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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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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 6:59am PST 
Wow, weird triple post.

Sorry Augusta, I was not aware of that post. I was just going on the reporting stories.
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 10:59am PST 
Gus covered it pretty well. The horse didn't spook, but rather at some point ended up in a literal fight for his life, prior to which the officer had control of the scene.

To answer your question, Gus, one of the issues in drive is its constancy. That is what separates a PPD from a K9, in example. Or the best example would be a narc dog, who may have to search a factory in high work mode, inch by inch. Not many dogs do much of anything for twenty or thirty minutes without it being rewarding (such as chewing on a bone). I believe you are doing agility, yes? Ok, so dogs can love to go through tunnels. True. But how many dogs would sustain going through a tunnel, pivoting and going back through again and again, without starting to have their enthusiasm wane? That constancy is often what can make dogs more difficult, bring threats to our community and so on, because it will sustain the drive either in extraordinary situations, and/or long enough to do serious harm.

It is an uncomfortable issue to talk about, but pit fighting isn't to the death, but rather about the gameness to engage. The fight is broken and the dog is reset multiple times, each time of course more cut up, bleeding, etc. and needing to remain tanked about reengaging.

I watched an Animal Cops type thing once of a fight bust, at the Philadelphia ASPCA, and there was one dog in the seizure who didn't really look like much other than a perfectly happy and friendly Pit mix. He was put in the iso room as an evidence hold and a little while later there was a lot of brouhaha, everyone raced back in, and the dog literally had torn his kennel wall down trying to get at the neighboring dog shock

Pits also can be trained on live prey. You have to think of what this does, coupling that with the above explanation of a pit fight, particularly when viewed on the street level, which has some chance to genetically work its work into a more general community dog genetic, you know? It can be beyond simply "my dog is DA."

I think those arguing for positive Pit promotion need to stay grounded. "My dog would lick a person to death!" is an utterly moronic thing to say in the wake of a dog who just severely maimed a child. Or something such as this, where this was a very over the top scene that endangered a police officer and a horse trying to do his job. This obviously was a cujo-esque scene, and to defend the dog in the name of the "wonderful pets!" Pit Bull makes you, and thereby all who are trying to help the plight of this breed, look utterly delusional and/or fanatical. Only making those on the fence harder to sway down the road.

Part of the "blame the deed, not the breed" puts focus on things like genetics, irresponsible breeding, ownership, and puts zero tolerance on dogs who do things to endanger those in our community. I was doing some searches of the Chronicle of the Horse forum and the subject of Pit Bulls came up, many not so nice, but one thread where a woman had a stray no rescue wanted to take and she was curious about integrating this dog into her home as she had cats, and the responses, one after another, were so sweet. So MANY had Pits it boggled my mind laugh out loud We need to stand by the good ones, be realistic about those who are dangerous, and above ALL seek to put an end to the fight industry. Particularly at a street level, those genetics are precariously close to getting into the general dog population. Part of these tragedies are those genetics getting a little too close to home. We need to be honest about that.

I think when we can focus, in these more disturbing instances, onlookers on the seriousness of the fight industry and why it is a threat to us, gaining more steam and support to getting it abolished, that is the productive thing to do. Certainly when I was a kid, Pit Bulls did not have this reputation. Certainly I, as a rescuer, see a myriad of PBs who are reminiscent of that dog.

I have one in foster right now who is "sorta" DA, but he's pretty reasonable about it. Gorgeous dog, too. Because of his behavior, his fostering situation is a spacious stall in the basement of the two family I live in. It's our puppy room, has a big window that looks out into the yard. Not too bad. He, like most Pits, is very talented at scaling things (they are great tree climbers). One night, he got out. And headed up the stairs to where Duncan lives, in the middle of the night. She has a thin wood door, held closed by a chain bolt. It is flimsy. If I needed to break in, I could easily kick in. I don't think the door is even an inch think.

At any rate, Duncan got up in the morning with her dogs down by the door, which was ajar (held closed by the chain), peeking in. And on the other side was Ghost, poking his nose through. All three (Duncan's Chaci and her Spoo, Sally) were alert but relaxed. Now HAD Ghost had those more intense genetics, he would have pushed that door off its hinges. It would have been incredibly easy to do, and then there would have been a blood bath in the middle of the night. But he's just "average" in these manners, so it didn't go there.

That would be a difference between the varying levels of where these dogs can go, dependent on their genetics.

Edited by author Mon Dec 17, '12 11:11am PST

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Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 12:23pm PST 
No problem, Sanka . .. I thought the article was so biased and the "blaming the victim" sent up a red flag for me so I starting cross checking sources, including the court findings . . ..and watching some of the owner's testimony on news sources . . .

But thanks to Cobain for her link because that guy put it together more concisely!way to go


So my next question, Tiller, is---has this dog demonstrated by this incident that he is "too much" to be allowed to live in society?

Or just too much for this owner . . .

Is he likely to be safe with careful training and and maybe never off leash in parks with the right handling?

I don't know how long this guy had the dog--what kind of clues could he have missed that his dog was this intense?

