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Horse attacked by dog

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  • Horse attacked by dog

    I am new to this forum, but am hoping I will get some good advice from experienced riders. My horse was attacked by a hunting dog yesterday while I was riding him. He is already a nervous type, always looking for something in the bushes that eats grey horses. I was actually trying to get him over some of that when the attack happened. I had to bail out and let him run and kick at the dog. I don't want him to think that all of his fears are real and I'm afraid that he will have a new fear of dogs that he didn't have before. How do I re-introduce him to dogs in a way that will hopefully get him over this.

    Thanks, Terri
  • Original Poster

    #2
    gothedistance,

    Wow, what a nice welcome to this forum. I think I will ignore all but your last paragraph.

    For anyone who may have some good advice I welcome it. I was in such a hurry this morning that I didn't include any details. I am not a novice rider. I have turned many a horse to face an approaching dog and had the dog retreat. That didn't happen yesterday. I was on my property. There was a hunter behind the property probably training his hunting dog. The dog trotted down the trail on my property looking like he was going to mind his own business. I saw him. My horse saw him, and we continued our little workout. The next thing I knew the dog was heading straight for us. I faced my horse at the dog and walked towards it. To my horror, the dog did not turn and run, but grabbed ahold of my horses front leg. My horse began spinning, kicking with both hind legs and trying to strike with his front legs. I hung in there for a little while and realized the dog was not going anywhere. I decided to bail, so taking my feet out of the stirrups and letting go (which by the way was very hard to do) I made the worst dismount of my life. I chose to leave my horse while he was relatively still (not running) and there was sand under his feet. When I came off, he took off running which probably saved him from sustaining more bites. He ran to my husband who was running out of the barn looking for me. The hunter must have heard all the commotion and came up on our property calling his dog. His dog didn't listen to him at first either, but kept going after my horse. I won't go on and on, but finally the hunter got hold of his dog and said that he couldn't believe it. He has cows and horses and this dog has never acted like that. We showed him the blood pouring down my horses leg. I could tell he felt bad about the incident. I got back on my horse (after the man and dog left) and took him back to the scene where it happened. He was nervous but did as I asked, so I'm proud of him for that. Just want to make sure I don't make any mistakes in our recovery.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you have the hunter's contact information? You need a copy of the dog's rabies certificate. Can't really help you with the training except to say miles and time. I'm sorry that happened to you guys, must have been horrible.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by gothedistance
        Your story smell a bit too ....odd.... to me. But I will ignore that and deal only with your question:
        Having a bad hair day?
        "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman

        Comment


        • #5
          tnales...so sorry this happened..and you HAVE come to the right place for good advice and well wishes.

          Did your horse sustain any injuries? Dog bites are painful (ask me how I know)

          Sorry I don't have any useful info as its a situation thats hard to duplicate for retraining. My own horse is fine in the middle of cars, buses and trucks but so nervous in the woods....
          Good Luck!
          "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"

          Comment


          • #6
            I didn't see anything unusual in the OP. A bit sparse on detail, but no more.

            The advice to face the aggressive dog is good. Take a deep seat and give the horse the rein in might need to defend itself or use its teeth to deal with the dog. I've never seen it, but some trail riding friends have said that their horses have picked up dogs by the scruff of the neck and flung them. That usually ends the encounter.

            As a rule when it's "one dog vs. one horse" it's gonna be "too bad for the dog." Three or more means the horse is gonna have a bad day.

            If the dog broke the skin on the horse it should be located and its rabies status verified. If you know where the dog is and the owner will cooperate then all well and good. If not, contact the sheriff/animal control and make a report. In TN it's unlawful to allow a dog to run at large (even in the country). Verify the law where you ride.

            As to making the horse more "dog comfortable," I guess you'd have to use any standard "desensitization" program you want to use. If the horse is comfortable with you then it's less likely that it will be excessively "spooky" with a dog. If it is then work on building the horse's trust in you. Dogs may be part of that process (but so will balls, plastic bags, and other "scary" stuff).

            Good luck in resolving the issues.

            G.

            P.S. A very effective alternative is to gun break the horse, get yourself a Ruger Montado, load the first three chambers with black powder blanks, and be ready to use it. If any aggressive animal is not discouraged by a facefull of hot black powder coals then you've got a big problem and a lead bolus will likely be the most practical solution.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

            Comment


            • #7
              Don't assume your horse will be somehow permanently traumatized by this interaction. It might even make him more protective of himself. He may just kick or try to bite dogs next time. Many horses distinguish between bad dogs, friendly dogs, strays, hunting hounds etc. Mine do. I have one that has a breed bias against Jack Russells. He HATES them. Nevertheless, YOU set the stage for his reaction by telling him how to react. If you're scared, he's scared etc. Exposure is the key. Just like all training; it's mileage & experience that sets their reactions to new or scary things.

              YOU need to react less and not be traumatized. Keep in mind, this dog knew you were in a protected territory where he & his owner was. Even tho it's your property; they have fear & territoriality in their nature. He was scared & you need to learn how dogs think to outthink them. I'd have jumped off and yelled Bad Dog and given him the whatfor! And told the owner the whatfor too. And that you'd prefer he not bring the dog hunting with him. I've run into many dogs with their owners out on the trail and sometimes it's just a matter of getting out of the area. Most owners are embarassed or mad at their dogs reactions. Many dogs have never seen or been around horses so they wanna scare the monster or make it go away. They are just doing what is their nature!

