How to stop my dog from chasing/herding the horses?

sandi_84

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Sorry this is quite long :eek:

It may be a difficult one as she's a collie so obviously natural instinct takes over :eek:

This has only recently cropped up :( Poppy used to be terrified of the horses and wouldn't go anywhere near them but over the last few months she's become more comfortable around them and has never shown any indication of being at all interested in them till this week.... usually she just potters about the field playing with the jolly ball but this week she has tried to herd the horses 3 times! :eek:

The first time I was trying to catch Pippa - who knew something was up and was playing catch me if you can and running round me in circles - and my dog Poppy came over and started barking and effectively chasing her/ herding her.

Then she did it yesterday when mum was riding in the field - Poppy barked and chased her again.

And again today, we were stood chatting to my sharer and suddenly Poppy was off herding the horses again :mad:

Everytime she's done it I've shouted "NO!" in my biggest baddest voice, recalled her, made her lie down and when I move off I make her stick like glue to me. I'm going to have to attach her to me by the long lead until I can fully trust her not to do this anymore because it's not good for the horses and if Poppy gets a kick it'll be bye bye dog! :(

Thinking back on it I think that everytime she's done this has been when I've put the ball away because either there is someone riding and a dog running around trying to get you to play ball by dropping it at your (and the horses) feet is a recipie for disaster or like today because the sharer had her dog in the field too and Poppy get's possessive over toys.... should I just not put the ball away? :confused:

Anyone got some good tips on how to stop her from doing this in future please?
 

CorvusCorax

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Until you get it cracked then yes, I would physically prevent her by keeping her on a lead or putting her in a kennel or stable while people are riding.

The ball thing is a tricky one, the purist would say the dog should obey you and not chase the horses and you should not bribe/divert her by giving her a ball/bribe!
You would effectively be held to ransom in terms of, if I don't get a ball I will chase the horses instead.

But at the same time it could be argued that you are giving her a diversion and taking her attention off the horses and if it works it works.

It certainly appears that she needs some occupation, she is a working breed and not all breeds can be expected to potter around the yard and suit themselves, if she's anything like mine, if I don't give him a purpose/something to do/think about, he will find his own fun with disastrous results! However now he is older and capable of a bigger workload he is much more chilled out when he is not working.

Anyhoo, a long line will physically prevent her from chasing the horses and you could also give her a correction if she looks like she is thinking about chasing. Once she has zoned back to you, reward with food or a game.

These things do need to be trained though and can take time/thousands of repetitions and lots of consistency.
 

sandi_84

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Thanks for replying!

I'll keep her on the lead for when there are people riding and a long line otherwise for a wee while just to be able to control her if I need to.

She's usually so good just happily playing with the ball so I really think that was what the trouble was and she just got bored :( Oops I won't make that mistake again.... again :rolleyes:

Is it the right thing to do when she goes to chase to shout "NO!" and then make her come back and lie down next to me or should I do something else?
 

ladyearl

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As you've quite rightly realised she's simply doing what she's bred to do so if you call her back you need to "work" her in other words she'll be looking for her next command and if you don't give it then she'll go out again to do her "job". So I would suggest calling her back and diverting her to another activity. I'm not a fan of shouting no as I don't really think it's going to re shape her behaviour and she might just end up confused and slightly concerned that you are shouting at her. I'm also not a huge fan of leaving collies to their own devices - they're too smart for that and leads to trouble.

Mine is either tied up outside the stables or in my van resting if I am not able to give her attention. She doesn't really mind at all because quite often when the horses are done and eating their feed and having a chill out in their stable I will get her out and do some concentrated training with her which is more rewarding for her and tires her out more anyway.
 

sandi_84

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As you've quite rightly realised she's simply doing what she's bred to do so if you call her back you need to "work" her in other words she'll be looking for her next command and if you don't give it then she'll go out again to do her "job". So I would suggest calling her back and diverting her to another activity. I'm not a fan of shouting no as I don't really think it's going to re shape her behaviour and she might just end up confused and slightly concerned that you are shouting at her. I'm also not a huge fan of leaving collies to their own devices - they're too smart for that and leads to trouble.

