I want to start taking my dog on trail too, how best to introduce her and Cinny?
 
 

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I want to start taking my dog on trail too, how best to introduce her and Cinny?

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    06-04-2011, 12:09 PM
  #1
Green Broke
Question I want to start taking my dog on trail too, how best to introduce her and Cinny?

We just adopted a wonderful, 8 month old Lab mix....Lilly. We have had her just under a week. For the most part she has WONDERFUL manners although she does have a few "boredom" activities that she have started up (digging, ugh). I am attributing this to boredom so I want to find new ways to give her fun.

Currently she sits, we are working on stay. She walks on a leash well and sticks pretty close by at the leashless dog park and comes when called most of the time, with a little more work I'm sure it will be all the time. She doesn't chase the cats, is good with my 15 month old son and is pretty laid back. So I'm thinking I can probably involve her in my daily trips to visit/ride my horse, Cinny but I don't know the best way to introduce barn activities to her.

Cinny, is used to dogs and I ride regularly with my friend who brings her Aussie on trail with us ALL the time. I see no problem with the horse accepting Lilly. I just don't know how to introduce Cin to Lil. I think it would be really great to have her go on trail with us, watch me muck, etc etc and our stable does allow for dogs as long as they stick to you like glue. Does anyone have suggestions on the best way to get these two together without a ton of Drama?
     
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    06-04-2011, 12:34 PM
  #2
Weanling
Congrats on your new dog!

I would be more concerned with making sure you train her to stick to you like glue and have a rock solid recall before thinking about taking her on a trail or letting her loose at the barn.

Whenever I first start taking a new dog to the barn I will always keep them on leash to make sure I have control if needed. When the dog gets to be off leash depends on them....

Will she come to you if she's distracted by something else? A squirrel? Another dog?

Will she come to you from a distance?

Will she come the first time, every time?

When the answer is yes to those questions, then I would consider taking her to the barn and letting her off leash, but not before.

You've had her a very short time so I would try to resist the urge to have her off leash right away since that's a just setting her up to fail. It takes dogs about 6 weeks to form a habit, so if she's not rock solid on her recall now, it'll take at minimum 6 weeks of constant training to get her there.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't take her to the barn, but I would keep her leashed with you and if you can't hold the leash then tie her to something while you work. You can also practice your recalls at the barn on a long 20-40 foot leash.

To give you an idea, I usually practice recalls with a dog 5-10 repetitions, twice a day, every day. In as many different locations as possible.

I'd worry less about how the dog will react to the horse because most behavior can be controlled or corrected with proper training, assuming she's not extremely horse aggressive but odds are you won't have that problem with a Lab.
     
    06-04-2011, 12:50 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
What I did with my Border Collie/Lab (who had already been introduced to horses, but only enough that he thought they were rather scary and super fun to bark at) was I just put him on his leash and took him with me over to the barn. I used his leash to tie him to a fence post near wherever I'd be working and just left him there. That way he could watch what I was doing and realize that horses didn't need to be barked at and they were not as scary as he thought.
The most important factor for him, I think, is that he knows that I "command" a variety of animals and that he has absolutely no right to do anything to them that I do not allow. I'm not sure how he came to understand that but with my animals that set his prey drive off (the guinea pigs I used to have, my cat, etc), he stays as far away from them as possible because he seems to understand that being unfriendly to them is absolutely not allowed and that he cannot handle that rule when in close quarters with them.

Another thing that has made my dog LOVE Lacey, my horse, is going on rides together. At first I kept him on leash (he walks really well on the leash and just acted like Lacey was walking him) and pretended like I was ponying him just because I wasn't sure how he'd respond to any commands I had to give him from horseback. But once he showed that he's fine coming to me even when I'm riding, I let him off leash. He absolutely loves running so when he discovered that Lacey could run faster than him, oh man, coolest thing evvvvveeeeerrrrrr!
I'd advise against letting Cinny run with the dog until you're sure that the dog won't nip at his heels though. For me that whole "this horse is mine" thing works and keeps my dog from nipping at Lacey (and I think he's still too scared of her to think of doing that) but for a young, new-to-you dog I would be much more careful. Since you say she's laid back, that might not ever be a problem but some dogs are naturally really good at keeping their prey drive in check until something really really tempting appears.

Good luck! Going on trail rides with a dog is a great way to tire them out and a tired dog is a good dog! And congratulations on the new dog!

ETA- I second everything coffeeaddict said, especially getting that recall and "stick to you like glue" thing perfected. :)
     

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