Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Teach Me Tuesday: Barn Dogs

AVOID GIANT DOG
To tell the truth, I have always been 100% anti-barn-dog as an adult amateur rider. I think they're underfoot, in the way, spooky, and an accident waiting to happen. It irks me when people brings dogs to horse shows because #1 it's a goddamn HORSE show, not a dog show and #2 I hate having my horse spook at dogs.

On busy evenings, my current barn is really more dog park than horse barn.

And at first, I HATED it. HATED. No way around it.

Then I went to a horse show.

boss corgi investigates
And a dog trotted through the arena during a dressage test.

And I realized that even if it had been my test, my horse would have given no shits about it because he's so dog broke at this point that it really doesn't matter.



So while it still annoys me deeply when a dog blasts into the arena while I'm riding or pops out from behind the spooky jump pile, I'm learning to accept it. Life is unpredictable and the more prepared my horse is to face life, the better chance we have to succeed together.

Other thoughts on barn dogs, yours or otherwise?

37 comments:

  1. I've always thought that barns, horses and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly. I've been at barns with no dogs, I've been at barns with rambunctious not-super-well-behaved dogs, and now I'm at my current barn with 2 VERY well-trained dogs. Trainer/BO has taught her dogs that under no circumstances, are they ever to be in the riding arena or turnout fields. EVER. They literally lay outside of the arena fencing and never even think about running into the arena, which I think is really nice. Sure, they wander around the barn aisle from time to time but they are never in the way and all the horses are used to them by now.

    My thoughts on bringing dogs to a show: I definitely don't mind dogs being at horse shows (I'm a total dog person) but those dogs should always be leashed and well-behaved. Wild and unruly dogs in any kind of public place is annoying, but when those dogs show up at horse shows, it gets dangerous.

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  2. Love barn dogs. Good ones don't get in way. Really don't care for dogs at shows. Mostly BC owners (trainers) aren't paying attention. seems more ripe for disaster.

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    1. Added to say dogs off leash at horse shows*

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  3. I have been around all types of barn dogs... I've had a dog charge my horse while another person was riding him... I've had dogs run under jumps etc. that is annoying and it irritates me when people bring unfriendly animals into public settings... Same goes with dogs that have no horse sense.

    All that said I love bringing my dog to the barn. I can't imagine it any other way. That said he was raised in the barn and knows he's not allowed to go into the arenas or turnout pastures. Im moving to a barn that is dog friendly as my current barn is not and I'm looking forward to having Sonny out at the barn again.

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  4. Well-behaved dogs are welcome just about anywhere. Badly-behaved dogs not so much.

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    1. Yes, THIS!!! I have no problems with well-behaved (HORSE SMART!!!) dogs being around the barn. I used to ride with a lady that had 5 dogs (she was the property owner and the trainer) and they were always out and running around. One in particular enjoyed chasing the horses that were working in the ring. I don't know about you, but my mare does NOT like to be chased by dogs. If you know this is an issue with your dog (she did, it was a regular occurrence) make sure the dog is on a leash or not around the horses!!!

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  5. Pretty much what Jenn said! Now that I have my own place, I have a "nice & trained dogs only" policy with my boarders. It always bothered me when barns had sweeping no dog policies. Having to leave my very well trained and friendly herding dog at home always erked me. Life isn't fair, nor should a barn dog policy be "fair". If you want to bring your dog, put in the time and effort to do right by it and train it. No time? Then don't bring your dog. That's getting into an entire separate subject though!

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  6. I think only well-behaved dogs should be at the barn and shows. I agree that a flurry of dogs at home is great for desensitizing a horse, but I CANNOT abide dogs that will chase horses in an equestrian setting, dogs off-leash on trail in a state with leash laws (not just because of my horses, but because we get to fix so many dogs that get attacked by other dogs off leash at work!! This is the #1 cause of dog fights in the summer in MD!), and dogs that have little or no training/recall around horses. This is a HUGE pet peeve. I've been chased by dogs while riding and was lucky enough to have a horse brave enough to be willing to turn around and chase the dog back, but I have a good friend whose mare was chased by two off-leash dogs on trail: the mare spooked and bolted, ran through a barbed wire fence and lacerated a tendon. She was on stall rest for 6 months recovering. My friend ended up in the hospital with a fractured spine and a monumental case of PTSD that, 4 years later, still means she has to take anti-anxiety meds before leaving the arena.

