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Dogs with horses

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  • Dogs with horses

    I will be getting my first dog soon and am interested in a few things about dogs with horses. I am currently at a boarding stable, but in the spring will be back at my home barn where I will spend a lot of time and would like my dog to be comfortable with and behave appropriately around horses.

    -When is the best time to introduce a dog to horses? I'm assuming that it's best for the dog to know basic commands (sit, stay, come) before introducing them? What is the best way to introduce them?

    -What are the most important things for dogs to know around horses, besides to stay out of their way?

    -Are there any special commands or commands that you feel should have extra emphasis with a dog around horses?

    -Any other general advice regarding dogs and horses?

    I've been at barns with a whole range of dogs...from ones that were scared and stayed away from the horses, polite ones, and really rude or stupid ones...and it's really important to me that I have a dog that's polite around horses. I realize I could probably just keep my dog away from barns/horses in general, but I would prefer not to if possible

    Thanks!
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

  • #2
    My pup met the horses when he was about 8 weeks. He took naps atop my mare while I cleaned stalls...or was shut in a stall for safety.

    I think the number one thing is NO OFF LEASH stuff til they are pretty solid in their commands.

    I'll be honest...I didn't do a whole lot to train my dog to be around horses...we just kind of found our way. He pays attention to their signals and stays out of their way. But I never let him chase them or get under foot either.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, I'm just a horrible owner. My dogs come when called, and if I holler "no", they stop doing whatever it is they're doing, that's about it. They don't really even know how to walk on a leash.

      Most of mine have been raised around horses, and learn quickly to stay out of the way. I protect little pups from big feet, but as they get older they tend to learn on their own. It helps that my horses are all pretty much dog-friendly. If a horse is under my control in any way (on a lead) it had better not kick or make any aggressive move towards a dog. In turnout, they'll chase a dog but it isn't with a vengeance- unless it's a stray that they don't know, then they tend to be mean about it.

      Pick a breed that has half a lick of sense, and everything should be fine. I'll probably offend someone, but I wouldn't recommend most hounds, most bully breeds including boxers, or any of the husky breeds.

      Comment


      • #4
        My puppies go to the barn just as soon as they understand the leash. We work on "here" (come to me right now), "wait" (stop where you are and wait for me to get there) and "no" (whatever you're doing...STOP. NOW.) It's important to teach the dog that the barn is just like any other place and they MUST pay attention to ME. Always. They are on the leash until they understand to not eat horse shit and that they MUST LISTEN.

        Comment


        • #5
          A recall command and a "leave it" are your basic essentials. Sit, stay, down, and heel are also useful. The problem with telling a dog "no" is that it leaves him to come up with something else to do on his own (and you might not like that any better ).

          As it's your first dog, take a look at http://www.apdt.org and find yourself a local trainer. Take your dog through a basic manners class so you have some control and some idea of how to teach your dog before you bring him/her to the barn.

          Good luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            My advice would be to stick with herding breeds. They generally come pre-programmed to be smart around livestock. I have Corgis and my dad had Australian Cattle Dogs (Queensland Blue Heelers, to my family). They just instinctively know how to behave. Very little training is necessary. They tend to stay on the property, too (unless your neighbor puts out cat food on the porch).

            The biggest problem I have is my little buggers know when I'm not paying attention and will try and herd the goats into the barn. I don't know why they do this because they leave the horses alone, unless I sic them on a horse. I know it's sneaky, but if you think about it, they're pretty smart. One eye kept on what I'm doing and reasoning that I'm in LaLa land and then going after the goats.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
              My advice would be to stick with herding breeds. They generally come pre-programmed to be smart around livestock. I have Corgis and my dad had Australian Cattle Dogs (Queensland Blue Heelers, to my family). They just instinctively know how to behave. Very little training is necessary. They tend to stay on the property, too (unless your neighbor puts out cat food on the porch).

