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I've had my dog since she was a puppy (she is four now) so she grew up around horses. She's decently trained with a good "come", "sit" and "heel". She is great with horses and has learned the "away" command to move away from horses and the "leave it" command to stop eating horse poo.

However the problem I have is riding when she is on the ground. She runs right along side pretty much under my left foot (in the "heel" position") but far too close to my horse's hooves, and then occasionally she'll jump up and try to touch my feet. It's okay at the walk because my horse is fine with it and she can dodge his hooves, but it's dangerous any faster. When I go to the arena she will run alongside me under my left foot while I go around unless I tie her up, which I do.

I guess my trouble is reinforcing my commands while I am on the horse, teaching her to stay away rather than stick by me, which is what she has always been trained to do.

How did you train your dogs to be able to go out on rides with you?
 

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I train my dogs so that they know the command "out." So they know they have to stay outside the arena. Started when I lunge a horse to start with then riding.

Get a good 'Down' command so of she starts to come into the arena you can tell her to get out and lie down.

My working Border Collies always wanted to help when I was longeing a horse and loved to just follow the horse around and around, they learned not to get to close by having been kicked at. I found ot great to get the horses use to dogs and distractions especially if I had the horse going in one direction and the dog in the other.
 

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You can carry treats when on horseback and toss them out to reinforce the behaviors you want !
 

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what about a spray bottle? a few consistent sprays of water shouldn't bother your horse, and may move your dog away a bit.
That's not a great idea for two reasons. One is that it doesn't teach the dog what you want them to do. Two, you may need that dog to come to you and you and they may not want to any more.
 

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the idea of the spray bottle would be that the dog doesn't realize where the water is coming from, just that when it's so close to the horse something
unpleasant happens. that wouldn't interfere with any command to come, etc.
 

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How would it not interfere with commands to come near ? Dogs aren't stupid, they are gonna figure out whose spraying them....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Besides my dog loves water! She tries to bite it when sprayed at her. She's quite small so throwing treats wouldn't work well, she doesn't follow things a lot (eye coordination) and would probably just start looking around under the horse for them. She's quite a smart dog and easy to train, however she does get nervous and when she gets nervous she tries to stick to me basically.

Went went for a little ride the other day, she was better at walking along with us, but once we got on a narrow trail she just stayed right on his heels which is obviously far from ideal.
 

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Does she know a command to look at you ? I would teach her that from the ground, then horseback.
 

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I used "out" to keep the dogs out of the arena or round pen when. We had a bit of town to ride through, so they also were taught "up" to keep them on the sidewalk while we rode in the street. They figured out how to keep out from under the hooves - or any kick zone - on their own.

My Keeshond learned 'ride' when I wanted him up in the saddle with me. He'd jump from the ground to my foot to my knee and up into my lap.
 

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They figured out how to keep out from under the hooves - or any kick zone - on their own.
Yeah, though it sometimes takes a close call or two :-(

One thing is to ride with other people who have trained dogs. I've noticed that new ones tend to follow the behavior of the pack. Someone must have trained the originals, but that was long before I started riding.

Another idea might be to do the training on a mountain bike (on some nice, smooth dirt road). That way you don't have the distractions of handling the horse, or having the horse think you're trying to do something to it if you e.g. use a stick to move the dog off to the correct distance... (Of course I mean using it to push, not hit :))
 

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One thing I have never done - and will never do - is have a dog on a line while riding a horse. Just too many opportunities for disaster there.
 
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