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Dog Aggressive Gelding

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  • Dog Aggressive Gelding

    Let me preface this by saying I'm sure this is not the first time this has been visited, but I just couldn't find the kind of info I'm looking for in old threads. If anyone can point me in the right direction, please do!

    I've got a 5 y/o OTTB that is extremely dog aggressive. I have seen him charge a dog with teeth bared that escaped in his paddock two separate times. He almost always pins his ears and wrinkles his nose when dogs come within about 10' of him.

    He sometimes gets a little attitude with me, but other than pinning ears when in his pissy-pants mood, has never acted aggressively towards me. He does turn into a little bit of a dictator with the little 14.2 mare he sometimes shares a pasture with, and he also is very brave about being aggressive towards other horses when they're on the other side of the fenceline (usually they put him in place quickly when turned out with him though)

    To be totally honest, I've never paid much attention to this problem, partly because I'm not in his immediate vicinity most times, and also because it just wasn't a fore-front training issue for me since I don't own a dog (I know, I know...) I am going to be getting a puppy soon though, and he will be coming to the barn with me daily. Has anyone ever dealt with this kind of issue? Obviously the dog's safety and well-being is the main issue here. Does anyone have any ideas for safely introducing canine to equine? I would like to be able to not worry about puppy being at the barn, and take him out on trail rides with us. I'm not asking for them to be best friends, but I need to at least get my horse to tolerate puppy.

    On a last note, I suspect my horse may have been bitten/attacked by a dog at some point in the past. He has 2 scars on the back of his rt hind fetlock that certainly could be a bite mark. This is definitely speculation, and may not be part of the issue since he can be aggressive in other ways.

    Thoughts/suggestions? Thx!
    The best is yet to come

  • #2
    I don't know that you will ever be able to trust the gelding around your dog...some horses just hate dogs.

    You woul have to manage it- crate/tie dog when gelding is not in stall.

    I went to look at a boarding stable and theyhad a mare there that the ower said from the day she was born she hated dogs...


    • #3
      I have three stallions here (amongst other horses), and three dogs. Two of the three studs will go after a dog, without a second thought. The third will let them into his stall.

      The dogs have determined who will try and kill them, and who won't. They do not mess with the two aggressive studs.

      Either pen him up, or take your chances.
      When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou


      • #4
        I wouldn't trust the dog loose around your gelding, at least not until its old enough to get out of the way and learn to stay away!
        That said, I'm much rather have a horse that will chase dogs than one that runs from them, or a dog that chases horses (I wouldn't have that at all).


        • #5
          Don't bring the new pup to the barn off the leash *ever* and don't let it within reaching distance of teeth or hooves *ever.*
          A horse does not have to have a history of bad experiences with a dog to be aggressive towards them at all. Many people automatically assume this, simply not true.
          Some just are dog aggressive...just like many donkeys are. Nothing more to it than a stronger than average protection mode built into them...and a preferrence of fight vs flight when it comes to short predators.
          I've had 3 very dog aggressive horses so far. They're not rare. Not a single one ever had a negative dog experience before, they just hated dogs. My first one killed a dog at a show. A leashed and behaving dog, spactator wandered too close to the wrong end of my horse. She shot one hind leg out fast and hard and caught the poor dog in the head. I felt absolutely awful for the dog and owner. That mare also banged up a few other dogs.
          My late mare went after dogs like a tornado. All it had to do was get near her paddock, not even in it. Didn't even have to look at her, just walk by. She'd go after it full gallop, head forward and down, teeth snapping, front legs striking and making the most awful noise imaginable. Startled the crap out of me too half the time! She got one...yanked him off the ground by his tail. He got away...broken tail...never wandered through my property again.
          And now my current younger gelding charges the fence at dogs anywhere he can see them and puts on quite a show. Not sure what he'd do if he caught one, hop to never find out.

