PDA

View Full Version : BM's dog nipping at horses...



mtngirl
Dec. 17, 2008, 05:17 PM
My BM recently aquired a blue heeler. She's a great dog, obviously the "herding" gene is quiet strong in her. I don't particularly care for one of her habits however. If a horse has their head near the bars of their door, looking out, or hangs their head out their window, or has their butt pushed up against the bars of the door, the dog will jump up and "nip" the horse.

Now granted, this has helped to keep some of the horses off the doors. Right now my horse is in pasture board and I haven't been the victim of the dog's actions. However, I noticed the other day that a girl had her horse tied in the grooming area and the dog was doing the same thing.

The dog is pretty good about being repremanded...a "eynt" sound will get her attenion...but I've noticed that she's now looking to see if anyone one is watching and doing it on the sly. I don't want to leave my horse tied and the dog coming up and nipping at him.

Most of the time the dog is by the BM's side..but she occasionally roams and is out of sight. I've warned the BM that this is a behavior I disagree with, and if I catch the dog doing this to my horse, I will discipline it accordingly. The BM just shrugged. Should I say or do more? :confused:

gloriginger
Dec. 17, 2008, 05:41 PM
dog needs a new job quick...play ball, frisbee anything that will channel the heeling instinct.

I remember when I got my Aussie ACD mix, reading that an ACD without properly channelled energy is have been known to chew threw dry wall. They ahve to have a job, and this dog needs to learn that this is not ok. Someday she will meet the dog stomping horse- this is for her own good!!!

didgery
Dec. 17, 2008, 06:13 PM
Absolutely get that dog hooked on balls!

I've had a few ACDs (have one now, see "introducing STORY" thread!) and they absolutely must channel their obsessive herding behavior into something appropriate. Story is fantastic around our cats, kids, chickens and goats because she is a BALL ADDICT. One glance in the direction of the goats (and yes, she did try nipping them at first) and I nip in the the bud by commanding "get your ball!" She can play fetch for hours or, if I'm not free to play and/or don't want her running around (for instance during milking time, when she must hold still so as not to spook the goats) I can tell her "watch it" and she will just stare down that ball for twenty minutes straight, occasionally tapping it with a paw to make sure it's still alive. There is no determination in the world equal to that of a herding dog for it's love object . . . tell your BM to teach her heeler to love something other than nipping horses!

P.S. See my signature. They really are smart, controlling dogs who need physical and mental stimulation and I think there's no other breed in the world who could wear that bumper sticker slogan quite so well!

Aussie_Dog
Dec. 17, 2008, 06:56 PM
Agreed, she needs a job. She's doing this because the herding instinct is in her and has nowhere to go. Everything in her power tells her to MAKE THAT HORSE MOVE, and she'll snap at the air next to whatever body part is closest. She gets rewarded when the horse actually does move, even if it's just to toss the head in surprise. She learns that this behaviour does get results, and it'll make it harder to train her to stop. She has to find another job, because she just can't help what her body and soul are telling her to do.

Flyball is great, as is agility. If you're into training her proper herding, you could see about getting some sheep. Then she'll leave the horses alone because she knows her job is to keep the sheep in line.

gloriginger
Dec. 17, 2008, 07:21 PM
Mine plays ball, frisbee, competes in agility but her specialty is herding the waves at the beach! She runs 35 MPH along the waves, turns, barks - bites the waves and then turns and looks at you like "did you see that?"

Here is a pic I took after a National agility show we went to in Nova Scotia. On our way back to the ferry we stopped at the beach:

http://www1.snapfish.com/slideshow/AlbumID=183299080/PictureID=4230193731/a=11892066_11892066/t_=11892066

summerhorse
Dec. 17, 2008, 07:28 PM
She could also use some work with a leash teaching her not to do that. Jerking her away, saying no, clicker training, redirecting, whatever method you prefer but she needs to be taught that quickly. I was at a barn where they had aussies and heelers and there was one that did that and the horse jerked it's head up and beaned itself on the top of the stall door jamb. A horse could kill itself if it hit the right spot but more likely he'd end up like mine with most of his ear cut off!! Luckily for the dog it healed up OK and only left a scar and not a floppy ear.

mtngirl
Dec. 18, 2008, 05:17 AM
I whole heartedly agree that the dog needs a job, however, that said, I am realistic enough to know that the BM is too busy between the demands of family, kids and the barn itself for this to happen. I've been at this facility a long, long time and know the BM well enough to say this with a fair amount of certainty.

I really do like the dog, just not her nipping at the horses, and thus far, we don't have a "dog hater" in the group to teach her a proper lesson. At least for the most part, she stays out of the pastures and paddocks and doesn't go in them without the owner.

This dog is smart...I think with training she could excel at a number of things...but with numerous kids involved in all kinds of sports, clubs and after school activities, this busy BM mom has her time and hands full. I guess I will just continue to monitor the dog closely and disuade her to be around my horses.

SparklePlenty
Dec. 18, 2008, 09:36 AM
I know this sounds HORRIBLE.. But the BEST thing for an ankle biter is to get kicked by the horse. TRUST ME .. that puts a stop to it really quick. What i did w/my little dog really fixed that issues FAST!

She would run up to the horse and nip at it's heels.. i would scold the dog, and when she turn around i gave her a swift kick in the butt!! She thought the HORSE did it! :yes: Ever since we don't bark, bite, nip etc. at the ponies. Now if i can only break her of the CAT barking habit! :lol:

You could also try to carry around a dressage whip and give the dog a quick Tap.

