So I've been working with Roscoe, doing some of the exercises the trainer recommended. He is improving in terms of his general obedience and demeanor. He listens to us better and behaves inside the house. Since we've been training he has stopped peeing in the house, trying to eat off the counter, and jumping the fence. He seems to want to please us more, which is good to see.
Now, in terms of the chickens...
When I take him in the coop, initially he ignores the birds. He is interested in smelling everything, tries to sneak some bird food, then wants to leave. Birds walk all around him; he looks at them nonchalantly, but makes no move to chase. But then a bird will jump out of somewhere unexpected or will squawk loudly and his attention is peaked. Something switches on. What really gets him is if you take him in the henhouse and a bird jumps out of a nesting box, from behind a curtain.
Here we are practicing sitting calmly in the run. He was doing great until a bird chirped inside the baby coop. He could hear her but not see her and he wanted desperately to go inside but I couldn't let him because I had no control if he went in there. Instead I took him outside until he calmed down.
I'm beginning to come to terms with the fact that Roscoe is most likely going to be a family dog, not a chicken guardian. The other factor is that he hates, and I mean hates, to be left alone. If he's not with his people he needs his doggy sisters. Otherwise he gets nutty and starts running around breaking things. Josh learned this last week when he took just Roscoe to Michigan and tried to leave him home alone while he ran some errands. He came back to a house full of broken blinds. So it's difficult to picture Roscoe sitting out in the yard, alone with the birds all day.
It is a disappointment not to have Roscoe work out as a chicken protector, but I'm still glad we adopted him. He is such a loveable and loving dog, good with the boys and patient as can be with our old lady dogs who won't take anything from him.
As for the birds, I think our new fenced chicken yard will be the answer to our predator issues. More on this to come!