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The dog who wants to protect me from the Horses

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  • The dog who wants to protect me from the Horses

    I've always had a homing becon for stray animals, for as long as I can remember.
    Last Thursday while innocently sitting in my car, wrapping up a conference call in Walmarts parking lot (safety people!) someone pulled into a space in front of me, let out a beautiful large fluffy German Shepherd and promptly drove away.
    I'm fairly I said something very retarded and wrapped up the call abruptly. I called the dog over and quietly thanked myself for not putting the lead rope back in the tack room like I had planned and snapped it to his collar. We then took a small stroll around the edge of the lot while I took another call and decided that the car he came out of REALLY wasn't coming back.

    So the dog is now at my house (with my other 5) and seems like a nice enough dog. He's huge (85lbs, but needs weight), matted (although he knows what a brush is), and pretty friendly with strange dogs and people. He HATES cats, but leaves the turkey alone (mostly) so we can work with that.

    Now here's the real problem....he wants to protect me from everything.

    Example A
    The horses are being silly, charging about at feeding time, he gets inbetween us and barks his silly head off (not helping the situation, I might add). When they charge him, he gets even more upset and proceeds to try to herd ME away from them and out of the pasture.
    Example B
    Two of my dogs tend to play very rough (border collie and pit mix) so I yelled at the BC to knock it off because she's the aggressor. She of course ignores me, so I yell again and next thing I know he charges into their mock battle barking and starts a real snap fest to break it up (interestingly, he picked the right dog to go after). No blood drawn, lots of growling and air snapping but it was scary for my DD who was outside with me, none the less. I think I've resolved this one-- we now exercise these two together--a lot. 4 miles worth of road work at a trot/run (2 miles to the river, river play time, and 2 miles back) plus walks around here. I don't believe everything Ceaser says, but he's correct that a tired dog is a happy dog, and they usually get into less trouble.

    So what do I do about the horse issue? 4 of the 5 current residence follow me to the barn to feed/exercise the horses. He come along and is good, minus the wedging himself between us. I tried tying him when I went into the pasture and he freaked (choking, jumping, gagging, frothing at the mouth). I'd put him in the dog pen, but he jumps ontop on the igloo and jumps the fence (he clears 4 1/2 feet standing still--its the distance from my deck to the ground). I'd like to ride now that it's stopped raining and I can hardly wait to see his response to that.

    Here's his picture...

    Anyone else have a dog that wants to protect them from the horses?
    Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey

  • #2
    Yes, one of my Cardigan Corgis is afraid of the horses but the other two will NOT let them near me if they can help it!

    My old Cardigan will actually jump up and nip the horses muzzle, the younger Cardigan will charge the horses and bark at them if they move close to me.
    Proud Native Texan!
    owned by 3 Cardigan Corgi's + 3 wonderful horses!


    • #3
      My sheltie likes to "help" me with the horses. If one is giving me a hard time he barks and/or tries to herd them forward which as you say is not helpful. I have no choice but to reprimand him. He obviously doesn't know it but what he is doing is wrong. In your dogs case maybe keep him away from the horses until he settles in a little better then take him by himself instead of with all the other dogs in tow so if you do reprimand him he knows you are referring to him. Lucky boy!
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        If you don't want to keep him/can't keep him, contact a breed specific rescue and ask if they will do a courtesy posting for you. If he isn't already neutered, make sure he gets neutered before leaving for a new home. And make sure you check the care and control laws in your jurisdiction. You don't want to place the dog quickly and then find out that the law says you have to wait 30 days before being able to legally do so.

        If you are planning on keeping him, put some solid obedience training on him. And your other dogs. That is how you keep a dog from "protecting" you. Train them separately and then work on proofing the commands while they are together. A rock solid recall and a 100% reliable "leave it" will be the best things you have ever given your dogs.

        Incidentally, you should make a found report with every animal control and vet office in a 50 mile radius o where you found him. I saw someone post on a dog forum that a neighbor brought a stray dog to her house, asking if it was hers. It wasn't, but she wanted to help so she took possession of the dog and walked the neighborhood, knocking on doors. Couldn't find the owner, so she brought it back to her home. Her live-in BF told her she couldn't even stash the dog in the yard overnight until she could get it to animal control the next day...so she drove it ten miles from her home and dumped it in another neighborhood. She didn't want to have the dog hang around her house.