              The biggest problem I have is my little buggers know when I'm not paying attention and will try and herd the goats into the barn. I don't know why they do this because they leave the horses alone, unless I sic them on a horse. I know it's sneaky, but if you think about it, they're pretty smart. One eye kept on what I'm doing and reasoning that I'm in LaLa land and then going after the goats.
              Maybe I'm the only one, but herding dogs annoy me the most around horses. They want to do their jobs, and you have to teach them NOT to. I know the herding dog folks are going to jump all over me for this, but it's just what I've seen.

              Examples: My trainer had a border collie who had to be sent on down the road because he would bite the horses' ankles, trying to herd them. I know of another trainer who also has a BC (who is very well trained) and the dog sits right underneath the arena fence because he's not allowed to go inside it. You can see the poor dog's muscles twitching because he's dying to pounce on whatever horse goes by him. He stays down most of the time, but he does jump up like a shot every so often, which spooks the newer horses, and the poor dog gets yelled at a lot. It must be maddening for that dog.



              I just have to ask, what are corgis supposed to herd? Sausage? Turtles?

              Comment


              • #8
                Add me onto the list of "no herding dogs" for farm dogs unless you're well experienced with them and plan to train them fully. And be very consistent with their training. Herding dogs are normally very smart, but they also have a built in genetic chase drive. If it moves fast, they chase it. Training the chase *out* of a herding dog isn't for beginner dog owners.

                SevenUp, believe it or not Corgis are for herding large stock, usually cattle. Actual working bred ones (instead of the annoying as hell trendy pet ones) are big tough dogs in little short legged bodies. They're built short because they herd by nipping heels...and at their height kicks tend to fly over their heads instead of knocking their heads off.
                Corgis only become annoying dogs when people don't give them jobs to do. They're too smart and too driven to be lap dogs.

                An almost perfect farm and around horses dog for someone who doesn't want to spend 80% of their free time training and reinforcing that training the dog is a Standard Poodle. Almost self training, smart as a whip without the frenetic energy problems, only want to please people, do not have a built in chase drive, (they're retrievers by nature) don't shed all over your house, won't bother most dog-allergic people, are protective without being psychotic about it, aren't prone to wandering off and can rid farms of unwanted varmints and critters easily without being a hazard to barn cats.
                And they do NOT need to be clipped into moronic looking foofy shapes.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!
                ...Belefonte

                Comment


                • #9
                  Cattle? I never would have guessed!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Seven-up View Post
                    Maybe I'm the only one, but herding dogs annoy me the most around horses. They want to do their jobs, and you have to teach them NOT to. I know the herding dog folks are going to jump all over me for this, but it's just what I've seen.
                    As the owner of a Border Collie and a Blue Heeler I tend to agree with you. Most of the herding breeds are not for the faint of heart. The drive that is bred into a BC is what makes them so hard to deal with.

                    At any rate I believe that any dog should be introduced as a pup and raised on the farm. While learning to obey you they also learn to respect the farm.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I know...it is kind of funny to think of many of the corgis I know personally herding cattle. Of course all the ones I know are the arm candy of some horse folks. Never did understand why the corgi is one of the two most popular horse barn/horse show dogs. I can understand the other one being a Jack Russel Terrorist. They will kill rats in a barn. Not that many of them do as they trot around in their little armani dog sunglasses and pink outfits when I see them at shows...but I suppose there is a job for those in a barn. Last thing I'd want in a barn is a heel biting herding dog that was never trained to obey it's human and not chase large livestock. And at horse shows? I've personally never been to a show that had problems with stampeding herds of cattle...unless it's a working ranch horse show or there's a massive clearance sale in the sales booths.
                      You jump in the saddle,
                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!
                      ...Belefonte

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The best thing I did with my dog was take him EVERYWHERE I could. He was at the barn before he was at my house and I made sure he'd seen lots of stuff the first few months I had him (bikes, other dogs, anything spooky I could think of). He's even been in an elevator and on an airplane--Cairns are very portable! He's very good around horses and is great in crowds at horse shows.

                        I don't take him to the barn very much because he doesn't do well off leash. Terriers like jobs, you know, and he likes to find his own . I'm too busy to keep an eye on him constantly.
                        I love my Econo-Nag!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've never had a problem calling off herding breeds. They're REAL smart and don't like being disciplined. They want to do it right the first time. Very little training is required. I realize there are exceptions - but generally speaking, I wouldn't have anything but a herding breed around my horses.