              Not speaking for GTD but your opening use of the term "hunting dog" may have triggered a defensive mode some of us foxhunters/deerhunters/other hunters get into when we "smell" an anti-hunting hint. Sometimes animal rightists use dramatic stories to open up a thread that is really antihunting. But you clearly explained further and at least I am appeased and believe you! There's one on the foxhunting forum that got busted and fun was had by all!! So don't overreact please! We've all had dog/horse interactions and there should be some great advice here. Some already shared! Thanks eveyrone!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by wateryglen View Post
                [Y]our opening use of the term "hunting dog" may have triggered a defensive mode some of us foxhunters/deerhunters/other hunters get into when we "smell" an anti-hunting hint.
                Or GTD may be like me - I'm trying to figure out what game is in season right now, for which one would use a single dog, that one would train on dry land, and that would be so aggressive as to mount a full frontal assault on a much larger animal for no apparent reason.

                I can't think of any plausible scenario in my area, but of course I don't know where the OP is. I apologize if my suspicions are unfounded.

                As for not making mistakes in recovery - are you saying you got right back on the horse while it's leg was still bleeding heavily and rode it back to where the attack occurred? Have you called the vet? And also of course verify the dog's rabies status. I'd put off any further densensitization till the leg heals.
                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Auventera Two
                  We ride on two different public trails here that have lots of dog walkers and bikers. You see it all if you ride out away from home enough.
                  Sure you do. I had a Rottweiler climb my fenders once, telling me he'd yank me out of the saddle and have me for lunch. Pet dogs on public ways? Oh, yeah. Some of them don't have two brain cells to rub together.

                  It's the "hunting dog" part that made me question the story. Most hunting breeds I've met are far more interested in that rabbit/squirrel/bird/whatever than in attacking Trigger. Not to mention that most squirrel dogs are pretty little - like a feist - and rabbits one generally hunts with beagles or harriers or something of similar size and lack of appetite for equines.
                  I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MikeP View Post
                    Having a bad hair day?
                    I am...you ought to see it. Sticking straight up!! :{
                    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thank you all for recent replies. It does help to know where people are coming from. I am not anti-hunting. My husband hunts. I don't go with him. That is his choice and my choice. I can respect both.

                      It sounds like everyone is saying that I should just stick with a good "de-spooking" program. Maybe not specifically for dogs, but to include all things that tend to scare him. I guess I'm feeling a little guilty. I had him out there, getting him further and further away from the barn and his herd, trying to let him know he would be OK with just me, and then his fears came to fruition. The timing really stinks! and I wish I could have helped him more.
                      Thanks for the thought that he may not have any lasting ill effects. I need to believe that is possible so I can relax more too.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                        Sure you do. I had a Rottweiler climb my fenders once, telling me he'd yank me out of the saddle and have me for lunch. Pet dogs on public ways? Oh, yeah. Some of them don't have two brain cells to rub together.

                        It's the "hunting dog" part that made me question the story. Most hunting breeds I've met are far more interested in that rabbit/squirrel/bird/whatever than in attacking Trigger. Not to mention that most squirrel dogs are pretty little - like a feist - and rabbits one generally hunts with beagles or harriers or something of similar size and lack of appetite for equines.
                        I see folks a half dozen times a year, or so, in court for hunting out of season (with and without dogs).

                        I also see folks in court charged with hunting with dogs when the game involved does not permit same.

                        So that part of the story is not at all suspicious.

                        But, to get back to the point, I agree that the OP can't "mollycoddle" the horse or, herself, get upset. THAT will upset the horse when it detects the rider's anxiety. A calm rider demeanor will go a long way towards keeping the horse focused.

                        G.
                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tnales View Post
                          gothedistance,

                          Wow, what a nice welcome to this forum. I think I will ignore all but your last paragraph.

