Keeping backyard chickens has become the norm, and the days when chickens were running around on farms between cows and sheep have become less and less popular. But, with so many benefits of keeping chickens in your backyard, you may wonder how your canine friend will react to these newcomers. Do silkie chickens get along with dogs?
Silkie chickens may not get along with all dogs. As some dogs have a higher prey drive than others, it could become dangerous due to the silkies’ inability to defend themselves. However, understanding your dog and what precautions to take could mean your silkies and dog would be able to get along.
Chickens and dogs haven’t always had the best and most loving relationships, as dogs tend to see them as prey due to their instinctual behavior as carnivores. Are you wondering if there is any chance your silkie flock will get along with your dog? Read with us to find out!
Factors Determining Whether A Dog And Silkie Will Get Along
Many factors could determine whether or not your dog will get along with your silkie flock. For example, your dog’s age, size, and temperament will influence how well they tolerate sharing their territory with your silkies.
After carefully considering all these factors, you must consider the most important of them: your dog’s breed.
For centuries, humans have sought to breed dogs for specific purposes.
Whether for hunting or offering protection, humankind has relied on these canine friends to team up with them and accomplish tasks that would otherwise be impossible alone.
Dogs were not merely companions; instead, their role was to assist humans in one way or another, such as protecting or hunting by their side.
Before getting a dog or introducing it to chickens, you must consider their prey drive. Remember, prey drive is not the same as aggression, as even the calmest and docile dogs could have a high prey drive.
There might be exceptions, as each dog is different, but you need to know your dog’s prey drive before introducing it to your fragile silkies.
Determining Your Dog’s Prey Drive
A dog with a reasonably low prey drive won’t be bothered by birds or squirrels passing them by. These dogs are not lazy but would rather go on walks or cuddle with their owners than run after a ball or catch small prey.
Generally, toy breeds and dogs from a non-sporting group will be the best choice for silkies. Dogs such as Maltese, Pyrenees, Pomeranians, and Bulldogs have low prey drives.
On the other hand, dogs from sporting, herding, and working groups will have a higher prey drive.
Dogs such as Dachshunds, Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Border Collies may exhibit a higher instinct to chase small animals such as rabbits or chickens.
However, it would be good to note that dogs falling in these categories must be considered carefully, as each dog has its own temperament and prey drive.
Not all dogs will follow the same breed guidelines, and this is especially true with mixed breeds.
When you think about whether or not your silkie chickens will get along with your dog, there are things you can practice to encourage them to get to know each other and improve their tolerance towards one another.
How To Improve Your Silkies And Dog’s Relationship
That said, regardless of what type of dog you already have, it can still learn to accept your chickens without any aggression.
The best way to train your dog not to see your dear silkies as prey would be to practice clicker training. It doesn’t matter what your dog’s age or breed is.
Clicker training is highly effective, and you can perform it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Contacting a professional dog obedience trainer would be best if your dog is older.
Clicker training is not difficult, and there are only a few things needed and some steps involved:
Use A 6-Foot Leash And A Choke Chain Before Clicker Training
Before training your dog, purchasing a 6-foot leash would be best, as your dog will have enough space to move and act on commands such as sit and stay.
Additionally, a choke chain collar or prong collar would work best in the case of obedience training.
These types of collars are used so the dig won’t slip out of the collar when corrections are made, and when you tug at it, you will immediately get your dog’s attention.
Remember that a muzzle is not crucial but works best when your dog has a higher prey drive.
If it’s the first time introducing your dog to your flock of Silkies, it would be best to use a muzzle, especially if your dog has a history of attacking smaller animals.
Make use of dog treat bags for the easiest access to treats. Always use a treat you know your dog is interested in, as they would be more likely to want to please you.
Introduce Your Dog To Your Silkies
Start your training close to your silkie chickens. It would be best to start far away, and ten feet would suffice. Start saying commands such as “no,” or “leave” as you work yourself closer to the silkies.
If your dog seems to be tugging at the leash, move farther away and start again.
Practice Safety When Your Dog Is Around Your Silkies
While chickens and dogs are highly social animals, chickens, especially silkies, will see dogs as a threat until they are proved wrong. On the other hand, dogs and silkies enjoy interacting with their human families and will get along when correctly introduced.
However, while we may think we fully know our pets, we can never truly predict how they will act in a new situation. Therefore, having a closed and secure coop for your silkies is crucial, especially if it’s the first time with your dog.
This will not only prevent your dog from having free access to them, but it will keep out other predators as well, as silkies are unable to protect themselves due to their small size.
As dogs can climb and jump fences, having a high fence is essential, and you will likely need some ground protection to prevent your dog from digging into the coop.
Always be vigilant when interacting with your canine companion and flock; your flock’s safety should always come first.
Silkies and dogs have the potential to get along, and it all comes down to the proper training. While teaching a puppy is easier, older dogs can learn too!
The most important thing to do is to stay consistent with the training and ensure that each session is kept short and fun. Never leave your dog alone with your flock; provide them with a safe, closed space away from your dog.
Eventually, your dog will learn to respect your flock, and they may even become best friends!
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