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Can Dogs and Horses Get Along?

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Guest Blog by: Melissa Kauffman

It is common for horse owners to also own dogs, and the two companion animals can get along brilliantly with one another. However, this does not automatically happen without some effort, training, and integration of the two companion animals, who come from species with quite different natural tendencies.

Is it really true? Do dogs and horses get along? To get the hang of it, continue reading this article.

Can dogs and horses get along?

Yes! It is possible for a dog and a horse to get along just fine. There is a potential for a great and strong bond between dogs and horses. Learn how to get your dog used to being around horses by following these simple instructions.

Not All Dogs and Horses get along.

It is essential to bear in mind that some dog breeds, especially those descended from hunting breeds, can be more prone to attacking horses. Most dogs are just amazed by the sight of a new species, and may react in different ways, ranging from fear, excitement and stress. Some dogs are more prey or chase driven and may attack the horse by jumping or biting them out of fear. If you don't take the time to teach your dog that certain behaviors should be avoided while in the presence of a horse, you might find yourself in quite a mess.

In their desire to escape, frightened horses might injure themselves by tripping and injuring themselves, or they can stampede through a fence or into humans or other barriers, both of which can cause injuries. It is also conceivable for a horse to damage or even kill your dog. A horse that is annoyed or tormented by a dog may easily stomp on, kick, or bite the dog. If your dog continues to annoy or harass the horse, it is likely that the horse may kill your dog.

Slow and steady introductions will win this process of introducing your dog to a horse.

Before Introducing your dog to a horse:

Before introducing your dog to a horse, the first thing to consider is their temperament. Knowing both of your animals' temperaments and if they've previously been exposed to one another before introducing them is essential. What were their initial reactions to one another?

If you have an energetic dog and your horse has never seen a dog before, you may want to start an initial introduction with a calm dog. It's also best to get your dog acquainted with horses that are more relaxed before you introduce him to a more exuberant one so they can get along. Before introducing your dog to a horse, make sure he understands basic obedience instructions and has adequate on- and off-leash control. Another thing you have to consider is how your horse feels when meeting the dog, so horse grooming is very important prior to introduction.

Dog and Horse Interaction; what's the best way to begin?

Because a dog and a horse can't be forced to get along with each other, the procedure should be gradual. In order to help your dog and horse get more comfortable with being around one other, it is important to start slowly.

You may begin by letting your dog smell the barn on their own, without the presence of the horse. Begin the process of acclimatization by taking him for a walkabout on a leash. You may also want to bring your horse's saddle blanket to smell.

Make sure your horse isn't tied up in a pasture so that he may feel free to walk away if he's uncomfortable with the introduction. When you approach your dog on a leash, pay attention to any symptoms of worry or nervousness and shower him with praise and goodies. Take a step with your dog if he begins to display any signs of fear (growls, snarls, hair standing on end, stiff body, etc.)

You'll be able to go closer to the horse without causing any distress to your dog with practice. Make this acclimatization process part of a daily routine so both dog and horse become so used to one another that it is no longer eventful. We want this exposure process to feel very ordinary, non-threatening and not exciting. This may take many weeks to acclimate, so take your time and be patient. Once your dog feels comfortable around the horse in the paddock, you may go on to other settings, such as the barn or a trail.

Train your dog to get along with horses.

If you don't educate your dog to behave respectfully and calmly around horses, you might find yourself in a situation where both your dog and the horse are at risk of being harmed or killed by a fight or flight response. It's ideal to expose a dog to horses when they are a puppy, but that's not always practical.

Precautions and training must be taken to ensure that the dog learns to act correctly among his equine family members if he is adopted or acquired by a horse owner. It might be difficult to educate a dog to behave around a horse if it has a history of being territorial or pursuing other animals. Keeping a respectful distance from the horse's feet is a must for dogs, who should not pursue, leap, or nip. Dogs must learn to be quiet and kind to horses so that neither they nor the horse is endangered in a stressful situation.

Interaction between dogs and horses using play

Is there a good approach to combining the two animals, horses and dogs, if they can get along? So why not have them play together?

Game time is one of the favorite pastimes of both horses and dogs. When they sense that something exciting is about to happen, their behavior changes accordingly. Tails wagging and legs bending and ways dogs begin to show their affection. That's a signal that you're welcome to join in.

When horses are having a good time, studies show that they will behave similarly to dogs. As a result, they are able to form strong bonds via play. It's common for animals to mimic one another's actions and attitudes.

Dogs and horses are free to roam now because of domestication. Domestic pets, despite their origins being predators and prey, are able to coexist peacefully. Playing games connects two different kinds of animals. They benefit from such connections, according to research. While adults enjoy relaxing with games, young representatives are honing their presentation abilities.

It's fascinating to see how diverse animals can come together and communicate using a common love language. It's safe to say that both teams may be able to play together.

In Conclusion:

It's possible to teach dogs and horses to get along. Getting your dog used to horses is all about introducing them gradually so that he doesn't associate them with fear. Repetition in exposure is key to a successful cohabiting relationship. We don't need to force a friendship, but let it grow organically through measures of exposure and training.

The fact that dogs and horses are animals and therefore can be unpredictable is crucial to remember. By training and exposing one another to their presence, we can make progress in helping them form a bond with one another. Because even if you've had your dog around horses for a long time, accidents may still happen, so you need to be cautious and prevent potentially harmful circumstances.

Despite the fact that horses are much bigger and more deadly than dogs, they can absolutely be gentle giants and a genuine relationship may nevertheless be formed between the two species. In reality, the origins of canine-horse bonding remain a mystery.

If you are in the market for a new dog or horse to complete your family, visit our Dog and Equine Adoption pages to view available new best friends!

HSNT - Pets and People, Saving Each Other®

HSNT’s mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.

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