    We've also had the opportunity of fixing, and at times euthanizing, dogs that had no knowledge of proper behavior around horses and got kicked in the head or the chest.

    Yup. BIG pet peeve!

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    1. *Just realized that would sound strange: we have fixed and PTS'd these cases at work. For anyone not familiar with me: I'm an ER vet tech.

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  7. Courage must have been exposed to my mom's dog by now. If that little crackhead doesn't scare the living hell out of him, no dog ever will ;)

    This makes me think of when I was at a show in New Mexico on WInn. He was a little amped. JL was warming me up before our class and the biggest goal was to just keep me from coming off so that no one's mare ended up with a free breeding. Just as WInn was starting to settle, this little gremlin dog comes loping right in front of him and heads over to visit JL. You would think that the owners would have the decency to at least make an attempt to catch the damn thing, but instead they sat there cooing about how cute it was that it liked JL so much that it ran into the middle of the arena to visit. When the dog got to him, JL gave them the look of death, swooped his foot under the dog and tossed it a couple feet (he didn't kick it or do anything to hurt it) and continued to glare at the owners a bit longer, then turned around to continue teaching me. I don't know if the dog or it's owners looked more shocked.

    Anyway, I don't mind dogs at shows as long as they are on leashes. Usually if a horse is going to spook at one, they are just looking for something to freak out over anyway and if the dog wasn't there, they'd find something else.

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  8. Overall I would prefer not to mix dogs with barns or horse shows. It is mostly a distraction, when it is not a safety issue. I don't mind having an extremely well mannered dog around on occasion, but not all the time. If I wanted to pay attention to dogs, I would go to a dog park, not a horse barn.

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  9. Love barn dogs. Horses and dogs go hand and hand for me too. But sometimes they're super annoying and underfoot and going romping through the woods and pop out and your horse says "WHAAAAAA!!!!"

    My barn has 6 barn dogs (Jack Russell, Rotty, Mastiff, Puggle mix, Rotty mix, another super cute mixed breed), and the only dog under 40-50 pounds is the Jack Russell (she's the top dog though). While they took some getting used to, they are awesome. They don't chase the horses, they come when called, get out of the way of horses, and for the most part stay out of the arena... and if they get in your way, they get run over. Crude yes, but they learn that the horse is top dog and won't be moving for them. The horses get used to them very quickly, and when we're out in public, they don't bat an eye at the dogs.

    Dogs at horse shows is another story. They must be leashed, well behaved (sit/stay and absolutely NO BARKING), and NOT dog aggressive. Your own farm is one thing, but at a horse show, not every horse is as steady as ours in the face of dogs. I'd hate to see dogs banned from shows as so many trainers have them and travel with them.

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    1. Part of the dog thing too is a prep for "life happens". Wild animals (deer, turkeys, bears - I've had all of them) pop out of the woods when you're trail riding. My barn is set on 130 acres of private wooded land that has a ton of trail. The dogs come with us, and yes, they make noise in the woods, but our horses don't bat an eye at the wild animals either. We make sure our horses get to see everything so they're surprised by very little.

      If you have too sterile an environment at home, you won't be able to cope with it when "life happens" at horse shows, because eventually, it will.

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  10. I don't really have an opinion about this, just wanted to say that Courage looks hella cute in western tack!

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  11. My current barn (TC's breeder's barn) has a ridiculous amount of dogs running around. They run full speed through the barn aisle under horses' legs, they bark and sometimes fight, they chase horses... and I totally love it. It's amazing bombproofing. TC will never give any fucks about dogs with about 8-10 little terrors running around on a daily basis. One chased us in the arena the other day and he just sidestepped and kicked at the dog. No fear or anxiety, just like he's done it a million times.

    HOWEVER, if I were paying to board there and my horse had a serious fear of dogs, I probably would have another opinion. I think people need to be smart about mixing horses and dogs. Some dogs can be loose around horses and both not get hurt and not cause problems, others cannot.

    I don't think it's fair for the people with the good dogs to say they can't come to the barn, but I also don't think it's fair to the riders who pay a lot of money to be at the barn to expose them to potentially dangerous situations that could be prevented. I think a good compromise is a leash requirement or like a "three strikes and you're out" policy where if the dog is disruptive, they can be banned.

