Dogs at the Barn

Today I’m going to talk about my experience introducing Jackson, my 3 year old border collie, to Raven, my 12 year old hanoverian.

Now, I’ve never really had a dog during the time I’ve owned horses. So I was extremely excited to have my first barn dog! Jackson was extremely excited about Raven too. The only problem is that he has never been around livestock before so he has absolutely no idea what to do with himself when I take him to the barn. He’s that excited.

For starters, let me say that I am definitely not a dog trainer at all, but  I do consider myself to be pretty horse training savvy (not that I’m a professional at that, either). While I am not the best dog trainer, I am definitely not the worst. I know my way around animal behavior and I feel like I am doing a good job at training, or at least I think I am doing a good job!

The first thing I can say about training a barn dog, especially a hyper border collie that literally wants to herd everything that moves, is that patience is your friend. I have been working with Jackson for some time on this endeavor and he’s still not where I want to be. The other thing is that consistency is key. The reason Jackson is not the best barn dog is because I don’t have time to work on training him and riding Raven and doing all my barn chores every single day. If you really want results, doing a little bit of training each day, even multiple times a day, will truly help!

That being said, Jackson has improved a momentous amount. At the very beginning, he had no idea how to listen to me out at the barn with so many distractions. He had no idea how to stop herding Raven, tractors, other horses, people, or even cars! Now, through little stint at the barn, we have finally calmed down enough to listen to my commands! He will still herd occasionally, but it is usually just when Raven does something unanticipated. He has really improved!

Bottom line, patience, consistency, and repetition is your friend.

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