How to Train Your Dogs and Horses to Coexist?

Posted on 9th September 2021

If you plan on making your dogs and horses live together in peace and harmony, follow these tips for them to work well together. 

Most horse owners discover that their love of animals extends beyond horses; many of the riders own dogs and would want to bring them to the stable securely.

Horses and dogs may appear to be natural friends, but they are both dangerous to one other, especially when they are afraid or agitated.

Horse folks are, without a doubt, animal people. When we go out to feed our target equids with our predatory dogs at our heels, however, there is an unavoidable dilemma. Natural impulse in both species can lead to frustration, anxiety, and, in the worst-case scenario, death. Harmony may be achieved with careful planning and training on all sides.

Before we go into the suggestions, remember to always be cautious around horses when you have dogs. Allowing a dog to run wild in paddocks or riding arenas is dangerous, as even a little kick can result in catastrophic damage or death. It is also recommended to employ a trainer for socializing, introductions, and obedience training.

The good news is that many dogs can be trained to feel at ease in the presence of horses. However, being proactive about your pet’s safety is critical. Here are some recommendations for keeping a dog safe near horses.

How to Train Your Animals, to Make Them Adapt to Each Other?

 Now while you’re at it, you might have many questions regarding this issue. Here are some tips and insights, which will help with your confusion.


  1. Know About Your Dog’s Roots


Although a chihuahua may not appear to have much in common with a wolf, domestic dogs do share characteristics with their wild predecessor. Many breeds, for example, have strong impulses to chase and hunt.

A dog is more likely to be terrified by the size of a horse and unusual body language than to view it as genuine prey. However, anxiety can be overcome by the desire to pursue, which is why a frightened dog could rush after a horse that begins to flee. Younger dogs may also want to play, but the horse will not understand due to the absence of a similar body language.

Choose a breed that is suited to the environment they will be living in. It’s critical that the dog’s surroundings be compatible with its breed. Cattle dogs were meant to herd cattle, therefore they will herd cattle, horses, vacuum cleaners, and anything else that moves. That’s what he’s been trained to do; it’s who he is. If individuals just studied the dog breed that is suitable for their environment, rescue kennels would be far less congested.

Dogs such as Goldendoodle have a calmer temperament and are easier to train to adapt. Because of their exceptional disposition, raising a Goldendoodle puppy is great for families. Goldendoodles are clever, loyal, and obedient dogs that are also full of good energy.

This Doodle breed is ideal for families and service dogs because of its temperament. If you’re looking to add a new family member to your home, the Goldendoodle breed should be at the top of your list.

A Goldendoodle is a cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever. Over the last several decades, this Poodle mix has grown in popularity and attracted great attention across the world. Despite its teddy bear-like look, the Goldendoodle’s intellect and commitment make them even more exceptional.

Horses, too, have an innate dread of wolves, and their greatest defense is to flee. A horse may kick if the dog comes too close. This can result in significant damage, as well as placing the rider at risk.

While we want our pets to get along, it’s apparent that neither the horse nor the dog is acting inappropriately. Both of them are behaving in accordance with their inherent characteristics. It is your duty to teach your dog how to be safe with horses.


  1. Socializing Your Horse Would Be a Good Thing for Your Dog


It’s critical that your dog is at ease with horses — and vice versa. This is known as socialization, and it should take place before the two animals are properly introduced.

Puppy socialization is the most effective. This is why, during the developing stages, trainers advocate introducing a dog to as many settings as possible. Adult dogs can still be trained to be comfortable around horses; it just takes a little longer.

Positive connections are the greatest approach to socialize a dog with horses. You should always keep below the threshold of your pet’s fear and gradually raise the intensity at a rate that the animal can handle.

  • To begin, take your dog to a location where he can see a horse in the distance. A barrier should be in place to prevent the horse from approaching to explore, and your dog should always be kept on a leash.
  • Don’t make a big deal about the horse; instead, wait for your dog to see it on its own. When he does, give him a reward and play a toy game with him. When he looks up at the horse, do it again.
  • Return to the same location to practice multiple days in a row.
  • Move a little closer and continue the process once the dog is comfortable with a horse at your present distance. You’ve pushed your dog too far if he displays worry or tension, and you should back away a little.
  • Reduce the distance gradually until your dog is content to be near a horse.
  1. Train Your Dog Accordingly


  • Start by teaching your dog the fundamentals at home. Begin housebreaking pups by teaching them basic instructions such as “come when called,” “sit,” “lie down,” “off,” and “out”.
  • Herding dogs should be given a “whoa.” They’ll automatically form a herd. Putting the whoa on them is the key. Teach dogs to “get it” to help them understand when it’s time to herd.
  • On a leash, practice. Move to the yard, then the barn, once the dog has shown himself in the home. Even if it takes months, keep your dog on a leash until it understands orders completely. Starting the dogs early is the most crucial element of having a well-behaved dog around horses.
  • Socialize dogs with everything they’ll be living with, whether it’s horses, children, or cats. Start them early, and get your dog out in front of those horses as much as possible. The most important point is for the dog to learn to respect the horse’s feet. If you don’t educate your dog to respect a horse’s feet, you’ll have a dead dog in no time.
  • Consider how you’ll introduce your pets to the horses. Begin by holding the puppy as the horse sniffs it, rewarding the dog for its friendliness while ignoring the puppy’s fear. Place the puppy down once it is at ease, and let it become accustomed to the presence of horses. Use an arm extender, such as a riding crop, to push the puppy out of the way if it goes too close to the horse, especially if the animal is exhibiting discomfort.
  • Make sure your canines are ready to accompany you on a horseback ride. Also, your dogs obey your commands in every scenario before allowing them to hang out in the barn.
  • To train your dog, consider utilizing a pressure and release method.
  1. Understand Your Dog’s Body Language


You should keep below your dog’s fear threshold, as we mentioned in the preceding section. It’s crucial to recognize body language that signals fear or defensiveness.

Flattened ears, cowering, and tucking the tail between the legs are the most apparent signs. Barking and snarling are some telltale signs that the dog is unhappy.

However, there are more subtle signs to look out for. Lip licking, panting, dilated pupils, yawning, glancing away from the horse, and pacing are all signs that the dog is unhappy.

Stay cool and put some distance between your dog and the horse if you detect these signs.


  1. Gradually Introduce Them


Slow and steady is the key to a good introduction. Because a dog and a horse can’t be forced to relax around one other, the procedure should be progressive.

Begin by allowing your dog to sniff the barn without the presence of the horse. Take your dog for a walk on a leash to help get adjusted to the new scents and sounds. You may also offer your horse’s saddle blanket for your dog to smell.

After that, you can place your horse in a paddock, but make sure he isn’t tied, so he can escape. Approach your dog on a leash, rewarding him with praise and goodies while keeping an eye out for signs of tension or nervousness. If your dog barks, grunts, or just looks afraid, back off to a safe distance.

You’ll be able to go closer to the horse before your dog becomes anxious over time. This procedure might take weeks, but it’s vital not to rush. You may practice in different locations, such as the barn or on a trail after your dog is comfortable with the horse in the paddock.


The Key is to Make Them Comfortable Around Each Other

Although horses and dogs are not natural friends, they may frequently be trained to accept one another. The goal is to gently expose your dog to horses so that he grows accustomed to them and does not associate them with worry. On top of all these, the health of your horse and dog comes first. As long as they are feeling healthy and comfortable, they are good to go.

It’s crucial to keep in mind, though, that dogs and horses don’t always act the way we expect. Even if your dog has spent years near horses, issues might arise, which is why you must be attentive and prevent potentially hazardous circumstances.

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