        Just because you saw the dog get dumped doesn't mean, necessarily, that the owner is the one who did the dumping. Make a found report. You never know.

        Good luck!


        • #5
          Originally posted by IdahoRider View Post
          Just because you saw the dog get dumped doesn't mean, necessarily, that the owner is the one who did the dumping. Make a found report. You never know.
          Good idea. People seem to jump straight to the worst conclusion, when it is possible the dog was dumped by an angry ex-boyfriend, parent, etc., behind the owner's back. Personally, I'd put up a poster at the Walmart with an (anonymous and gmail type) email or cell contact, just in case.


          • #6
            I agree with IdahoRider.

            Obedience training that should include a solid recall, a solid sit/stay and station work (stay HERE, go THERE kind of stuff)

            remember the more he gets to practice the keep-horses-away stuff the bolder and better he will get.

            Just so you know, I'm fairly certain The Fun Police is a course nearly every GSD takes as they mature. They seem to pass that class with flying colors. *tongue firmly in cheek*. Seriously, the GSD's I've known are really and truly fun police, they want to stop out of hand behavior quickly and they usually have good target selection. By that same yardstick, a good Fun Police will not likely start an argument, but will finish it if the other party snarls "get away from me I'm busy!". It takes an experienced eye and a slightly higher level of obedience, leaning toward the self control behaviors, to limit that. When you have a really good Fun Police, they are outstanding dogs, who have a great ability to abort arguments between other dogs.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks Everyone!

              Threedogpack- You nailed it exactly. He wants to stop what he considers "out of line" behavior and is REALLY good at picking it up when I reprimand anyone.
              IdahoRider- Very good points. I'll post a "Found" in CL and on GS boards and Shelters incase is was dumped by someone. He is already neutered and I contacted the Bella Foundation (dog rescue here) about him. If no one claims him I'll foster until his new home is found. He's a great dog (minus wanting to eat the cat and the horse thing)
              Laurice- I'll do some one on one work with him. He really wants to be a good boy and seems SO eager to learn and want to please.

              The vet also gave me some Ace to give orally 30 min before I go down to feed. He said it should take the edge off the anxiety and I should be able to safely tie him outside of the pasture so he can watch but not get in the way. Hopefully he figures out that they aren't trying to kill me (or him, or the other dogs), but he does need to stay out of their way like the other dogs.

              I think I'm going to need to read up on GSD traits. I know quite a bit about dogs in general but having never owned one, I don't know their quirks.
              PS- Anyone have a recommendation on books?
              Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey


              • #8
                My mother was the owner of a "helpful" GSD for 16 years and even with spinal issues and in a doggy wheel chair for the last 2 years he still would have a cow and charge up to paddock gaits when the horses got out of line. The really REALLY loved that by the way /eye roll.

                He firmly believe it was his sole purpose on earth to keep all chaos from happening. He was great around the horses until the started charging around or if one acted up in the barn kicking or the like. Would forcefully put himself between mom and the horse and nip at her and back into her pushing her away from them. When he was able bodied if some of the mares got into at the gate or any of them took to running about like fools he'd go out and amazingly very quietly herd/push them back to the gait and then hold them there. At times he made things worse and drove her crazy.

                As strongly as he felt about the horses ..well horsing around. He also felt the same about the other dogs rouge housing..he'd barge in and stop it. Children running he'd trot along side them ..do a move that I can only describe as a hip check and knock them down and then stand there staring at them like now you lay still!

                He was VERY well trained the type of dog you could put in a stand stay and leave for a week and he'd be there when you got back. Just a big thinker who took his "job" to seriously. She delt with him by giving him a down stay command before the horses started milling about around feed time ..."most" of the time that worked and he'd listen and stay but still fidget and whine from where he was put. If they got really out of hand or one acted up while she was leading it ....that was his breaking point and he'd be off trying to save her.

                He was so bad that during thunder storms he'd nip at her sleeves or pant's and try to drag her into the bathroom with him.

