When dogs have to meet another animal, like a horse, they might be frightened or be a little cautious depending on how you’re effective in introducing both of them. Sometimes, it also depends on how sociable your dog is.
For dogs, it’s quite daunting for them to be introduced to a horse. Horses are bigger than the majority of dogs and make some funny noises that dogs might not be familiar with. The best way to introduce your dog to a horse is by doing it at a distance and make sure that your dog is comfortable with it, so they can effectively cope with the possible changes.
If you want to have a positive experience when it comes to introducing your dog to your horse, don’t rush anything. You shouldn’t also engage your dog with any chasing as this can be dangerous, not just for your dog, but also for your horse.
More often than not, there are some dog breeds that are better around horses, but it depends on the obedience and temperament of a dog. It’s a good idea to introduce your dog to horses as early as possible.
Below are some of the ways to introduce your new pet dog to your horse:
Bring Your Dog on a Leash
If your dog is well-behaved, you don’t have to worry too much. However, it doesn’t mean that you should not bring their leash.
Since it’s your dog’s first time to meet your horse, bring them to the barn on a leash and observe how they react with your horse and the new surroundings. Bringing some quality treats, especially those from Pet Honesty, may also come in handy, especially if your dog shows their bad behavior, like chasing and barking.
Teach Your Dog about the Horse Rules and Your Barn
As early as possible, you have to teach your dog regarding your barn and the horse rules. It’ll ensure success in the end.
The first thing that you should do is to let your dog get comfortable with the new surroundings by walking them around. This will let your dog be familiar with the new smells and sights.
Consider Nose-to-Nose Introduction
If your dog is already familiar and comfortable with the new surroundings of your barn, it’s time for you to introduce them to your horse. If possible, introduce a horse that’s comfortable around dogs. If your horse isn’t used to being around with dogs, you must have an experienced handler to take care of your horse for you to know how your dog will react to your horse.
If your horse or dog sniffs one another, let them do what they want. However, if your dog responds nervously or aggressively through snapping, growling, or barking, correct their behavior and keep them away from your horse. If everything goes smoothly, try walking your dog around your horse.
For safety purposes, keep a distance and make sure to do this several times until both of them are comfortable. You may do this for weeks or longer, depending on how both behave with each other.
But, time isn’t really important. What’s crucial is that your dog becomes familiar with horses without showing any signs of fear or aggression.
Always Start At A Distance
Keep your dog at a distance while your horse is secured in the field. Keep them on the lead and ask your dog to sit.
To keep their attention, reward and praise your dog. If your dog is calm, move them a bit closer to your horse. If they remain calm, don’t forget to reward and praise him.
Decrease the distance gradually until your dog becomes familiar with your horse’s smell.
Training is the Key
No matter your reasons for why you get a dog and want to introduce them to your horse, training is always important as both animals require basic and reliable skills. This will help you manage both effectively and avoid possible problems.
Your horse must stand quietly and be responsive to your commands. Your dog must learn how to sit and remain in that position for a few moments. Teaching your dog some commands will benefit you once you introduce them to your horse.
Ask for Professional Help If Needed
If you really want your dog and your horse to get along well, you don’t have to do everything on your own. You can always ask for assistance when introducing your dog to your horse.
It’s because no matter how well you train your dog, you can never be sure about their emotions or behavior once they met your horse. Always expect the worst things, so you can be prepared and avoid some things that might go out of hand.
If you have some concerns that your horse or dog will act out or get frightened, a professional’s help may also come in handy. Watch for any signs of over-arousal or anxiety and take things slowly. It’s better to be cautious with every action you do as you introduce your dog to your horse than to solve problems after having a negative experience for both animals.
When looking for a professional, make sure that you hire someone who has years of experience with dogs and horses. Don’t just hire somebody who isn’t familiar with how horses and dogs behave or interact with one another.
This will not just save you time and money, but it’ll also help you ensure that your horse and dog will have a positive experience after introducing them with each other.
Teach Your Dog to Respect Your Horse
For their safety, it’s vital that your dog knows how to respect your horse. Horses are known for their binocular vision, which means that they have blind spots behind them. Because of this, they cannot see your dog if they’re in the blind zone of your horse.
If your dog is loose and doesn’t respect the space of your horse, they might get stepped on or kicked easily. If you have an aggressive or playful dog, it can result in serious injuries or even death.
That’s why you have to teach your dog how to respect your horse and always use one of the best dog harnesses to ensure that your dog will remain in their usual position when you bring them in your barn.
Don’t Force Your Dog and Horse
There are times that some dogs and horses are not comfortable with one another. If it’s the case with you, don’t force your dog or horse. This will just result in a bad experience.
Aside from that, if it’s your first time to introduce your dog to a horse, you should always be alert and observe any behavior that both animals show, so you can easily resolve everything.
Teach Your Dog To The Off-Limit Areas
You have to teach your dog about the off-limit areas, such as paddocks, round pens, or riding arenas.
If there’s someone riding your horse, having your dog on the loose may not be a good idea. But, if you’ve taught your dog the things that are off-limits, there’s nothing to worry about.
Sometimes, Horses Can Be Intimidating for Dogs
When compared to other livestock, horses are big. For many dogs, the size of a horse can be a bit intimidating. Although they’re used to some animals, it’s unlikely for them to come across something big like a horse. Thus, when dogs notice a horse, they might be intimidated and become fearful.
Thus, it’s important to observe the body language of your dog. The reason behind it is that an anxious or fearful dog may react in various ways. You should also keep in mind that it’s a stress response, so they may choose to freeze or fight. They might become aggressive as well as bark non-stop. They may also try to run away.
So, always expect the unexpected and don’t punish your dog no matter what their behavior is.
Meeting Other Horses and Dogs
Even if your dog and horse are comfortable with one another, you cannot guarantee how they will behave once they meet other dogs and horses, particularly the ill-behaved ones on the trails.
To avoid any possible problems, keep the following in mind:
● Use a pepper spray on the unruly dogs that threaten your dog or horse. But, you should dismount before you use the spray because the sound of a pepper spray might agitate your horse.
● Ask your friends to bring their dogs with them whenever you’re in the barn. This will help your horse feel more comfortable around other dogs.
● If your horse is frightened over a nearby dog, keep your horse relax and keep that dog away from your horse.
If your dog is stubborn, you might have to reinforce your rules firmly for a certain period of time. But, you have to remember that there are dogs that don’t get along with horses. Moreover, horses may be very aggressive to dogs.
One wrong move may cause injuries to your horse or dog. So, make sure to use your judgment to decide what’s best for your dog and horse. If possible, you can work with an expert when introducing your new pet dog to your horse.