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My name's Steve, I have just recently started to research Dog Behaviour along with basic obedience training. I have a friend who lives at some stables near me who is having trouble with her black labrador and I have offered to help teach her dog (well, teach her) how to do a simple recall as it seems that the dog has no eagerness to return. The recall I think I can solve with a couple of different methods, however, its the problem with horses that I really am struggling to find a good method for.
The problem is that the labrador is left to its own whilst on this massive field comprising of several horse yards (most likely because the owner cannot actually perform a successful recall), the dog loves to run, its a Lab afterall, but its fearless of Horses. It runs at them, it unsettles them and despite a couple of months ago when it bothered a horse so much that the horse kicked out and sent the dog across the field, the dog still hasnt learnt to respect the private space of a horse.
Is there any tips from the wise old sages on here on how to go about teaching a dog to stay well away or at least not try and wrestle them? I think the recall would help a bit, but only with the owner's supervision.
If it cant be solved, then I think I would advise the owner to either keep the dog at home (which would be hard seeing as they are in the middle of this bloody great field and it would be unfair on the dog in terms of exercise) or simply re-home their pet. Neither are particularly good options, but both are better than a dead dog which has been trampled on or kicked by a horse.
I might get slammed for this, but we've had to resort to it a couple of times for the safety of the dog and our horses alike......get a shock collar. When hes with the horses make sure he has it on. Watch him and when he goes for the horses dont even say anything just zap him....he;ll associate chasing horses with pain
As I have stated, I am very new to Dog Training (other peoples dogs anyway) and as such, what I may say could just be plain ignorance on my part, so bear that in mind.
I am very opposed to such methods of shock and choke collars, simply because I think any dog can be taught without having to put them in a painful scenario. Like I said, that could just be ignorance on my no-clued up butt more than anything else.
However, its similar to the 'if you could cure cancer by killing one child, could you do it?' theory of picking the lesser of two evils. I think that sort of method you posted is more or less a 'last resort' and it would be a path I would want to avoid. Especially seeing as I am looking to do this full time after the relevant training and courses, I do sit firmly on the 'no shock/choke collar' and I would be extremely hesitant to use either, especially on my first 'practice' with someone else's dog.
Thanks for your input though, was informative. However, as I sai, I want to venture down all the other avenues first, so any other methods?
JayF, what a fantastic site! So much information and a lot of free eBooks to boot.
The only thing I could find regarding horses was a training DVD for $40, is there a direct link you could refer me to as you seem to know the site better than I do.
I am looking for free info for now as all the money I have is going towards rent as well as online courses, so anything additional such as a DVD would probably be covered in the course no doubt, and would, for now, be a fix to a problem that I am volunteering to do for no charge, not to mention I'm based in England.
But again, great link, would appreciate similar links like this one.
While I think a shock collar would work, I would start by working the dog in a less difficult situation on a long-line.
There is a GREAT DVD called "Really Reliable Recall" that I've found very useful for clients with dogs who have an established history of NOT coming when called. It's available on Amazon and via Dogwise.com (And, if you're going to pay the shipping on a Dogwise order and are thinking about becoming a trainer, I'd recommend buying copies of EXCEL-arated Learning, Clicker Training For Obedience, Brenda Aloff's books, Control Unleashed, Don't Shoot The Dog, and The Culture Clash, although those last two can probably be purchased locally in the UK- I think you must be from the UK. :P We call horse yards paddocks or pastures, usually, here in the US. :P)
Loose dogs around horses is one of my biggest pet peeves. I had to carry a dying beagle half a mile home after she was trampled by my horses because her owner assumed she'd figure it out on her own. I really hope the owner isn't allowing the lab off leash until his recall is 100%, it's not worth the risk to either him or the horses.
Thanks for the reply Dogstar, I'll definitely look into buying some of those books (found the majority of them on amazon.co.uk, so I think next weeks wages will be going there!). I am from Surrey, UK (about 15 miles south of London), which seems to be covered by Paddy once in a while, when she comes down here, but Lincoln is smack bang in the Midlands which is a few hours drive away (other side of the country as far as us Southerners are concearned in this reasonably small sized country).
But I'll contact her and see when she is next down here.
