Chickens and young dogs are a problem. Young dogs do not have a lick of
sense. There is a time in the teen years of a dog when they chase the
livestock they are to be guarding. The "old-time" remedy was to lower the protein level of the dog so they would lie around more. I have done this by
putting my younger dogs on a lower protein kibble, such as a good diet
kibble. The old approach was cooked oatmeal. That is probably not
"politically correct" these days, but housing the dog near the livestock they are to protect is correct.
One can not tolerate ANY chasing of the livestock. One way to accomplish this is to have a dog on a horse lunge line. This is an extremely long leash that horse trainers use to make the horse trot, etc. around the trainer in a circle. What I do during the break-in training period of a dog is to have them on that leash when they are out of the kennel (my kennel is in my field near my livestock), and if they start to misbehave while out, I stop them cold by stepping on it if it is dragging on the ground or yanking on it if it is in my hand with a loud
"NO". If they are really bad, I stop them, then say no, then put them on their back with a no in their face, and then walk immediately back to the kennel and put them away. They are only allowed out when they are being good
citizens. I never hit, I have never needed to, but I take away my affection
and ignore them in the kennel. When I take them out again I expect good
behavior. I do not allow a young, untrained dog much freedom without me
being right on top of the situation. This is only what has worked for me on
my farm, I know that others have a different approach, and it is always
important to find what works for you. What does not work is mixed messages. Like children, dogs need very clear boundaries.
by Liz Marino