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Any horse experts on here? I don't own any horses (yet) but my daughters take english horse back riding lessons and show their horses. I want to introduce my new boy Charlie to horses. I am not sure if I should wait till his is older or here in the next month when they start back up (March time frame). I also want to take Charlie with us when we go to their shows. So he will exposed to more horses and people. The girl who teaches my daughter has given me the okay to bring out Charlie. I will have him on a leash at all times and know the dangers if he gets kicked which is what I want to avoid at all costs. I also have his crate in the back of car if I need to have him in there. The horses at her arena have been around dogs. In fact she has three rescued dogs out there running around so that won't be an issue. The dogs are sometimes even in the arena when they are riding and underfoot.

I have no idea when would be a good time but I do want him to exposed because I don't want him to go beserk when he's older everytime we take him with us.

Thanks.
 

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I've always approached it as a personal space issue. The dog must respect the horses space, and not get too close. This is easy to do with them on leash. Also commands such as "back up" are helpful. Imagine there is a bubble around the horse, and don't let the dog get within that bubble. Treat and praise for looking to you, sitting calmly, ignoring the horse, etc.

Will he always be on leash or are you looking to build up to him being off leash around horses? Or going along for rides? Thats the hardest part, bringing the dog along on rides.
 

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How old is charlie? My horse was exceedingly tolerant of dogs. The first two times the youngster went out, she was very respectful of the horse & the rides went well. After that it was a lot of barking until we were well underway. By the time she was a year old, it was easier. Still a lot of barking while we tacked up and a bit before we started but once we got going down the trail it was OK for the most part. She got kicked once but she was a persistent PIA. I've had dogs that were respectful of the horse from the get go and others that didn't work out so well. For me with the youngster it would have worked out better if someone had been with me.
Of course, I don't just have my dogs around horses, the dogs go with me when I ride.
 

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I can help!

I own 4 horses, a QH, a mustang, and two miniatures (one a stallion). They're currently boarded at a stable until I move to FL.

I ALWAYS make sure my horses are fenced and my dog is leashed before they interact. Under no circumstances yet will I allow Rem near a horse that is not stalled or in a pasture, and he is certainly not allowed near horses that aren't mine and that are being ridden. I want him to know that the horses, like my cats at home, have their own space that is forbidden for him to enter, and that he MUST respect it by staying out of it.

I began a few weeks ago with Rem by just walking him near the fence, about 20 feet away. He was alert, a little nervous but not afraid (he didn't try and flee) and the horses, used to dogs, just looked him over and went about their business. Gradually I got him closer, but made sure that it was always on MY terms, not his - he could only go as far as I let him, and he had to respect their space and remain calm. I had treats, but he was disinterested, and kept looking at me as if to say, "Screw treats, do you not see the GIANT DOGS not 10 feet away!?"

My minis are quite friendly and approached the fence to have a closer look, so I allowed Rem to get closer, which he did. He barked twice, both times I corrected him with a no and a little jerk of the leash to snap him out of it, and walked away, collected him, and came back. I praised him when he sniffed them calmly, and never exhibited signs of aggression, which was really good. If your puppy does, back off and try again.

I kept it brief - 10 minutes - and we've been going back and each time we stay a bit longer. It's more important that my dog acclimate to horses since he'll be living with them soon, your pup just needs to learn to get used to them and be respectful and normal. Just be cautious and alert, horses are flighty, fear driven animals and they don't know YOUR dog, and he doesn't know them, so you'll need to be careful.
 

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I can help!

, "Screw treats, do you not see the GIANT DOGS not 10 feet away!?"

Too funny. Thank you all for the great advice.

I won't be riding the horses. My daughter's unfortunately do the riding in the family for now. I love riding but we don't own any horses. If my daughter's get really serious we may be getting a horse in the next couple of years. From what I understand you don't just get one it's like an addiction, more to follow. The place where they have lessons does boarding and has a pasture with horses so it seems like that might be a place to start. I will definitely not introduce Charlie at first while the girls are tacking up the horse until he's been around the horses. Charlie will be close to 16 weeks when we start back up our lessons so he will be old enough to have the basic commands down pretty good.

Since it's not my property I will probably always have him on a leash especially when we go to shows which won't be till next fall.

Thanks again. I've definitely learned a lot.
 

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At shows its required for dogs to be on leash :)

If you're ever wanting to get horses yourself though (leasing counts!) or if your daughters ever trail ride I think it would be great to work up to him being offleash. Trail riding with the dog is great fun, and great exercise for the dog!!!

I haven't gone trail riding with my dogs since I sold my horses, I only work with others horses now.

