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Countrylady1071 09-05-2011 06:53 PM

Puppy raised to be a barn dog
Hi all,
I thought about posting this in the dog forum, but I think I'll (hopefully) get more answers here.
So, my boyfriend and I will be moving out late spring/early summer. I would really like to get an Australian shepherd puppy as soon as we are settled in/stable in our new place. The thing is, I spend 50-70 hours a week at the barn.. I work at a barn so that's 40-60 hours a week right there, plus my time spent riding my horse/trainers horses at my boarding stable. I would like this dog to be a great barn dog, and come with me to work/horse shows through work/trail riding/etc.
So my question is, has anyone raised a puppy essentially in a barn? Or those of you with barn dogs, did you wait until they were a bit older before adapting them to horses/stables/whatever. The dog would definitely live inside, and spend LOTS of time outside of the barn, I just want a dog that I can trust around people/dogs/horses at shows, and trust to follow me around or stay in the same general area when I'm riding.
Any advice/personal experiences?
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Countrylady1071 09-06-2011 08:25 PM

Come on, there must be someone here :)
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Eliz 09-06-2011 08:28 PM

I would like to know, too. This spring I will be living all alone (although I'll spend most of the day at the barn/shows) so I'd like a dog, but it has to be one that can spend time in a barn environment. :)

BarrelAddict 09-07-2011 02:14 PM

Austrailian shepherd = good choice. (they have mini ones too!)

These are very brave dogs, I would bring it out to the barn and around horses right away. Don't push it too much, probably have someone there to have the dog on a leash and around the horses but out of the way. You don't want the dog to get stepped on or anything and have the potential to become afraid of the horses.

I had a lab/shepherd cross and I brought her around the horses every day, I would even set her in the saddle and she would ride around, when I was saddleing up she eventually would put her paws on the saddle and want me to lift her up onto the horse! I could say "take him to the barn" and she would grab the lead rope and walk the horses to the barn. (obviously my very gentile horses who didn't give a crap).

Also, make sure you train train train! Aussies are very very smart and will learn fast and they need a leader. You want your dog to sit, stay, laydown, heel, come, etc before he is off running loose in an area where he could get hurt.

Hope this helps!

DraftyAiresMum 09-07-2011 03:29 PM

^^ What BarrelAddict said!

I have an aussie/st bernard mix who wasn't introduced to horses until he was almost three-years-old. He is NOT good around horses. His herding/prey drive is so high that when the horses run, he wants to chase. The first time I introduced him to my old gelding, he tried to nip my gelding's nose (not in a mean was more the way a herding dog nips at a sheep or cow to get it to move).

As BarrelAddict said, TONS of training and starting early are a MUST. Aussies are high energy, intelligent dogs that require almost constant stimulation. Mine was 10-months-old when I got him. The first day I had him, I didn't bother with a crate (who wants to crate the dog they just got from the pound on their first day home?). It ended up costing me an $800 couch because he got bored. I have to walk him for at least an hour every day with a backpack on him just to keep him from being insanely crazy (we went for our walk this morning and now he's napping on the cement next to the couch).

One suggestion is to do agility with him. Aussies are MADE for agility. My boy can clear a 4ft fence without hesitation and can catch a jack rabbit at a dead run.

gaelgirl 09-07-2011 04:51 PM

No personal experience raising a dog in a barn, but my BO has an aussie, and he is fantastic! He goes around everywhere with him. Good luck to you.

Countrylady1071 09-07-2011 04:55 PM

Thanks for all the responses! I can definitely bring people with me to hold the pup when I'm riding, but what about when I'm working? Would it be okay to put him on a line tied outside, or what age do you think that would be appropriate? (just until he was well trained on obedience, them I would like to let him be loose and stay near me)
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DraftyAiresMum 09-07-2011 05:02 PM

I'd say take him with you as soon as your puppy gets all its shots. The sooner puppies are exposed to stuff, the better they are with it.

As for what to do with him when you're working...I'd take a leash/line with you and tie him near wherever you are working. If you tie him outside where you can't see him, he's likely to get into trouble.

Endiku 09-07-2011 05:30 PM

My shepherd/lab mix is just about to turn 4 months old, and this was his first week out at our barn. I would of brought him out sooner, but he had a terrible bout of parvo that kept him isolated. I also suggest bringing your puppy out as soon as possible, provided that it has it's shots. However, if it is 8-9 weeks old, I would hold off for a week or two, as this is the most sensative time for a dog- and many develope their fears at this time.

tying him near you should be fine as long as he isn't a barker, or a whiner. This sound often spooks horses. Just make sure that you train him to have good horse sense! (staying away from hooves, being quiet but obviouse when approaching, heeling/staying/sitting on command etc) our BO once has two bloodhounds with NO horse sense, and they would chase all of the horses. Eventually one of them got kicked in the head by one of our ponies, and the little girl who was riding the pony fell and broke her wrist. A trained dog is a good dog, but remember that aussies tend to have quite the herding instinct. Make sure yours learns that there is a time to herd and a time to sit quietly!

Countrylady1071 09-07-2011 09:14 PM

I was thinking of just hiring a pro dog trainer for all the obedience commands training, how young cam they do that?
As far as tying, I definitely would have a safe place to tie him outside where he couldn't get into any trouble, but I'm not sure how long it's acceptable to tie a puppy up. I work three hours, then lunch for an hour, then back to work for 5-8 hours. I couldn't tie him IN the barn, as there isn't a safe place where he wouldn't be in the way of horses..unless I took a big crate to work and after crate training, maybe I could put him in the crate for an hour here and there right near all the action, so he is used to the atmosphere before being able to get in trouble? Amy other suggestions?
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