                          You need to realize that herding breeds rarely get hurt around livestock, and horses in particular. They instinctively know how to stay out of the way and never do something stupid, like stand under a horse. They also often are "wash and wear." Coats designed to live outdoors in the worst weather.

                          For those of you questioning a Corgi being a herding breed - you need to come watch mine. My two can pen 4 cows in less than 3 minutes, all by themselves.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                            I know...it is kind of funny to think of many of the corgis I know personally herding cattle. Of course all the ones I know are the arm candy of some horse folks. Never did understand why the corgi is one of the two most popular horse barn/horse show dogs. I can understand the other one being a Jack Russel Terrorist. They will kill rats in a barn. Not that many of them do as they trot around in their little armani dog sunglasses and pink outfits when I see them at shows...but I suppose there is a job for those in a barn. Last thing I'd want in a barn is a heel biting herding dog that was never trained to obey it's human and not chase large livestock. And at horse shows? I've personally never been to a show that had problems with stampeding herds of cattle...unless it's a working ranch horse show or there's a massive clearance sale in the sales booths.

                            You're right, the only corgis I've ever seen are those fat-ass slow waddling creatures at horse shows that have to take a nap after they walk 10 steps.


                            I'll take my dog any day. She was a stray that just showed up one day. Possible chow/golden retriever/??? mix. Never had to teach her a thing about horses. She knows how to stay out of the way, and largely ignores them. Except when she takes her squeaky toy out into the pasture and lies down with them. So I have no idea how to train a dog to act right around a horse. She does it on her own!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sit with the strong implication of Stay is my favorite command. Most dogs are ok to sit and I've always had more success with retrieving a dog on Sit/Stay than on getting a dog to recall perfectly and not wander off halfway through the recall. I am clearly not the best trainer in the world. But I did get my collie mix to quit lunging after bikes and skateboards.

                              I think herding breeds get a bad rap because they're so energetic. A lot of people don't like that, they're more geared toward a dog who can sit still for 20 consecutive seconds before its 12th birthday Personally, I think most dogs of all breeds actually do require that you spend around 80% of your free time training and reinforcing, particularly in public. A few dogs do come from the factory astoundingly perfect, and a few are so naturally well-adapted to the particular life they're given that they're perfect as long as they're not put into another surrounding, but most need that feedback constantly. It's why old dogs are so wonderful - you reap the benefits of long years of repeating yourself endlessly.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I don't like herding dogs around horses. You have to watch them all the time in my experience. I was always worrying about a dog taking a blow to the head, or a horse getting it's tendons bitten. My horse actually had her nose bit by a boarder collie.

                                Just in case someone says I am a bad dog owner etc. They weren't my dogs.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think herding breeds get a bad rap because they're so energetic. A lot of people don't like that, they're more geared toward a dog who can sit still for 20 consecutive seconds before its 12th birthday Personally, I think most dogs of all breeds actually do require that you spend around 80% of your free time training and reinforcing, particularly in public. A few dogs do come from the factory astoundingly perfect, and a few are so naturally well-adapted to the particular life they're given that they're perfect as long as they're not put into another surrounding, but most need that feedback constantly. It's why old dogs are so wonderful - you reap the benefits of long years of repeating yourself endlessly.
                                  Oh definitely agree. Herding breeds are smart, smart, smart and energetic and are fabulous dogs....for the serious dog owner.
                                  Unfortunately as I've noticed, few people in general are serious dog owners. They want a pet/buddy/furry child and want it to be perfectly behaved but don't/won't stay consistent and serious about the training. And a herding dog without a job or with a wishy/washy owner can be a real pain in the butt to have around.
                                  I also agree that all dogs benefit from constant and consistent behavior modification. Even an "easy" dog is sooo much better with that type of handling.
                                  Thankfully though there are all types of dogs for all types of owners. I never suggest a herding or working breed dog for the person who wants a companion pet. Even if the companion will be accompanying them to a barn. And it's perfectly fine to not want to spend all your time training dogs to not be a pain in the butt. I think the problem with problem dogs most of the time is the wrong dog/owner combo. Apartment folks who hate taking a dog to a park and running it for a while getting sight hounds, a person in SC in a condo who wants a Malamute to come lay on the beach with them and sleep all day, a marathon runner who wants a running buddy getting a basset, etc.
                                  Match the dog to both the person *and* the lifestyle and you set them up for easier success.
                                  I do have horses at home and a herding breed dog...a GSD. However the two remain separate. And my GSD has a fantastic recall and zero interest in horses...but I've had many a horse that hated dogs so bred to not get smushed or not...any dog within range was a target and it's darned hard for even an experienced herding dog to not get run over by something actively chasing it. Heck, my late mare would try to go through fences to get at dogs taking a nap. (she really hated dogs! And had no reason to hate them either)
                                  I love, love, love the Standard Poodle for almost any type of owner though. Has the smarts for easy training but not the evil genius that requires constant repetition.
                                  You jump in the saddle,
                                  Hold onto the bridle!
                                  Jump in the line!
                                  ...Belefonte

