Dogs and Horses: Distant Cousins?

You may think that because of the size disparity, horses and dogs have nothing in common, right? However, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Horses and dogs have way more in common than you might think. For example, the ways they respond to training are very similar.

Knowing the similarities can help if you are the proud and loving owner of both a horse and a dog. With this information, you can easily transition from dog training to horse training, and vice versa.

First, One Small Difference

Before we get into similarities between dogs and horses, there is one minor dissimilarity: fashion!

We love to dress up our dogs, no matter how big or small or small they are. We use sweaters, scarves, t-shirts, you name it. But, the essential dog accessory is their neck bling: a collar! Websites like Dogtelligent have great selections online for quality dog collars.

Now the ideas you’ve been waiting to hear. Here are some ways that dogs and horses are similar.

Horses and Dogs Both Gravitate Towards Humans 

If you’ve ever heard that horses just “know” about a person, the same intuition applies to dogs.

Both of these animals seem to have an innate ability to “sense” the true intentions of a person just by being in their presence. This sense is why dogs make for great companions and protectors.

If you’re ever unsure about a person, or they seem “off” … bring them around a horse or a dog. These animals both have a natural inclination to form deep bonds with humans, and they will want to make sure that you are safe and protected.

Horses and Dogs are Both Powerful and Athletic 

Dogs and horses are primarily the animals you will see competing in shows. This competitive spirit is because both of these animals are incredibly intelligent and willing/able to take orders or follow commands.

Dogs and horses alike tend to want to please their owners, which partially stems from the deep connections they form with their humans.

This tendency also means that if an animal isn’t performing a task properly, it may be due to a misunderstanding rather than rebellion. This knowledge can be helpful when training dogs and horses to perform tricks.

Dogs and Horses Both Love Rules

This idea may sound crazy. Rules are boring and annoying, and animals love to roam free, don’t they?

Well, because dogs and horses are so in tune with humans, they have a desire to please us or at least earn the treat we’re holding in our hands. Consistency allows an animal to become comfortable in their environment.

Constantly changing up the rules or not having a consistent schedule can make an animal feel anxious and confused. This confusion can strain the animal-human relationship and make training more difficult.

Dogs and Horses Love Playing with Their Humans 

 Although horses may look big and intimidating, they’re just big babies who love to roll around in the mud, get dirty, and have a good time. Both horses and dogs love treats and snacks, and they enjoy playtime with their person. A great way to reward your horse or dog is by giving them the thing they want most: quality time with you! (And maybe, also more treats).

Neither animal responds well to harsh, punishment-fueled training. These animals are, at their core, gentle creatures who want to make our lives better. So, rewarding your animal is a great way to reinforce training sessions.

While there are many differences regarding how to train a dog versus a horse, there are also many similarities. If you’re interested in training horses, you can start by preparing a dog. While it won’t be exact, many techniques can be transferred to training horses as well.  

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