Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chicken Guardian Dogs

Puppies stealing food from guineas
My dogs are trained to be used as guardian dogs for many breeds such as chickens, ducks, guineas, and geese. I place considerable value on my birds due to the fact that I show them which in itself is a large investment. Having a guard dog to protect my birds and to keep predators at bay is a necessity. Predators are always going to be near your livestock so we are one step ahead.

The training process starts as a pup. Our pups are penned at night with the poultry in predator safe pens and in the morning placed with free range birds to learn correct interactions. This is how the bonding process works. The dogs eventually are friends to the birds and can be trusted around them fully. In the initial learning period they need a lot of guidance. Never put a young puppy in with your birds without being prepared to assist him in his learning journey. Also be aware that even a very young puppy can damage or kill a chicken in the mildest of play activities. I  usually train my puppies in the beginning with guineas because they can fly out of reach if they need too. The boundaries of permissible behavior is set at puppy hood and firmly instilled in dogs. These limits of appropriate and inappropriate behavior are set under close supervision.
Pyrenese mix Puppies trying out some poultry food
   I use mixed breed puppies of the guardian dog bloodlines, Pyrenees, border collies, Australian shepherds and other related breeds. They seem to be the best candidates for training. Neighbor children come and interact with them so they are well rounded in all areas. My older dog Cody keeps them in line. They learn to respect their elders. Cody is a irreplaceable Livestock guardian, who is a non aggressive protector and is a role model for my pups. I use Cody as the guideline to mold their behaviors. The ideal poultry guardian dog has to have the following behaviors
  1. Likes children
  2. Does not harm cats
  3. Chases off all predators such as coons, coyotes, unfriendly dogs, birds of prey, skunks, opossums, rats, mice, etc.
  4. Watches the poultry and does not bother them
  5. Does not hurt a chicken that disturbs him
  6. Barks to let predators know hes there
  7. Loves his owner
  8. Tolerates other friendly dogs
  9. Stays away from rattle snakes
  10.  Alerts me when strangers approach
Puppies playing while guineas eat

   There are other benefits of a guardian dog but the list is long. The above list are the more important issues. Our dogs also learn to avoid rattlers if the time of the year is right. That is a very important issue out in the country. I recommend that all guardian dogs receive a rattlesnake vaccine shot.If you would like a Guardian dog and live in Texas please email me at

Bearsey as a puppy

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