As for Ed Frawley, I have read a few of his ebooks already and it focuses a lot on agressive dogs due to his Police Handler experience, but then he works a lot with working dogs such as GSD's, so it's to be expected, all Police Dog Handlers seem to be strict and have a no nonsense attitude. We have a similar type of famous-ish handler here in the UK, so I will definitely take his advice in the right way. But as I say, I'm looking to jump in at the deep end and gather as much info as possible, even if it is advice on dealing with agressive dogs and how to break up a dog fight, which was a good, informative and read that could save your life.
With regards to clicker training, I'm still indifferent. Whilst I understand the benefits of it being quicker to time when teaching a dog, I do feel that it takes away that bond of Human and Dog slightly. Speech is the best way to communicate with a dog as it keeps it feeling like its getting the attention it wants. A clicker to me, seems a little I dunno, like operating your dog like a robot with a click, if you get me.
Still, its an ignorant view as I have yet to use one on my Malamute and find voice commands as more of a bonding and personal experience. If anyone has used one and can give me some sort of personal experience with them, that would be nice.
Although ultimately, I am still looking for methods on teaching this black lab to stay away from the horses or at least respect them.
Sorry to hear that Flygirl
Unfortunately, this owner is letting her off the lead (leash), as its the dog's home in essence. Its also why I am wasting no time in getting to these stables (paddocks) to see the dog, its behaviour and how I can start getting the recall. The owner works all day at these stables and the work is so demanding that she doesnt have the time to exercise the dog in the working day.
Its idiotic I know, and I firmly believe that Dog Training is still far much more about Human Training in Handling Their Dogs, but dogs and stables are very common here, its very very rare to go to stables or farms without seeing a dozen dogs.
Even if I nail the recall and get the dog to learn a different recall command or something, the dog is still going to be running around stables with horses. If anything, I need to train the dog so that it just sees horses as part of the furniture (without chewing on it of course!) and just ignore them and keep its distance.
But I dunno, the dog loves horses. I cant say anything more about its behaviour as I have yet to see him, but I should know more tomorrow.
Last edited by Barking_Mad; 01-11-2008 at 03:20 PM.
Reason: Automerged Doublepost
I'll be honest. if the client is not listening to you? Don't take the client. The owner doesn't care enough to make it worth wasting your time on, although I do think that exepreince working with dogs other than your own benefits the trainer.
The thing also about clicker training, is that not every dog you work with- as a professional- will have much- or any- of a relationship with you. My spitz (German mittelspitz, which you'll probably encounter a pet one sooner or later :P) is an independent, food-motivated little cuss. She's a doll. She's a BLAST to train for me- who she is very bonded to and convinced that I am the Source Of All Good Things. Other people? Not so much. Petting's good, but she's not very inclined to listen to them. However, clicker lets me hand her off to other people- because even if she doesn't care about their praise, she sure as heck knows what that clicker means. A person with a clicker (and I ususally have new folks handling her (in her case, it's my training partner and her husband, occasionally doggie friends) start with a sit (her strongest default behavior) and click for that (I've faded the click all other times, but it signels that "Hey, I have a clicker and you can get food from me if you do stuff that I might like" to her- she knows THIS human can be trained to give her treats for being cute and sitting or downing! (And yes, she's pretty sure she is training us. :P)
Control Unleashed's counterconditioning will be somewhat useful around the horses, but you need to first stop allowing the dog to reherse the bad behavior. While I'm not usually a fan of tie-outs, she needs to be tied out or crated so that she CANNOT CHASE HORSES any more. It's a fun, self-reinforcing bheavior ,and you will not every have any real success for it as long as you allow it to continue.
Granted, the clicker training does have some advantages, but if I was to help people train their dogs, it'll more than likely be a pet who they wouldn't leave with anyone else.
If I was say, a dog handler for the Police, Blind or Deaf association, then I can see the appeal as you will at some stage, hand the dog back to the owner and the clicker is an easy transition and easy to understand for the dog itself. But when you have owners who just simply shower their love for their dog, I can see a clicker as being slightly indirect in that sense, somewhat formal.
I couldn't use a clicker with my dog, simply because he reacts well enouh to my voice, but because I would see the clicker as something that would take over my voice which the dog loves hearing (I do have a great voice, it has to be said ). I think I'll do some further research into it and will try it with someone else's dog at some point and see how it goes.
