Dogs new to horses . . .. what are the common reactions?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 12:59pm PST 
I have a video of how Farley acts when he sees horses, even from a distance. So, I keep him leashed when horses are around. I don't think he would HURT them, but he is certainly extremely excited by them and would definitely chase. He goes nuts when he sees herds of any large animals. Cows, Deer, etc.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4169908380455&set=vb.16 66590051&type=3&theater

ETA in regard to the dog attacking and severely injuring the horse, I do believe that individual dog is dangerous, given what occurred in the situation.

Edited by author Sat Dec 15, '12 1:03pm PST

Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 1:16pm PST 
Kato went into a full on barking frenzy when he first saw a horse. Totally didn't know what to make of it.

But the first time he saw a cow? No fear, just went straight for her and ran circles around her. Ran into some cows the other day, and he had no problem shooing them away. Thankfully he didn't lose his mind like the first time and stopped when I told him.

I like to think it's more instincts. I believe him to be of herding lineage. Despite being a scaredy dog for many things, livestock have never bothered him.

Sanka recently wandered into a field full of cows and hadn't the slightest idea that there were these giant creatures around him until one went up and sniffed him. I'd never seen Sanka get so startled before. But even after that, he didn't care at all. He just wanders about and sniffs around.

Since seeing horses more and more, Kato has definitely eased up. He easily walks by without a care if the horses are ignoring him, which they usually are.

I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 1:33pm PST 
The off leash trails in the hills above where I live have horses on them every once in a while. Saw one off in the distance up there a few years back when I was working on Mikey's issues, but Mikey never saw it.

Moose has been to these trails twice since I've had him and this discussion has me thinking I should walk him near the horse stables not too far from there. Just so he(on leash) can see a horse.
Of course I wouldn't take him to the stables or violate their property line, but there's a walking path near the road and you can see the horses from there. Kind of close.
I do plan on taking Moose up to the trails on a regular basis after work come spring and I think I should probably work on this.

Moose met a couple of baby goats a few months back and he was not so sure what to make of them.
They were behind wire fence with enough room to touch noses. Moose wanted no part of that. He just stood there and stared. When I coaxed him to say hi, he'd step forward, then thought better of it and stepped back.
The goats were super curious about Moose. (The owners of the goats are totally ok with dogs saying hi through the fence).

Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 1:59pm PST 
When I first took Gus to the farm to meet my horse, she was completely nonchalant, no special interest in the horses . ... but she had been at a rescue on a farm that also had rescue horses . . . I don't believe she was ever loose with them there though. My friend said she was fine with me letting her loose and she was quite good she'd go into their field, but to do exploring, stayed respectfully clear of them . . ... .. . My biggest concern was her interest in the horse poop. She even went into a yearling's stall with my friend---he was totally sniffing her, nosing her butt . . . all she wanted was his poop . .laugh out loud

However, there was a mounted patrol near our dog park in our city neighborhood during a busy holiday event and she went to the fence and barked at them with another dog . . .. .. I called her away easily enough . . . but it was the sort of alert, head in the air barking she might do at certain dogs outside the fence or a person she occasionally picks out who appears "out of order!" in her mind. I think it was more the "out of placeness" than that it was a horse.

Milton, I did find it ironic too that the article and many commenters were playing up the "another case of bully persecution" angle, but were quick to say "A thoroughbred for police work!!???" One even claiming to be a life-long horse person said what ding-a-ling thought that would be o.k.? Oddly breed prejudice might be worse in horse world and yet from my experience there seems to be even less temperamental difference between breeds than between any given individuals of a breed . . ... A google search showed that many many mounted police units have TBs, including NYC . . .. it certainly was no surprise to me a Thoroughbred could be perfectly steady in that line of work.

I'm not sure what to think of this particular dog's temperament, def. not suitable loose, I would say, at least under this guy's watch, but if there was an example of an individual doing a "deed" and it not just being the breed, it seems like this would qualify as a deed . . .
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 5:59pm PST 
I do not agree with the outrage at all, Gus.

I grew up in NYC. I actually kept a couple of horses there....that's off topic, but thought you'd get a kick. In a converted tenement on 89th that had stabling up and downstairs(ramps to get there), a small arena and then you had the bridle paths of Central Park.