Do you have a command that sort of means "no, what you're doing right now isn't correct"? Sorry if thats confusing, lol. For example, I make an "eh eh!" noise. At my training facility they teach "aught" to students. I was somewhat vague on the description there, because its not the same as an outright no. For example, I use it a lot merely to get the attention and then redirect to what I want. If we are offleash, and the dogs are getting far away I yell out "eh eh!" if they stop moving so far away, I won't say anything further. But I also may follow it up with the recall to get them close to me again. Usually the dogs will stop and look back at me to see what I want. Its something that I use constantly with the dogs. Say I have them in a stay and I see them about the break the stay, I would use it. About to chase a cat? Use it. And this is very useful when working with the dogs around horses. About to enter the horse pasture? Use it. Getting too close to the horse? Use it. On a trail ride and the dog sees a deer he wants to chase? Use it.

Just make sure you're using an equal amount of praise. Just letting the dog know what they shouldn't do doesn't teach them what they should do. Letting them know both is the fastest way. So if the dog is approaching the limits while off leash, I say eh eh and recall the dog. Then give tons of praise as the dog runs to me, pet all over, and let them go back to playing.

Directional commands, such as "back up" are very useful as well. Especially when you're on the horses back. Then the other one I used the most would be stay. If i was on a trail ride and wanted to go jump a fallen tree, I would put Tessa in a down stay so she was out of the way while I was doing so.
 

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i started taking my pup around horses when he was 11 weeks old or.
i knew we were going to be in the woods a lot and we would encounter horses. when my dog was a pup i use to hold him up to the horses face.
sometimes i would place him so his nose was very close to the horses neck. sometimes he was on the ground and i would let him sniff the horses
hooves. i made sure we were around horses 3 or 4 times a week. i taught
my dog "other side". when we're in the woods and the trail gets narrow i can say to my dog "other side" and moves to the other side of the trail.
one of the areas we play in the woods has a creek running through it. the riders cross thier horse there quite often. i've been in this area when there's 15 or so dogs running around. when the horses cross the creek
none of the dogs react. sometimes the riders ride throught the dogs. sometimes the riders stand there and watch all of the dogs.

expose your pup to horses often. like anything else, training and socializing.
 

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Exposure to horses is best done young and consistently.Horses are flight animals by nature and shepherds figure that out relatively quick if allowed to get into a horses space.All it takes is one swift kick and you have a dead puppy or seriously injured at the least.If you are going to have dogs around young children riding horses or ponies, it is essential that you know your dog well and have control over him at all times.If in doubt,never do it while there are people riding and wait till there is a more opportune time to introduce your puppy.
Fear is common in young pups when being introduced to huge unknown animals and will instinctivley bark or growl.As with dogs,all horses are different and may or may not accept a potential predator as a non threat.Beware of horses teeth and their ability to bite quickly and man can horse bites hurt.Their bites are as bad as their kicks so I do not recommend pushing a puppy into their face.Let them assess each other from a short distance and slowly gauge their reactions.Horses are naturally curious and will be the more likely inquisitor rather than the scared pup.If the pup shows positive behaviour rewared heavily with praise and ignore unwanted behaviour or whatever generally works for your natural training method.
As for shows,most do not condone dogs as there is an inherently high risk for children to be harmed by bolting ponies because a dog has run out to nip the ponies feet as they jog by.Believe me there is nothing worse than watching a terrified girl clinging to the neck of a bucking pony because a heeler ran out to grab its ball which had rolled onto the course.If you decide that you have a well trained dog that listens and reponds without condition then by all means have a nice day out with the kids,ponies and dog but albeit on a leash.
 

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My boss's husband let their Rotti puppy off leash for the first time around his horses when she was 6 months old, she went too close to the horses rear, he called her to "come" (he NEVER really taught her what come meant) she of course didn't come. She did get kicked in the head, the Vet tried to save her eye, but couldn't. He is a judge for horse shows, been around horses for most of his life. He made the mistake in thinking a dog should just know how to behave around large stock.
 

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I try to get my pups to a friends barn (2 farms, 3 barns) The one is a vet clinic and the doors are full height grating sliders - take the pups through the aisleway and let them see the horses, if calm, approach the stalls and smell - these doors are great for intros....the other barns have front half walls so the horses can put their heads out...which is great after the full grate/mesh doors...pretty much all my dogs just get conditioned that the horses are NOT a big deal...When I was able to ride, I used to always have 2-5 dogs with me - my GSDs, the terrier at the barn, a pointer owned by my vet friend who rode wtih me... by the time I got them out in the woods/trails they were pretty acclimated....when Kyra was very young, she did decide to herd a young filly I was starting, and managed to get a grip (but did not bite hard enough to break skin!) on her rear leg - she got kicked badly enough that she was lame for a few days but thank goodness, nothing broken....she was fine out on trail, but this was a dancy youngster and I think she decided to "help"....

