Horse and hound – a great team

A ride out in the warm August sun, past the stubble fields and green meadows is simply glorious. Dogs also love to come along on such trips. Many proud horse owners share their lives just as much with a tail-wagging quadruped and like taking Fido along. But it’s a precondition that dog and horse accept each other.

For starters

Both dog and horse must be gently and lovingly familiarised with each other. Fido has to learn that he’s not to bite the horse’s tail or nip its fetlocks (herding dogs in particular tend to do this). Suppress this with a strict “No!” This type of doggie behaviour is not only unpleasant for the horse, but it can also be very dangerous for the dog by getting a good kick from the horse. It’s precisely for this reason that paddocks are also a taboo for dogs. Also don’t let him run free on pastures and chase the horses! The hoofed creatures will get a fright. When you’re saddling and cleaning your horse, Fido should be well behaved and lie down. Build this practice up slowly and keep going over to him in the beginning to praise him and give him a little treat.

The horse, too, has to learn the basic rules – not to snap at the dog or kick him. You can also teach him some things with a decisive “No!”

Practice makes perfect

For a relaxed ride it is very important that your dog comes when called every time. Because it can be difficult for you to jump down from the horse and catch him again. You can practice this in the yard and, indeed, with positive back-up (praise and treats). The horse has to get used to standing still for the time being. It’s practical for the ride to teach Fido the command “Side!” This corresponds to the signal word “Heel!” and means that he should trot alongside on the left or right of the horse without veering far. You can teach this, too, rewarding with ample titbits which you can reduce as the drill increases in reliability. In the process, Fido also has to know that he mustn’t jump up at the horse. With a bit of patience and this good preparation you’ll soon be able to ride relaxed through the summer and both horse and hound will become a great team!
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