          Point is...you cannot train the behavior out of the horse. Not in a way that makes any dog ever safe around that horse. It's just an ingrained behavior response...no way to really fix that. Just means that you will always have to be very very careful to never ever let any dog get anywhere near that particular horse. The horse isn't "bad" or scared...it's just the way he is. Please be careful with any new pup.
          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!


          • #6
            Not much help to offer, but some sympathy.
            My mare has a thing against cats. I thought it was funny -- when they came in the ring, she'd put her nose down about an inch from the ground and do this prancy determined walk toward them. I'd give her a loose rein because, seriously, it's a mare chasing a cat out of the ring at the walk, right?
            We went to a new barn and a cat was walking along the ledge of her stall. She was reaching through the bars with her lip, trying to drag it in. The cat was enjoying the unintentional massage and suddenly something clicked in my head.
            About my old barn manager's dead cat... In the field my mare lived in. That everyone assumed another boarder's dog killed...
            "I never panic when I get lost. I just change where I want to go."
            -Rita Rudner


            • #7
              I've got a one who is pretty dog aggressive, IMO it's a respect/control issue. I don't give a shit what he does to a dog when I'm not there.........when I am there there he is to follow my instructions, period. There are always exceptions though, some horses simply hate dogs.

              A puppy may not be the best route to gauge how much control of this situation you can have though..........could end poorly for the puppy. Better a NIMBLE medium sized dog to see if the horse can tolerate a dog.

              Good luck.
              Nearly all of what I post will be controversial to someone. Believe nothing you read on a chat room, research for yourself and LEARN.
              Not in the 42% or the 96%


              • #8
                I have his evil step-sister in my pasture! She hates dogs. When we brought her home (DH's horse) he wanted to have his "best friend" and his new "best friend" be "buds". When we first introduced them, his mare into her country line dancing routine: Snort, stomp, squeal, whirl and kick. So the pooch will not go into the pasture, of course, that is due to fact the dog was using the pasture for a bathroom and DH's horse came up behind her and put her nose on the dog's back when she was trying to go "potty". Dog does the "4 wheel squeal" looking back at the horse and then.....crashes into the electric fence! Literally scared the poo-poo out of her!

                So our little boxer, who already had tested the fence a couple weeks earlier trying to touch noses with my mare, has (hopefully) a healthy respect for hot-wire.

                Maybe your OTTB wasn't socialized with smaller animals? I had adopted a retired Standardbred that had not been exposed to them. He didn't like any animals around his feet and took a year to work it out of him and he still didn't like dogs. Cats, yes - dogs, no!


                • #9
                  I WISH my horses were dog aggressive. Or that the donkey I'm fostering was dog aggressive. I wish something on this property was dog aggressive..... because I'm sick to death of the neighbor's dogs running in my pasture, my yard, and everywhere else. We cannot have a barn cat or chickens here as the neighbor's dogs will likely kill them.

                  Wish we had something here (aside from me) to chase them away.

                  My little mini rant aside... sometimes horses and dogs don't mix. My dogs aren't allowed in the pasture/barn ... that's partially for their benefit (in case I DO get a dog-aggressive foster), partially because I don't want a fight with the neighbor's dogs, and partially to keep the horses safe (the German Shepherd thinks horses look like big dogs and he wants to PLAY).
                  Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                  Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


                  • #10
                    Unless it's your barn, keep the puppy at home. Dogs don't belong in the same areas as horses, and vice versa.

                    This has been my pet peeve as a barn owner. I simply cannot understand why some people feel compelled to foist their dogs off on me and my property, and let them "run loose to play". I have owned as many as four dogs at one time, two of whom lived in the barn, and they never got within sniffing distance of a horse. It's just not that hard to keep them separated, and it's a lot safer than letting them mix. Especially with a dog-aggressive horse. IMO, the barn is for the horse, not the dog, and the horse has priority.
                    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                    A life lived by example, done too soon.