Or could one novel large animal be the first time that switch was triggered?
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Bellatrix

Crazy Ball'O Fur
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 2:09pm PST 
When Bella met her first horse, she didn't really react much, just sniffed a little, though she was a puppy then, and I think the horse thought she was a carrot because the horse almost bit her, not the other way around. xD I had to pull her away quickly.
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 2:11pm PST 
I'd think he could be a sanctuary dog. Had this never happened, or had it happened between friends let's say, then training or rehoming certainly an option. By that I mean that certainly a dog like this can be managed. But certainly never off leash, never loose and not contained in some way. That's pretty standard for a lot of Pits anyway, though.

But sadly, we are talking about a court ruling. And the responsibility of the court is to ensure citizen safety. How much of a threat this dog is or is not is highly contingent on his owner, which at the end of the day is a rol1 of the dice. It is sad in the context that if he's at a dog park, he's likely dog social. Obviously bit the officer in pursuit of the horse....I don't think there's any suggestion he's human aggressive either. But, he showed what he is capable of in the right setting, and that changes everything.

One could argue the novelty of the horse as a one off, but what might he'd mistake as prey worthy in the future? You just don't know, you only know that when he clicks on, he's pretty serious.

That's the whole thing, and something I always have to keep foremost in my mind with certain placements. This dog cannot afford not to have a good owner. Sometimes one bad day is all it takes.

As regards the individual dog, all he needed was better management. Even if his response was unexpected, with certain breeds, you simply need to be able to respond. Maybe that sounds harsh, but certainly that's my Giant Schnauzer ethic. They are a little attack happy. I've never had a bad experience, but am aware that this breed generally when they decide to commit are supremely confident and intense. So I am never not ready to act/respond....it's part of the responsibility that comes along with owning such a dog.

It's just a higher bar. And on this day this dog demonstrated an intensity of drive and determination, willingness to bite, predator behavior (the abdomen, etc.)

It's sad, but there are some "you can never be too careful" breeds.
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Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 3:31pm PST 
Haven't read through all the comments yet, but these are the reactions I have seen in adult dogs encountering horses for the first time:

A) "Whoa, what is that thing? Oh well, whatever."
B) "That thing runs so fast that I must chase it!!!" (followed by, in the case of dog-savvy horses: "Oh, it won't run from me? Well, who cares then.")
C) "WHAT IS THIS DEVIL CREATION DESTROY IT DESTROY IT NOW"

Most of the dogs we've had have landed at reaction B.

Keiko, on the other hand, seriously freaks out around unfamiliar horses. She is very prey-driven (of the 'if it's not an animal I've learned to not kill, and I can catch it, I will kill it' variety)and amped up and neurotic about new things in general, but horses are a special case. She can be conditioned to ignore them, but only very specific horses - she still has no love for the horse population in general. I feel bad for the people who occasionally ride past my parents' house, since if we don't act quickly enough those horses WILL get menaced through the fence. Most horses around here are used to it from strange dogs, though. It seems to stress out the humans more than the horses (though of course we still don't allow it).

I'm not sure if it's a prey drive thing or a fear thing with her (or some combination of both). When I've walked her off the property near horses, she will leave the horse alone (her leave it is VERY strong at this point), but she often starts shaking and tries to pull on the leash to get past them as quickly as possible.

She's the extreme case - most of our other dogs that have not initially responded well to horses (most of them if they weren't raised around them) have just wanted to chase them, and learned quickly not to using a combination of us calling them off and the horses refusing to run. I wouldn't say it's a natural partnership, though, if the dog and horse in question have not been raised around the other species.

Edited by author Mon Dec 17, '12 3:42pm PST

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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 3:59pm PST 
Missy absolutely ignores Horses and livestock of any kind. Can her have off lead walking through a field of horses and she wouldn't bat an eyelid.

Tyler OTOH i wouldn't trust at all. Certainly not with livestock anyway. I've always popped him back on lead when i see Horses approach us because on lead he lunges a little and i have no idea whether that lunging behaviour would result in him wanting to investigate further if off lead or even chasing after the horse. But saying that, a few weeks ago a horse and rider kind of took us by surprise, i told Ty calmly but firmly to "come" right away and he did with no hesitation despite seeing the horse and only being a short distance from it. I was impressed, but wouldn't count on that behaviour all the time.
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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 5:24pm PST 
Interesting enough, I groomed three working maremmas just today and the owner insisted I muzzle the male as he was a biter. When I questioned her fully, it turns out he once bit her HORSE. I was trying to explain to her that even though he bit her horse he wasn't necessarily going to transfer that to biting me, a human. I asked her more about the horse and it turns out, the horse STEPPED on the dog, the dog swung around, bit it in the flank and then (the dog) ran back to the barn.
I guess I don't consider that an unexpected reaction?????
(I can't type anymore cuz I groomed three maremmas today, my arms no longer work!)cry
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Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 5:32pm PST 
Charlie LOVES horses. When my dad lived on a farm, he had multiple horses, all Quarters and Thoroughbreds. I took Charlie over to the fence, on his leash, and let him check them out through the fence. The horses got right face to face with my dog, and he was happy to chill with them and make friends. My moms Rottweiler is the same with all livestock - cattle and horses alike.

However... When Charlie saw cows for the first time.. His reaction was to bark, growl, hackle and posture. I took him on leash to let him get a better look and his reaction didn't really improve. The cows had fun taunting him though, running along the fence line back and forth and following us along the fence.
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Noah

Herpaderp-apotam- us
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 5:42pm PST 
Quincy - I called the labs dopey, not stupid.
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