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I booked onto a felt making course months ago, asking about parking so that I could bring the dogs with me and leave them safely in the car. This morning I got there in good time, was greeted as the Lady with the Dogs, and took them for a quick on lead walk around the place while the kind owner filled a hot water bottle for them, noting a sort of overgrown orchard bit just by the car for later. Nipped out at 12ish to walk them, let them out of the car without putting leads on, and 3 bantams walked out right under their noses from a wood store. Poppy was gone before I knew what was happening, chasing the little cockerel, yanking out feathers, and far too high on adrenaline to be able to hear me. She eventually pinned him, bird screaming, and I grabbed her and stuffed her back into the car before dashing back to the still screaming bird and rushing him in to his owner.

It seems he has a neurological problem which makes him lopsided, which is probably why she was able to catch him. No sign of broken bones or actual blood, but very shocked which can be enough to kill them. I can call the dogs off most things, but flappy, squawking chickens are just too much for Poppy. I said I would of course pay any vet bills, but when phoned the vet said as there was no obvious trauma the best thing was calm, warm and quiet, and a trip to the surgery would just add to the poor creature's stress. I have spent the rest of the day feeling slightly sick with anxiety, while trying not to spoil things for all the other participants. He was still alive when I left, but you can imagine how I am feeling - a word of warning would have been wise, but that is no excuse.

I got home and could hear my father's voice in my head - so took his wise advice and poured myself a stiff whisky.

Strong thoughts please for little Lionel, that he recovers quickly and does not succumb to the shock.
 

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Poor guy hope he is ok. Sandy has a pretty good recall and “ leave it” but when my chickens were out ( oops I left the coop open) she was off like a blast. She had the time of her life chasing my littlest serama mix and it flew into the garage. She looked so happy chasing that bird. Caught Sandy and put her into the house and looked for Marshmallow. She hid until evening and came back to the coop and quickly went inside when I opened it up. She was fine just had a big scare.

If the bird hadn’t run she wouldn’t have hurt it but since it did it was game on. :aetsch:

As long as your dog didn’t do any damage the bird should be ok with rest .
 

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I once had a whippet who followed me out to the barn one day and started to chase one of the chickens. I caught the whippet and gave her a shake and a big tongue lashing. From then on when we went out to the barn she would look up in the air as if to say "Chicken? What chicken? I don't see any chickens!". She never chased chickens again.
 

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I hope the bird is okay. They're tougher than you'd think.


I've spent a lot of time with Mr. Layne on our chickens. I have broken dogs who were hard core chicken killers without violence or extreme training but it is NOT working on this Standard Poodle. I am considering something I thought I'd never use which is an e-collar. I purely hate the things but better a little jolt on the collar & learn that chickens are not squeaky toys than to lose my dog or have dead chickens. Last weak he plucked poor Matilda's rump bald. I'm sure she'd love to pluck him bald & make him be out in 19 degree weather today. He's the best puppy except this. Honestly, I have broken several dogs who were chicken killers & had them to the point they would walk away from their feed to let the birds have it & come get me. No more chicken aggression but it is NOT working with Mr. Layne. I've spent countless hours on long line, with him off leash. Basically he's only learned don't try to figure out the chickens until Mom & Dad are not around. Darned pup. The worse thing is the idea that someone might pepper him with the shot gun thinking they're running off a hunting dog that's gotten into our yard. Neighbors try to help one another here & they forget I have a new pup. Someone told me they almost came to check his collar to see where he belonged the other day. I said, "uh, no. He's mine. He's a standard Poodle." They were surprised & apparently I need to foo foo him up a little so they know he's mine. My Giant is kept in show cut & my Collie always looks perfect even when she's standing in the rain (I can't take the credit)..

I've been just miserable about this whole thing. I feel like I failed my boy but have not figured any way to break him of trying to take the chickens apart. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Poppy had an enormously exciting time chasing chickens out of my sister's garden when she was just a puppy - since then I have mostly been able to keep her away from them, as we rarely meet them ranging free. The downside, of course, is that there has not been the opportunity to teach her to leave them alone. On leash she is fine; more than 20 feet and I can stop her with a word; under her nose and flapping and her brain is overwhelmed, and I have no chance.
 