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  12. I love dogs at the barn. One of the favorite things about my barn is all the dogs there. Bringing Pascale with me every day is a HUGE perk. She loves it, I love it and we both love her sleeping quietly at the apartment later.

    My two pet peeves with dogs are aggressive dogs and dogs who can't stay out of the ring. I own an aggressive dog, and I have to leave him home because of it. Other than that, Simon is super dog broke and I love having them around. It's part of the package for me.

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  13. So when I was 18, I lived at the boarding stables I had been working with my nd of the time. We had our two dogs. Both were herding mutts and knew when they could come in the arena and when not to. They respected horses and authority the majority of the time. Because they liked to wander , they often were long leash tied or in the house while we worked so they didn't get into trouble.... Then boarders would bring their city dogs out, off leash and running amok. Our rule was our dogs live here, your don't, we have the right to boot those who misbehave.

    I really never understood bringing your dogs to the barn, so many other places to take them, focus on your horse at the barn.While I find all the little show dogs adorable, I also find it totally distracting and annoying. I do want an Auggie or Borgi now becausebibsaw them at a show. ;)

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  14. Do I mind dogs at the barn - no! Do I mind dogs in the riding arena - you bet!!! It's not safe for the dog and its not safe for me. So unless you're willing to go to work for me while I'm off because your dog ran in front of my horse and I ended up hurt, please leave your dog in a stall, the tack room, etc.

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  15. I'm pretty neutral about barn dogs- my current barn has 3 of them, plus the neighbors' dog that just won't stay home. They're in the way and underfoot all the time; Gina has nearly plowed a couple of them over while cantering in the arena. They don't bother me, though, because they're not aggressive toward people or horses and I figure it's good for my horses to be desensitized to dogs.

    I do NOT like it when people have dogs off-leash at horse shows. I feel like that's a totally different environment than a barn, though.

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  16. I board my horses at a private barn and when there are dogs around it is mostly just my two. I don't mind having them there and they certainly don't bother me.

    I've never had to deal much with dogs being at public boarding barns because most in this area do not allow dogs on the property (and if so, they must be leashed). It isn't really a big problem for me since Suzie will kick/bite if the dog's get too close or try to herd/attack her.

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  17. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I have to bring my dogs to shows because it's an all day affair, and I can't very well leave them locked inside for 12 hours. That said, my dogs are show pros. They flop down under the truck or trailer and are neither seen or heard again until it's time to leave unless called upon. It does bug me to be parked by someone whose dog barks constantly at everything, especially when the people leave it alone at the trailer and aren't there to tell to stfu.

    As far as at the barn, I have nothing against a good barn dog--one that stays the fuck out of the ring and isn't an idiot around the horses elsewhere. My dogs know to go to their corner and stay there while I'm riding. Period. I will get off and beat you if you move. Seeing dogs frolic around the ring at free will while people are riding makes me absolutely crazy.

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  18. i have very low tolerance for rude dogs - regardless of if they're at the barn or out in the non-horsey world. and it makes me really unhappy when we encounter loose dogs with no recall in the woods while riding (there is a leash law).

    polite, well trained dogs? they don't bother me. if i rode a spookier horse it might... but fortunately that's not the case (and i tend to agree that it's in our best interest to have dog-broke horses). really tho, if i'm riding around and a dog happens to get in the way, i typically expect the dog to MOVE haha, rather than deviating from my own path.

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  19. I think that unless the dog lives on the property it should be leashed. I'm up there to enjoy time with my horse not worry about running over your dog when it crosses our path.
    Luckily my barn doesn't allow outside dogs except during shows.
    I find that cats are worse than dogs though. They really do pop up out of nowhere. I've had to physically evict cats from the ring I've been teaching in because they were trying to catch birds out of the air. Evil!

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    1. Lol so true about cats, our barn cats are notorious form running under the jumps as you are approaching the fence. I don't need more to worry about lol.

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    2. I need to add something. It's so funny you posted this yesterday. I thought about you last night because for the first time ever I saw the neighbours dog. I saw it because they were playing frisbee outside the ring. They were actually throwing the frisbee towards the ring. That was some fun times. So dogs are good, handlers are bad and need to not be stupid.

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    3. oops meant to reply to my own comment.

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  20. I prefer having dogs around. My current barn has giant dog stalls with beds and water bowls so you can lock your dogs in when riding if needed. How cool is that?

