supervised interaction with chickens. A corrective training collar can help with piece of mind during the reintroduction process, though I haven’t found it necessary. After a week of supervision, I usually feel confidant about leaving the dog alone with the chickens.

Ronan and #agentj hanging out.

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I’m not entirely sure why this works. My best theory is that dogs associate killing chickens with being ostracized from their “pack”. I’ve never had more than an ear perk in the direction of noisy chickens after using this method. One dog would even get up and move if the chickens came near him! This is the only method I’ve ever found that works for retraining chicken killing dogs. I have no doubt that using this hack on my dogs has saved me a lot of heartache and flock losses. I hope you never need to use this technique!

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15 comments

  1. Oh man, I wish I knew this two weeks ago! Our two bullmastiffs attacked a chicken and ate half of it before we knew what was happening! I will remember this if it ever happens again. Thank you.

    1. Oh no, that’s terrible! Please let me know if it works after they’ve done it more than once. I’ve always managed to catch them the first time and I’d be interested to know!

  2. We’re about to get our first chickens soon (and eventually, a dog will follow). Thank you for this very useful tip. I both hope I’ll never have to use it, but am so glad to know it ;).

    I’ve read that there is a similar way to discourage a bird-killing cat (the resource I read said to smack the cat with the dead bird and then hang it from its collar! Sounds a little violent, but if it works…).

    1. Hooray chickens and puppies! I really hope you never need to come back to this post, but it’s good to know just in case! Fingers crossed that your dog is naturally chicken friendly 🙂

  3. I hope I never have to try this! We have two dogs which killed all 8 of our chickens in one day. We’re reinforcing the coop and going to keep them separated as best we can. However, if it happens again I’ll try it. We don’t have a crate for our dogs so how do you recommend we attach it to their collar?

    1. Tying the feet and neck of a chicken to the dog’s collar has worked for us. Also, if you have a medical cone to put on them it might help keep the dog from pulling on the chicken with their feet as well. Good luck, I hope everything turns out for you!

  4. We are giving this a try as I type! We recently adopted a great pyranese and she loves the chickens a little too much! She’s an adult already so we shall see if this works.

    Ps we used zip ties for attaching the rooster.

    1. I hope it works for you! All of the dogs I’ve done this with have been less than 3 years old and it’s worked each time.

  5. It’s because they learn to associate fear with chickens and the scolding. We’ve done this with all our chicken killers and works every time.

  6. Ii have heard of a similar method, but was told that once the dog turn its eues and wont look at the chicken that its done. Leaving any longer could cause mentsl damage? I have a kelpie x huntaway that has killed one hen. Eaten two young chooks. We never catch her in the act. She has an eating issue. She eats EVERYTHING she will eat and vomit, eat more, vomit more… and do this all day untill easily five kgs of dog food was gone and there are piles if puke literally everywhere. She will then re eat her piles of puke. The vet says shes just like that. Im wondering if this will work on her

    1. I’m not sure if it would work on a dog that has an eating problem like that. Maybe it would if you could keep her from eating the chicken attached to her/in her kennel.

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