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Homer, chickens, and cats
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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/05/04, 10:39 am    Post subject: Homer, chickens, and cats Reply with quote

I just do not know what to do. Yesterday afternoon Homer killed one of our chickens. Heretofore he has paid no attention to them, and we wrote it off to cabin fever (we have snow and rain) and being excited playing with our other dog.
Now today, he nearly killed the cat, and has had two more chickens in his mouth that he finally dropped. He acts possessed today. He had the cat in his mouth and was just shaking away when she got loose somehow. Then he went out and straight for the chickens. Even when I took him to play ball he wanted to chase the chickens. We've had him 6 weeks and this is all new.
I have tried putting him in the utility room and in the garage, closing the doggie doors. Problem is, he knows how to push the cover thing out of its slot, so no help there. He is lying in wait outside the room where the cat is hiding.
While our other dogs always started out crated, it didn't seem necessary with Homer when we got him: he was so well behaved and house broken. Now I am wondering if it is too late to introduce?
Could any of this be attributable to lack of exercise? Normally I run them several times a week, but this week, due to weather, I am on the treadmill. He normally plays alot with our other dog, but now he only wants the chickens. I just don't know what to do! He is normally so great and agreeable, but I can't handle this new behavior--I don't want daily casualties, esp. with our cat. Any help much appreciated...
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 02/05/04, 5:47 pm    Post subject: Look Who's Coming to Dinner Reply with quote

Ashley I don't want to totally turn you off to this board as a source of information or the to German Wirehair Pointer as a breed, but you need to come to the party. You have a dog that has been bred to do exactly what you are having a problem with.
You brought the dog into a home with a cat and you allow the dog access to chickens and you are telling us that you don't know what to do.

Separate them.

A long time ago, a grocery store owner explained to me that he kept the little candies out of the reach of the little kids so he would not have to deal with catching little kids stealing candy.

You brought a dog into your home that has been bred to kill cats and hunt and deliver birds and you are having a hard time understanding why it killed your chickens and brought them to you and then picked up you cat and tried to shake its head off.

I want you and your family to succeed in this venture and I want you to enjoy the wonders of having a German Wirehair Pointer as a part of home, but you have to rethink your approach to the introduction and transition of Homer to your home. Homer will become a good, No Great, member of you family as soon as you become aware of who you invited into your home.

You might think of this as preparation for the day when one of you children brings home their future partner. You have to build the foundation before you can build a house. You have to understand the dog before you can train, mold, or correct the dog. When your kids come home with their chosen one you will have to understand their background before you ever open you mouth.

I repeat Separate Them.

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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/05/04, 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave:
Yes you're so right: we just didn't think the chickens were any issue, since he'd never paid any attention to them all this time. We are going to return the chickens to the pen. We have let them range for a while, but it isn't necessary. I guess I did sound laughably naive in my post, but I had let myself think things were going fine.
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 8:53 am    Post subject: Some weeks have more Mondays then others Reply with quote

Let me start by apologizing for the tone of my last post. For what it is worth I am betting on you. It sounds like you have a fully charged Wirehair and even when they on are Prozac they're a hand full. I don't think that I have ever heard of one that wouldn't go over the fence to go hunting. And, as long as the chickens are right there for the taking, you have a lot to content with.
You have only had Homer for a couple of months and the fun just keeps getting better.
Suggestion: If you have not already considered it you might want to check with the NAVHDA chapter in you area.
Their web page is http://www.navhda.org/ and you can click on the Chapter location map. It shows a chapter in Broken Arrow, which should be pretty convenient for you. This could give you an opportunity to get some first hand advice. I have talked to at least on VDD owner who attends the chapter and he could prove to be a good source of knowledge.
Question: Do you have any background on Homer, and did you check for an ear tattoo?
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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Dave! Actually, after I read your post last night I did bawl my head off, but I have no one but me to blame! We returned the chickens to the pen today--he still goes over there, but at least comes right back when I call, unlike when they are out for the snatching. Thanks also for that link, because I'd been trying to figure out who to get in contact with.
All we know is what the rescue org. told us. He'd wandered onto the property of some elderly people. They took care of him for a while, in a covered run, until for whatever reason they could not/would not continue, and left him at the vet's to be put down, which was when the rescue came in. Really, the pros outweigh the cons (I listed them all yesterday!) He is perfect in the house: quiet, not too rambunctious. A couch potato, in fact. He tolerates our (soon to be )4 small daughters extremely well. Homer is the ideal playmate for our GSD, and he is so sweet and loveable and easygoing--he goes to school with me to pick up our oldest.

