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Dog Attack

Posted: 24 Sep 2015, 16:24
by Kerrykit
Hi, this is my first time using this site and hope I am in the right place.

I have a English Bull Terrier, 2 Miniature Dachshunds and 1 Whippet Pup.

On Saturday night the Whippet Pup and the adult Dachshund attacked one of my Silver Penciled Wyandottes which resulted in the hen being put down. The dogs where chastised and ignored by the whole family for a few days, the Whippet found this very hard and desperately wanted to be acknowledged.

This morning I found the adult Dachshund standing over another of my hens and the Whippet pup in the garden but a few meters from them. I'm not sure if the hen will survive, I have her in the house in a dark, quiet area with water and food and I'm keeping my fingers crossed she will pull through as she is by far my favourite hen, always ready for a chat and a cuddle.

The hens where free range more or less until recently (we added new stock and decided to repair the fence for their safety) and for the last three years none of the dogs have killed/injured a hen. Since the fence was repaired a few of the oldest hens jump the fence and wander round the garden and adjoining fields.

Is this new habit something I can break or will I have to rehome the dog. The only thing I can think of that could have a trigger is that the Dachshund is in season at the moment, could this be altering her behaviour?

If anyone has any advice they could offer I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, Kerry

Re: Dog Attack

Posted: 25 Sep 2015, 12:43
by drfish
Hi and welcome,

Sorry to hear about your incidents, but unfortunately, it's dogs being dogs. Granted, for the breed, a little out of character, but unless your dogs are properly trained being around livestock, then they shouldn't be allowed really. And by 'properly trained', I mean lead and command trained to ignore them. Just saying it's never happened before doesn't mean it can't happen. There could be a million and 1 reasons why it's just suddenly started to happen, but the fact it's happened implies it's likely to happen again. You could possibly train them out of it, but it would probably be better to keep them properly separated. My old Staffies used to be fine around the chickens, but they were 6+ years old when I first got the birds, so quite chilled and reserved. When we got a new GSD (when I still kept poultry), she went absolutely crazy at the sight of the chickens. I wouldn't have trusted her for once second around them, especially in a heightened state of anxiety. Without knowing much about your dogs or your environment, it's difficult to advise, but know that any training will probably be quite involved and will need constant reinforcement. Dogs tend to get a taste for chickens once they've logged their first kill. Chastising the dog also won't do much to prevent the situation. Punishment is not something dogs really understand, and especially over a long period of time. Within a few minutes, the dog has probably forgotten what it did to be punished, so then becomes more anxious and more unpredictable. A simple telling off, and then taking steps to prevent the issue would be a better option.

Re: Dog Attack

Posted: 26 Sep 2015, 07:30
by Moriarty
Excellent advice from Dr. Fish .....