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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.
 

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I'll note I've had her for 5 weeks now, and she's housebroken-- knows sit, come, heel, down, bed, go pee, and leave it.
 

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Alas, this is a mismatch and both you and the puppy will do far better if you find her a good home. She has a strong prey drive, and even if you squelch it now it will very likely fire up again when when she hits adolescence. At which point she will also be a hundred times brattier than she is now.

Where did you get your superdog Ellie? Can you get another puppy from Ellie's breeder?
 

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Sure, she can learn to leave chickens alone, but are you willing to do what it might take to make her learn? Sounds like a bad match, overall. She might be a better fit for a different home.
 

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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.
Effective today, she gets enrolled in farm manners school. You can let a puppy grow up and "just be a puppy" if (and only if) you manage their environment. Some environments are impossible to render safe & sterile (trust me, I know). That's where management comes in.

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.
I truly don't think that does a darn thing.... dogs know the difference between a carcass and a living creature. I would bury the dead chicken and let that be....

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.
Again, I would bury the carcass and move on, but to each their own.

At 12 weeks, there is a very high likelihood that your puppy is NOT a mindless predatory killing machine.

More likely just a very young puppy with too much freedom. The majority of herding breed puppies will chase birds if given the chance - it's up to the human to teach the rules, and puppies have to earn the freedom to be loose with other animals.
 

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Ok, let me start with condolences for the loss of your hen. I also had a pet chicken at one point, and she was killed by one of my dogs. I ultimately rehomed the dog.

BUT! I had a 4 year old dog who not only killed my hen, but then one of the foster kittens and then a two week old pup. I wanted her euthanized. Someone intervened on her behalf and she was ultimately sent to a home with a middle age couple who's kids were teens and they agreed to no other pets. Ever.

IMO you are asking a lot from a 12 week old pup and to expect her to behave while unsupervised is unreasonable. I am not saying she should have killed the hen. But really? I would almost expect it. They flap and flutter and make funny noises. She's a puppy! They attack blowing leaves for heavens sake.
You said these were "pet bred" pups. So BYB? I have stated before that a pet needs to be MORE well bred then any working dog. They ultimately have more challenging lives then any working dog. You also said that you were seeking a potential service dog. Which begs the question; Why oh why would you risk iffy breeding? Mom might be great, dad might be great, that does NOT mean that that combination of genetics will produce stable pups. It also doesn't mean that mom and/or dad weren't total jerks as youngsters, because most are! I mean come on, we lovingly refer to them as land sharks. We joke about wearing gloves around them. We rip our hair out at their constant, painful, antics.
 

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Alas, this is a mismatch and both you and the puppy will do far better if you find her a good home. She has a strong prey drive, and even if you squelch it now it will very likely fire up again when when she hits adolescence. At which point she will also be a hundred times brattier than she is now.

Where did you get your superdog Ellie? Can you get another puppy from Ellie's breeder?

Nope, they moved back to Germany when they retired.
 

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Effective today, she gets enrolled in farm manners school. You can let a puppy grow up and "just be a puppy" if (and only if) you manage their environment. Some environments are impossible to render safe & sterile (trust me, I know). That's where management comes in.
I truly don't think that does a darn thing.... dogs know the difference between a carcass and a living creature. I would bury the dead chicken and let that be....
Again, I would bury the carcass and move on, but to each their own.
At 12 weeks, there is a very high likelihood that your puppy is NOT a mindless predatory killing machine.
More likely just a very young puppy with too much freedom. The majority of herding breed puppies will chase birds if given the chance - it's up to the human to teach the rules, and puppies have to earn the freedom to be loose with other animals.

It was entirely my fault for assuming she'd "be ok" with Ellie while I went to the bathroom. I am responsible for the death of the hen, not Daisy--she's a puppy and very young, they bite stuff. But she does know that's not cool. I buried the hen while everyone was apparently advising me we are mismatched.
 

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Ok, let me start with condolences for the loss of your hen. I also had a pet chicken at one point, and she was killed by one of my dogs. I ultimately rehomed the dog.

BUT! I had a 4 year old dog who not only killed my hen, but then one of the foster kittens and then a two week old pup. I wanted her euthanized. Someone intervened on her behalf and she was ultimately sent to a home with a middle age couple who's kids were teens and they agreed to no other pets. Ever.

IMO you are asking a lot from a 12 week old pup and to expect her to behave while unsupervised is unreasonable. I am not saying she should have killed the hen. But really? I would almost expect it. They flap and flutter and make funny noises. She's a puppy! They attack blowing leaves for heavens sake.
You said these were "pet bred" pups. So BYB? I have stated before that a pet needs to be MORE well bred then any working dog. They ultimately have more challenging lives then any working dog. You also said that you were seeking a potential service dog. Which begs the question; Why oh why would you risk iffy breeding? Mom might be great, dad might be great, that does NOT mean that that combination of genetics will produce stable pups. It also doesn't mean that mom and/or dad weren't total a--holes as youngsters, because most are! I mean come on, we lovingly refer to them as land sharks. We joke about wearing gloves around them. We rip our hair out at their constant, painful, antics.