                          For anyone who may have some good advice I welcome it. I was in such a hurry this morning that I didn't include any details. I am not a novice rider. I have turned many a horse to face an approaching dog and had the dog retreat. That didn't happen yesterday. I was on my property. There was a hunter behind the property probably training his hunting dog. The dog trotted down the trail on my property looking like he was going to mind his own business. I saw him. My horse saw him, and we continued our little workout. The next thing I knew the dog was heading straight for us. I faced my horse at the dog and walked towards it. To my horror, the dog did not turn and run, but grabbed ahold of my horses front leg. My horse began spinning, kicking with both hind legs and trying to strike with his front legs. I hung in there for a little while and realized the dog was not going anywhere. I decided to bail, so taking my feet out of the stirrups and letting go (which by the way was very hard to do) I made the worst dismount of my life. I chose to leave my horse while he was relatively still (not running) and there was sand under his feet. When I came off, he took off running which probably saved him from sustaining more bites. He ran to my husband who was running out of the barn looking for me. The hunter must have heard all the commotion and came up on our property calling his dog. His dog didn't listen to him at first either, but kept going after my horse. I won't go on and on, but finally the hunter got hold of his dog and said that he couldn't believe it. He has cows and horses and this dog has never acted like that. We showed him the blood pouring down my horses leg. I could tell he felt bad about the incident. I got back on my horse (after the man and dog left) and took him back to the scene where it happened. He was nervous but did as I asked, so I'm proud of him for that. Just want to make sure I don't make any mistakes in our recovery.
                          This is all after the fact. YOu could have given this information from the start.
                          Gothedistance gave you good advice for the general problems. I had two seperate dog incidents this weekend and both times I did as gothedistance said and both dogs ran off.
                          She gave you good information for the information you gave her to work with.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            A few people are wondering where this happened. It was on the Goethe State Forest in North Florida. I just looked at the hunting schedule and it is small game season. My husband explained to me yesterday that you can take wild hog during most hunting seasons and he thought that this dog was for wild hog hunting. I know that you don't want me to call it a hunting dog, but that's what the owner called it, and he was in full camo. The dog wore a flourescent orange collar. The kind they use for hunting dogs. I promise you, if a clown had come out of the forest, and the dog had on a too-too, I would have called it a circus dog.

                            My husband did ask the owner if the dog was up-to-date on his rabies shots. He said that he was, but we didn't get his name or number. My husband just told him that he didn't ever want to see that dog on our property again. My horses injuries are not bad enough to need stitches so we didn't call the vet, but now I am worried about the rabies.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              <get a gun>


                              would have been first to say it but computer choked. I second G's statment.

                              Really thats all you need. Teach your horse to be fired off of and proceed from there. You can't go wrong. (by the way training starts with clapping... balloon popping works equally well, but clearly more time consuming *-*)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Auventera Two
                                I just wanted to add that you REALLY should have stayed ON the horse. What if you jumped off, the horse took off, and the dog came after YOU? The horse's hide is tougher than delicate human skin. The horse is faster, and the horse has far better weapons for beating off the dog than you do. In all the dog situations I've encountered, I only dismounted the one time. But the dog was NOT acting vicious. He was wagging his tag and hassling and just happy to be going for a walk along behind my horse. Yelling at him to go home from horseback didn't work so I got off. I think THEN he recognized me as being "human" and he took the order from me. But IF a dog were acting in the least bit agressive, I would stick on no matter what it took. I'd have my hands wrapped up in the mane or breastcollar straps or whatever and I'd stay on and take off with the horse.

                                You are REALLY fortunate that the dog didn't go after you once you were on the ground.
                                Perhaps she was afraid the horse was going to bolt, and she'd fall off. Then she could've been injured and unable to defend herself from the dog.

                                I agree best bet is to stay ON the horse, but if she was just going to fall off anyways, best to do an emergency dismount first I guess.
                                Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  You all are giving me a lot to think about, which is a good thing. It's funny how after something like that happens you run through it in your mind over and over with different scenarios. I didn't even think about taking off on my horse while it was happening, but I did think about it afterwards. I didn't think about the dog biting me until afterwards either. You never know what might have been. I am grateful for how it turned out. Not too much damage. Thanks for calling it an emergency dismount. It sure wasn't pretty!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by tnales View Post
                                    My husband explained to me yesterday that you can take wild hog during most hunting seasons and he thought that this dog was for wild hog hunting. I know that you don't want me to call it a hunting dog, but that's what the owner called it, and he was in full camo. The dog wore a flourescent orange collar. The kind they use for hunting dogs.
                                    <snip>
                                    My husband did ask the owner if the dog was up-to-date on his rabies shots. He said that he was, but we didn't get his name or number. My husband just told him that he didn't ever want to see that dog on our property again. My horses injuries are not bad enough to need stitches so we didn't call the vet, but now I am worried about the rabies.
                                    Ah. Could've been a hog dog - around here, I'm told they are hunted year-round. I wondered about hog dogs when I first read your post, but usually there's two or three working together and they wear leather collars or vests for protection. But that's not to say all hog hunters operate out of the same playbook.

                                    I'd be worried about rabies, too. I wish there were some way you could find out who the guy was and verify that the dog really was up on his shots.
                                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Auventera2 wrote, "I wrapped my hands up in the reins and mane and even with one stirrup and a treeless saddle that I was NOT used to, I managed to stay on. All I could think of was that if I came off, I was going to land in the middle of kicking hooves. And that little miniature squirt was doing his darndest to challenge our horses."

                                      I have a mental image of you coming off the horse and getting dragged by your hand, wrapped in rein and mane AND amidst flying hooves. Not a wise decision, IMO. You were very lucky.

                                      And OP, GTD gave you excellent advice, given the level of information you provided in your opening post. It smelled trollish to me, too.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                                        I'd be worried about rabies, too. I wish there were some way you could find out who the guy was and verify that the dog really was up on his shots.
                                        If the horses shots are up to date and they should be does it matter about the dogs shots??? Our dog killed a rabid fox in the barn and the vet didn't seem to worry about it since the dog was up to date.
                                        So again if the horse has a up to date rabbie shot that should protect him.

                                        Comment

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