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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2009
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    198

    Default aggressive dog

    This has probably been discussed somewhere on COTH but I could not find it.

    What is the best course of action to take if you are riding down the road or trail, and a loose dog in an unfenced yard ---(not sure who or where owner was, no one around)--decides to go after your horse?
    This happened to me the other day as I ambled home along the road from my trail ride. Not a goofy bike-chasing kind of thing, but a dog who showed all the body posture of serious attack. I barely kept my mare from running off (and she is not terrified of dogs, has been around them before), and her spinning seemed to confuse the dog, who ran off when I dismounted.

    I felt that the dog was really going to bite.
    What to do?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2005
    Posts
    1,632

    Default

    This seemed like it was going to happen to me last week. We were on the trail far from anywhere and saw what seemed to be a loose German Shepard coming towards us. Horses were in high alert, the dog was about 50 feet away. We just stayed there trying to decide what to do. Then the owner showed up, called him and held him while we went by. The dog never barked and listened to the owner right away, but a large GS is scarey. If I had been alone, and there was no owner, I would have turned around and gone the other way.

    With a smaller dog, and calmer horse, I might have charged the dog and see if I could get him to back off.
    ********
    There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
    Posts
    8,400

    Default

    One horse vs. one dog = too bad for the dog.

    There are a few things you can do. First is consider dismounting and dealing with the threat. Allow the horse to do it by a kick or a bite (give the horse lots of rein to get this done) or use a stick, rock, or a gun (if you've got one). When the problem is solved mount up and move on down the road.

    If you choose to deal with the threat while mounted you've got about the same options with the horse. Give it it's head and if they want to use their teeth, so be it. If they want to spin and kick, that works too. The rider should have a "deep seat" here because it could get "Western."

    If your horse is gun broke, that's an option. Or you could make a wooden trunchion about saber length (30" or so) which would allow you to "reach out and touch" the aggressive canine.

    You could learn to use a whip. Take a look at fox hunting whips. Or use a bull whip. Chances are a horse crop would be too short.

    Your skill as a rider will determine what can safely do.

    G.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2010
    Location
    So. Cal.
    Posts
    131

    Default

    I think what you did was good. You're more likely not to get thrown. I agree with the above about letting the horse have a long rein and letting the horse protect itself. Pick up a rock of big stick and throw it at the dog. One thing you don't want to do is flee, as dogs will chase something that is fleeing.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2006
    Location
    Vermont
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    3,585

    Default

    Walk the horse *at* the dog. Don't charge it, just point the horse at the dog and walk it down. Dogs aren't stupid, they'll get out of the way. Even horses that worry about dogs tend to find this empowering ("Hey! I made it move!") and get into it. Most dogs will back off and let you continue on. Some wait until you pass and then start up again from behind, but simply turning back (slowly, calmly, and matter-of-factly) and walking at them will generally send them scurrying again.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2007
    Location
    Pen Argyl PA
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    3,704



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
    Posts
    8,252

    Default

    I do not believe in dismounting because then there's the chance your horse will get away and be chased (so now you have a loose horse with a dog both running) or you may be on the ground and be attacked.

    What I find works is if you face the dog. Sometimes just standing and facing it will make it stand down; sometimes you need to go toward it.

    I try to prevent any dog who shows aggression or tendency to chase my horse from getting behind us.

    My horse is used to dogs (we foxhunt) so mostly he just ignores them but I do know a few people who have been chased by dogs and once there horse got into panic mode, it got pretty scary.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Posts
    1,830

    Default

    I've had people recommend SprayShield. It's a very powerfully scented citrus spray - to a dog it's as unpleasant as getting hit in the face by a skunk. I haven't had to use it myself, but it might be worth a try. If nothing else, the blow back from a shot of citrus is a lot less unpleasant to both you and your horse than the blow back from pepper spray, etc.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    14,461

    Default

    Get yourself a hunt whip and learn to use it from your horse.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2004
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    Still here ~ not yet there
    Posts
    6,420

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by citydog View Post
    Walk the horse *at* the dog. Don't charge it, just point the horse at the dog and walk it down. Dogs aren't stupid, they'll get out of the way. Even horses that worry about dogs tend to find this empowering ("Hey! I made it move!") and get into it. Most dogs will back off and let you continue on. Some wait until you pass and then start up again from behind, but simply turning back (slowly, calmly, and matter-of-factly) and walking at them will generally send them scurrying again.
    Very good advise!

    I suspect the OP's horse was getting nervous because the OP was getting nervous.

    All of my trail horses are trained to do exactly what this poster suggested: we walk calmly toward the dog while I say sternly, "Go home! -- you bad dog!!" Not yelling or getting crazy -- stay calm.

    I have yet to have a dog stand their ground. This is what dogs DO -- they run up and bark at people/things who are in their "turf" (or at least what they think is their turf).

    A good trail horse should be able to handle this.

    BTW, what were the signs that indicated to you this dog was going to bite?



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2010
    Location
    So. Cal.
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Just curious if anyone has tried one of those ultrasonic dog devices? I've got one I use to get our dogs to stop barking or what ever they are doing that I don't want them to do. When I first got it, they were extremely surprised by the sound and stopped whatever they were doing. I took it up to the barn one day and pressed it. the horses didn't seem be be able to hear it, so it should not spook them, but it might be enough to get a dog away from you, on top of the other great suggestions in this thread.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2007
    Posts
    3,928

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by citydog View Post
    Walk the horse *at* the dog. Don't charge it, just point the horse at the dog and walk it down. Dogs aren't stupid, they'll get out of the way. Even horses that worry about dogs tend to find this empowering ("Hey! I made it move!") and get into it. Most dogs will back off and let you continue on. Some wait until you pass and then start up again from behind, but simply turning back (slowly, calmly, and matter-of-factly) and walking at them will generally send them scurrying again.
    I do this, sometimes yelling at the dog too if I'm on a horse that won't rile up. I've yet to have it fail me. Even very big or aggressive dogs are smart enough to know that they're pretty small compared to a horse.

