Horse-proofing the dogs
I know this is a "horse training forum", but this does have to do with training and horses lol...
I am blessed to have a totally dog proof horse. He does not care what they do as long as he can either hear them or see them. They can be wrestling underneath him and he may not like it, but he wouldn't kick or freak out at all.
I have two dogs, Maddie(2) and Luka(1), who love to go with me to the farm. I live in an apartment and I take them with me so that they can run. Everyone brings their dogs and it's a big dog party.
My issue with them is since the horse is so well behaved with dogs they think it's okay to run up behind a horse and sniff him, or just hang out behind him, or just do really anything that a dog is not supposed to do near a horse. Maddie actually has some kind of collie or Aussie in her because she likes to try to herd them. She once got kicked by a not so dog friendly horse while doing that. If I am riding in the ring I have to put them in a stall because she will try to herd me in the stall.
Now on the other hand, they are both GREAT trail dogs. I love love love taking them on trails. Idk how I got so lucky in the staying with me department, because they will both run and play but never leave my sight. Luka - who is a blue tick mix - occasionally will get on the trail of a deer and may take off, but after about 10 or 15 minutes he'll realize we aren't there and sniff his way back.
My concern is that they will try to come up behind another horse while someone is riding them and cause the horse to freak out and hurt a rider. This never had been an issue before yesterday. Often I will take them to the farm and let them just run while I do ground work or groom or feed. Yesterday, however I was there and at first I was by myself, but a friend who lives there saw I was out there and brought her young QH out to ride with me and the dogs I guess thought she was me and started following her horse on it's heels. They listened when I called them back, but it could have lead to a bad situation.
I don't want to leave them at home all the time because they both are so young and friendly and just need to run more than they can in an apartment.
You have two dogs therefore you have a pack.
The fact that you take them to the farm and 'just let them run' does not bode well. It is up to you to train these dogs that they do not go after any horse whether it is yours or not and this means that you have them under control at all times.
I have had up to19 dogs here at various times, (not all mine) I have a barn full of horses of varying ages and all are good with the dogs but, the dogs know that one holler from me and they had better do as they are told.
All of these dogs know better than to go off after deer when they are out with me and despite starting work at 6 a.m. or earlier these dogs get at least two long walks a day.
I do not expect obedience from the dogs - I demand it. I own the air they breathe and they know it and, all would follow me to hell.
I have had several Border Collies all work the sheep and, yes they will try and herd the horses but they have all learned better than to get to close or chase them. As I said it is down to training.
I have an 18lb Poodle mutt that is a fabulous alarm dog that faces up to horses. My mare won't spook, instead gets angry and will toss her head at the dog if I'm riding with her out, and when the dog is tired of barking and starts walking away she'll suddenly go to stomp her. I have a successful trainer-neighbor that has a pack of various dogs, Chihuahua to Boxer, that obey her recall, and she could only say that the way her youngest Boxer was broke of the obnoxious behavior toward horses was that he nipped a giant Thoroughbred on the nose one day and the TB sucker-punched him with a foreleg--- Boxer was okay, but it's really not safe :/
I almost had to give my dog away, since she kept running away and terrorizing the neighbor's horses and cows. She hit 3yo and abruptly cooled off, hasn't gone roaming in a long time now (she's turning 4 in a few months) yet still would chase after a horse or cow if she weren't on a leash. Very good drive for an alarm dog, I can put her into "watch" mode instead of "bark" mode on cue indoors but not outdoors.
When I was doing field work my Border Collie was teaching the GSD how to work sheep. It was funny to watch as a GSD will work sheep in a totally different way to a GSD.
Neither were chasing the sheep but herding them quietly from one end to the other. Then the BC started to get the GSD to zig zag them.
Not long after this I needed to get the sheep in. I sent the BC to gather them and bring them through the gate. Then I decided to let the GSD help.
Big mistake, she cut out one ewe and chased her way out across the field until the ewe lay down. Then the dog stood there barking at the exhausted ewe.
I was livid, not so much that she had taken the ewe off but more because she was disobedient to commands to "Leave' and "Come"
I marched to where she was barking at the ewe and from about 5 yards recalled her. She looked at me and chose to ignore. That was it as far as I was concerned and so she got a darn good hiding. This was not done in temper and I hit her where it would do no damage (on her hind quarters) until she hollered.
I then left the ewe to find her own way back to the flock and used both dogs to bring the flock in.
I have never had any problem with that strong willed GSD being disobedient to me again. She knows I will follow through and even when a deer jumped up 10 feet from her she never did more than look because I told her to 'Leave'
I am old school I do not believe in coming to an agreement but in being obeyed.
Stop being soft, be strict to start and widen the boundaries as the animal gets trustworthy and thinks the right way for itself. Be fair with punishment and reward, most of all be consistent.
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