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Trail Riding with Your Dog?

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  • Trail Riding with Your Dog?

    How many of you let your dog accompany you on the trails? I would love to start letting mine join me. I typically walk only, so it isn't anything fast, or very long. My dog has a good recall, and does not stray far from me at all, however, I have no way of knowing how she would handle a trail.

    Should I start sans horse and just walk a short trail on foot? Also, we do not allow dogs off leash at the barn. Trails won't be a problem, but I have to find a way to get the dog to the trail if there are other people at the barn.

  • #2
    You will have a happy dog if you are able to work it out. I always ride with my two and the barn dog. When I 1st brought my two out, we did walk around some, but not much. They tend to stay in a pack and follow along nicely. Unless they see a deer or something then they are gone - but only for a minute. They never go to far, I always have my eye on them and wait for them to come out of the woods. My doberman is glued to my side anyway, so that def helps. Another girl brings her dogs and when we ride together, we have a pack of 6 following us. they love it!! and I really enjoy watching them run off lead and just be a dog. For the lead thing, I rode w/a girl that had a long enough lead, she would get on horse w/lead and walk the dog threw those areas. She had taught her dog to jump up on her leg (you know, just set the dogs feet on her leg) and she would unhook her while still in saddle. Back out to lead required, the dog jumped up and let her hook her back up.
    Hope you are able to work it out - you both will enjoy it.


    • #3
      Make sure you check the rules as well. many trails do have leash laws/ clean up rules (which are a pain when you are on a horse) and dogs can roam off the path and disturb things in fragile areas (where horses and humans generally remain on the trail).
      "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).


      • #4
        It's been several years since my old Rottweiler passed away with bone cancer, but he was my "trail riding buddy" -- and a great one at that!

        Be sure that your dog is well-socialized and trained to recall/come, sit/down, stay, and to "leave" things alone. I took him through several levels of "formal" obedience training, in a class, while also taking him to the barn with me and practicing some of the stuff while I rode my horse in the arena.

        For example, have him do a sit or down-stay at one end of the arena, then ride to the far end and do a couple of circles, then ride back past him while he had to stay put. Or, I'd ride to the far end and call him to "come."

        He absolutely LOVED anything that involved working around the horses, and I never had an issue with him taking off after squirrels, deer, rabbits, etc. He saw them, but that's where the "leave it" command really came in handy.

        He never had an issue keeping up with me, even when we moved out into a gait, picked up a canter, crossed creeks/rivers, etc. If the weather was very hot or humid I'd often leave him home but otherwise he was a constant companion.

        ::sniffle:: I miss that dog.
        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.


        • #5
          If you have safe (i.e. no roads) trails that allow dogs off-leash, and your horse is ok with it, do some basic training of the dog and go for it. No need to just walk, either- dogs can keep up with horses easily.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks everyone! My dog's basic commands are good...just not sure how she'll respond while I'm sitting on a horse Practicing in the ring isn't really possible unless I'm sneaky about it due to our leash rules. I will double check with the farm owner, but the trails should be fine, and there are no roads so we don't have to worry about traffic.


            • #7
              Here the poison oak is an issue....the dogs bring it back on their fur.
              A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


              • #8
                Have been doing it for a couple of years with my most recent dog and we have had great fun with it and I've also ridden out with friends and their dogs. The first few times, my dog would jump up and sniff my foot in the stirrup to make sure I was really up there but all my horses have been very tolerant of canine hijinks, including dashing in and out of the bushes unexpectedly. They also tolerate me yelling at the dog. I think the horses like having a dog around. God bless my old mare (RIP Andy), she put up with the dog jumping up on her flank and scratching her with his claws when we first started out.

                I have practiced my commands on horseback and my dog will do a sit/down stay and heel (he comes up beside my stirrup), as well as recall.


                • #9
                  I always allow my dogs to accompany me when I am riding around in the fields here ( we all love it) but I think it should be discouraged if you are riding where you may encounter other horses. My biggest fear is that you would meet up with another rider on the trails who's horse may have an issue with dogs. Most of us with dogs do the best we can to get our horses used to the things dogs do ( barking, mad running, erupting out of corn fields etc..) Not all people can do that with their horses. So as much as my dogs and I enjoy riding together I never take them off the home place. I would hate to be the cause of someone getting hurt because the horse reacted to my dog coming down the trail.


                  • #10
                    My dog, Sidda, has been riding with me all over the place, everywhere dogs are allowed. I think people who have horses that aren't good with dogs should ride where dogs aren't allowed off leash, and people with dogs should stick to the trails where they ARE allowed, and then all problems are averted. Most dogs stick pretty close to "their" horses and leave others along. I think that riding with dogs is the best despooking possible for horses; they get used to all of the crashing and sudden movements and no long react to deer and such. Sidda loves coming along, and I think there are no better rides than the ones with just my horse and my dog. It's pure peace.


                    • #11
                      I just did a great solo ride w/my dog and horse. We rode to the lake and he had a blast just running in the water. I let my horse graze while he ran around like a crazy dog.

                      He's a pretty active Australian Shepherd. I started taking him when he was 9 mos old. He has a very good recall. He's now 2 yrs old, and is really good.

                      He knows BACK means to stay behind my horse. I still dont trust him around traffic. I walk him down the road to where our trails start, then unleash him and hop on my horse. We do not have many roads, so once we start, cars are not a huge issue. I get off when we get to the road and walk back.

                      I rode 2 1/2 hours, and he is chasing my lab around the livingroom, playing full force at the moment, so it really doesnt wear him out, but at least, he get to expend some of his energy. I think my horse kinda enjoys going out w/him too.

                      Whenever I take him to the barn, I do give him a quick bath. I have a dog crate next to my tack locker, so I can stick him in there while I go get my horse out of his pasture or if the barn is really busy.
                      Riding is NOT meant as an inside sport, GET out of that arena!!!


                      • #12
                        I trained my dog to pony from my horse on a lead rope, in case a ranger were to stop us and require dogs to be on a leash, or if we had to go down a road. My friend brings her dog trail riding and uses an electronic collar, which works very well.


                        • #13
                          many years ago before leash laws were an issue, I had a mixed breed dog that I took quite often w/ me on trails in the park. She was raised in a city neighborhood and would heel, sit etc in just about any situation; the parks were no problem as her city upbringing told her that trails were somehow like sidewalks and she did not stray off into the woods. Fast forward 10 years and my coonhound/shep mix was quite obedient but somehow believed that life was all about the bushes and the woods; he would course back and forth which didn't bother my horse but made me nuts w/ worry...So lots depends on the dog and its nature.

                          As first dog got older, she would start across the field to the park w/ me and then sit - I knew she didn't want to go so far, so we would just wander around the field and go home... it was sad to see....
                          We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........