Obviously we have a great deal more to improve upon than I'd initially thought. We honestly had not worried too much about breed particularities, since our pointer that died last summer was so utterly perfect for us. He at any rate controlled the squirrel/rabbit population, but never cared about chickens or cats.

I'll check into the chapter in Broken Arrow--it is only 10 minutes away. Thanks again!
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, you gave Ashley great advice and from time to time, we humans need a good shaking just as much as our dogs!

A chicken story... when we moved here to our "farm" we thought it would be fun to have a small chicken coop... went and got chicks, they were cool! Until, the Wires figured out if they hung out near the pen, and the little chicks stuck their heads out... well, needless to say we never ended up with any full grown chickens.

How to blame the dogs? They did just what generations of instincts told them to do.... no more chickens for us.

Sometimes a dog needs a really good harsh life lesson when it comes to totally unacceptable behaviours. Killing your house cat is unacceptable behaviour for you and it must be gottin into Homers head that this is the RULE! No looking at the cat, no chasing the cat, no hanging outside the room where the cat lives. Absolutely positively never ever!

Homer may never get over his interest in the cat, but it's up to you and the family to try.

I'm normally not one to suggest corporal punishment, but a good whupping may save both the cats life and Homer's as well.

Stop thinking of Homer as one of the kids. he's a dog with a long genetic history of chasing, catching, and dispatching...
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, I too entierely agree with what you have said and think that you have helped ashleyM far more by being honest and pointing her to the right direction.
It is a lot easier to deal with a problem when we have the correct information and like you, I have the very strong feeling that ashleyM will be able to bypass this sometimes unfortunate side affect any good GWP has. Thanks to your reply, ashleyM has understood where the behaviour came from and will be able to take the proper steps to protect chickens, cats, the dog, and her sanity... The family and the dog will have a happy life.
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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to make sure my earlier post did not somehow imply something I did not at all mean, I would like to say that I appreciated Dave's straight-on counsel very much. I in no way took offense. On the contrary, it got me on the right track to dealing with these problems in a realistic way. Without his candid response, I'd probably still be muddling around. I readily admit my mistake in assuming too much, too soon about Homer, simply because things have seemed to go well since bringing him home. We are eager to make good on these mistakes and learn from them in order to have a happy long term relationship with a really great dog. I know far less than anyone else on this board, which is why I am here to learn what I can through all the valuable suggestions and constructive criticism that come my way. Thank you.
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 7:36 pm    Post subject: Homer, chicken & Cats Reply with quote

Ashley,

Like Dave & DualGWP stated, you need to teach Homer that the chickens & cats are off limits.

I have two wirehairs, one is a 9 yr old male & the other is a 19 month old female. I hunt both these dogs & I also have a parrot, parakeet, cockatiel & lovebird. The male dog has learned that you do not hunt birds in the house & the female is still figuring it out. I, like Bernee, do not like to be too harsh on them, but sometimes it is the only way to get the point across. I have had to result to lifting my female off the floor & throwing her onto her back to get her to leave the parrot alone. I am way more stubborn than she is & I will win!

As for the cat, my older dog was raised with my now deceased cat & he was fine with her. But, I know if I try to get another, it would just like it is at your house & I just don't have the energy to go through that again.

