How to introduce your dog to chickens
your dog is really most of what it takes to create a good farm dog, but
we did put in the time to teach Lucy four basic commands --- sit, stay,
come, and no. There are lots of books and websites that will tell
you how to get those few commands into your dog's head, but once you've
got her used to looking at you as the pack leader, it's pretty simple
to train her.
It's nearly as simple to
train your dog to do things against her nature --- like leaving cats
and chickens alone rather than eating them for dinner. When we
brought home our first chickens, Lucy was extremely excited and I think
she might have killed a chicken immediately if we'd let her.
Instead, we took her for a long walk to calm her down and remind her
who was in charge, then we made her sit and stay beside the chicken
tractor. Every time the first bit of predator instinct kicked
and Lucy started getting excited about the chickens, we said "no" very
firmly. After about 15 minutes of this, she understood.
when chickens accidentally get out of their tractors, Lucy has been
known to try to help us herd them back in.
When introducing your
dog to "prey" animals, you should always have a way to enforce your
commands. Your dog should be on a leash so that she can't lunge
forward and grab the chicken. If you play your cards right, your
dog will catch on very quickly and you'll be able to take the leash off
and trust her alone with your livestock in short order.
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