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Trying to train terriers not to hunt...'sigh'..

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Finsky, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    I have to admit that I am quite stuck at the moment with our girls and their behaviour in one particular aspect...the allotment.
    We are lucky to have allotment behind our garden so it is only couple of meters hop from one gate to another to access the land. All our past dogs have been my companions while I've been pottering about..some more around my ankles than others but they've been good company and happy spend time there even for hours at the time....UNTILL now...started with our eldest one, Iida.
    Iida has always been looking to get out and explore plots further away and managed to escape few times as well.
    Eventually that was solved with terrier proof fencing. She has put it into test and so far so good, that's one problem solved BUT, she is constantly hunting to find rats/mice etc.(don't mind that) She had a chance to meet our old chickens when she was still teeny pup so she is not too bothered about the new ones.
    Then came the pups...and this summer the new chickens. I've been trying and trying and trying again introduce the girls for the chickens, but ain't working.
    Ella is ABSOLUTELY feather mad...it doesn't matter what sort bird it is, she WILL try to catch it and kill it and she is absolutely raving mad, totally blind to anything else around her but trying to get to the chickens. She climbs net fencing we put up as extra protection like a squirrel! I would have never believed it without seeing it on my own eyes!!!
    Aila is a wussie...is ain't bothered about the chickens and I had my hopes up that she would make my allotment companion...but if she is there on her own with me...she just sits behind the gate whimpering and wanting to get back to the other two. Otherwise she is fine on the plot as long as we are all there, she ain't bothered about chickens.
    It seems that the terrier hunting instinct is strong with the two or them so I suspect there is not much that can be done with it.
    So what do you all reckon....is there anything that can be done with it? At the moments I'm getting fed up even trying to wear their excitement out (if it even can be done) as every day their reaction just seem to get even more excited and determined.
    Maybe I just have to give up trying and accept that these few just are not destined to be that sort of dogs and keep them off from the allotment altogether?

    Thoughts please......
     
  2. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    As the chickens aren't in imminent danger, I wonder what would happen if you gave her a brief timeout (behind a bit of fencing, or tethered) each time she touched the fence, similar to working on puppy biting? Maybe the chickens would end up boring, as she doesn't get to have any fun with them?

    Thinking about it, Jasper used to show far too much interest in sheep. On one holiday we walked past them regularly (on lead) and he lost interest, but one day he saw an escaped lamb trying to get back into its field and was instantly switched on - so even if Ella regarded the chickens in the enclosure as boring, an escaped chicken might become lunch... and then one day Mr N walked J on lead too close to a flock and he flipped, and that was that. But then we don't have any local ones to practise on.

    Do you need to work on spending more quality time with Aila so she can be comfortable away from the other two? It's not ideal for her to be so dependent on them.
     
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    You might find the book Hunting Together by Simone Mueller helpful. It's about working with your dogs' drives (to your advantage) rather than trying to suppress them.
     
  4. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Thank you Ladies...I knew somebody will come up some ideas to try on. Every now and then we do take all the girls for a good walk individually and although Aila is not happy being 'alone' on the allotment with me, she is very happy going on walks and leave others behind...no missing the pack what so ever, so I'm not sure what that whimpy behaviour is all about...maybe because on the plot she can still hear the other two behind the hedge??
    As for the other two...they seem to amplify each other to behave to their maximum madness.
    This morning I took Iida for a long walk on her own and she was different creature altogether! She has always been VERY friendly with people and other dogs...but she even ignored a neaby cat and rather made fuss with a dog walker...she was rolling on her back to have tummy tickles!! 'Working terrier' my a** .. :rolleyes::D:D
     
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  5. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Unfortunately majority of our chickens are still young and they are rather skittish...hence I think dogs find their reaction to their behaviour most interesting. In past our chickens have more and less sorted the too eager dogs themselves by giving a good peck on the nose.. serves right for coming too close :D One of our past dog, she was rather nervous of our feathered girls and when ever they were having 'out of pen time' in the garden...dog would sit quietly, like statue for not to attract attention to herself...only now and then having sneaky sniff at the chickens bottoms :D:D
    I have only two older chickens at the moment and they are so placid that nothing prompts sharp reaction out of them...unfortunately :rolleyes:

    OH just returned from walk with Aila....and although she doesn't take notice of the chickens or our garden birds.. having just been to local park for the walk, she has been reported chasing pigeons away and trying to catch squirrels as well :rolleyes: Not that wimp after all....:rolleyes:
    At the moment seeing any sense in their behaviour patterns proves to be bit tricky....other than they behave like terriers...:rolleyes:
     
  6. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    I just had a look at this book and it sounds promising book. That is exactly what I would love to achieve....I do like them to do some hunting duties but not hunt things that are 'family'. I reckon I have my work cut out! :D:D:rolleyes:
     
    JoanneF likes this.
  7. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    So you want your cake and to eat it too ;) ........ and why not, however as you say you have your work cut out getting it with terriers.

    It is always harder to achieve with more than one dog as there will be a 'leader' who doesn't necessarily 'do' the deed however will give the one that does the confidence to 'do' it......
    I have a little one that as far as everyone who knows her is concerned she is a little darling, sweet and innocent however she 'instigates and drives' other dogs...they get in trouble and she stands aside pretending she is nothing to do with any of it.
     
  8. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Oh yes...having the tempted cake will taste the sweetest. I hope...
    Hmm....I know exactly what you mean about the 'sweet and innocent little one'. Our little one does have those tendencies too, though she thinks I haven't noticed her sneaky ways. Being cute does achieve 'get away free' card from me...OH might be a different story :rolleyes:
     

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