...prevent someone(s) from sneaking into my yard last night and stealing several of my father-in-law's male chickens from their pens.

I have four dogs, one of which is a chihuahua who barks at falling leaves... They are all vocal when people walk by the yard, ride by on bikes, etc. They're outdoor dogs so they're always in the yard.

From what I understand my mother-in-law heard barking about 1am and stuck her head outside to shush the dogs. Whether the perps were still around or hiding, is unknown. At any rate, they somehow subdued the dogs, or the dogs were just friendly, which is probably the case.

Is this normal? Dogs bark at strangers, and then when the stranger enters the yard and extends his hand, the dogs get friendly? My dogs are friendly to begin with anyhow. I suppose the only thing to do is get them training in being guard dogs... ?
Just frustrated is all. Needed to vent. Any opinions?

Thanks.
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...prevent someone(s) from sneaking into my yard last night and stealing several of my father-in-law's male chickens from their pens. ... when people walk by the yard, ride by on bikes, etc. They're outdoor dogs so they're always in the yard.

What they have learned is that they can bark to alert you and you will either ignore them or yell at them, but you don't actually investigate.
From what I understand my mother-in-law heard barking about 1am and stuck her head outside to shush the dogs. Whether ... to begin with anyhow. I suppose the only thing to do is get them training in being guard dogs... ?[/nq]It is normal when you have conditioned the dogs that it is useless to alert you. By allowing them to bark at people who are not trespassing you created a situation in which the barking is meaningless to you. They are no longer barking to alert you but merely for their own pleasure. By the way you have responded to their barking in the past (as exampled in your post) you have taught them that you don't care about whatever it is that they see. So when someone comes in and does something interesting they can stop barking to be paying attention to what that interesting thing is.

A more productive tactic is to (1) always respond when the dogs bark (2) teach them that barking at people and things off your property is neither necessary nor desired. (3) teach them that you approve and support barking if and only if there is a trespass. To accomplish those goals you will have to spend more time directly inteacting with them and being in their company. That means either you are out more or they are in more.
Diane Blackman
Is this normal? Dogs bark at strangers, and then when the stranger enters the yard and extends his hand, the dogs get friendly? My dogs are friendly to begin with anyhow.

My two big dogs bark at anyone who walks by the yard. If they enter the gate, the dogs retire to the deck to bark, or run over and make friends. Dylan, a GSD, looks very ferocious, but at heart is a pussycat.

Diane's analysis of this is very good. I suppose I should have paid more attention to their casual barking. Will keep this in mind for the future.

FurPaw

Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.

To reply, unleash the dog.
...prevent someone(s) from sneaking into my yard last night and stealing several of my father-in-law's male chickens from their pens.

Fighting cocks, right? No one who is interested in keeping chickens for eggs needs more than one rooster, or even one rooster for that matter.
I have four dogs, one of which is a chihuahua who barks at falling leaves... They are all vocal when people walk by the yard, ride by on bikes, etc. They're outdoor dogs so they're always in the yard.

You keep a chihuahua as an outdoor dog? Geez. Is he and the other dogs at least on heartworm preventative and have a very snug doghouse? My vet's little mascot Chi shivers when temps are in the 50's. I don't even want to think about a Chi adrift in the snow that some parts of the country have had recently.
Dogs are not omniscient to know who is "approved" to be barked at an who isn't. They require training. Which requires lots of interaction with their owner. Dogs just thrown into the backyard usually don't train themselves. You're lucky the thief didn't leave the chicken pen open for the dogs to get into and kill. Or leave the gate open for the dogs to run away.
I suppose the only thing to do is get themtraining in being guard dogs... ?

No, basic obedience and general socialization would come first.
...prevent someone(s) from sneaking into my yard last night and stealing several of my father-in-law's male chickens from their pens.

Fighting cocks, right? No one who is interested in keeping chickens foreggs needs more than one rooster, or even one rooster for that matter.

damn, that's quite a leap! you do know that some folks keep chickens to show, right? or to eat? or just to have around? why on earth would you assume fighting cocks based on this one statement?

-kelly
In agricultural communities, yes. Not in suburban back yards. And most are hens.
or to eat?

Roosters are practically inedible. Most eating chickens are hens just barely beyond pullet stage.
or just to have around?
"Pet" chickens do exist, but in a small flock situation, you won't have more than one or two roosters. They don't get along well competing for limited female companionship. Even non fighting breed roosters get testy about that.
why on earth would you
assume fighting cocks based on this one statement?

Unfortunately, in the course of some of my ineffective (due to the way the laws are written in this state) HS cruelty investigations, I have met a couple of "charming" men who felt it was their right to keep roosters and train them to tear each other to shreds. Some were rather security conscious because of the fear of another breeder stealing their prize rooster so they could raise "better" future fighters. (Not much other reason to steal an inedible rooster.) Besides, it wasn't just the one statement about the "several male chickens". The general attitude of the dogs as livestock who failed at their jobs also speaks volumes. (Don't get me started on an "outdoor" chihuahua again.)
I'll freely admit the possibly of being wrong. But, I'm probably not.
What they have learned is that they can bark to alert you and you will either ignore them or yell at them, but you don't actually investigate.
Thank you Diane. This makes perfect sense yet it elluded me until I read it.
You keep a chihuahua as an outdoor dog? Geez. Is he and the other dogs at least on heartworm preventative and have a very snug doghouse? My vet's

Yes, of course they are all on heartworm medicine, and get monthly vet checkups. Yes, they have shelter. I live in southern Az. We don't know what snow is.
No, basic obedience and general socialization would come first.

Are there any particular things that I should be looking for, or asking, when shopping for a trainer?
> Fighting cocks, right? No one who is interested in keeping chickens for eggs
> needs more than one rooster, or even one rooster for that matter.

damn, that's quite a leap! you do know that some folks keep chickens to show, right? or to eat? or just to have around? why on earth would you assume fighting cocks based on this one statement?

Thank you. These are not fighting cocks. They're not even ill-tempered. They're peaceful, God-fearing roosters, who wouldn't dare raise a wing to another living thing. Emotion: smile Why people are assuming we keep them around for fighting is beyond me. Then again, I keep my dogs outside, so Imust be a horrible person, right?
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