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Seven-up View Post
                                    Maybe I'm the only one, but herding dogs annoy me the most around horses. They want to do their jobs, and you have to teach them NOT to. I know the herding dog folks are going to jump all over me for this, but it's just what I've seen.

                                    Examples: My trainer had a border collie who had to be sent on down the road because he would bite the horses' ankles, trying to herd them. I know of another trainer who also has a BC (who is very well trained) and the dog sits right underneath the arena fence because he's not allowed to go inside it. You can see the poor dog's muscles twitching because he's dying to pounce on whatever horse goes by him. He stays down most of the time, but he does jump up like a shot every so often, which spooks the newer horses, and the poor dog gets yelled at a lot. It must be maddening for that dog.



                                    I just have to ask, what are corgis supposed to herd? Sausage? Turtles?
                                    Absolutely agree about herding dogs. They are the worst offenders because of their genetics. I have Dalmatians, the ORIGINAL horse dog, bred to be around horses and do horsey things, and I see the innate affection for horses in them every day. Nikon was born knowing how to be careful around them. Penny needed some guidance, and I would confine her when I was moving horses around, but within 2 weeks of being at the barn (approx. 12 weeks old), she was fine with them. Both love to kiss horses on the nose, and they have made all of our young horses comfortable around dogs.

                                    If you get a puppy, they must be well started on "no/leave it" and "come." Introduce on lead. Hold the puppy up for horse to examine. Keep them confined when horses are out of their stalls in the barn, or moving in/out to pasture. IMMEDIATELY squash any urge to go into the paddock or chase the horses.
                                    Laurie

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Seven-up View Post
                                      Maybe I'm the only one, but herding dogs annoy me the most around horses. They want to do their jobs, and you have to teach them NOT to. I know the herding dog folks are going to jump all over me for this, but it's just what I've seen.
                                      I have to agree. Our heeler is an absolute pain around horses. She has gotten much much better with age, but I will always have to keep one eye on her. When I am working with a horse, I have to constantly remind her that she is NOT working with the horse. I doubt I'll ever own another herding breed again...they are great, smart dogs but a little too labor intensive for me.

                                      And there is show we have gone to in the past whose farm owner has a border collie. Until I complained, border collie was allowed to "chase" the horses around the schooling ring. Dog always stays outside the ring, but once when taking a barely-OTTB mare there, she did NOT appreciate the outside help. This was an example of one that was more than a little neurotic, and they can get that way without work and training.

                                      My labX and my Golden are much better around the horses, although the Golden is old now and sometimes "forgets" that she is laying right behind one So, I have to watch out for her, but it is only due to age. Fortunately all of my horses are good with dogs and are ridden (on purpose) with dogs in the ring and running through the woods beside the ring, so spooking or acting silly because of them doesn't happen much.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Nothing better than to have the original coach dog with horses.

                                        http://www.thedca.org/dal_hist_by_akc.html

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