                    • Original Poster

                      I obviously would not be bringing a dog to the barn if I didn't have the BO's blessing. She is perfectly happy with boarder's bringing dogs along, so long as they aren't out of control. Several other boarder's already bring their dogs. That is not the issue.

                      I do however agree that the barn is the horse's house. If it becomes clear they are NOT going to mix, I will either tie said puppy while I'm there or leave in a stall while riding. I am considering including in puppy's training just how close is too close to a horse. I think if you can teach a dog to stay out of the kitchen, you can teach them to give horses a wide berth. That's why I'm getting a puppy rather than adult- so he can grow up "horse savvy"

                      My main concern is the trail rides. I'd really like to be able to take the dog along. I'm not sure how my horse will react with me on him though. I'm pretty sure he'll be obedient, but who can tell for sure. We've run across lost hunting dogs on trails before, and he hasn't tried anything with them.

                      I was simply looking to see if anybody had ever been able to desensitize an anti-dog horse to a dog before.
                      The best is yet to come


                      • #12
                        My QH gelding is very dog aggressive - I've owned him since he was a youngster and unless something happened between him and a dog before I got him, I don't think he's ever had a bad experience with one, but he blatently hates them.

                        I was filling his water trough one morning and my Rottie was standing next to me. He came over to me, so I put my arms around his neck to give him a hug. My Rottie went to move around to the other side of me and my gelding jumped away from me and went at my Rottie with his front hooves - thankfully she was quick and all he was able to do was skin her front leg a bit and cause a bit of swelling, but nothing was broken. I took her to our vet immediately afterwards and asked him what to do about it - my Rottie is so awesome at the barn and I didn't want to stop bringing her.

                        Basically he told me that she would probably learn to keep a safe, respectable distance from him after that incident and she did. However, some dogs never learn and some get seriously hurt/killed in the learning process. I'd say that you're always going to have to keep a very vigilant eye on any dogs you have near your horse.

                        My gelding literally went into attack mode after 2 beagles that wondered into his pasture when we were at our old barn - the dogs got away thankfully, but if they couldn't have ducked under the fence to run, I don't even want to think about what would have happened.

                        One day I came to the barn in the morning and the same horse was happily grazing next to a momma deer and her baby...odd animal he is.


                        • #13
                          I have had three dog aggressive horses here. While they never desensitized to strange dogs in the field, they did come to know which ones belonged here and would not bother them. But, there is no doubt, when they first came here, they would have killed them given half a chance and I was horribly worried for my one dog, the border collie. She realized on her own that they would kill her and gave them a wide berth. The Bassett, well he simply wont take a chance on them cause obviously, dogs understand one another well.

                          On the other hand, I had a pony who would kill any dog, cat, chiken, duck or whatever her feet would get hold of. She was born that way, died that way and we never figured out why.

                          Personally, I would not take a chance on my dog. I would keep it safely tied away from the horse and see if I couldnt just work the horse into acceptance of that particular dog. One well placed kick and its all a mute point and while I love my horses to death, my dogs live in my house.
                          Our horses are not seen as the old and disabled they may have become, but rather as the mighty steeds they once believed themselves to be.

                          Sunkissed Acres Rescue and Retirement


                          • #14
                            I was thrilled when my horse went after our new dog.....she learned really fast that horses were not something to mess around with. But it happened in the feild, near the barn where the dog couldn't get trapped and didn't have far to go to reach safety, and it was a full grown dog that we had rescued not long before. I would not have allowed that to happen with a puppy that's not up to its full athletic ability...


                            • #15
                              My TB loathes dogs, and will chase them, full gallop, teeth snapping, out of his paddock. My BO has 4 dogs, and I have one also, and since my barn is dog-friendly, they are always around. My guy will never go after one if he is with me, or in cross ties, but if I'm not there, the dogs are fair game. They know to stay away from him, as he has nipped one or two that have wandered too close, or tried to be overly friendly. My BO was fine with it, she agreed the dogs had to learn and since my guy gave a warning nip before going all out, she wasn't mad about it.