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  21. I've been very lucky to find barns that have allowed me to bring my dogs with me, and have them off leash. It's not something that I've gone looking for, but it's a plus. That being said, my dogs better lay or sit where I tell them or there is hell to pay. If your dog can't behave off leash it shouldn't be allowed to be off leash.

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  22. My Italian greyhound doesn't go to the barn (except occasionally he runs out with me when I'm just dropping feed but never when the horses are out of their stalls). He's tiny and too quick and he'd get stomped. My lab would JUST DIE if she couldn't go to the barn with me, but it's the barn in my back yard. I lock her up when I'm riding for safety. I don't take her to anyone else's barn. I don't love having dogs in the ring after Lex tried to double-barrel kick the BO's dog in Ohio, or after the same dog jumped up and bit her nose when I was sitting on her. At M's, the dogs can't go in the ring because of the dog fence, so it works out fine.

    There's always a line between desensitization and just wanting to have a decent ride.

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  23. Since I have dogs and ponies at my house, the dogs had to learn to stay out of the way of the horses, and the horses had to learn that dogs are there. It hasn't been too much of a problem at all. The goats on the other hand...

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  24. Don't mind barn dogs, but if your dog acts a fool at the barn it's not allowed back, to your point, it's a barn, not a dog park. I had a dog run around while I was doing my SJ round at Twin Rivers one time! Thankfully my horse was u phased by not only the pooch who'd clearly gotten away from his owner (since dogs at that show must be leashed) but he also didn't care about the owner ringside hollering and flailing at her dog trying to lure it hysterically back to her. We put down a double clear thank you very much, dog!

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  25. Love dogs, hate dog poop. I think if everyone were responsible and kept their dog on leash and picked up after their pet, it would make for a much nicer experience!
    And quite honestly, having a dog pop out of the bushes every once in a while will make sure you have a good seat!

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  26. My overreaching policy is "on a case by case basis" but I generally think that dogs should be allowed at barns. In all honesty, when I was searching out new potential barns for me and Murray the idea that I couldn't bring my dog (or that she would have to stay on leash the entire time) definitely went in the negative column.

    That being said, I think that dog owners should be HYPER VIGILANT about their dog's behavior at a barn. Obviously the priority at barns are horses and riders, and dogs that run around erratically, leap out and scare people/horses, or are aggressive or agonistic in any way towards people, horses, or barn cats (which are a necessity imo) should be leashed or banned.

    My dog is a much-beloved barn dog, even though she has committed a few sins in her time (namely getting really wet/muddy and then inviting herself into the nearest open care to rub down on the seats). I am very lucky that when this has happened the various vehicle owners are only slightly angry, but I always offer to clean their cars/pay for cleaning, and leash Ellie should they desire. As much as I would be devastated if Ellie couldn't come to the barn, I also understand that it's a privilege, not a right.

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  27. I love barn dogs, and taking my dog to the horses, however I am a 100% lead advocate when anyone is mounted or working their horse for 2 fold reasons.
    1. Barrington is 5 kgs- he'd get smooshed!
    2. I have witnessed faaaaarrr too many accidents caused by loose dogs.

    So yes, bring your pooch- but be a responsible dog owner.

    (also barking dogs are the worst!)

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  28. Eh, my dogs have been to WEF, Global Dressage, Red Hills Horse Trials, Sprieser's FL farm, Longines Miami Beach (which was also their first time at the beach) etc. and are perfectly well-behaved. They will sit quietly in the stadium seating or tiki bar at WEF while the GP is going on, perfectly content and happy. Of course, they are always leashed, and grew up around horses and horse shows, so that's completely normal for them. At the barn, they are off-leash and almost perfectly behaved--they will sometimes go to the fence and bark at the neighbor's 18 (literally) dogs, but are otherwise great. I can't imagine being at the barn without them!

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  29. Having my own barn my dogs are in my barn and it is their favorite place. I have taught them to stay out of where I ride but they aren't perfectly behaved so...I feel that this has also exposed my horses to lots of things. Dogs running by, dogs playing, dogs running into my horse while I'm riding, dogs popping out of bushes, etc. this helps at horse shows because even though dogs must be on a leash at the shows, kids do not. They are equally as unpredictable. All of my horses have handled the transition to showing well and I think it is because I try not to baby them. I only bring my chihuahua to shows because she is well mannered, a horse show veteran, and keeps me company. Unfortunately I also fear her getting eaten because others don't leash their dogs even though it's is a rule :(

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