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  1. #1
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    Default getting dogs to leave the horses alone

    I'm kind of having trouble with a new dog that recently adopted me (really, I did not want her but I am sucker). She's a big lab/pit cross, not a mean bone in her body but dumb as a box of rocks. In addition she loves to play, and she's very vocal when she plays. The bad part is she loves to play with horses...when they're in the pasture...when they're being worked on the longe...even when they're ridden in the arena. She did grow up on a farm where this was acceptable. It is not at mine.

    I've always owned herding breeds (mostly ACDs with a few Aussies and Border Collies thrown in) and it was actually really easy to teach them the ropes...a few corrections/redirections and some positive reinforcement for not chasing when the horses were running and we were golden. This dog, not so much.

    She's not a big chaser but she likes to pop out and bark at them when they're moving. She's only been with me a week and we're working basic obedience (she literally knew nothing when she came here, now she's pretty good with sit and down and working on stay and recall), but I'd really like to be able to let her loose during the day with the other dogs because I worry she's not getting enough exercise right now being kenneled during the day, which is only going to make things worse. I'm a professional trainer, though, so I really cannot have her disturbing my training sessions. I try to take the dogs out on the trails for an hour or so a day but right now I'm a one woman operation and it's not as reliable as it needs to be if she's kenneled all day.

    I'm mostly looking for ways to discourage her from barking at the horses. I try to use positive training methods whenever possible. So far I've been using a verbal correction plus a redirection if I can't prevent the response, and whenever possible I redirect her beforehand. I've got her pretty good when I'm around and the horses are loose, although she's not 100%. The hard part that is coming up is when I'm working horses on the longe or under saddle.

    I'll keep her kenneled if I have to but I'd really love to hear other COTHers experiences. When I taught my heeler dogs, it was like once they learned that chasing horses was not allowed in one situation, they were able to figure out that chasing horses was never allowed no matter what. This dog just doesn't seem to make those connections.

    So how would you train a stupid yet lovable dog to leave horses alone? Also, how the heck do I get her to quit taking up the whole bed when we sleep?



  2. #2
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    Sep. 9, 2010
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    Illinois
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    Default

    My profession is more in the Canine industry versus the Equine. I'm a self-proclaimed "bully breed" whisperer lol! But the best advice I can give you for this situation is a shock collar. Hear me out, I promise I'm not cruel:

    Dogs, especially stupid Bullies, live in the now. So a correction AFTER the action is too late. Everytime she heads underneath a fence, gate, stall... Give her a beep. The message is, "These are MY horses, I am alpha. You don't get to play with these guys."

    I recommend praise verse food, because 4 hot dogs later she'll be waiting for the food, not focusing on the job. Calm-assertive is the best energy!

    If you feel you can't "zap" her, put it around your wrist and try it. But remember how hard she is on her neck when she pulls you into the PetsMart lol! Consistency is key, but I can almost guarantee this will work if you use a realistic setting. The Maltese level 1 won't cut it.

    I hope you become pack leader in her eyes.



  3. #3
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    Apr. 1, 2008
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    Default

    I live with 6 dogs. I also live in town and have an enclosed porch. ALL of the dogs like to sit in front of the screen door and watch the world go by. Due to living in town, in a neighborhood with plenty of kids under 10, we have activity. I do not allow barking, it disturbs my neighbors who are generous and tolerant. So....what I did was set one dog up by allowing it out, one bark and s/he had to come back in the house into a crate. It only took about 4 times for the dog to learn that barking = no porch. I said .nothing. It is not up to me to control their barking, it is up to them to figure out what would allow them to stay out there. I repeated that with all of them and pretty soon I had quiet. It would be much easier with only one dog.

    Decide what you want the dog to do (lie quietly and watch, sit, ignore the horses, follow quietly)

    then decide what happens every single time the dog barks/lunges, and enforce it.

    If it were me, I would probably have a wire crate (maybe covered with a cardboard box) and every time Dude was not doing what I wanted, I'd pop him into the crate for 5 minutes.



  4. #4
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    Default

    I admit I am a bit wary of shock collars because we used one on our lab when I was a kid and he turned into a cowering mess because of it. But, we also had a really awful trainer (she was the only human being he ever showed any aggression towards, which was a good clue!) and I was quite young so I'm willing to readdress those ideas. I am not averse to physical correction especially with horses, but I really do try not to make it a cornerstone of any training.

