How to Socialize Your Dog to Horses

How to Socialize Your Dog to Horses

Many dog owners are also horse owners. And it would be nice to go out and enjoy your horse with your dog has company. Horses are prey animals, and dogs are predators. Some dog breeds have particularly strong prey drive and instinctually they want to chase and attack the horses. As a responsible dog owner, it’s your job to protect both the horse and the dog when trying to introduce them to each other.

First introduction of dog to horse

When you are first introducing your dog to a horse, it’s best to find a very calm horse to start with. Find a horse that already is accustomed to dogs and does not fear them. You should have your dog on a leash and have someone else holding the horse. As you bring the dog closer to the horse, be sure to keep an eye on your dog’s body language. If they are looking too intently or excited at the horse, there’s a possibility that when they get close enough they will try to bite the horse. If your dog looks curious, but also a little wary then you can try to approach the horse a little closer. If your dog remains calm, you can allow him to reach his nose out to sniff the horse. Do not allow your dog to get near the horses hind feet as a horse may kick out of fear if the dog makes any sudden moves. Ideally you want your dog to sniff noses with the horse and then back away.

What to do if your dog becomes aggressive

If you have taken all the proper precautions and your dog suddenly lunges out at the horse when it’s close, the best thing you can do is get the horse and the dog away from each other as quickly as possible. Give your dog a strong and clear “No” and possibly a jerk on his collar to let him know that behavior is unwanted.

Some dogs are never able to be around prey animals like horses, sheep, or goats. They just cannot control their natural instincts to chase and capture prey. If this is the case for your dog, do not risk your dogs health or the horses health by trying to make them get along.