As for the stable dog, the recall right now is my main target, I have studied a few different methods from the internet and have 1 or 2 to try tomorrow and will tell the owner to keep on working with the dog over the next week for 5-10 mins at least each day, try calling him with treats and try and get the possible negative 'come' command out of his head once and for all and learn that his owner is his life machine, so to speak.
I have only just tonight heard about these crates, so I will go and learn about them so more, but for the time being, a tie out may be the short term solution until I crack it.
By the way, Mal looks like she is a real happy dog, very nice breed as well, not too disimilar to the Dobies and Rotties. Great dogs.
I own/run a boarding barn, or livery/stable I think is what you would call it? It is also my home and home to 2 dogs. At no time are they off leash around the horses or goats. Personally if I had my horses at a barn where the barn owners allowed dogs to chase the horses, my horses would be outta there in a heartbeat. Nothing good can come of it.
I will say it is possible, and takes alot of work. I've known many wonderful barn dogs, but it's just not a risk I'm willing to take with mine. Especially since my mares take great delight in chasing anything that enters their pasture.
Wanted to add- I agree with Dogstar, the lab needs to be either tied or crated while at the barn. My Sheltie accompanies me to the barn everyday and she is always tied or on leash. I tie her in the area we use for grooming and give her her breakfast(or dinner). She eats and is quite content to watch. Then during turnout(or when letting the horses up to the barn) she walks with me on leash. If things are too hectic(farrier or vet out) then she goes in an empty stall or feed room. She loves her time at the barn and knows when I'm putting on my barn clothes where we're going.
I know you are against the shock collar, but I really think this a time when it would be very useful. Before my Mom used one on her Westie for barking problems(yes it was a last resort), I shocked myself with it. Barely a tingle! You can also get them with a warning tone.
You can try the techniques used to train herding dogs.
Usually a big walking stick is used to redirect the dog when he goes for the sheep, they eventually learn the distance they must keep. So I’m thinking that you can create an area around the horse that the dog must respect... is going to take time, and the dog must be keep apart unless in training. Also he has to have really firmed his basic commands. Stay, go, walk, stop, down, etc.
And off course the recall.
Thanks for the replies guys. I have started to retrain the dog in recall and it went okay today. I have taught the dog that if he comes, he'll get a reward more than a punishment (such as playtime is over,seeing as all day for him is playtime), so I have instructed the owner to just keep praisinghim and rewarding him with the recall, so that the dog can associate 'come' as a good thing.
I also recommend the owner to a crate and an e-collar (begrudgingly, but its far better than a dead dog) which I said she needs to shock once as soon as the dog bolters for a horse, definitely not when its been playing around a horse for the past 20 minutes as it wont be able to understand why its been shocked and will more than likely confuse him to associate with something completely different.
I'm going to go back in a weeks time and see how the dog is getting on. Thanks for all your comments once again guys, much appreciated.
I'll be honest, recommending an e-collar when you don't have training in how to use it yourself is very irresponsible. That was NOT a good professional decision nor professional advice.
Sorry BarkingMad, but I would have to agree with Dogstar on that. If you want to be able to advise someone to get and use and electric collar then you need to also be able to advise them in how to use it. You can hurt a dog with an e-collar. I have seen great dogs ruined by improper use of e-collars. I would suggest that you work with some other skilled trainers that have a lot of experience using them and learn how to use them yourself. There are a few times when I believe they are the perfect tool and working with horse chasing dog might just be one of them. The dog has to know the recall first. The e-collar is then a correction for not listening when called. I completely understand that you are doing your best to help this person and I respect that. Your career in animal training can get off to a very bad start if you cause the dog to attack and permanently injure a horse because the dog thinks the horse did something to it. I have witnessed horses picking up very large dogs with their teeth and flinging them across the pasture. I have also seen dogs get kicked and killed by horses. Please use caution.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Gandhi
I told her that if she buys an e-collar, to also buy some sort of information book about how to use the collar and to read it thoroughly first and to also seek professional advice before using it.
I think I convinced her with a crate though as she too didnt like the thought of them, also to which I suggested a good guide book in using the crate to accompany it.