    I think it's the safest way to handle the situation and since it usually work, no escalation is needed.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,994

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyzteke View Post
    Very good advise!

    I suspect the OP's horse was getting nervous because the OP was getting nervous.

    All of my trail horses are trained to do exactly what this poster suggested: we walk calmly toward the dog while I say sternly, "Go home! -- you bad dog!!" Not yelling or getting crazy -- stay calm.

    I have yet to have a dog stand their ground. This is what dogs DO -- they run up and bark at people/things who are in their "turf" (or at least what they think is their turf).

    A good trail horse should be able to handle this.

    BTW, what were the signs that indicated to you this dog was going to bite?
    But how do you tell a dog to "Go home" "Bad Dog" when the thing is in a frenzy, barking like mad?

    This happened to me yesterday while riding in the State Forest.
    A couple were walking their two dogs, who were on leashes. Yet, the woman had no control of her dog. The dog was barking like crazy, and finally dragged the woman to her knees in an effort to get to me and my horse.

    My mare just stood still until the woman put the dog in a headlock...

    I know this dog would have charged if the woman lost control and a verbal command would have been futile. Heck, it wasn't even listening to it's owners.

    I carry a Dressage whip and have used it in the past on charging dogs.

    Now if it a calm dog just walking with curiosity, no problem.
    Out of control and charging? A good crack.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,994

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by csuebele View Post
    Just curious if anyone has tried one of those ultrasonic dog devices? I've got one I use to get our dogs to stop barking or what ever they are doing that I don't want them to do. When I first got it, they were extremely surprised by the sound and stopped whatever they were doing. I took it up to the barn one day and pressed it. the horses didn't seem be be able to hear it, so it should not spook them, but it might be enough to get a dog away from you, on top of the other great suggestions in this thread.
    Good idea .... Is there a link to a product like this?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2010
    Location
    So. Cal.
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Huntertwo View Post
    Good idea .... Is there a link to a product like this?
    Here's one from on Amazon.com.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,994

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by csuebele View Post
    Thanks...here is another one. Apparently these devices are pretty popular.
    http://www.tbotech.com/dogchaser.htm

    Now, would this bother your horse if you needed to use it on a dog???



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    1,363

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Huntertwo View Post
    But how do you tell a dog to "Go home" "Bad Dog" when the thing is in a frenzy, barking like mad?

    This happened to me yesterday while riding in the State Forest.
    A couple were walking their two dogs, who were on leashes. Yet, the woman had no control of her dog. The dog was barking like crazy, and finally dragged the woman to her knees in an effort to get to me and my horse.

    My mare just stood still until the woman put the dog in a headlock...

    I know this dog would have charged if the woman lost control and a verbal command would have been futile. Heck, it wasn't even listening to it's owners.

    I carry a Dressage whip and have used it in the past on charging dogs.

    Now if it a calm dog just walking with curiosity, no problem.
    Out of control and charging? A good crack.
    It's not just the verbal "bad dog, go home," that is meant to change the dog's mind about attacking, it's being approached head-on by an animal many times its size. . .kind of like a game of chicken.

    There used to be a dog that lived at a house near one of the trails I rode that was always allowed to run at large, and any time it saw horses on the trail it would charge across the road, barking its fool head off.

    My horse was never bothered, but I gradually got fed up because many of the other people at the barn never wanted to take that trail simply because they didn't want to worry about the dog. So, when I saw it coming, I'd turn and canter straight towards it, doing that growly "GEEEET outta here!" voice.

    Dog stopped dead in its tracks and went home. Over the next few weeks I'd ride the same trail, and the dog would start running towards me again, but all I'd have to do was turn my horse to face him and he'd change his mind and go back to his porch. Eventually he just gave up altogether and stayed home.
    Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    10,475

    Default

    I would not dismount to deal with an aggressive dog. You're better off on horseback. Carry a dressage or hunting whip. I wouldn't hit an aggressive dog, because that can make things worse, but I would use the whip to back the dog off.
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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2010
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    173

    Default

    i agree. Stay on your horse to deal with the situation. Oftentimes, the intimidation alone of having the horse face the dog and stand it's ground is enough to dissuade the dog from going any further. Naturally speaking, dogs are predators and horses are prey so the dog figures it has the upper hand, however, if the horse stands it's ground and claims the space, the dog will often give up and take a follower roll.

    Also, you have to remember, especially when you come across dogs on leashes with owners, that MANY dogs have never seen a horse in their life. They excitement of the encounter takes over and they are overwhelmed but not necessarily aggressive. I've worked with many dogs who have zero horse experience and especially adult dogs just want to run up and jump on, sniff, bark at, etc the horses. They aren't truly aggressive, just inexperienced. The horses are generally tolerant of their antics, but will put them in place if needed.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2009
    Location
    south eastern US
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    2,519

    Default

    It's a rare dog that won't back down from a horse approaching him dead on. Dogs feel empowered when you are moving away and will give chase and maybe even move in to bite but when the horse faces him he usually thinks twice. I have only once had a dog not back down when faced with my much larger horse. That dog has a screw loose and is well known in the area. I do not recommend dismounting because now the dog has two targets and to think that an aggressive dog won't attack you is dangerous. Besides your horse could get away and then what? Turn your horse to face the dog and walk or trot towards it. Yelling or making SHhhhh shhhh noises works for me too.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



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