    A couple of questions if I do get a shock collar...when exactly do I use it? As soon as she begins the action? And if so, how is the shock different from a vocal correction (because I am quite quick) except for the physical severity? She does respond to the vocal corrections and quit what she is doing for awhile. She just starts up again later.

    Also, should I redirect her afterwards? I have always been taught in both horses and dogs that you never just correct, you show them what to do. It seems like just shocking her wouldn't teach her anything.

    I have been using food to teach her the basic obedience stuff she's learned, and I did notice she is more food-motivated than my other dogs. Because of this I've just been using her kibble (which is available to them pretty much all day), so it's enough to get her attention but low value enough to not get her too focused on food. We started with my usual special training treats and couldn't get anything done because all she could think was "FOOD!"



  5. #5
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    Nov. 29, 2005
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    PB's are working dogs. I have a PB/Shepard who loves when the horse's whoop it up. She seems also to be as dumb as a box of rocks but in actuality she's pretty smart and just needs a job to do. Apparently herding horses is her self proclaimed 'job'.

    Ongoing training but when she gets in this 'mode' we have to divert her attention or put her away. In otherwords- give her something more exciting than horses or remove her entirely from the scene.



  6. #6
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    threedogpack, I'm a lot more comfortable with that than with shock training. Punkin the stupid dog (I feel bad calling her that but if the shoe fits... ) seems to be really motivated by the removal of stimulus. She really does want to please and to be involved.

    I am quite sure she is not crate trained, however. I know where she came from and I know they don't do it. She's 3 years old and they've had her since she was quite young. Do you have any advice for getting her used to it? From what little I know about crate training, it seems like I don't want her to think of the crate as a "bad" place, but sort of like sending a little kid to their room.

    I am also googling and reading up on dog training stuff btw, so if I ask basic questions feel free to tell me to look it up. I'm used to my established and well-trained heeler dogs and feel like I"m relearning Dog Training 101.

    edit: SuperSTB, can you give an example of your diversions? Although I'm pretty sure Punkin is just stupid...I've dealt with that sort of selective intelligence in dogs and she just doesn't seem to have any. I'm willing to be surprised, though!



  7. #7
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    Apr. 1, 2008
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    If she doesn't crate, don't crate her, that would be another issue for another day. What I did was remove the dog from the stimulus (front door activity). It won't matter if she is tied up for a few minutes, or put in a crate or placed in a stall. The objective is that she may not continue to enjoy the privilege of being with you and the horses. When you do this remove any +R....do not touch her other than to snap a lead on if necessary, and do not talk to her. Talking (for most dogs) is white noise unless they are being trained. Make sure you reward her (food is good and a concrete, easily understood reward for most dogs) when she does do what you want and make sure you are [I][B]clear[B][B] about what is acceptable. I would use a reward marker word to indicate what will earn the kibble.

    Doggie sits quietly for a count of 3: "GOOD!" and a kibble

    Doggie sits quietly for a count of 5: "Good!" and a kibble

    gradually increasing how long she must sit or down or whatever.

    If following quietly is what you want, establish a position you want her in when leading and reward in that position if possible. Might mean leading on the wrong side for a bit at first if you want the dog to follow on the outside while lunging. Gradually drop back so you are leading at a distance and mark when the dog is in position and reward. Then when the dog is pretty consistent, you can move to the inside and maybe toss the kibble under the horse to her on the outside.



  8. #8
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    Default

    Cool, thank you. I think I need to get more serious with my training of her...the heeler dogs were trained with me only half paying attention to them, but I think Punkin might benefit from a few sessions with my old dog-broke horse who will just do whatever I want and not have it be an issue if I drop what I'm doing with him to focus on her.

    I really don't mean to pick on Punkin (I realize I called her stupid twice in the last post), I really do like her. There's also a good chance she'll have a home with my mother in couple of weeks so hopefully this is all moot, but I'm trying to get her as trained as possible before she goes to live somewhere else. And if she doesn't fit in there or my mom's current dog doesn't like her, she'll have a home with me until we find another great home, if ever.



