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Dogs and Chickens

Dogs and Chickens

Here at Leerburg, we obviously have several dogs. What many people may not know is we also have several cats in our office, along with chickens and horses outside. This short video is from a customer who is having issues with her dog attacking the chickens and not getting along with the cats. This customer wants to know which muzzle would be best. Rather than use a muzzle Ed explains what we do with our dogs to condition them to the chickens and cats. He also discusses the unfortunate reality that getting your dog to socialize with chickens may be an unrealistic expectation. However, you can manage and control your dog around the chickens.

Leerburg Q&A
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Question: I recently acquired a new dog from my son because she nipped my grandbaby. The new dog is not getting along with one of my older dogs. I'm not sure what else to do, please help!

I recently acquired a new dog (4 y/o lab/shepherd mx)) from my son who got her 2 1/2 years ago from a rescue group. I brought her home because she nipped my grandbaby & I felt she deserved another chance. The problem is she and my 14 y/o Border Collie/Aussie mix HATE each other! The new dog is now dog aggressive with most dogs (especially if they run up to her) although she gets along with my little terrier mix and does not bother my 3 cats. We keep them separated, either with the crate or one inside, one out or the old dog sleeps in my bedroom quite a bit. They have gotten into it 2x and I am sure the new dog could kill my old dog and it terrifies me. I walk the new dog several times a day but because she had surgery (for hip dysplasia) before I brought her here (6 weeks ago) I can't run her to tire her out. I am reading articles and watching and working with her but obviously I am not doing it right! I need help!

Ed's Response:

I give you a lot of credit for helping this dog. My son has the same issue – a new baby and a 2 year old, plus a dog. My son refused to manage his dog the way I recommended and to teach his 2 year old to leave the dog alone. He gave the dog to his in-laws (who had just lost their old dog), so it worked out OK.

I can tell you that you are justified in worrying about the new dog killing the older dog. I can’t tell you how often this happens. I have a file full of emails from people who have one of their dogs kill a second dog. Just got one last week.

Your doing the right thing in keeping them separated. We would recommend a crate for each dog. In my opinion, crates are better than putting them in a separate room. It is too easy  for an accident to happen when dogs are kept in rooms rather than crates. A guest or family member can accidentally open a door and then you have a dog fight.

One of the things to consider is an ex-pen for an older dog that has not been crate trained. They don’t get as stressed in them.

We keep new dogs on-leash in our home for a long time. The leash is in our hand, not tethered to a table or something else. The dog either wears a prong collar or a dominant dog collar. If the dog goes near the ex-pen and will not come back to you if it goes near the ex-pen, they will get corrected. We just don’t allow bad behavior in cases like this.

A point to mention is a correction can mean a number of things. It can be a leash correction, it can be a time out in a dog crate etc etc.

I wrote an article on How to Introduce a New Dog into a Home with Other Dogs. If you follow these protocols you can eliminate dog fights. Bottom line is it comes down to good management.

I also recently produced a short video on Management for one of our recent newsletters. It’s free to watch if you can watch streaming video on your computer. I suggest you watch it. Good management is just as important as good obedience training when it comes to living with a dog.

I suggest that you run this dog through our pack structure program  - Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog. This is going to offer additional information.

In closing, I also wrote an article on How to Break Up a Dog Fight Without Getting Hurt. And I have a web site filled with cases of people who did it wrong and got bit trying to break up a dog fight. Some of the photos people have sent me are pretty bad – so be aware that this is a dangerous thing to do.

But in the end it comes down with good management and having a routine. Dogs react to this in positive ways. In reality it’s not that difficult to do right.

Ed Frawley

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Introducing Dogs and our Q&A on Pack Structure.

We get a number of Q&As every week, if you would like to read this week's Q&As, click here and check out the 'Recent Questions' section!

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Recent Newsletter Q&A

Dear Cindy:

The question about the loose dogs is something I have also had to deal with. I now carry a cattle prod when I walk my dog. We were attacked minutes from our house by a Lab and a Doberman. They were on top of my dog, a Standard Poodle, when he was only 8 months old. Fortunately he was not physically hurt but he suffered emotionally from it. I went completely crazy on the owners and don't feel bad about it at all. Unfortunately where we live, people are overly into pit-bulls and breed them with anything and do not neuter the male dogs. It may sound extreme to carry a cattle prod but many dogs and people get attacked by the loose dogs and I am not about to be a victim. It has taken some of the pleasure out of walking my dog. Lucky for him we have a large property with horses. I still like to take him out and always have him well in hand with a dominant dog collar and one of the fab Leerburg leather leashes. He is not at all aggressive, just overly friendly and full of energy.

Always appreciate the Leeburg training tips.

The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers

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