                All in all he was a great dog very loyal who very much just wanted to take care of his owner. If your going to keep him I suggest finding a great dog trainer who is used to high drive breeds and getting his bells and whistles installed and tuned .

                I'm not sure where you are located but totally recommend http://www.controlledchaosdogs.com/ really great guy who very much cares about each dog as an individual and family member. He is great to talk to even if you just have questions about how to mange breeds with that sort of drive.
                "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


                • #9
                  Perhaps a GSD "thing"!! Years ago we had a personal protection trained GSD and I always had to be careful about reprimanding or yelling at a horse in his presense. He never stepped over the line, but he DID save my a$$ one night when I was doing chores alone on our big training center. The dog was in the farm truck as I fed and watered the various paddocks of horses. One new, ill mannered stud colt had a rub on his face from a too tight halter. I was unbuckling the halter when he suddenly reared and struck right out at me. "Argo" the GSD flew out of the truck window and grabbed the colt's rear leg distracting him from smooshing me. I was most grateful for his protective instinct!! GSD's are smart and they can be taught that horses are OK...as are cats and birds!!
                  Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                  • #10
                    OMG - I have a Fun Police Graduate here too!
                    Maybe greyhound/lab/shepherd mix.
                    He used to have fun at the dog park, but I can't take him anymore because he just runs up and chastises the other dogs for having fun. He hates when the horses break into a trot or roll, but he can't get into the pasture because of his Invisible Fence.


                    • Original Poster

                      Hmmm, so apparently this is "normal" behavior.
                      Good to know.

                      Well since I last posted I have broken up 4 dog fights and treated one horse for a bite on his left hind leg. <gah!!!>

                      The BC that I mentioned is apparently forevermore on the GSD shit list and I cant even have them outside together. BC plays rough and has "mock battles" with my pit/lab mix (another stray), which set him off again. Apparently he believes she is trouble and is done with her.

                      Yesterday while feeding, the dogs were down with me everyone more or less behaving and I'm calmly walking my TB show gelding into his feeding area when him LEAPS sideways and starts kicking (this horse doesn't kick). My sister in law starts yelling that the GSD bit him and sure enough, I turn around and see him do it AGAIN. Horse is now on three legs.
                      I let the horse go, TACKLE the GSD in a form that would make a linebacker proud and proceed to drag him to the fence a tie him (on a choke chain-- please no flames, this is not my norm, but I needed him secure). I then move the gelding into an attached holding pen to check him out. Two gashed below the hock, but nothing life threatening, and he's walking on all 4, although gingerly. Next thing I know, the GSD is next to me, with 4 inches of a leash attached. Damn dog bit the leash.
                      I now take him and toss him in the stock trailer. Let's see him escape THAT!

                      I feed everyone and admit to myself that this might not work out.
                      Everyone, including GSD, and I run the mile back to my place where I unload on my unsuspecting hubby. (oh, and the girls let the BC out on accident and there was another battle- gnashing of teeth, but no damage)

                      Today I put a CL ad out and I think I found him a great home. Well to do couple, 1 acre privacy fenced, 2 kids and a yorkie. This might actually work. GSD Loves my rat terrier. Must be the protective thing.
                      We take him over on Thurs to see if everyone meshes.

                      Meanwhile today I go to get some confirmation shots of my SF long yearling and my Pit/Lab mix and aridale cross (again, another dumped dog) finally give in and get into a fight with mt grandfather in laws lab mix. They have never liked each other-- his lab mix is a freakin bully who attacks dogs without warning. Lovely I know. So I run in haul my dogs off by their scruff, one in each hand (apparently adrenalin helps, they out weigh me) hand them to my friend who was helping with the photos and go check on his dog. Puncture on the fleshy part of the chest, upward angle, so i rinse it and leave it to drain. My dogs made out with only a cut on their lip, so I haul them back home wondering if there is a full moon tonight.

                      Seriously, they are usually so well behaved with good recall and ignore aggressive advances, everyone has just gone bat shit crazy recently.

                      One more battle between the BC and GSD, this time in the driveway, and I've called it a day. Can't Deal-- need a drink (I was at the zoo on a Pre-k field trip all day before this)-- so I confirm Thurs with the hubby and nice family.

                      Wish me luck...hopefully I make it through tomorrow.
                      Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey