The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: chasing the tiger "dog"
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:01 pm
Posts: 1479
Location: Quebec, Canada
I'm having a dilemma. I don't know if I should let my dog loose with my horses. corado is in such a playful mood these days. Will run after Magik and will play for at least 30 minutes (poor Magik).
I have a new dog (adopted him 3 months ago). He's a chocolate lab and is very excited. He has been introduced to the horses and he's not agressive towards them nor are the horses toward him. However...
Corado being such a playful horse, yesterday, I did let Ziggy loose in the pasture where the horses are. Corado came to him immediately and started chasing him like chase the tiger. Ziggy laid down and Corado kicked him, not enough to hurt him because ziggy came running to me. Corado came running to me so I waved my hands. Corado took off in a playful mood towards Magik and continued to play.

Has anyone experienced this. I don't want my dog to be killed but on the other hand I don't want my fears to hold back this relationship. Do horses know their limit? Will the dog stay away from Corado? My goal is to eventually have the dog and horses live in harmony :pray:

Would love to have your opinion and/or feedback.

Thanks.
Jocelyne

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:31 pm 
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Location: Dresden, Germany
My horses are fierce dog chasers and they do NOT seem to know any limits. If they were fast enough to catch a dog, they would bite or kick and Pia would even jump on the dog (she tried that one in the forest once, which is why I never let her walk free when a dog is in sight). But then they don't have their "own" dog and the early experiences they made with dogs (from neighbours) were no good ones: the dog ran towards them, barked at them and chased them - until they turned it around and started chasing the dog.

A friend of mine who has her own dog (and horse) has made sure that nothing went wrong when they got to know each other, and now they love each other. She says the dog believes that the pony was his. I'd have to ask her what precisely she did, though.

What I do with the horses, when there are similar situations between them, is that I let them interact in whatever way they want as long as both of them like it. If one of them gets scared, I step in and protect him/her. Maybe that would work for you, Corado and Ziggy, too?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Canids and equine are natural enemies, yet also natural playmates. A most interesting but I think perfectly normal situation.

Allow your dog Ziggy around your horses for awhile only when the horses are tied or otherwise restricted. The horses need to see him as something other than a predator to be fought off.

Further thoughts:

One of the ways to incite more energy in the game, Chase The Tiger, is to move the target lower to the ground past the front of the horse. That triggers the old fight instinct from "flight or fight." If you do it near the rear of the horse you have a similar effect, but more likely to evoke a flight response. I don't recommend it because should the horse choose the fight response it's going to result in a kick, something I don't want to encourage.

Let me make clear as well that while we describe such behaviors in terms that are human the animals probably experience somewhat differently according to circumstances.

I don't think our domestic dogs, if fed properly, view a horse as a meal, nor do I think the run of the mill horse dog encounter makes the horse think that the dog is out to get him and he must fight the dog off.

From the Mother MareTM perspective these behaviors, stalking and attacking, or running and fighting, are both built in and acquired by practice. Watching young horses at play shows clearly their tendency to buck and kick, feint attacks of biting and striking, as they practice being a horse with each other and with their adult caretakers, mom and aunties.

Puppies roll about with each other mock attacking, chasing, being predator, being prey too, with each other - from instinct and also to acquire a sharpening of their skills.

Both are playing. Play is the work of the child. How they become social and milieu management proficient.

Many, probably most, even all, retain a sense of play if the situation allows for it.

This is why with horse-dog encounters if they are accustomed to each other play is possible - not guaranteed, but possible. If you think about the encounters in this way, first familiarity with lowered risk, and then play dates the play portion can be developed so the triggers - the dog running past or at the horse, or vise versa, doesn't result in injury to either.

There are three times one wants to be careful of not getting kicked by a horse: when they kick out in play, when they kick out in fear aiming carefully, and when they kick out and you don't know the reason - oh, wait, that's all the possible instances. LOL

In other words horses kick and sometimes the best we can do is be alert and keep clear.

Personally I tend to do far more "taming," (desensitization) of the hind quarters than I do the forehand, though I'm perfectly aware that a strike can be as damaging and dangerous as a kick.

The dog has the same problem we do in avoiding the bites, strikes, and kicks of the horse.

As time passes, and it can take a long time, the dog will get the measure of the horse and know how to skirt outside the kick, bite, and strike ranges of the horse. Labs aren't very good at this but they can pick it up. Herding breeds of dogs are often extremely skilled at the game, able to play vigorously and drive the horse about, and also to let the tables turn and take up dodging and running and get the horse to chase them by staying just out of range but still close enough to trigger the horses' fight response.

In other words, playing Chase The Tiger with the horse with their own body as the target. They can become, as Romy pointed out, great friends and companions owning each other sometimes more intensely than a human to horse relationship.

My hunch is Ziggy will be doing some avoiding for awhile until he get's the measure of Corado.

Bonnie is sensitive to scoldings. She has chased and hurt Rio, and I've bawled her out for it, and she has gone off in kind of a huff, but greatly diminished her chasing behavior.

I think Romy most definitely has the solution. Supervised visits. Safety. Intervention when needed.

I become, over the years, more and more convinced that being congruent with the horse is the key. I express my feelings very directly to the horse - approval, or disapproval. It's very Mother Mare like, I think. And handled well and with less anxiety then being too clever and frightening the horse by inconsistency and incongruety. I do NOT smile at that horse when I'm frightened or angry with them. I growl and I yell and I crouch a bit too if I think that much language is needed.

But, like Mother Mare, I am quickly and completely forgiving when the dust settles.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake who has chased Rio many times without catching him very often.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:01 pm
Posts: 1479
Location: Quebec, Canada
thank you both for your advice. My problem is that the horses are never confined. But I'll continue walking the dog in the pasture on leash around the horses hoping that Corado will realize he should treat Ziggy the same way he should treat me. He doesn't chase me so I expect him not to chase Ziggy.
Right after this situation, I decided to walk Ziggy on leash and both horses came running, I again waved my hands in the air. They both left and just stared at us walking around but didn't approach.
I am quite certain Corado only wanted to play because I had introduced Corado and Ziggy a few times, Corado being restrained by a rope tied in the doorway. Ziggy licked his face but being a high energetic dog, his licks were fast and many. Corado didn't move away but felt Ziggy's energy. At one point, Ziggy tried to nip Corado out of playfulness and I said no and backed Ziggy away. then Corado started smelling Ziggy's back and I sensed he wanted to take a nip so I said no and backed him away. I thought by having both in a pasture at liberty, if something was to happen, one or the other could move away fast. I guess I was wrong because Ziggy was kicked with the front legs but he wasn't hurt. That's why I think if Corado really wanted to hurt him, I believe he would have. He is used to dogs but I don't think Ziggy is used to horses. Ziggy seems to be ok (so far) with the horses, it's Corado's play drive I question.

Anyways, I'll keep trying but I will take my precautions that nothing will happen to either.

Again, thank you for your advice. Great hearing from both of you.
Jocelyne

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Jocelyne
[Hug your animals everyday. You never know!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:50 pm 
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Location: Belgium
by the way, I have found that boy horse and girl dog works best.
Does any one else have the same experience?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 2888
Location: Natal, South Africa
Interesting.

I introduced my girl husky (Storm) to Freckles quite soon after I got the horse. Everything went very well. She used to wander around the arena and stable-yard while Freckles and I were playing or riding. I even had the dog accompany us on a few trail-rides, and Freckles would jump if she popped out of the bush unexpectedly but that was all that happened. She would lick his face and he would sniff her and mumble around her fur with his lips - it was great.

Then, one sad and fateful day, the dog had the absolute cheek to appear interested in Freckle's big ball, hula-hoop and frisbee.. :ieks: He got upset and chased her off by trotting mightily with many front-leg strikes at her. It is the only time I have ever seen him do a Spanish Trot and it was very pretty. :funny: Ever since then he doesn't trust dogs, and tries to strike at them. His ears are up when he does it, not pinned back, but it has become an established behaviour in him despite my efforts to change it. :sad:

Now I only allow Storm near him if he has a "low energy" feel about him and if I am there to tell him to stop and her to run for her life. :funny:

It's not all bad news, however. Schatzi and Laska are fine around dogs. At the moment Schatzi is living in my backyard because she cut her chest and needed stitches so I don't want her galloping with the boys and tearing the stitches loose. The dogs have free access to the yard. The only time I have seen some issues is at mealtimes. The young dog has tried a few times to sneak up on the food bucket while Schatzi is eating. The first time I told the dog to back off. The second time I left it for Schatzi to give the lesson. She chased the dog for 3 canter-strides, and the dog now has gained respect for the horse. 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:01 pm
Posts: 1479
Location: Quebec, Canada
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Just wanted to keep you guys updated. As Romy indicated, Corado and Ziggy when together are always supervised. I always let Ziggy loose in the paddock when Corado is calm (morning and afternoon). Ziggy will lick Corado's face. but sometimes, he will walk right behind Corado's hind legs. So far nothing has happened but I usually hold my breath :ieks:

Now my dog is educated and I can concentrate on my horses :applause: :applause: :applause:
I still play with Ziggy in the paddock throwing a tennis ball and he retrieves. The horses are sometimes grazing while we play and they don't seem to be bothered so all is well!!

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Jocelyne
[Hug your animals everyday. You never know!


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