I'll be back there next week and it appears that she has kept to keeping him in the house for the time being, until the recall is working 100%.
I did tell the owner from the off that this woul be my first time working with someone else's dog and whilst I may be able to offer her some form of advice, its still best to get a 2nd opinion. Possibly something I will keep saying until I am utterly confident in my abilities.
Last edited by Barking_Mad; 01-13-2008 at 09:29 AM.
All the training in the world, if the dog is not properly exercised, so he can spend the pent up energy, won’t do any good.
I may be wrong, but by your post it seems that no body pays any attention to the dog, except few minutes to feed him.
No one walks or plays with him. And then they don’t want him to chase horses. Don’t think so.
The dog has to be exercised properly; the first thing that I would recommend the owner is a 45 to 60 minutes. walk/run, if they have the horses, may be he can learn to properly walk/run with them when riding. or something of the sort. this dog needs a job, been a gun dog, he has to be able to learn how to retrieve, been that a Frisbee or a ball or a bird, it dont matter, but some one has to challenge this dog, just then he will redirect his energy from horses to his new job...
I have horses and occasionally I take Sabina with me to the barn to get her "barn friendly." Although, she comes when I call for her, I never dare to take her off the leash (at least not any time soon). The first thing I did was get her use to my mare, although a wonderful horse in general, she does have her moods and often demands respect from other animals and her pasture-mates before settling in and being "friendly." The first thing I did was open her stall door a crack, just enough so the dog would stick her nose in and smell what was in there. If Sabina got too excited I would give her a quick jerk on the leash and said "NO." I made her sit for a bit and once she calmed down I let her take a smell again... I repeated the process until she remained calm. I then opened the stall door a bit wider so my mare could stick her head out and let the 2 sniff each other. If I saw that my mare was getting a bit pissy or if Sabina was getting overly excited, I would talk to both of them, back the dog off, and wait until both animals returned to a neutral state of mind. I also put my horse in cross ties in the isle, brought Sabina toward her in a diagonal fashion towards the front of my mare's shoulder so she could easily see her coming. I let them smell each other and just get use to have each other around.
Sabina LOVES my horse (she tries to jumps up to give her kisses, brings her a ball to play with)...the mare, isn't really returning the affection... but she did end up stating her power and dominance to Sabina and in return tolerates her to a certain degree. They still need a bit of work but the overall structure of respect is there....just take baby steps especially when working around such powerful animals. Since horses are creatures of flight, their initial response is to flee at the sight of danger... if they cannot gt away, that's when the fight comes in... the main goal is not to upset the horse.
If the lady's dog keeps running off...she would always keep it on a leash, maybe either tether the leash to a belt loop on her pants or whatever...that way they dog will have to follow her wherever she goes and thus would help the dog see her as the pack leader.
How is the dog besides not recalling? Does it respond to other commands or could it possibly have hearing loss?
If nothing else works, I also recommend the shock collar, but make sure she knows how to appropriately use it.
Yeah if she can't catch or call him successfully...kennel the dog when you can't watch it.
A dog that can't be trusted with livestock is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off; and either he's going to start biting heels, or the horses are going to kick him so hard that he get's seriously injured; even kicked or stomped to death. And if he starts running (if she can't recall him, then chances are she probably doesn't even know where he is half the time), and chases other owner's livestock, he can be shot...and I am totally serious about that one; every state has laws protecting livestock owners from dogs chasing and potentially harming their livestock.
Originally Posted by filox
The dog has to be exercised properly; the first thing that I would recommend the owner is a 45 to 60 minutes. walk/run, if they have the horses, may be he can learn to properly walk/run with them when riding. or something of the sort. .
I would not suggest trail riding with this dog; a dog MUST be well trained in basic obedience skills in order to be trustworthy on the trail with a 1200 lb fight or flight animal undersaddle!! The dog is said, already, to chase horses...all it would take is for him to decide to chase the rider's horse while on the trail, and the person could get thrown and injured; no horse is unflappable when a dog all of a sudden decides he is going to go after him...he's going to run, spook, buck, or fight... Obedience first...trail rides after that is complete!
Last edited by Love's_Sophie; 01-13-2008 at 08:30 PM.
Reason: Automerged Doublepost