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Monday, August 15, 2011

Doggy Dreams

Eaten bok choy
Those naughty, fluffy chooks do sometimes escape from their extensive chook run. And when they do, they eat things I don't want them to eat. Like my bok choy. And my silverbeet.

Now this is entirely my own fault. They can see lovely, juicy leaves from their favourite viewing place under the trampoline. And I haven't fenced their area off properly. This is because they only occasionally decide to explore and I am a bit lazy about some things. But it is frustrating to have your veggies eaten by chooks, especially now that I am mostly growing things from seed which takes longer and requires more of an emotional investment. So I can only wonder why oh why am I contemplating getting a dog?

My doggy desire started as a niggly little fantasy but grew 'til I found myself trawling the internet researching dog breeds. And so it was that I dared broach the topic with Monkey Man the other day. He of course wacked his hand into his head and groaned. "At least" he said "you're not dreaming of another baby".  I'm not sure if my doggy longing is a substitute baby longing and I'm not sure I want to analyse it too deeply. Nevertheless, I do find myself wanting a dog.

Now I'm no novice dog owner - I do know what I'd be getting myself into. But I would value some advice from you chooky doggy lovers. Monkey Man has assured me that a dog is likely to eat and terrorize the chooks. I know there are no guarantees, but I'm imagining that I would get a puppy and would train it to be a friend of the chook and to leave them alone. And if it wouldn't, I would use a fence to divide the garden into different territories. A comment that made Monkey Man smack his head even harder into his hand. 

Of course, I am a wee bit embarrassed to tell you what sort of dog I am dreaming of ... let's just say it's small and fluffy and would reside indoors mostly. I know I'm so predictable. But it's the sort of dog that isn't bred to chase things... I think.

The other negative is the damage a dog is likely to do to a veggie garden. I'm not so happy about the chooks eating my veggies and I would be even less happy with a dog jumping all over my garden and digging things up. But in my favour, let me remind you all that I am a teacher. And if I can manage large groups of children of all ages (even surly teenagers) surely I could train a puppy to keep off the garden? And keep it's teeth away from the chooks...
... oh and do it's business in a little doggy toilet corner of the garden.

Oh, and before you respond, I'll just clarify that comment I made before about my being lazy. I was of course being flippant. I would have endless enthusiasm and zeal for dog training and doggy fence-building. I am actually a bundle of energy. You know those people you meet who can't seem to sit still, always jiggling about. That's me. I'm the type who would rather go for a jog 'round the block at night after putting the monkeys to bed instead of lying slothfully on the couch watching crap TV.
Oh yeah, that's me.

24 comments:

  1. My advice if you want a garden, don't get a dog no matter how big or little, the two do not go together without a lot of fences and training and stress yes lot's of stress..... sorry I know that isn't what you wanted to here.

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  2. My dogs stay out of my garden really well. I have a short (8') board around the edges of the beds and trained the dogs not to cross those. It took all of maybe a day to do so.

    My dogs are also chicken friendly. They stare at chickens occasionally, and should one get loose in the yard and make a big ruckus and run away, they will chase it. But, if the chickens are in their pen, the dogs leave them alone. And they have yet to actually hurt any chicken, even if it is loose in the yard.

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  3. Oh poor bok choy. I don't know much about dog, but my aunt had one, and chickens, mostly it was hard to keep him away from the chickens, his wolf nature came back often. But now that she doesn't have one is worse, other stray (?) dogs manage to get in the chicken pen and kill many.

    In a small paddock if you have a veggie garden and chicken it pays to fence the veggies in, it also protect them from other 'predators'. Also chucks needs to get out now and then (unless you have a huuuuge chucks' enclosure), a few hours in the afternoon if possible, and it is so hard if you have a garden. Aunty lives in the country, so she has the veggie garden far away from where the chucks usually go (funny enough the never venture too far, the roster keep them together).

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  4. It will all end in tears...but it will be fun along the way. LOL. My dog is scared of the chooks. In the beginning they pecked her and she now has a great deal of respect for them. The visiting dog, however, just sees them as lots of squawking fun..so they have been locked up a lot over the last few weeks. I can't wait for my nephew to move into his house and take his dog!
    So choose carefully and be prepared to be 'top dog'. The fluffy breeds you talk about are pretty manageable. Anyway, it will give you more to blog about. :-)

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  5. We couldn't live without our dogs. Mind you we don't have chooks. But I expect if you get a pup they will be used to the chooks and you can train them. Our neighbours have just put chooks in their garden and our two dogs have paid no attention to them.

    Our dogs are what you would call 'lap top' and not farm dogs by any means, they sleep inside (usually in our bed lol). Ours are tibetan spaniel cross toy poodle, lovely cross but not easy to find. There are some pics of them on my blog. What breed did you have in mind?

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  6. VG get a dog!
    We had a dog from the pound, a labrador x kelpie we think. She was fantastic with the garden, didn't dig a thing. BUT when we got chickens she TERRORISED them. The labrador in her just wanted to eat them. I was shocked. Miss Bok (6) was too scared to be around her after witnessing the level of ferociousness in our otherwise calm doggy. So - be careful when choosing breed of dog! No terriers, no retrieving type dogs, no hounds! :)

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  7. Ooo yes, get a dog :) We have a BIG non fluffy dog, he's an American Staffy and built like a brick wall. And he is just lovely :)

    Morrie, who has killed his fair share of small fluffy things, has never touched our chickens. He just seems to know that they belong to the family. The same with our cat, he'd kill another cat if he got hold of one, but he and Mrs Goggins play together.

    The chickens used to free range and Maurie has broken into the coop loads of times (after the scraps) so he's had ample opportunity when I'm not at home to sample their drumsticks, but nope, he just knows.

    No whether that would also pertain to something small, white and fluffy I don't know... You like white and fluffy hey!

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  8. Oh dear, Jeanneteann is the only voice of reason. And deep down I have a feeling she is right. But I am very glad to hear your stories of success with dogs and chooks. Selina I was thinking of a shitzhu x poodle. Hazel, I don't think Monkey man would appreciate the argument that it'll give me more to blog about! :) Ali, did I say white and fluffy? No you assume too much... Other colours are ok but fluffy is good! Now they say that owners choose their dogs to look like them... Your staffy is built like a brick wall?? well I wouldn't have guessed from your photo...

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  9. Mmm, have to agree with Hazel could be tears, think it all depends on training the dog.I have a keplie/border collie cross brought when pup and started training at 8wks to bond with my horse and come out with me when i used to ride. Dog is now 9 and looks after chooks(foxes) when their out of the run and helps round them up and put them back into pen.Also knows what "off" the garden means and leaves veggies alone.In saying that we had another dog we got as a pup but wouldn't do as told and killed 4 of my chooks , so we found him another home. How about doggy sitting? might cure you of your dream.......

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  10. I have never had a dog, so I am not really qualified to advise, but my view is that you should have either a dog or a garden - not both.
    Not all dogs are the same in terms of their attitude and behaviour patterns! Perhaps you ought to give gardening a rest for a while, and get a dog, see how it goes, and make a more informed decision in a year or two? Either that, or invest in some partition fencing BEFORE you get the dog...

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  11. Dogs are great just make sure you stay clear of any herding dogs as although they may not intend on killing the chooks they love to chase them. We have a kelpie and she just wants to chase them and the more they flap the more she wants to chase them.

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  12. Every dogs has its own character I guess. But my parents had a dog but it never bothered their chooks.

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  13. The only dog I've ever had before was a greyhound - and I don't think they'd be suitable playmates for chickens at all...

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  14. Of course I'm biased, but Australian Silky Terriors are the ideal dog for what you want. They love a cuddle and to curl up on your lap. They don't lose hair so no extra vacuuming or sweeping. They are playful but not aggressive. Missy enjoys the company of chooks but has never chased them. They've pecked and chased HER a few times when she's tried to steal food...and she's never tried to dig up the garden.
    She was the quiet gentle one of the litter. I think the dog's individual personality is important and while a dominant dog comes up to you & says "Pick me" a quieter dog fits better into a family (especially one with chooks).

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  15. our dog died last year he was a veru good dog never hurt the chooks in fact the chickens used to walk over his body to get to his food and he let them..I'd rather a new baby than a dog myself

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  16. Dear VG, I can't imagine life without a (small fluffy) dog but I don't have chooks (I plan to have chooks next life). I don't believe in lazy, just unmotivated. btw thx for the recipes. CM

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  17. I read a book written by a bushman who believes that the relationship between dogs and humans dates back so far that the desire to be together is now part of out genetic make-up.

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  18. I have absolutely no desire to own a dog whatsoever (being anti pet - aside from useful animals like chickens and lambs - was drummed into me at a young age...). I do very much enjoy the odd bit of crap TV though and just to prove it I will quote Tim Gunn from Project Runway: "Make it work". I'm sure if you want a dog enough you will do exactly that.

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  19. our mini poodle cross used to put her arm around our chickens and the cat and lick their faces. Sometimes she did scare thema bit but she would never have deliberately harmed them. We are in town now and don't have chooks but will get some again one day. I think you just need to put a lot of time into the training at he start. Our previos dog - toy poodle was a great defender of the chooks - she could sense a fox from under the covers of our bed!!

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  20. I've got a westie and a doxie and they both learned (eventually) to stay out of my garden. It's the darn lizards fault for taking cover in the flower bed which is why the dogs ended up digging in the first place.

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  21. Westie yesterday ate the pak choy seeds about to be dried and saved, some snow pea seeds and some snow peas. Greyhound sat and ate roma tomotoes off the bushes. Grey is always out of garden (was in yesterday as gate was being fixed) and Westie will also now stay out. Wish you lived closer cause I would have offered your chickens some of my bok choy - planted too much of stuff thinking it was hard to grow.

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  22. I have only had chooks for six weeks. I was worried about my two dogs a poodle called curly and a golden retriever called daisy. They did a bit of sniffing at first out of curiosity but I just supervised and everything has been fine. They hardly look at the chooks now-part of the scenery. We live surrounded by bush and the dogs give me some reassurance about keeping Mr Fox away. However we'll see about that. I have a lot of space so the dogs have a lot of room to hang around without destroying my garden. It's probably different in the suburbs

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  23. Hi VG! I just found your post and though I'd add my 2 cents worth. I have a hunting dog and he free ranges with my chickens whilst we are at work! The only damage he does to the garden is when he sleeps in the sun - on the soft plants! We made it clea to him that the chickens are a no go zone when he was a puppy and he has never bothered them since - although he does like heating their scraps!
    I think if you would like a dog and you are willing to train it and aren't precious then you will love it! If we managed it with a hunter then you will be fine with a fluffy!

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  24. I have Border Collies which are bred to herd and I thought that there would never be harmony between my dogs and chickens... I was wrong--one peck from a chicken and the dogs avoid them completely! When they were puppies I would yell at them whenever they but a paw in my garden or flower beds (Border Collies hate to be scolded). Now I can purposely throw their tennis ball into the garden and they won't retrieve it. Good luck!

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