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Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Postby Ridge-Point » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:22 pm

My wife and I purchased a couple young walker geldings to train. It has been loads of fun, we have a good friend helping us out with the round penning and ground work. We now have both horses quiet around ropes, tarps, gun fire, spraying water, tight spaces, ect..

I was wondering if anyone had any good tips on getting the horses really calm around dogs. Is it reasonable to expect a horse to not kickout at a young pup running under his feet? Is it more of a training issue or temperment issue? These two boys have very sound minds, they really pickup on things quickly. They are half brothers out of the same sire, one is 2 years old the other is 3.
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Re: Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Postby shags » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:30 am

Start with a nice calm dog, and both dog and horse on a lead. As the horse becomes accepting of dogs, expose him to more energetic dogs on lead to keep everybody safe.
Then move to dogs on lead and horse under saddle.
It won't take long before the horse accepts dogs loose underfoot.
I had good results using positive reinforcement. If I notice ears going back because of a pesky pup at a trial, my horse does good with a verbal caution.
When my horses are free in the pasture they don't mind loose dogs in the general vicinity, and tolerate sniffing and a little barking, but if they are seriously harrassed they'll kick or chase back. That's OK with me.
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Re: Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Postby Ridge-Point » Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:51 pm

Thanks for the tips Shags, I will give it a try when I get back from my elk hunting trip.
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Re: Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Postby RayGubernat » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:58 am

Ridge -

I agree with most of what Shags said. I would however add this caution...
A horse can kill a dog with a single blow, especially if it is shod. I have seen it. 'Nuff said.

My first horse was a gem around dogs. I am sure that this was becasue he was trained and conditioned by his previous owner and also by a dog pro who kept my horse for me, for most of the first year I owned him.

When I got my second horse, I discovered that he was not as forgiving around dogs as he appeared to be at first. He raised his front foot a cvouple of times and kicked out slowly
around a very mellow older dog. I decided that was not going to be tolerated...at all... and I began disciplining the horse for reacting in any way shape or form to a dog in its vicinity.

I deliberately conditioned the horse by(among other things) bringing a dog, with me in between, right up next to the horse and eventually took the dog which was standing on its back legs with its front paws on my chest and placed its front paws on the horse. Positive reinforcement for both dog and horse here.

Eventually, I permitted the horse to swing its head around and look at and even nuzzle the dog... again with positive reinforcement. The first time the nuzzle turned into a bite, I disciplined. It stopped.

He eventually learned to accept dogs in his close proximity and understood clearly that it was a major part of his job to look out for them, especially when roading.

You will know you got a dog horse when you are roading a brace of dogs and the horse stops short, almost thowing you over its neck because one of the dogs stopped to pee ...and of course, you weren't paying attention. :lol: :lol:

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Re: Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Postby daniel77 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:00 am

Good post by RayG.

We've always had a multitude of dogs around the barn, and I ride colts exclusively. Generally speaking, most horses and most dogs don't have any problems being around each other. Some dogs won't do well around any horses, mostly these are "stock dogs" who have not been trained properly about how to handle or not handle a horse. Likewise, some horses don't do well around dogs. In my experience, the horses who have problems with dogs either have a personality that is fairly grumpy and ornery around everyone and everything, or they are a decent animal who has simply been harassed by poorly trained dogs. We used to have a border collie named Skeeto. He had the habit of lagging behind sniffing stuff and whatnot while we were out in the woods trail riding, and then he'd catch up and pass right by, and I mean right by the horse like a blk/wht blur. After a few of Skeeto's passes, they were "dog broke". We also had a female border collie kicked and killed by a sure nuff crazy mare, but like I said earlier, she was good for nothing from the start (one of about 6 out of 600 or so that I feel this way about, and she literally darn near killed me too, but that's another story) and should have been dog food rather than saddled up or near dogs.

I think that you're just gonna have to get your dogs and horses together, in a controlled setting, and see how they interact. Like Ray said, start with a lead on both, don't allow either to be ill-mannered, and all should go just fine. 90% of the time, a simple no or small correction is seldom needed and the horses and hounds get along just fine. Having the dogs ever-present when you ride will allow all to be sorted out, just be mindful of the situation. As a small tip, I always try to introduce new and potentially exciting things to my colts at the end of a ride, when they are somewhat tired and less likely to overeact. Good luck, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Usually not a big deal at all.
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Re: Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Postby shags » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:49 am

To clarify, my dogs are taught as pups not to harass my horses, so my animals get along. The horses are fine with dogs running between their legs and other stupid dog tricks. They'll tolerate a lot of nuisance behavior from dogs. But if a dog or dogs want to harass them, they do so at their own risk - as feral packs and out of control neighbor dogs have done. I don't need the giant vet bills or the hassle of replacing a good horse that results from them getting chewed up or run through fences.
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Re: Getting a horse quiet around Dogs.

Postby RayGubernat » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:51 am

shags wrote:To clarify, my dogs are taught as pups not to harass my horses, so my animals get along. The horses are fine with dogs running between their legs and other stupid dog tricks. They'll tolerate a lot of nuisance behavior from dogs. But if a dog or dogs want to harass them, they do so at their own risk - as feral packs and out of control neighbor dogs have done. I don't need the giant vet bills or the hassle of replacing a good horse that results from them getting chewed up or run through fences.


Shags -

I thought that a .223 with a 3X9 power scope was tailor made for feral dog packs. :D :D

In Delaware a dog running loose on someone else's property is very likely soon to be a dead dog.


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