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A flapping, squawking chicken is just more than most dogs can stand.
 

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Flappng and squawking while running and flapping is very hard for a dog with any level of prey drive. Add herding behaviors on top of that and it can be crazy big time. When I first got my first hatchlings I introduced each chick to each dog and made sure to show chicks to dogs very regularly. I think this helped a lot. Lily can be out in the yard with the chickens and basically ignores them almost completely. Peeves needed some extra work to learn not to herd. I took him on leash and did lots of LAT type training with him. Even with that he has spent time trying to herd them much to his frustration since chickens scatter rather than gathering when pressured. He has finally figured all of that out and is trustworthy with loose birds now that he isn't trying to move them around. Javelin will chase them if he is unsupervised with them, but because he has the most amazing recall under the sun I can call him off them if I have occasion to do so.
 
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Mr Layne would be ok if he wanted to herd. My Collie herds our birds. They're used to both Collie & Giant Schnauzer herding. Our tiny Chihuahuas also try but Boo gets too excited & ends up scattering them. Mr Layne acts like these are squeaky toys & he doesn't care about anything but taking them apart. After we get moved I plan to get some more chicks & do that. I did this with Giant & Collie plus the Chihuahuas. The birds were grown when he arrived.

It's so upsetting. But one way or another I have to help him conquer his chickens as squeakies thing.

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Oh, dear! I can only imagine how sick this made you feel, fjm. To be an animal lover and a responsible dog owner and have it all go sideways in an instant-- well, it happened. It sounds like you did what you could. It must have felt like you were wearing a banner of shame the rest of the day, but we must forgive ourselves, our dogs, and other people when these sorts of surprises happen. Remind yourself that you were a good communicator about bringing your dogs, and you did your best to repair the situation afterward.

I like birds a lot, and chickens are very nice and useful pets. But I can't help smiling just a tiny bit at Poppy's naughtiness. It was probably her worst scrape of the year, and I bet she remembers it fondly. In the book of her life it might warrant it's own chapter.

I will hope the luckless chicken recovers quickly, and without any nightmares of curly redheaded quicksilvers.
 

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Oh I'm so sorry that happened! Wishing the bird a quick recovery. Poodles are duck dogs and I think the bird interest is super strong. The college campus I work at has ducks and ibis all over it. And the neighborhood we live in is home to 30 odd peacocks. We can't go for a walk without running into fun birds. So I have been working with Misha since he was little on ignoring them. He finds the smaller gallinules more exciting because they flap and move more, and make fun little squeaks. But constant exposure and practiced down time around them has helped him to pretty much ignore them on walks, or at least to where he remains in control of himself. I don't know what he would do if he were off lead. We do have a house bunny that he is relatively good with, but he does still try to play with him sometimes. Thankfully he is not interested in actually hurting the rabbit. It helps that the rabbit can defend himself to a degree. Dogsavvy what you really need is a bird that bites back! So I wouldn't blame you for resorting to an e-collar. They're good for some things like rattlesnake training as well.
 

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Raindrops, you are so right. My current birds are marshmallows. They expect the Spoo to be like the others. I need Kungfu-Chicken, Rent-a-Goose or Turkey- zilla would do for Mr Layne.



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fjm it's the most unexpected of things. I am sending good thoughts to little Lionel.

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It is such a tricky one to train. On leash Poppy will walk past chickens with just a glance, even if they are just a few feet away. Off leash, the moment they flap and scuttle she is gone. It has only happened a couple of times as I take great care to avoid the risk, but those are enough to make it the most exciting thing ever, so it is hugely reinforcing. We have met geese and swans, and she listens to me when I tell her they are dangerous and to be avoided, but she doesn't associate them with chickens. We meet free range hens so rarely that management has always seemed the safest way, which it is if I am forewarned, or spot them before she does. Completely unexpected birds appearing almost under her nose and panicking were too much for both of us, though, and it was made worse by this particular bird being unable to fly well enough to gain the few feet of height needed for safety. I am still waiting to hear how he is this morning...
 