I use to take my male dog for a run off horseback through this neighborhood that had a greenbelt. We use to pass by a house that had chickens & Doc never paid any attention to them until one day he noticed them. He looked at me as if to say "I feel like chicken tonight" & off he went. Of course, I had to jump off my horse, tie him to a t-post & try to get the chicken from the dog. Thank God he did not kill it & all was well.

The moral of the story is, This too shall pass.

Cathy Rolling Eyes
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ashleyM
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Cathy! I know Homer has to learn the cat and chicks are off limits, and my husband is doing a much better job reinforcing this than I am. He is consistenly stern and vigilant, and Homer wouldn't dream of touching either cat or chicken around my husband. It is just during the day, and I have so much going on it is difficult to keep track of Homer's goings on all the time. But today I made a point of knowing where he is and what he is up to at all times, redirecting him when necessary. I have to get used to staying on top of him, and forget my earlier notion that he is low maintenance at this point.
I really appreciated your chicken story, by the way. In our case, at least it was just our own chicken. I would hate for it to be anyone else's.
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mike
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PostPosted: 02/06/04, 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We live in New Orleans in the heart of the Garden District but one day my wife called and said you will never believe what happened... She had taken the dog (about 4 months old) walking earlier and he locked onto point on a bush in someone’s front yard. She said he would not break the point and we had often seen him do this on cats, so she kicked the bush as he held the point and some one's pet rooster jumped out. She said he looked at her and said "See mom I told you there was a bird in there." She didn't let him eat it but he is definitely a hunter.

We have 2 cats and both are still alive it sounds like you got your dog 3/4 grown and he was not raised being told not to eat the cats. Our 7 lb cat has convinced our 65 lb dog she can kill him and we encourage both of them to get him.

As for you situation I have been working on learning about E-collars, and one of the great uses is when you have something you never want your dog to do, you use the highest power with no warning to the dog. This maybe one of those situations! I had always thought about using it for things like eating out of the litter box, but that has not been a problem. Normally a collar is used in place of the pulling on the check cord or choke chain, but check around and I believe you could create some situations where the dog would get shocked if going after the dog. Several of these training sessions and he should just want to leave when the cat arrives.
Michael
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 02/07/04, 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, New Orleans... only been there once, loved it and can't wait to get a chance to visit this wonderful and throughly entertaining city again!

It reminds me alot of Key West, darn chickens runnning all over the place.. kind of cool, very bizarre, but just so .. I don't know how to explain it.
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mike
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PostPosted: 02/08/04, 8:47 am    Post subject: New Orleans Reply with quote

Great place to visit but never stay more than about 5 days.... and there are alligators everywhere so you can't realy let the dog swim when he wants ... have to find someones pool.

Michael
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Dave1967
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PostPosted: 02/08/04, 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow did this thread just take a cool turn, now you got me wanting Cajun/Creole. It's cold here so I am thinking a nice big pot of Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hock, Chaurice/Andouille sausage, and a bottle of dark beer thrown in for added flavor. Follow that up with some Jalapeno Corn Bread with about a cup of Cheddar Cheese added for more flavor. Stoke up the fireplace, add a couple of fingers of Rip Van Winkle Bourbon for sipping, load the CD player and teach the Wire to appreciate Jazz.
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Beths
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PostPosted: 02/12/04, 4:39 pm    Post subject: A chicken 'tail' Reply with quote

hehehee... For Ashley... couldn't resist just had to tell you that its too bad you didn't get an Australian Sherpherd like we used to have. We had a small "free range" (before they called it free range) flock of about 20 birds who would wander where ever they pleased. At the end of the day and it was time to 'coop' them up around sundown, our Aussie would herd them by poking his nose into theirs butts Shocked until they were all lined up in an orderly fashion and into the pen they went. Laughing Laughing

We put up double chicken wire for the 'pen' by the way to keep the neighbourhood dogs at bay until they realised that these chicks where off limits. Pretty glad there weren't any GWPs nearby.
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