  9. #9
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    Apr. 1, 2008
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    Default

    Herding breeds arrive with some intuitive training installed.

    I'm sure Punkin isn't stupid but simply not used to problem solving and that is where you come in.

    Using your dog broke horse will set you and the dog up for success and you may be really surprised at how fast this dog picks this up. She sounds motivated to 1)be with you and 2)loves her food so that is a double plus.

    Good luck and keep us updated.

    If you want to correspond privately, you can reach me at threedogpack@gmail.com



  10. #10
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    Mar. 30, 2004
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    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by threedogpack View Post
    Herding breeds arrive with some intuitive training installed.
    I never thought about it that way, but it's really true. My red heeler mix went after the horses ONE time, I growled at her, she dropped to the ground, rolled over, and only tried it one more time, three months later. Now, no chasing horses. She tries to get them to play with her though, bowing and running back and forth in front of them and yipping. Pretty cute
    send some of their smart literate deer who can read road signs up here since ours are just run of the mill dumb ones who get splatted all over creation because they won't stay in the woods



  11. #11
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    Jul. 14, 2003
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    Rhode Island
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    Default

    Our rescue GSP is a barker , especially when she's out in the pasture with us. We tried a citronelle no bark collar- going on the 'try the easiest, cheapest idea first". Samrtpak has them for about $60. It worked the first time she wore it. It's easy and she did it to herself. Worth the $$ and you don't have to worry about the "after the fact" correction. As far as chasing the horses, I don't recommend this, but I guess we have been lucky. When our younger dog arrived at 7 months, she loved to chase our 3 goats. It lasted a day until they rolled her over a few times. They are large goats and she's maybe 45-lb. Now she will lie down in their hay and everyone ignores everyone. As a "new' dog, the horse chased her away for a bit and that soon ceased.Every so often they will all get in a playfull mood and run laps together. Now all is quiet. We never allow the dogs unsupervised time in the pasture. Now they mainly hunt rabbits and mice when they do go out with us,, or play frisbee.



  12. #12
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    Nov. 29, 2005
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    We have a very small ring- or rather an oversized round pen that we do lunge the horses in. To our PB cross- horses running around is lots of fun. She will try to herd them, chase them, and mostly barks.

    So before working with the horses- one of us will be with her (bag of treats in pocket) we will usually have a toy or something that she prefers to play with. We put a long leash on her. As the person working the horses begins, the person working with the dog does things like sit, laydown, roll, catch, and other little tricks. Using treats as rewards for positive behavior and paying attention to her dog training session. If there is only one person to do this- she is put away (usually in the garage or mudroom) where she cannot hear the goings on with the horses.

    Eventually, our goal is to get her to be completely reliant on voice commands like the other dogs. But her brain is certainly wired differently. She was an older puppy (maybe 5 mo) when she followed us home from a trail ride after I got her untangled from debris. That was 3 yrs ago (it'll be 4 in April!).

    My other dogs trained easily and very well (voice command). My golden ret X is our trail dog/farm dog- fabulous too- excellent when crossing paths with other dogs and horses. The third dog is the old man- shep/lab cross- he's the house dog going on 11. Recently diagnosed with cancer but he's doing well otherwise. He is soooooo not a farm dog



  13. #13
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    Jan. 23, 2007
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    Hampshire, IL
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    pit bulls are pleasers to a fault. they also "lose" themselves when stimulated.

    if you let him/her know she has displeased you by chasing the horses and "losing" herself she will learn quickly.

    I use the crate method with mine, I have two pit bulls on my farm and neither dog will chase the horses any more. they love the kitties, too. :-D (so much for blood thirsty killers...)



  14. #14
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    Going after livestock is the absolute last thing I would use a shock collar for. Sometimes, seriously misguided Border Collie trainers (not anyone that anyone would call good trainers) will attempt to use shock collars to control the dogs at a distance around stock and usually what ends up happening is the dogs become sheep killers -- think about it, the dog approaches the sheep, gets zapped, if you're a dog and you're going to put 2 + 2 together, what are you going to think happened? The sheep did it to you. I've known people who tried to rehab dogs who were "trained" this way, and they never did succeed in making their dogs safe around sheep.