                              I'd say unless your horse is outriight dangerous, leave him be. The dogs will learn who not to mess with


                              • #16
                                I don't mind a dog aggressive horse.

                                Cats have a function at the barn, 99% of barn dogs don't.

                                My mule doesn't care for dogs, but has only killed a fox stupid enough to wander into his field. Had a mare who killed dogs when she was able and they were stupid enough to sniff her hind leg.

                                As long as he's good with other horses and especially you...the dog owners need to pay attention to their dogs. Once again, leave your dog (and non-horsey SO usually) at home, it's a barn, not a kennel.
                                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                                • #17
                                  My TB does not like dogs. He'll tolerate their proximity when he has to, but given choice, he doesn't want them near him.

                                  I also taught my dogs to keep their distance.
                                  Equestrian Photography


                                  • #18
                                    My youngster will go after a dog if he's loose and a dog comes into his pasture. He's fairly tolerant when he's under my control, but I suspect he would launch a dog that came up too close behind him.
                                    I know that my boy's breeder had Grate Danes that enjoyed chasing him when he was a baby, so I really can't blame him one bit.... I bet that he'll always dislike dogs.
                                    I've seen him charge at one of the cats too, though he likes to snuffle them and run his lips through their fur if he can get them to be still in the barn.
                                    Y'all ain't right!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by simc24 View Post
                                      I obviously would not be bringing a dog to the barn if I didn't have the BO's blessing. She is perfectly happy with boarder's bringing dogs along, so long as they aren't out of control. Several other boarder's already bring their dogs. That is not the issue.
                                      Sorry, but there's no "obviously" about it. I had my own barn for ten years, and if I had a dime for everyone who showed up at my place with Fido in tow, thinking I'd be thrilled to let him run, I'd not have to work ever again.

                                      I do however agree that the barn is the horse's house. If it becomes clear they are NOT going to mix, I will either tie said puppy while I'm there or leave in a stall while riding. I am considering including in puppy's training just how close is too close to a horse. I think if you can teach a dog to stay out of the kitchen, you can teach them to give horses a wide berth. That's why I'm getting a puppy rather than adult- so he can grow up "horse savvy"
                                      The difference is that not staying in the kitchen will probably not endanger the dog's life; getting too close to a horse, any horse, just might. And it only takes once.

                                      My main concern is the trail rides. I'd really like to be able to take the dog along. I'm not sure how my horse will react with me on him though.
                                      I sure as heck wouldn't want to be experimenting with my puppy's life. You already know that your horse doesn't like dogs, yet you want validation for your idea of bringing a puppy to the barn and introducing him to your aggressive gelding? Yeah, that's a smart idea.

                                      I'm pretty sure he'll be obedient, but who can tell for sure. We've run across lost hunting dogs on trails before, and he hasn't tried anything with them.

                                      I was simply looking to see if anybody had ever been able to desensitize an anti-dog horse to a dog before.
                                      I think the overwhelming answer here is no. But by all means, take your cute new puppy out to the barn and expose him to a dog-aggressive horse. You'll have plenty to post about then, I'm sure.
                                      In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                                      A life lived by example, done too soon.


                                      • #20
                                        You can try...

                                        How is this OTTB about "being put in his place" by other horses?

                                        Does he accept his fate? Or does he test the waters again and again? Does anyone make contact while he's asking who's where in the pecking order?

                                        If he seems to deal with hierarchy in the horse world, than you can try being the big ol' bitch mare. Not using a puppy as bait of course, but the next time you seem him pick on a dog-- even think about it-- you pick on him. Hard, short and certain like a mare would. Do just enough to impress him and then leave him alone to think, but do impress him.

                                        I wouldn't trust him alone with a dog ever. But you can make him think twice about going after a dog while you are within striking distance as at a show or working around the barn.
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat