Taking dogs on the trail - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 09-06-2009, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: NE Ohio
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Taking dogs on the trail

Does anyone take their dog with them on trail rides?

Our 2 Great Pyrenees are too old and lazy (they're not known for their endurance anyway ), but our little terrier mutt might work.

Anyway, we've decided that future dogs will need to be able to go with us on trail rides. Maybe a Lab or a Weimeraner.

What breed is your dog that you take with you? What problems do you have with them on the trail? Do they run other dogs off (that's kinda what we'd like since some of the dogs in our area can be irritating to ride around) or do they attract them even more?

Just curious.

I was normal...then I got a horse.
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post #2 of 25 Old 09-06-2009, 11:29 PM
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Location: Maryland
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I read an article recently about how to train your dog to behave around horses on trails and things. I think it was a good article. I don't have any experience with this personally. None of my dogs are trained so I would never trust any of them around a horse.

I personally would advise against teaching your dog to run other dogs off. That kind of training (in my opinion) can lead to problems.
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post #3 of 25 Old 09-06-2009, 11:41 PM
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My friends dog use to come with us all the time. Its great for desensetizing horses as well. As for training the dog ours just knew to come when we called and what get out of the road meant LOL as for getting under the horses feet...she got stepped on once and never did it again. she was alright though it didnt hurt her...:)

As for where it attracts other dogs...well yes...usually it does...but ive yet to find a dog that didnt retreat and leave us alone when I turned my horse to face it...after all what dog in its right mind would want to mess with a huge horse? Esspecially one that isnt scared?

There are also multiple times I think having my horse use to dogs being with him on the trail saved my life. Lord only knows how many random dogs have popped out of no where on the roads ive ridden...I def think my horse would have spooked and bolted prob getting me thrown and getting him chased if he hadnt been so familier with dogs.

So as for my opinion...dogs on the trail with you are def a good thing. :)

Horses Will Listen...Even When No One Else Could Possibly Understand...
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post #4 of 25 Old 09-07-2009, 12:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Northern California
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When we go on our trail rides, my friend brings her heeler and border collie and I bring my 3 labs. 2 of the labs and the collie love to run ahead on the trail but not to far up, then my chocolate lab stays to the side of my horse the entire time unless it is a thin trail then he goes behind the horse and then the heeler always stays behind the herd of horses the entire time. All the dogs do wonderful. I don't know how you would train a dog for the trail though. We just take ours, they know if they don't follow or stay close then they will be left behind. To me though, if you are going to take a dog on the trail, that dog has to be the type that likes to stay near you off leash with or without a horse. You don't want a dog that wants to go exploring everywhere. Our labs are trained to stay close to us for hunting purposes which makes them great trail dogs. :) Hope this helped.

"Horses Lend Us The Wings We Lack"

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post #5 of 25 Old 09-07-2009, 12:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
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My dog comes on trails with me all the time. She lives where my horses are, so it's the only regular excercise she gets. She's a Kelpie, which is an Australian breed bred for working sheep, so she has tons of energy and is very athletic.

She is very well behaved. We bred her, so she was raised around the horses and also learned how to behave and what we wanted off lead very young. By normal standards she is very untrained, can't walk on lead, can only sit and come, but off lead and while on rides she is awesome, will come and sit beside me on my horse, etc. She is really good with other dogs, will sniff for about 2 seconds then leave, or not say hello at all if I call her on.

Problems... Don't really have any. Except if she sees a rabbit :] lol! She is 4 now, and has been coming with me since she was a pup, so she is pretty well adjusted to riding with me. Sometimes I bring her mum and another Kelpie bitch we have with me if I am just staying on the farm... Again, they are sheepdogs, so used to being off lead and have great recall. Flash (the other bitch) sometimes jumps up and tries to bite noses, but a growl quickly stops her.

It's awesome excercise for them, and there is no better feeling than galloping along a paddock and seeing three fit, sleek and healthy dogs revelling in running alongside you.

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post #6 of 25 Old 09-07-2009, 10:02 AM
Green Broke
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My dog is too little, so I put her up on my saddle and we ride around. (Plus she has bad hips, so she can't walk that far.) But if I would have had Romeo when she was younger, I would have taken her riding on the trails all the time.

RIP Minnie, 1981-January 15, 2010
RIP Maggie Mae I miss you
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post #7 of 25 Old 09-07-2009, 11:14 AM
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Location: Virginia
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I have a four year old Aussie that goes on trail's with me here at my house. We have a few mountain trails here and I can take him. He stays right beside my horse unless a "dangerous" animal like a deer happens to come to close and then he chases it off lol.. He probally saved one once though, we were riding on the trail and the deer had made a new path, so I decided to browse on it for a few minutes and guess what walks right out in front of me? A bear!! He goes all pysco (sp?) doggy and goes after the bear.. It wasn't very mean apparently because it ran from him. (But Avalachce, the dog, kinda looks like a big bear himself so that may have been why lol). But I can't take him with me when I go somewhere else because he is some-people-aggressive. He dosen't really care for men (Can't much blame him lol) and if anyone gets to close to me he is somewhat aggressive. I am the only one who does anything with him so we have a great bond. And he is also a working cattle and hog dog so his specialty isn't being friendly :) He dosen't attract other dogs because their really isn't any dogs near us to attract lol But I think if another dog would come up to use he would more then likely chase it off.. He dosen't like anything near us so..
This is my "Grizzly"

My brother has a Border Collie and everytime we get the horses out he has to tie her up because she will bit the horse on the heels.. We don't know why she does this but she was given to him when she was 5 year old and we can't seem to break her form doing it.

Sorry this got to be so long. :)

Blue Eyed BLY~ 2/3/03
Calico Sonny Stockman x She's On Cloud Nine
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post #8 of 25 Old 09-07-2009, 11:26 AM
Green Broke
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^Your dog is beautiful, I love the blue eyes.

RIP Minnie, 1981-January 15, 2010
RIP Maggie Mae I miss you
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post #9 of 25 Old 09-07-2009, 11:34 AM
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I agree that many dogs just seem to be natural 'horse' dogs, and as long as they are inclined to stick with you on the ground they're likely happy to follow you on the horse. They do need to learn to get over if you're in traffic at all. I trained my Chesapeake Bay Retriever to go to the left or the right side of the horse by saying "Left" for example and tossing her a treat when she moves over to the correct side. I carry a treat pouch on the saddle and when a car comes I call her to the safe side of the horse and keep her attention with the treat till the car passes, then she gets the treat. She also gets a treat after every road crossing.
She also wears an orange reflective vest, especially during hunting season or later in the day when it might be getting dark.
We mostly woods ride so traffic is a small issue, but she's very good about it, treats are miracle workers for a food-motivated animal.

Dogs do attract other dogs, but I agree 100% with Pidge that most troublesome dogs will back off quick when you face the horse to them. I often 'herd' a pesky dog like a stray cow, right back to its owner's driveway. My friend even faced off a pitbull like that.

When my Arab was young and green he was so much happier if my dog would ride with us. Often just having her go first was enough to get him through some scary patch.

You do get the occasional spook if your dog wanders off and comes crashing up behind you to catch up, but the horses figure it out, and I also agree with Pidge that it makes horses generally much safer around strange dogs. They just aren't bothered by canine antics, they get so used to them.

I would only want to be sure your horse doesn't resent the dogs or be inclined to kick if they are following on their heels.
It's great fun, I hate going out without a dog, and I'm very jealous of APHA Momma for getting to ride with FIVE big dogs!!

don't worry, spiders, I keep house casually.
~ Kobayashi Issa

(1763 - 1827)
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post #10 of 25 Old 09-07-2009, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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I would HIGHLY advise against training a dog to aggress toward other dogs/ chase them off. If it is aggressive towards the wrong dog, you could have a fight on your hands, and you don't want to have to try to break up a dog fight with a horse in tow. Plus, any dog that is bred or trained with the goal of encouraging dog aggression is a liability waiting to happen. We need more canine good citizens - dogs who are friendly toward other dogs, people and our horsey friends.
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