Farm dogs are common — they herd sheep in the fields, love running with horses, and are helpful in many ways like protection and companionship. But before you decide to add a new dog to your farm, make sure you acquire the supplies you need.
In addition to food, water, and grooming supplies, you’ll need an indestructible dog bed. Because many dogs experience chewing or nervous destructive behavior when they are in a new place, they’ll need a safe and warm place to sleep that will not easily be chewed or broken down.
After that, making sure the pooch gets comfortable with the horses and other animals will be, potentially, a very tricky step. Here are some tips and tricks for helping this go smoothly.
Know the Animals Before Introductions
It is important that you get to know if the canine has any aggressive tendencies around food, toys, or other animals before taking them to meet the horses. Some dogs are naturally comfortable around horses or grew up with them, while others may be terrified and have a defensive reaction to the animals.
Spending a few days doing basic obedience training will help you control the dog around the horses and other animals when they meet.
Start Introductions With Horses at a Distance
When you feel comfortable with the horse who will meet the dog, start the process with the pup from at least 20 feet away from the horse with treats on hand. Watch carefully to see how your dog reacts to seeing the horse for the first time.
If you see any aggressive behavior from the dog, do not reprimand or reinforce it. Instead, wait calmly for a few minutes until it realizes that there is no danger. Having it sit or do a basic trick will help it think and redirect its attention.
When the dog quiets down for a moment, reward him with a treat. Repeat this process again at about 15 feet away from the horse, and again at 10 feet. This will help your pup learn not to fear the horses at the barn.
Train Your Farm Dog Daily
All pooches benefit from having routines and training, and farm dogs are no exception to this. Having a daily training routine for your canine pal that is specific to the barn and house rules will immediately improve behavior and help your new barn buddy adjust to farm life.
Daily training will also help you bond with your farm dog because you get to know them well, and they get to know you during the process of basic obedience training. This can also help you know how to train your dog if there are any specific tasks they must do or must not do around the farm. It will give you the ability to stop bad barn behaviors if they arise.
Keep Up With Grooming
A necessary task with a barn dog is grooming, when they spend lots of time outdoors, they are likely to become dirty, matted, or have fleas and ticks from the outdoors. You must brush them a few times a week and check them over for any potential pests and bugs. Grooming is important both for cleanliness and for your dog’s health.
Giving them a flea and tick medicine monthly is also highly recommended to protect your pup. This helps them stay healthier, and keeps your home and your barn cleaner.
Introducing your new farm dog to the horses and animals at the barn should be done with extreme caution to keep both the new pup and your horses safe. Once your canine is comfortable with the other animals, keep training the dog daily and grooming every other day. Keeping up with all of these will help you bond with the new pup and help them adjust to being a well-mannered farm-hand!