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Hi there!

So, I have created a real city dog. Upside: I can take her anywhere, subway, trains, motorbikes, crowded places, not an issue.
Downside: I did not (COVID made it very difficult) socialize with barn animals. When we encountered horses for the first time, I tried to stay calm and let her explore. She immediately started barking and trying to taunt the horses. Same happens with any other barn animal that I've encountered so far.

Now, when we walk in rural area with horses in the field she REALLY pulls towards the horses and wants to taunt them. It's gotten to a point where I'm worried about what would happen if we encounter a horse when she is loose. I'm not afraid she'll attack the horses, I'm afraid the horse would kick her. She is 80% reliable on recall, puts me on mute when she sees something that needs her full attention. I do not trust her to come to me when encountering a horse. We keep working on that recall every day.

But on the other side I'd like her to get used to barn animals. I want her to get a little less excited. Any ideas on that? Does the concept of desensitizing work? Where do I start?
 

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Do you have a way to get her attention back in you, and keep walking.
I run mine in fields that have cattle, and the occasional horse, or two. Mine are ecollar conditioned, so they are not allowed to go up to them. I just handle them in a different direction. Over time they just start ignoring that they're even there. They just think of them as part of the scenery.
You might consider working her at a bigger distance from them. As she gets use to them, slowly work her closer, and tighten up her recall.

Gabica, and I were at a hunt test, and the judges were on horse back. I knew Shine was not scared of horses, and she wouldn't bark at them, but she had never been up close to one. I was right on that part, but judges following very close to me. She made a big loop at a full run, and ran right between one of the horses legs. She was lucky, the horse had a lot of experience with dogs.
 

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Can you use an e collar?
Our male was very good on recall UNTIL he spotted something interesting. ( horses/cows were not interesting) Deer/turkey/rabbits/coyotes are interesting.
He always wore a tracking/ecollar when out for a run. Couple years ago he took off after a coyote on a frozen lake and was closing rapidly. My wife hit the button which stopped him. The correction we use is so low it is about like a mosquito bite, but does snap him out of his chase.. I have tested it on myself to confirm.
Try to spend as much time as you can near horses/cows till he gets used to them.
Our male was actually a little intimidated by horses and would return to my wife side if he saw one coming down the trail.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
She won’t snap out of her focus once her attention shifted. Normally I know that after a while look back at me. I have never really lost her when she was loose. But we never encountered any wildlife either. In the city it’s young kids with soccer balls that she tries to chase. But 50/50 chance I can get her to come back on those occasions. 100/100 on normal recall.

Fred is 7 months old, would that be too young for an e-collar? I haven’t thought about it since we live in the city and go out for hikes in the weekend. I know that I would need to get proper training on how to use it. Always thought of an e-collar to be more advanced hunting gear.

My cousin owns a stable with a lot of animals, so I’lI pay him a visit soon. I believe that what I might have done wrong is that I brought a horse up too close in the beginning. I’ll try working from a distance, just normal training session on a long lead. Then slowly moving closer could work.
 

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i only started e-collar with both boys once they turned 2, just because i was afraid it will interfere with any of their fear periods before. nevertheless if i had the dilemma whether i wanted to keep a 7 months old safe around other non predictable animals, i would train them though, just restrict the usage for that purpose. (in fact i do not use the e-collar to reinforce whoa, i only use if recall or leave it does not work for higher motivators than mom`s voice). and most of time i use beep or buzz, hardly ever would i strike them...

at hunt tests it is not allowed to use it, but oh my, i will never forget that particular one Deb mentioned... while Shine was showing off her slaloming skills between the horse`s legs, Miksa decided to groom them and kept pulling on their tails... meticulously... luckily the horses were trained to put up with this type of nuance, but several times i thought we will go home minus live vizsla pups... even the next day i have overheard some people talking like, boy have you seen those 2 crazy high strung vizsla puppies yesterday messing with the horses... they must be littermates. LOL, we survived that, but surely it is on my list to practice running with horses before we enter the senior hunt test with Miksa. He is not afraid of them either, but that could be worse than if he was.

Visiting stable and animals, allowing distance and relaxation should help. I think it is great that you have trained her to be a good city dog and not late at all to become accustomed to barn animals. Chances are the other way round would be much harder to achieve.
 

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You have a few options available to you, depending on the circumstances.
At the stable where we keep our horse virtually every rider also has dogs, and they all come to the barn to "visit", and get used to the horses. Horse people seem to be the same all over, so it's probably the same way near you.(Finn went when he was very little, but Covid 19 has kind of put a damper on that. )
Just as important getting Fred used to horses, is horses getting used to dogs. We know which horses at the barn will tolerate dogs, like dogs, will play with the dogs, and we know which ones to keep them away from. I have the most biddable horse at the barn. A toddler could walk him at lead, but you can never let a dog near him unattended.
If you have a stable nearby, politely ask if you can come on the grounds and just sit while the horses are going in and out. Explain your situation, to the owner/manager and if necessary offer to "tip out" to them for the privilege of just sitting there. You may have to invest in a bark collar if she doesn't stop the barking, but the barking won't bother most horses as long as they can see where it is coming from. It's just really annoying for the staff working there.
Start her out in the car looking out the windows, and progress from there.
She is only 7 months old, and horses are a big draw for dogs for some reason. They really want to go play with them. Tika used to love to run out into the paddocks and lick all the horses noses and find poop balls to play with, which is why we didn't let her, unless she scammed her way loose.Then it was kind of comical getting ahold of her, while her and the horses were dodging about. Good memories. :)
 

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I'm lucky enough to live out in the sticks with easy access to farms, when I open my living room curtains in the morning I actually look out onto a livery farm, neither of my dogs has shown any desire to make a fuss about the horses, but they do walk past my front garden everyday so I guess they just see them as part of everyday life ( but then again the postman walks up our path everyday and that's a different story altogether!!)...As a pup Ruby chased sheep once when we were away for the weekend, as soon as we got home I knew that one of the local farmers was holding some tups (young rams) in a paddock for auction, so it was out with a 30metre check cord and she sat whilst I walked away, we let the tups then settle down and regain their usual walking about till I recalled her, if she deviated from a bee-line to me, or even if she glanced towards the tups she was right back sat in the corner, nailed after 3 recalls. We go out on fells (hillsides) hunting pheasants, partridge and grouse safe in the knowledge that livestock are safe....Elvis has been a dream, never once batted an eyelid at farmstock. Never used an e-collar, for one thing they're banned here in UK but a few guttural curses have been issued over the years!
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the help! I will go and pay the local stables a visit. I think that is a great suggestion!

Actually I have been riding horses for a large part of my life. I used to have my own horse, she passed away not long ago. I can see when a horse is stressed, and know the damage horses can do when they feel harassed by a dog. I will definitely make an effort in getting Fred used to horses.
 
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