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Chicken training high prey drive dogs.

Lil Misfit

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So, I currently have a 1yo pit bull, he's VERY game and he finds chickens to be the most interesting animal on the farm, even though he's been around them his whole life, and I've always made it clear that he's not even supposed to look at them. He had no interest in the chickens initially, until about 6mos old. I have used balanced training methods from the beginning, prong collars, E-Collars, treats, toys, and lots of praise. All of it is ineffective if there's something small and furry for him to get.

He's caught the chickens a couple times but never hurt them, he's even held the chicks in his mouth and was bouncing on his front paws trying to play. The only chicken to ever fight back really turned him on, he was very excited and I think he would've killed her. He's good at listening, so when I tell him to stop taunting them he turns to come to me, but then he turns around two seconds later and goes at them again.

He is extremely high energy and even after working him really hard he still comes inside shaking from exhaustion and paces all over the house, he's always chewing something, always knocking something over, always opening packages, "shopping" in the pantry or play fighting with the other dogs. I can tell him to calm down and he'll lay down on my feet for a minute, but man his doggy ADD is bad. He has zero drive when it comes to staying on task, the only time he gets in the zone is when he's mercilessly chasing a chicken or pursuing a game trail. I have tried to train him (just basic obedience with high value treats) around ducks and chickens in the past, and he'll pay attention for a minute, but he can never focus, they're always more interesting than the treat or toy in my hands.

I get the feeling he'll never be trust worthy in the house while I'm gone or around the animals if I turn my back, and I'm prepared to deal with that, he's going to have a whole yard to himself and a playmate to roughhouse with. But I'm just wondering if anyone has ever had a dog like this calm down and become a well adjusted adult? Is there anything that can be done to improve his attention to my commands or his ability to be around chickens without trying to kill them? I don't expect him to chill with them, but if one got out I'd appreciate it if he could simply ignore it.

And another question, this time about dobies. I've always loved them, and I've always wanted one. Is it likely that another high prey drive dog would turn out this way, even with balanced training? Do dobies generally behave well around chickens, ducks, or livestock once they're well socialized and they know the boundaries?

Edit: He's been fixed. I didn't want to fix him before 18mos but he had other bad behaviors as well as level 10 energy. Getting him fixed definitely helped with his bahavior and even his energy levels.
 
You say you have trained with an e-collar but you have not used it properly if he's still looking at chickens. Do not nag, do not hint. When he looks at a chicken, even from 50 yards away, say no and hit the stim, which you have dialed up really high. There is zero negotiating that interest in a chicken or a cat or livestock is even possible. If you do this correctly and the stimulation high enough you should be done for life. Leave the collar on at all times that he's around the chickens until you are sure that he has quit showing any interest. Intermittent rewards will keep driving a dog back. If once a year they find food on the counter, they will surf every week to see if it's their lucky day. You must make the correction more memorable than the fun of catching a chicken. That's how snake avoidance training works. And it.does.work.

My Doberman is amongst free range chickens all the time and she lives with a cat. She never needed an e-collar for chasing or harassing, but different dogs need different kinds of discouragement about prey. It just depends on your future Dobe.
 
Here's videos of ignoring chickens. Your dog is still young, so don't expect perfection, but you should be able to walk through a yard of chickens without your dog looking at them.


 
You say you have trained with an e-collar but you have not used it properly if he's still looking at chickens. Do not nag, do not hint. When he looks at a chicken, even from 50 yards away, say no and hit the stim, which you have dialed up really high. There is zero negotiating that interest in a chicken or a cat or livestock is even possible. If you do this correctly and the stimulation high enough you should be done for life. Leave the collar on at all times that he's around the chickens until you are sure that he has quit showing any interest. Intermittent rewards will keep driving a dog back. If once a year they find food on the counter, they will surf every week to see if it's their lucky day. You must make the correction more memorable than the fun of catching a chicken. That's how snake avoidance training works. And it.does.work.

My Doberman is amongst free range chickens all the time and she lives with a cat. She never needed an e-collar for chasing or harassing, but different dogs need different kinds of discouragement about prey. It just depends on your future Dobe.
Okay. I'll try it again, but much higher. When I used it I tested it on myself first and got a really good zap out of it, but when I used it on him he was not affected at all. His pain tolerance is pretty high, he'll get stuck on game trails and completely bloody his nose in blackberry thorns while smelling the trail, I guess that just means he can handle more than me😂
He's super smart so hopefully he'll catch on quick.
 
Electric chicken netting for the dog works wonders. It hits hard. I've kept all stray dogs and ground wildlife away from my chickens with one. My dobermans don't mess with the chickens. Only one I let in with the chickens, the other is too young and the other is in SD training so hasn't been home. Those two have learned about the fence on their own accord and don't go near the chickens because of it lol.
 
Electric chicken netting for the dog works wonders. It hits hard. I've kept all stray dogs and ground wildlife away from my chickens with one. My dobermans don't mess with the chickens. Only one I let in with the chickens, the other is too young and the other is in SD training so hasn't been home. Those two have learned about the fence on their own accord and don't go near the chickens because of it lol.
I'll definitely be implementing this on the new farm! I had planned to anyways but it never occured to me that it would help him stay away from the chickens.
 
Thank you both so much
Keep us posted on your progress. We love to help and we love to hear success stories. The Dutch Shepherd in the Zoomies video had to have one hard hit with the e-collar, but it doesn't make her hate chickens or be afraid of chickens or be afraid of a zap if she gets too close to chickens. She just ignores them, even running and flapping.
When training, timing is everything. Just make sure your dog knows that the stem is associated with thinking anything about going after a chicken. If the dog is unsure what behavior caused the stimulation, they will try trial and error to figure it out. Also Pits are so immune to pain - they were built for that, like you mentioned, so work on your own timing of watching his behavior. Catch him thinking about it, before he starts the chase. Once he starts moving his body the adrenaline is released and it takes even more to stop the action.
 

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