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It is such a tricky one to train. On leash Poppy will walk past chickens with just a glance, even if they are just a few feet away. Off leash, the moment they flap and scuttle she is gone. It has only happened a couple of times as I take great care to avoid the risk, but those are enough to make it the most exciting thing ever, so it is hugely reinforcing. We have met geese and swans, and she listens to me when I tell her they are dangerous and to be avoided, but she doesn't associate them with chickens. We meet free range hens so rarely that management has always seemed the safest way, which it is if I am forewarned, or spot them before she does. Completely unexpected birds appearing almost under her nose and panicking were too much for both of us, though, and it was made worse by this particular bird being unable to fly well enough to gain the few feet of height needed for safety. I am still waiting to hear how he is this morning...
Yeah I think that would be too much for most dogs! I know some chickens can be aggressive. With her small size, it could help her to be around some really big mean ones that will not put up with it.
 

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A rooster protecting his hens will teach a dog to stay away from the birds. Aside from the racket out of my by mistake roo his nastiness towards me a Lily compelled me to rehome him. To work on the dog end of the training without a rooster though even Ian Dunbar sees that as an appropriate reason to use an e collar, but remember your timing has to be impeccable and you need to be properly trained on its use.
 
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Oh dear! What mayhem. Is Lionel continuing to improve? I hope he'll be okay. But yeah...difficult to resist.

My Lab was a major hunter. We lived on acreage and she hunted and killed wild rabbits. She got a few and would eat them, then throw up. Ewwww. Anyhow, lots of prey drive, would chase animals when she'd come along with me when I was riding my horse. She got into a porcupine a couple of times when she was playing around with the neighbor's dog. They both did. Grrr. But one thing that's interesting is, when she got older, she got the wanderlust. And when I was outside with her if I turned my back, she was gone...gone down the little gravel lane to a neighbor's who had chickens. She got lots of attention there and so I'd go get her, apologize and they'd say, "You just leave Bonnie here!" LOL. You know what she was doing? Lying on their lawn in the sun while their chickens scuttled around here, pecking curiously at her face. What did she do? Lie perfectly still, relaxed and her tail would go thump, thump, thump. She was pleased with the company. haha. Somehow she knew they were pets and she showed no prey drive or aggression toward them whatsoever. She was completely tolerant as she was with our kitties. What a great dog she was. If only all our bird dogs could distinguish between wild animals and pets or domestic animals like she did. And there are people who say Labs are dumb. Pfff.

Training is difficult for sure. I don't know about an E collar though Fjm. I trained my Dobe to recall in spite of wild animals we might come across on our hikes. He was very obedient, even if he started after deer. He'd come back when called. I did not use an E collar. I used a bucket, a rope, a helper and faux prey. It didn't take him long to figure out how well his obedience paid off. I have no inclination to do that kind of work these days with these little ones. But they're usually on a leash unless out in nature somewhere where there wouldn't be someone's chickens. Good luck. Hope the little chicken is okay. It must have played havoc with your nerves too.
 
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Still waiting for a reply on how he is doing.

I can call Poppy off deer, rabbits, ducks, even squirrels. I can lead her away from chickens without an argument. Neighbouring cats can be tricky, since Tilly-cat discovered how to use the dogs to guard her territory, but that is mostly sound and fury signifying very little. But chickens when she is off leash are our nemesis - full on prey chase from a standing start, mouth open to grab.

I shall redouble my precautions anywhere there might possibly be any running loose...
 

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I didn't mean to suggest fjm use an e collar with her pups, but rather that an e collar is a decent tool of late resort with dogs who are routinely dangerous to livestock and only if the person using really really knows what they are doing. I was thinking more about Dogsavvy's situation I htink.
 

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Poodlebeguiled, the ecollar suggestion was for my naughty Spoo, not the little dogs. It's because we have chickens so daily encounters are dangerous until I get it under control.

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Raindrops, you are so right. My current birds are marshmallows. They expect the Spoo to be like the others. I need Kungfu-Chicken, Rent-a-Goose or Turkey- zilla would do for Mr Layne.



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:laugh: "Rent-a-Goose" Hahaha. Love that! Too funny. But I bet that would do the trick for sure...no need for an e-collar. Those geese can dish out the discipline just fine. lol.
 
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