Would I be crossing the boundaries? *Dog issue*
Long story here, sorry guys, but I also had to rant just a little bit...
I have a cousin who is very close to me. She has a horse and we ride together and hang out a lot. She also has a Border Collie.
This dog, she got her as a six month old. The dog had been badly abused and is super active and so inbred that her herding instinct is crazy high. However, instead of channeling that into work, my cousin just lets her do whatever.
The dog is not an aggressive dog, and I really like her, but I'm about to start getting after her with my lunge whip. My cousin doesn't see anything wrong with how the dog acts. She is always making excuses for her. Her horse constantly has marks on his nose and back legs from where the dog has snapped at him trying to herd him.
The dog also tries to herd my great grandmother's chickens and terrifies them. My great grandmother has told her time and time again to either get her under control or she's going to start shooting the dog with a BB gun. My cousin yells at the dog to stop, and then says that it's in her nature and she can't break her of it.
When it comes to the horses, though, is where I draw the line. This dog snaps at my horses back legs if they so much as move when we're working with them (with them tied or something and are being groomed). It makes my horses jump and in my boy Jax's case, it scares him, and he already doesn't like dogs that much and has tried to stomp this dog several times before.
I told my cousin yesterday when I got fed up with it that if she doesn't get her dog to stop, my horses were going to kill her one day because I won't stop them from kicking the dog if she bites them. My cousin said that the dog couldn't help how she acts. I told her that she could be trained to not act like that, and my cousin said that she couldn't be.
I said that if she dosn't keep her dog under control around my horses, then next time I was going to get my lunge whip and get after the dog (and I will hit the dog with it, not just scare her). My cousin said she'd get after her herself, but just yelled at the dog. I told her again that if her dog bites my horses one more time, I'm going to whip her with my lunge whip because she has to learn that she can't do that.
My cousin just said that she'd lock the dog at her home when she comes up now, or tie her... but I know that she won't. She only pens the dog when she's in heat.
Am I going beyond my boundaries here if I go through with what I told her and do get after her dog when she won't? I am not going to sit back and let this dog keep biting at my horses, and it's not just because she bites them. I also do not want this dog to get hurt or killed by my horses.
The way I see it is that you have a right to protect your horse. More than a right...an obligation. The next time that dog is trying to nip at your horse, get after and get after it good! The dog is eventually going to get stomped or kicked to death the way it is going anyway.
You're both right. The dog should be trained to leave the horses alone but it probably can't be without a pretty knowledgeable trainer (and a shock collar). I have a border collie that is exactly the same way although she isn't inbred at all. She is quite a good herding dog but she doesn't leave the horses alone. She has cost me hundreds of dollars in vet bills. She's had a dislocated front leg and just recently she was kicked in the head and knocked out. She know can't turn her head to the right. I'm not sure if she will recover or not. The kindest thing you can do for this dog is whip the hell out of it and break it of this habit. If she decides to get rid of the dog (which might be best for the dog)send me a P.M. I'm always looking for a border collie that has some drive to work.
I am going to speak as a complete dog lover. I love dogs and I have a lot of them. I have 2 hunting dogs (viszla and weimaraner), 1 gaurd dog (Great Pyrenees) and a really stupid St. Bernard. My hunting dogs rather like chasing every animal they see. It is instinctual and they have caught and killed a variety of small animals. They will happily chase the horses around if I let them. There is the thing though. I don't let them. I don't let them loose around the horses. We have an obscenely large dog run with a 6 foot fence around it. They don't get out of it. I'm no delusional about who would win if my dogs and horses decided to fight. The dogs would be dead for sure.
So, I'm going to say that it would be hard to break that dog of it's current habits. I'm not going to say it would be completely impossible but I do think it would be impossible for your cousin. She doesn't sound like she has any control at all. One thing I'm very big on is being Alpha of and controlling your pack. Probably because I have such large dogs. They could easily kill me if they so decided. When I command, obedience isn't optional. If I yell at my dog to stop and come here and they don't come. Well, the pack leader puts them back in their place. So, when we have been out with the hunting dogs I keep them under strict control. They do not have the opportunity to run off and chase my horses or the neighbors cows. They 100% would if given the chance, but I don't allow it.
Did that make sense? Tell your cousin to leave the dog at home, inside, chained up, whatever it takes to keep it under control.
I don't necessarily think the lunge whip is a good idea either. I've whacked my great pyr with it before and he had NO idea where that came from. Completely ineffective. I did tell him to stop eating the horse poop though, bleg!
It's not the dog's fault her owner is so wishy-washy and lets her get away with everything short of murder, but it'll be the dog who suffers when she gets stomped, bitten, or kicked. Or God forbid, shot dead by someone not a family member who doesn't take kindly to an out of control animal chasing their livestock.
If your cousin doesn't have the good sense to send that dog to a trainer, then she needs to leave the animal at home. No excuses. Until or IF that dog becomes a good canine citizen, she shouldn't be let out in public to create havoc and endanger others.
I agree in principle with what has been said. I am wondering where this bad behaviour is happening, though. At your house? At her house? A neutral place? If it's at her house you probably have nothing to gripe about. If it's at a family members house or something, you need to talk to whoever owns the place, assuming you both have an equal right to be there. There is a probability that this dog won't be broke of this behaviour. It doesn't take inbreeding or abuse to make those dogs hyper and want to herd. It's in every border collie I've ever been around. That being said, unless you're on your cousins ground, I'd crack it with a whip. It's best for the dog and horses.
If she has any of the slightest bit of concern for her dog than she shouldnt get mad at you for getting after the dog. If she says something to you about it, I would calmly point out the risks of letting her dog after the horses.
Everyone uses the excuse their dog was abused to not want to train or control them. A border collie is not a pet type dog, they are bred to work work work. Even well bred borders are hyper and busy all the time. Your cousin does not have the experience to train this dog she needs to rehome it with someone with experience handling border collies.
As far as protecting your horses and chickens you need to step up and do as you threatened take a lunge whip and protect your horses obviously your cousin won't bother.
I'd absolutely expect her to do something about the behavior or leave the dog home. It's not fair to human, horse or the dog and could get any or all injured.
My grandpa had a blue heeler that was to be the barn dog. She had such a strong herding drive that she wouldn't leave the horses alone. She'd hang in tails, nip heels, get kicked and go right back for more. Tried a shock collar, didn't even faze her. She ended up being in the house or kenneled until he found a sheep farmer that wanted her to herd with. She made a fantastic dog for him and was excellent at her job.
I don't know if she can be trained out of it or not. I have a border collie who obsesses on just one of my other dogs. I've trained Violet on sheep and can control her at liberty in the presence of livestock, but I can't keep her from harassing this one dog. So I just don't let the two of them together. It's not good for either one of them.
Point is - your cousin needs to restrain her dog. Not tie it up, either - Vi once chewed through a rubber-wrapped steel cable to get to stock. I mean put the dog out of sight of the horses/chickens/whatever and somewhere she can't get out.
Horses aren't like cattle and sheep - they don't take well to the way a border collie tries to work them. Vi got her leg broken by a horse at her previous owner's house. And she's pretty soft on her stock - gives them plenty of room.
If the dog keeps trying to work horses it will be dead.
Oh, ETA: to answer your question, by all means see if hitting the dog with a lunge whip will work. You might save its life. But if the dog's obsessed with the horses I'll bet you could beat her half to death and it wouldn't make a bit of difference.
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