    Bully breeds are not exactly known for backing down from a challenge. I would personally be hesitant to teach one that horses are electric.
    MelanieC * Canis soloensis



  15. #15
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    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Dutchess County, New York
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    I cannot imagine teaching a dog to HERD using a shock collar, good Lord!

    However I have used one to teach my young dog to not herd horses and also to not run down the (long) driveway to chase someone on the road.

    He did not end up a quivering mess; it was very simple and worked well and quickly for me. I used it for about 2 - 3 weeks (not every day, that's just how long he wore the collar) and I haven't used it in three years.

    I will be the first to concede that there are better dog trainers out there than I, but I am not too bad and nothing I did would stop this dog from chasing bikers/joggers with the intent to bite. I needed something that worked, and worked quickly.

    (There are levels of the shock, you don't have to make them think they are dying; on the other hand you don't want them to easily ignore it).



  16. #16
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    Feb. 16, 2003
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    MI USA
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    I would second using the shock collar, though it seems harsh. Advantages are you CONTROL the zap, are not near the dog for association.

    I have used a shock collar a couple times, on dogs that were not listening, or giving me the one-paw doggie salute as they did what they please! Obviously things could not continue like that with dog safety being the first issue, and dog out-of-control the second issue.

    Pits and pit crosses have been designed to not-quit when faced with things. While dog appears dumb, it may just be breed stubborn, determined to continue with what entertains her. This is my main problem with Pits, is the no-quit factor. They take terrific punishment at times, just to do WHATEVER they are determined to do.

    Horses running are an incitement to CHASE. Dogs are MADE that way, but some breeds/individuals will quit when kicked at, get tired. Not the Pits and Terriers. Quitters were not bred and disposed of, making for some TOUGH dogs! You can't argue with years of breeding, bone deep in the animal.

    What you do with the shock collar is PREVENT the fun of chasing. Dog gets near the fence and gets zapped. NEVER gets into the paddock, nor close to a horse! Dog can not get worked up, EXCITED into the CHASE mindset. Dogs seldom start with wanting to hurt, but once worked up, biting, hurting can easily happen.

    My friend who loaned me the shock collar is a dog training professional. She said with my larger dog to start with setting on highest mark. Make the dog FEEL IT ENOUGH that they will back off to rethink the idea! Setting collar low, commonly teaches dog to bull thru the little zap, so bigger zap later, is just teaching dog to tough it out. With a Pit, even lesser sized ones, I would want dog to feel it HARD, get them to back off from the beginning. She also said to leave the electric collar on a couple days, fitted snugly, removed in the house at night. Prongs inside collar need to touch skin, long haired dogs usually need hair trimmed short to feel the prongs. She wants dog used to wearing collar, not associate collar with being punishment. Have to say my dog was quite eager to have it on each morning, it meant going outside! Dog wore the collar daily for about a month, as we worked thru her issues and made sure training was SOLID after.

    With this being a working setting, I would leave collar on dog all day, but enclose, crate dog, contain her securely when I could not give her 100% attention and correct her as she approaches fences. You don't want her EVEN TRYING to go inside with the horses. During a lessons, bringing horses in or out, you do not 100% attention on the dog, and this is when she learns about being sneaky. Her previous experience has taught her horses are FUN! She will be checking out stuff and you don't see it, so she "crosses the line" you are trying to set up. Got away with it, this time!!! She WILL be trying that trick again! Any smart dog would. So you have to ALWAYS be ready to prevent her learning she can "sneak" in some fun if you are busy.

    I am not a Pit fan, don't care for them because they are so determined. Met many fairly well behaved ones on outings. Some totally untrained, DETERMINED ones that were obnoxious, with clueless owners. Friends have told me how wonderful they are as a breed, and then had them put down when dogs quit being obedient. Older ones do seem to morph into a Mr. Jeykel and that determination to do what they please, shorter patience span, considered obedience, is becoming an issue with their family when they talk to me. That breed determination makes trying to stop them like standing in front of a bulldozer, quite useless!

    Best of luck with your new dog and the training. Keep in mind that Pits and Pit crosses don't think and come up with the same answers other breeds do when faced with excitement and motion. This included running people, bicycles, squealing children, as well as excited horses. Their responses are different, capable of more damage, so you need to be totally in control of the animal, obedience over breed genetics!



  17. #17
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    Aug. 21, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by MelanieC View Post
    Going after livestock is the absolute last thing I would use a shock collar for. Sometimes, seriously misguided Border Collie trainers (not anyone that anyone would call good trainers) will attempt to use shock collars to control the dogs at a distance around stock and usually what ends up happening is the dogs become sheep killers -- think about it, the dog approaches the sheep, gets zapped, if you're a dog and you're going to put 2 + 2 together, what are you going to think happened? The sheep did it to you. I've known people who tried to rehab dogs who were "trained" this way, and they never did succeed in making their dogs safe around sheep.

    Bully breeds are not exactly known for backing down from a challenge. I would personally be hesitant to teach one that horses are electric.
    I have to think this was a bad trainer who used it as a punishment, not as a reminder to pay attention. My aussie has a very strong herding/prey drive. I did not get him until he was 3: he had a fully formed herding brain that had never been trained. The behavioral vet I took him to told me that there are certain things that he did not get put into him by the time he was a year old, that I would never be able to put into him. After many false starts with different trainers I found one who uses an e collar. It is not used as a punishment but as a reminder to listen. When first being used, it is used for only a couple of commands and the stim is used every time the command is given. (My friend thought this was cruel until I had her hold the collar and I clicked it. She could not feel the shock. That is the level I use it at in most instances, unless he needs a stronger reminder to listen, as when he is chasing a horse.) I have used it to call him off horses (when I got him, he would launch at them in a full assualt). Now, after a strong "off"with an equally strong stim, he avoids horses. (He knows the "off" command, so he knows the stim is his reminder and not coming from the horse.) He has also developed much better manners and he is more controllable than he was. Without using this method he was going to be relegated to a life in a kennel run in the back yard. Now I can take him just about anywhere and with careful management, he does behave.

    With all of this said, I would not use a e collar without a really good trainer who knew what they were doing and could demonstrate success with multilple types of dogs.



  18. #18
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    Sorry, I have a Border Collie whom I adopted at the age of 16 months (him, not me). He was kept essentially as a veal from puppyhood until 14 months and then went through five or six homes before I got him. He came with every behavioral problem in the book, including the serious kind that involve teeth. I have never and would never shock him. Solo is now 11 years old, although when I got him a lot of people thought he wouldn't make it to 2. I take him all sorts of places. He has competed in agility and worked sheep (he has the herding brain, and he actually works) and gone all over the country with me. He has been to Dressage at Devon!

    I'm not saying you can't use a shock collar to train a dog -- but when there are humane methods that achieve the same results, why?

    I do know how dogs react to static shock, which is what most collars use -- I know that it doesn't HURT hurt, and I know this because I have put collars around my arm AND around my neck. However, I have never seen a sensitive, reactive dog react to static shock with anything but an extreme fear and avoidance response, even when the shock is mild. I have an electric wire around my husband's rose garden so that the dogs don't poop in it, and when each of them hit it for the first time you could tell that they found it very, deeply weird and disturbing and they never, ever go anywhere near it. It hasn't even been turned on for over a year and they still won't go near it. They obviously consider it very dangerous. I feel OK about using an electric wire that they can see and avoid and understand, but I'll be damned if I'm going to strap something around their necks and zap them at will. The fence is fair. The collar is not.

    That said, bully breed dogs are the opposite of what I'd call physically or mentally sensitive. Maybe you'll get away with shocking one but when there are so many other simple ways to solve the problem, again, why? Different strokes I guess, and there are always multiple training solutions to the same problem but just, why?

    I don't think that most dogs should be loose around horses, but in a case like this I would train a "go to place" command and proof the hell out of it, and combine this training with time outs for undesirable behavior AFTER the desired behavior (go to place) has been installed. It helps with most dogs if, after you tell them "no, don't do that" you give them some option so they know what you DO want them to do. Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed has all sorts of great information and training exercises to deal with dogs who become extremely stimulated by their surroundings.
    MelanieC * Canis soloensis



  19. #19
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    Sep. 9, 2010
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    Well in whatever decision you make, the main thing is to stay consistent. Hope she does well!



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