You have to make the association of nipping w/pain. You're not HURTING the dog. but correcting the behavior.

hope that helps!!

gloriginger
Dec. 18, 2008, 09:48 AM
I know this sounds HORRIBLE.. But the BEST thing for an ankle biter is to get kicked by the horse. TRUST ME .. that puts a stop to it really quick. What i did w/my little dog really fixed that issues FAST!

She would run up to the horse and nip at it's heels.. i would scold the dog, and when she turn around i gave her a swift kick in the butt!! She thought the HORSE did it! :yes: Ever since we don't bark, bite, nip etc. at the ponies. Now if i can only break her of the CAT barking habit! :lol:

You could also try to carry around a dressage whip and give the dog a quick Tap.

You have to make the association of nipping w/pain. You're not HURTING the dog. but correcting the behavior.

hope that helps!!

I disagree! First, Many herding dogs LIKE to be kicked :) - I use it as a way to get my dog reved up before an agility run- obviously I don't kick her hard- more of a push with the foot- but she does like to play rough before a run.

Second, I greatly disagree with using pain as a way of discouraging behavior, with any animal. Softer dogs would totally wilt with that type of reprimand. A Heeler is bred to heel- they are bred to do this, it is instinct So - kicking them, or smacking them with a whip because you are to lazy to find a constructive way to deal with what is natural to the dog is just cruel. give them an outlet and they won't do this...plain and simple. If you can't give a dog that, then you have no right owning one.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 18, 2008, 10:08 AM
I once boarded at a barn where there was a young blue heeler pup. The owners also had cattle and wanted him to learn to herd so they would let him go out and worry the horses also biting at their hind legs and being a general nuisance. I was not pleased but I shouldn't have worried! I had a BLM Mustang at that time, and he was having none of that from the dog. I heard this awful dog crying sound and looked just in time to see him launched about 12 feet through the air...a double barrel kick from the Mustang and then the Mustang turned on him and chased him out striking and trying to trample him. He made it out OK...barely...lucky he was not disabled from the kick or I think my horse would have killed him...just like a coyote.

The owner was really pissed at my horse but I told her that if she was going to let her dog follow his instincts with no training, that my mustang was just as entitled to do so also and to protect himself and his herd. The dog was never allowed back in with the horses again after that day.

Fluffie
Dec. 18, 2008, 11:25 AM
ISecond, I greatly disagree with using pain as a way of discouraging behavior, with any animal. Softer dogs would totally wilt with that type of reprimand. A Heeler is bred to heel- they are bred to do this, it is instinct So - kicking them, or smacking them with a whip because you are to lazy to find a constructive way to deal with what is natural to the dog is just cruel. give them an outlet and they won't do this...plain and simple. If you can't give a dog that, then you have no right owning one.

Keep in mind that it is a boarder who is asking for advice, not the owner. It is absurd/rude to get a PITA dog and expect customers to put up with its bad behavior. My personal rule is that my horsies come first, period. Any dog molesting my horses, esp. the old one who is fairly crippled with arthritis, meets the business end of a whip, broom, or whatever is handy.

Jasmine
Dec. 18, 2008, 11:29 AM
I have a ACD mix mutt dog. She's trained to third level schutzhund, and trained to herd sheep as well. She's the smartest thing on four legs. You CAN channel the herding instinct with the horses. Mine knows that she's not allowed to nip, but can circle them at a distance. Her herding training taught her that. She'll hold a group of sheep in one area for as long as I need her to. She also knows that she can bark at horses I yell at. She's funny. She knows every single horse on the property by name. If I yell at them, she walks up to them and barks at their knees. She hasn't been wrong yet!

The best thing for your BM's dog would be herding training. I've had my girl for 12 years now, and training and encouraging that herding instinct was the best thing for her. It made her a much happier dog.

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Dec. 18, 2008, 04:29 PM
The dog is doing this because it's owner refuses to prevent it. Even if it were given a job it would still continue this obnoxious behavior, because it's fun and it gets away with it. It's not "herding" and it's not doing it because it's not working stock. It's doing it because it can.

If the owner refuses to train it and won't confine it away from the horses, I don't suppose there's much you can do. Personally, I'd move my horse because I think this situation is an injury waiting to happen, to horses and humans. But it sounds like you don't want to do that, since you've been there a long time and I guess are otherwise very happy.

I guess all you can do is wait for the dog to get killed by a horse. Which will happen eventually, and maybe before someone else gets hurt.

jetsmom
Dec. 18, 2008, 05:20 PM
I'd be locking the dog in a stall whenever I saw him do that, or tying him up somewhere safe, and notifying BM that dog was harassing the horses and you didn't want the horses or dog to get hurt.. Eventually she will get the hint. If she doesn't,I'd give my 30 days notice.

MistyBlue
Dec. 18, 2008, 08:13 PM
Well trained herding dogs with a full time day job = excellent excellent dogs
Untrained or semi-trained herding dogs that are treated like an oversized small dog and left to find their own amusements = absolute PITAs.

FWIW...dogs do understand a sharp reprimand. It's what they're genetically made to understand and how they interact with each other. Taking them into our homes and making them companions/pets/surrogate children does not change their genetic learning capabilities.