Mine is either tied up outside the stables or in my van resting if I am not able to give her attention. She doesn't really mind at all because quite often when the horses are done and eating their feed and having a chill out in their stable I will get her out and do some concentrated training with her which is more rewarding for her and tires her out more anyway.
Ok that's great thank you :)
 

CorvusCorax

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I would issue some sort of correction or distraction if she looks as if she is thinking about it (not during or on her way - no point) and then give her a purpose/reason to come back to you when she does - make listening to you and being with you more pleasurable than chasing the horse. We can be awfully boring creatures, us humans, then blame the dog for going off and finding something more fun to play with! Give her a game as opposed to just depositing something. YOU be the game/distraction, YOU give the ball, YOU play with her, with the ball, it's your ball and you give it to her when she does something good.

And don't pretend not to be grumpy, it doesn't work, trust me!!!
 

Aru

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she is a collie doing what is natural to her....and the herding instinct is a strong one. So trying to break her out of this is not going to be easy as herding is very rewarding physically and mentally to this breed.

You either need to keep her constantly occupied..physically and mentally when on the yard..or she will occupy herself in the most rewarding way.

I would just restrict her from the horses tbh...
Unlike sheep and to a certain extent cattle,Horses dont always take well to herding and there is a strong possibility due to her lack of experience herding that she may try to nip at their heels....and end up with a boot in the face for it..so I would take this fairly seriously..

I wouldnt be a hugh fan of shouting at her while shes in this mode either ,unless its to divert her attention to another thing...ie recall her away from the horses/give her the command to lay down etc then call her off once you have broken her focus...just yelling NO at her wont fix the issue in the long term as the drive to herd will always be there as a temptation.
 

sandi_84

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I would issue some sort of correction or distraction if she looks as if she is thinking about it (not during or on her way - no point) and then give her a purpose/reason to come back to you when she does - make listening to you and being with you more pleasurable than chasing the horse. We can be awfully boring creatures, us humans, then blame the dog for going off and finding something more fun to play with! Give her a game as opposed to just depositing something. YOU be the game/distraction, YOU give the ball, YOU play with her, with the ball, it's your ball and you give it to her when she does something good.

And don't pretend not to be grumpy, it doesn't work, trust me!!!
Yes if I see her doing the collie stare herd stance at cars I tell her to leave which breaks her focus (she hasn't attempted to herd a car for a good year and a half if not more - she's always on the lead roadside) so I think I'll use this and then once the focus on the horses is broken reward with the ball - she's very tennis ball orientated and they are great for being popped back in a pocket when not in use :D

How do you mean don't pretend not to be grumpy? I don't get mad at her for doing it as it's my fault for not keeping her occupied, I just feel a bit embarrassed now because I could have prevented this situation with a little thought :eek:

she is a collie doing what is natural to her....and the herding instinct is a strong one. So trying to break her out of this is not going to be easy as herding is very rewarding physically and mentally to this breed.

I would just restrict her from the horses tbh...
Absolutely, I know she's just displaying her bred in the bone herding instinct :eek:

I can't really restrict her as in not take her otherwise she'd be on her own in the house for a good few hours and even though she could cope I wouldn't want to leave her alone for that long if I can help it. I'll take her up but tether her whilst riding is going on and otherwise long line her if we are in the spare paddocks and normal length (long-ish) lead for when I'm poo picking unless she's playing with the ball.

There is a neighbour at the field who loves her and actually asks to play ball with her, he'll stand for hours throwing the ball for her when he's home - it's very sweet really and I know this is a bit naughty but it's nice to know she's being kept occupied while I do the dog boring groomin or poo picking :eek:
 

CorvusCorax

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I mean, try to drop any sort of anger, frustration, emotion when you are recalling her or working with her, she will pick up on this and be less likely to return/want to spend time with you.
 

sandi_84

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I mean, try to drop any sort of anger, frustration, emotion when you are recalling her or working with her, she will pick up on this and be less likely to return/want to spend time with you.
Oh aye! I'm never mad at her when I recall her :D and I know not to tell her off when she comes back to me - totally counterproductive as she'd think she's getting a row for good recall! Keep trying to tell my sister that with her dog but it never sinks in so he doesn't recall :cool:

When we're out and about walking if she does something naughty like I say I usually shout "NO" to break the behaviour and then recall her with a cheery "Poppy! Come!" She comes back to me happily, tail wagging not in a slinky "I'm going to get a telling off for that" way, and then I usually just get her to sit or lie down for a second, tell her she's a good girl and give her a rub and then chuck the ball for her or give her the release command :D

I do however (after recall and when she's getting a rub and being praised for coming back) sometimes tell her in a lovely happy voice that she's a wee sh**e ;):D
 
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