Sorta off topic but not really- trail riding with dogs - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-03-2012, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Sorta off topic but not really- trail riding with dogs

I was curious.. my hunny wants his own dog. I have a Boxer and my DD has a Boston Terrier. We had a neighbor's pit bull that went on a ride with us recently and he is now wanting a dog that will ride with us (not a pit). My Boxer will.. she's been raised around horses. The Boston is a darter.. so she can't. I was wondering what other people took? I grew up with Australian Shephards, so I'm partial to them as horse and cow dogs... and family members . What kind of dogs do others take?

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post #2 of 7 Old 10-03-2012, 03:17 PM
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I have a little Dachshund mix that goes with us. I have a friend that has a Chihuahua mix that rides the horse with her. It is the cutest thing! She attached a dog bed to the back of her saddle and her dog Badger rides in it.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-03-2012, 03:32 PM
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I would look for a dog for trail riding with the following factors in mind:

1. Athleticism/energy to keep up on a long ride or one with any speed.
2. Innate desire to be with its human, ie dogs bred to work alongside humans, not ones bred to be more independant.

Then once I had the dog I would train a virtually 100% recall and expose it to horses from a young age.

I think looking at specific breeds is less important than the factors I listed above. I have a mini-schnauzer who wouldn't be your first choice for a farm dog. But I brought her out to the barn with me consistently and she's morphed into a perfect little farm dog. She stays on the property, she sits quietly outside the arena or up by the trailer while I'm riding, she doesn't crawl under the horses and gives them a wide berth while they're walking. I wouldn't take her for anything but a short, walking trail ride because she doesn't have the stamina to keep up, but it does go to show you that you don't have to go with a shepherd or cattle dog to end up with a good "horse" dog.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-03-2012, 09:11 PM
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I have an Australian Cattle Dog that is the perfect trail dog. My riding buddy has one too, and she is great on the trail as well. I think they are the perfect breed for the job-- tough and endless energy to go all day, and very velcro to their master. Border Collies and Aussies often make good trail dogs also.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-03-2012, 09:18 PM
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My Bo's dogs drives me batty on trails. He is a darter, and runs, then the next thing you know he is right under foot, with one of us yelling. Not my idea of relaxing. He is perfect out with just her, and, on the plus side, he has helped with bombproofing, since he comes running out of the brush at any point. I have the perfect little barn dog. My little Morkie is SO excited to go there, play in the grass, go for hikes with me, but stays totally away from the horses, and when I ride he stays under my truck. I can be gone for hours, and there he lays.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-05-2012, 01:51 PM
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Pretty much any of the mid-to-large size dogs can make good trail dogs. Stay away from the lap-dog types, unless you want to take them with you on the saddle (not my idea of a trail dog). My favorite trail dogs have been Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as Heelers (blue or red), but over the years I have had a number of breeds. I find that some larger dogs don't have the stamina for long trails, however my sister once had a Doberman/Great Dane cross (looked like a giant Greyhound) that was an excellent trail dog and camp dog for multi-day pack trips. German Shepherds make great trail dogs. Personally, I prefer muts to registered dogs, because they tend to be healthier and heartier. They also, in my experience, have fewer psychological problems and tend to be more calm on the trail. Incidentally, Heelers are not strictly a breed as much as a type. There is no registry for heelers that I know of. They are essentially a breed that grew out of the needs of the cattle industry. If they needed a dog that barked more, they bred it to a barking breed. If they needed more aggression, they bred in an aggressive strain, etc. They have never been bred and inbred as breeds such as Labs and shepherds have. Also, Heelers are among the top five breeds for intelligence and are the longest lived of all dog breeds. I believe the longest lived Heeler on record was 27 years. They regularly live into their late teens. Good healthy dogs and good camp dogs. Heelers tend to bond to one person. My heeler loves my wife and she can teach him to do any number of tricks, roll-over, play dead, etc., but when I head for my truck, there is no force she can exert that will keep him from coming with me. There is no doubt whom he regards as his true master.

Not so good with small kids sometimes, as they tend to want to herd them and keep them with the herd. They will sometimes nip a child to keep them in line. They are also very protective of "their" children and will nip neighbor kids to keep them away. However, they get along great with other people, horses, other dogs, and are easily trained to obey voice commands, even from horseback. My dog will stay near the horse at my command, which is important when riding near roads, he will come when I call and stay near when other dogs or horses are near, he will sit at my command, as we prepare to cross roads, etc. If you want to keep your dog alive for many years of trail riding, he must be taught obedience to at least these commands from the ground, before he goes out with you on the trail. You want to be able to control him when there is vehicular traffic and when around other animals.

My advice? Go to the pound and pick out a nice-looking mut. You'll both be happy you did.

Good luck in your decision.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-05-2012, 02:20 PM
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weve taken our coydog before. my trainer has an ACD that she takes, along with her boxer and collie.

heck weve even taken our bloodhounds with us before...but their so annoying to keep track of...they find a sent and off they go in their own mind....then youll here this giant crashing somewhere down the line and they come lumbering out of the bush scaring the horses lol.

the best ive had were my coydog and the ACD that my trainer has.

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