Not only are mounted officers part of the normal backdrop in NY, but they regularly were in the park. And so was I, on my horse, trotting or cantering around the reservoir, or just going on a loose rein ambling walk. This is the park a lot of dog owners go to/went to, and back in the day there weren't dog parks, you just unhooked your lead, particularly on Sundays, where the park was closed to traffic. And back in the day, a lot of them loose. I never had a problem. I am not saying some dogs don't react, but the owners of that dog were complete idiots. Sorry. But if you have mounted patrol in your city, you sorta know that, and it's not as if you wouldn't notice a HORSE laugh out loud They should have collected their dog. I feel terrible for the dog, furious at them, though.

And really bad for the horse. Very few horses make that grade. They need to be ultra chill, impervious, with very low flight instinct. That is because they are primarily used for control of raucous crowds, and of course the myriad of kids who have to pat the horsie. And most of them, yes, TBs. I don't know what all that talk is about? TBs can be high strung, but few have the courage and nerves that they do. Threading the needle down on the rail...that takes guts. Police horses need guts. That and they had to be bay (in NYC, at least).
Jagger- **ADOPTED**

Ewok/Wookiee- Cross
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 7:02pm PST 
Risa is totally fine with horses. Granted, I have never let her get really close but they don't faze her at all. Considering her fearfulness, this has always surprised me. I joke that it's because she's from Montana. smile

Jagger saw ponies at an adoption event last weekend and he was afraid of them. Again, he did not get close, but he barked at them as they walked past. He might have been alright if he'd had a chance to investigate but I'd rather play it safe than sorry when it comes to stuff like that.

I think most dogs are programmed to chase what runs. Depending on the breed or individual dog, they might grab and maim. They are predators after all.

forever loved
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 7:23pm PST 
I for one am disappointed with this article. It was completely biased toward the dog, while condemning the horse, it's breed (um,hello?! BSL anyone?), and the police officer (who also was knocked unconscious briefly, and could have been seriously injured). The officer and his horse were apparently standing their ground while the dog charged at them (which I would agree could be normal behavior, but I do not think actually attacking is normal), even asked the man to get his dog (instead of, say, shooting it, which many officers seem to have no problem doing). The dog actually attacked the officer first, people seem to be leaving that part out of their comments to the blog. They also conveniently leave out the fact the horse did not run until after it had all ready been attacked. It was frustrating trying to comment on that blog without bias...which would mean admitting the dog IS in the wrong, and could be dangerous...but then have the majority of the commentators huffing and puffing about how horrible we are for not defending the poor innocent pit bull who is only being euthanized because of it's breed.confused I love pit bulls, and that is why I will concede when one does wrong, so I do not lie when I say 'you should blame the deed, not the breed'.shrug Another thing that concerns me, that even though many claim the dog had no previous issues, he was 18 months old. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that just around the age dogs start maturing and you then know their true temperament? thinking If so, then I don't think this is a good sign of future behavior at all.

Btw, in my own experience with Twister, when he first saw my neighbor's cows, he would run up towards them barking but stop short (up close they are way too big and scary, lol). Now he completely ignores them (whew! we have fence separating them, but there are some holes here and there made by animals).puppy

The Monster
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 6:11am PST 
Here's an interesting article on the subject:

Jim Crosby Article

He's a man who's made a career of assessing and treating dogs who are labelled dangerous. He's very even headed and not prone to exaggeration. Even he felt that it would be appropriate to have this dog labelled dangerous.
Dylan aka- Dilly,my- angel

frisbee- s rule
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 11:10am PST 
when Dylan was young, he learned a hard lesson that my older mare would not be herded.a gentle kick sent him running for the house. the mare was bomb proof, children learned to ride on her, but getting her heels nipped was not tollerated.

and Dylan, a true border collie, wasnt about to give up trying. I made sure the two never were together again.

but to attack the rider first, then the horse, and chase the horse, this dog has major issuses

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 11:48am PST 
Lupi is quite interested in horses (I've taken her to a local venue for horse-jumping) but her interest involves wanting to sniff them and their poop, and watching intently when they run by. She's never barked at them, but a friends dog came with us once, and he would bark and growl when they passed us.
The one thing that really seemed to bring out Lupi's prey/chase instinct, was a dog attached to a bike. She charged (she was off-leash in our front yard) and barked at the dog and I was terrified she would cause the rider to fall. However, she did come back to me when I called her. It was a few years ago and has never happened again, but I always keep her on-leash when she's in the yard with me now. It wouldn't be worth it if she caused a bike-rider to have an accident.
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