12 week old puppy killed chicken :(
Ok, so this happened yesterday. I am raising a German Shepherd puppy, the second in my household- and I knew from the first day she would not have been the dog I'd have chosen personally, but she's the dog I have. I knew from the get go she is stubborn, smart, but pushes limits. Say No--she'll do something you just said no to. Really be serious about it, and she might pause before she still does it. Yell Hey or NO, she stops the behavior. I'm not a yeller though.
I'm not new at training, I've raised and trained many dogs and horses in my life. This is just a pet bred puppy who I planned to use as my next service dog. But I don't know if she has the ability for restraint that my current adult has, she may never have it.
Ellie the adult, came as a puppy around this age, 3 months or so. She was told ONCE not to touch my friendly, pet chickens. She's never touched them, has guarded them fiercely and only ever goes after foxes.
Daisy, the puppy, is exactly 3 months old today. Yesterday she went in my barn while I was in the bathroom, grabbed my last buff Silkie hen, and had her dead and was eating her guts by the time I heard the kerfuffle. I first saw her husband Buff Silkie rooster being chased by another, so I went to save him first. Then I spied Daisy and my most lovely dead hen. Yesterday was a very bad day for everyone, including the poor rooster who lost his entire family this summer. I cried all afternoon and Ellie was really upset, probably because I was beside myself.
Now, here's the thing. Even though she's a puppy, she knows no. She knows do not touch the chickens. She has already grabbed that same hen out of the barn once before but got caught in the act and scolded. Yesterday she was sneaky enough to wait till I went to the bathroom in the house, gone no more than 5 mins and she was out front with Ellie, nowhere near the barns. So, she sneaked in, grabbed hen, pulled her out, and then pulled her apart in 5 freaking mins. I was horrifed, for not protecting my hen, I let her down, she's lived here for 5 years with a good dog, and now she died in the mouth of a bratty puppy. All I could think to do was the one thing that I knew might help--I electrified the dead hen via the fencer, and next time she grabbed her, she got a face full of electric chicken. I think she learned that lesson, yet last night when I put her and Ellie out to pee, Daisy got sprayed by a skunk (Ellie didn't, being a wise dog who never repeats a mistake, she was sprayed years ago, she stays away from skunks) --so she's STILL going after things that move. (My poor hen didn't, she was on eggs on her nest on the floor) So, at 5 am, I'm bathing a stinky puppy and ended up leaving her outside tied til my husband got up this am.
I love this puppy, but if she's a killer, she will not be living here, period. I'm not giving up chickens who've lived their whole lives here in peace, some are over 10-12 years old. She grabbed my oldest hen last week and though she didn't hurt her, as the hen played dead, Snowball died 3 days later (she was 14, so she was on her last summer anyway) Not one is afraid of dogs, so they don't run and trigger her prey drive. And she lives in a house where I let my canaries and finches out to fly around every day, and so far she's never even noticed them particularly. Her crate is literally beside their cages.
My plan was to let Daisy learn the basics and just be a puppy until I could work more with her without her tangling me up and causing me to fall. Usually I tether to me, but the chicken barns are gross and I do not want any dog going in there for any reason.
I kept the carcass, gross and sad as it is, and am trying to decide if I should fling her in the direction of the pup and see what her reaction is. But she's a puppy, a very young puppy, and I don't want to screw her up further. Some dogs make terrible farm dogs, but Daisy was born on a farm, raised with parents who are absolutely trustworthy with all the livestock, and they aren't really drive-y, though both are excellent tracking dogs, they guard the baby chicks, literally sit beside the moms and no one is going to touch those babies. I figured she's got the best possible upbringing, yet she still sneaked in a barn and pulled out a chicken and then started eating her. That's pretty serious.
Oh, and she knows she's in trouble. She was ignored by Ellie all day, it's like Ellie's disappointed in her too. Ellie wouldn't play with her, she growled at her, was just generally unhappy with her. I cannot ignore bad behavior when it comes to other living things, so NILIF isn't something I'm going to learn, can't ignore bad behavior when it comes to creatures I care for.
Maybe she'll never do it again, but maybe she will, and then what will I do? I can't fence in birds who've lived free their entire existence, protected by a good dog-- and I do know it's extremely hard to stop a behavior like chicken killing once it happens. But again, she's only a very young pup, so is there hope we can get over this? I really can't fence her in, either--99% of the time she's with me, but that 1% and a weak bladder in me, caused the death of a beautiful little hen.
Partial answer to question today--I threw that poor little mangled hen down in front of Daisy, and she literally ran the opposite way. So the electric chicken might just have worked. I really hope so, I have a favourite rooster named Flopsy who is almost as important to me as my dogs, he's a big, sweet Brahma rooster, handraised in the house, a real character.
Last edited by dogma13; 08-12-2019 at 05:16 PM.