I guess Sabis Mom by PET bred I mean they are "just" German Shepherds, not show line or working line, she breeds one litter a year. Nice dogs, good manners, smart, I know the parent dogs really well. But probably would not have been my first choice if we actually had decent breeders within 4 provinces, I'd have had another Ellie if I could.
 

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Sure, she can learn to leave chickens alone, but are you willing to do what it might take to make her learn? Sounds like a bad match, overall. She might be a better fit for a different home.

And you know this from this one post? Not my first dog or rodeo. She's a PUPPY, she's going to do stupid things and make mistakes. I'm upset because it was MY fault for leaving her for 5 mins. Will I do it again? Nope I will not. She'll be velcro to me.
 

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I guess Sabis Mom by PET bred I mean they are "just" German Shepherds, not show line or working line, she breeds one litter a year. Nice dogs, good manners, smart, I know the parent dogs really well. But probably would not have been my first choice if we actually had decent breeders within 4 provinces, I'd have had another Ellie if I could.
Where are you located? And where did you get little Miss Sassy Pants from? PM me if you prefer.

I know where Sabi actually came from, and I know someone who got a pup from a later litter. She was a total disaster! All of Sabs siblings were disasters. I got lucky. I know it and I will never risk it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Alas, this is a mismatch and both you and the puppy will do far better if you find her a good home. She has a strong prey drive, and even if you squelch it now it will very likely fire up again when when she hits adolescence. At which point she will also be a hundred times brattier than she is now.

Where did you get your superdog Ellie? Can you get another puppy from Ellie's breeder?

I seldom know JonRob if you are being snarky or serious or both. Ellie is a superdog, thanks, and I made her that way with training. She just has more sense, she acted older when she came. Daisy's not a lost cause at 12 weeks old, and I'm not about to send her off into the ether sphere for MY wrong. I F'ed up by leaving her. But will she be reliable to watch my flock? Nope, never. Will she be a good service dog? Maybe she will work, ask me in a year.
 

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She needs to be managed 100% - never allow her to be in a situation where something could go wrong. Simple, but very hard to follow. You need to be very disciplined.
 

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Where are you located? And where did you get little Miss Sassy Pants from? PM me if you prefer.

I know where Sabi actually came from, and I know someone who got a pup from a later litter. She was a total disaster! All of Sabs siblings were disasters. I got lucky. I know it and I will never risk it again.

I'm in NS. No breeders of quality here anymore except roach backs. None in NB either except 2 puppy mills I know of. PEI? Nada. No way of knowing what you are getting, until you get it. Probably the same in Newf. I have the puppy I have, I now have a chicken killing puppy on a farm full of birds, but she's young, she will learn. We stopped Happy when he was a bit older than her, I got him into digging up rats, and never in 12 years did he ever touch anything that wasn't a rat.



I'll take the hit for messingup. I mostly feel guilty for letting down a hen who thought she was safe in her barn.
 

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She needs to be managed 100% - never allow her to be in a situation where something could go wrong. Simple, but very hard to follow. You need to be very disciplined.

It's really not that hard. I just have to tether her to me and when I go to the BR, she gets a trip in too. She's with me 99% of the time but occasionally I do need to pee.
 

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I think it would be jumping the gun (big time) to dismiss/rehome a 12 week old GSD puppy solely due to one off-leash chicken accident. JMO.

Some dogs have an innate understanding that small animals aren't for chasing, but the vast majority *in this breed* need to be taught. And that doesn't mean they need harsh punishment or extreme methods - just clarity, plus management during the learning stage.

ETA: I wish Photobucket hadn't gone the way of the Dodo, I had a long thread years back re: livestock manners on a puppy, but unfortunately without the photos it doesn't make much sense.
 

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I was expecting to read a really sad story because all I saw on the side where it says "Recent Discussions" is 12 week old puppy killed. I thought maybe your pup was killed by another dog or by a coyote or something. Then when I clicked on the link, I saw the rest of the title...and I said, "phew."

You said, "I F'ed up by leaving her." Don't worry, I've said that a couple times too. Last year, I didn't watch mine for 15 mins because I thought he was napping. (He was a few months old at that time.) Found him eating his paracord leash. Rushed him to the hospital (because I called emergency hospital and they told me to), they induced vomiting and out came more than a foot of the double ply paracord leash. If I waited and it passed from his stomach to the intestines, it probably would've clogged up his system and then we would be talking about thousands of dollars worth of surgery.

About 2 weeks after that, I came home to him eating his crate pad. A good portion of it was missing. So, I again took him to the hospital. Same deal. You wouldn't believe the amount of foam and cloth that came out of that little pup.

From these 2 incidents, I learned to keep an eye on him at all times and to keep his crate empty of anything...no toys, no pads, etc. Just like you said....it was "MY wrong."

Now, a year later, I can laugh at my stupidity and the experiences we had....as I'm sure you will too.
 

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Maybe I came across as harsh. Having never laid eyes on this pup I can't judge anything at all, really. I read about electrifying the chicken and it sounded rather vindictive and made me think maybe it's a bad fit. I get it, for sure, the anger and loss, but this was just a pup being a pup - the predatory animal she is... and doesn't know better at 12 weeks.

I fence in my hens and the dogs aren't free roaming with them. Free range hens here wouldn't last long with the wildlife. So maybe someone with more experience training a young pup to leave chickens alone can offer better advice.
 
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