Lee
 

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I've always approached it as a personal space issue. The dog must respect the horses space, and not get too close. This is easy to do with them on leash. Also commands such as "back up" are helpful. Imagine there is a bubble around the horse, and don't let the dog get within that bubble. Treat and praise for looking to you, sitting calmly, ignoring the horse, etc.

Will he always be on leash or are you looking to build up to him being off leash around horses? Or going along for rides? Thats the hardest part, bringing the dog along on rides.
This - teaching the dog to respect the horse and his/her space is so very important. The sooner you can start the more it just becomes another normal part of their life. Focus on making it safe and comfortable for the puppy and horse(s) and remember they both need to know to respect the other. I won't tolerate a dog harassing my horses and I don't allow the horses to harass the dog (soon to be dogs) - honestly, the latter is more of an issue than the former for us, naughty horses.
 

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I have two ponies at home and we take our dog to shows.

Start early letting puppy be around the horses.always leashed and always stay your distance. Both puppy and horses can startle and move fast.

Don't make it a big deal. Act like the horses are a normal thing..(they are) and your puppy will get used to them. Do it as often as you can.

Dont hold puppy up to horses face! They can bite and strike! Even friendly ones..not worth the risk.

If you go while the kids are lessoning, walk the aisles, take a walk outside, just hang out. Dont just sit and watch or puppy will think the barn is BORING!
 

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I put a playpen in my barn aisle and let the puppy stay in there for the first week
just acclimating to the sights, sounds and smells of the horses, when they show no interest they are put on a long lunge line and I help them to learn the boundaries by stopping them from entering paddocks and the arena, they than graduate to walking alongside of me while I lead horses to various places, one of the most important
words they learn is MOVE, they know when they hear that word
to get out of the way of a horse, I teach that by moving them out of the way with my foot, thanthe word suffices, I never, ever, allow my dogs to chase or bark at my horses.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the all the good ideas and advice. I thought it would be better to introduce him since he's so young vs. when he's older. I have awhile yet to work on his basic commands so he knows not to get close. I use a clicker and high value treats for training so we should be good to go!

Thanks.
 

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We don't have horses but my MIL has a ton. When we would go to visit, we would just expose them to the horses. The horses were very good with dogs and generally very stable as trail horses. Let the dogs look, just get used to seeing them around. I was lucky that my dogs generally seemed to have a pretty healthy respect for the horses. They would sneak in to smell, but if they stomped a foot or swished a tail the dog would back off pretty readily. The would wander all around the barn, but never particularly close to the horses. In the barn, there was a mat by the crossties, so I'd just put my dog into a down stay on the mat while I would groom and tack up. With some fairly solid basic OB, it never really seemed to be much of a problem.

Argos saying hello in the barn.


Argos and Anka checking out the barn, while Denzel eats dinner.


Argos startling a little when Denzel snorted in his feed bucket.

 

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We don't have horses but my MIL has a ton. When we would go to visit, we would just expose them to the horses. The horses were very good with dogs and generally very stable as trail horses. Let the dogs look, just get used to seeing them around. I was lucky that my dogs generally seemed to have a pretty healthy respect for the horses. They would sneak in to smell, but if they stomped a foot or swished a tail the dog would back off pretty readily. The would wander all around the barn, but never particularly close to the horses. In the barn, there was a mat by the crossties, so I'd just put my dog into a down stay on the mat while I would groom and tack up. With some fairly solid basic OB, it never really seemed to be much of a problem.

Argos saying hello in the barn.


Argos and Anka checking out the barn, while Denzel eats dinner.


Argos startling a little when Denzel snorted in his feed bucket.

Cool pics and cool dog. Thanks for posting those.
 

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we don't have horses but my mil has a ton. When we would go to visit, we would just expose them to the horses. The horses were very good with dogs and generally very stable as trail horses. Let the dogs look, just get used to seeing them around. I was lucky that my dogs generally seemed to have a pretty healthy respect for the horses. They would sneak in to smell, but if they stomped a foot or swished a tail the dog would back off pretty readily. The would wander all around the barn, but never particularly close to the horses. In the barn, there was a mat by the crossties, so i'd just put my dog into a down stay on the mat while i would groom and tack up. With some fairly solid basic ob, it never really seemed to be much of a problem.

Argos saying hello in the barn.


argos and anka checking out the barn, while denzel eats dinner.


argos startling a little when denzel snorted in his feed bucket.

tell your mil she has a beautiful set up in the board on batten barn.i love how the horses are so close to the main house.and denzel is getting up there but looks amazing for his age and the little paint in the stall has a gorgeous head and sweet eye.nice colour too.
 

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I plan to bring my puppy to the barn anytime I go down. Eventually he or she should be well behaved enough to be allowed free rein but will never be allowed inside any ring or paddock. Thanks for all the ideas about getting puppy acclimated to barn life. And I had one thought after reading all this: For those with well voice-trained horses, do you use different words commands for the horses and the dogs? Thanks!
 
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