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[RC] Strange dogs--dogs chasing horses - Andrea Day


I think your story contains the answer to your question concerning suggestions for handling strange dogs:

we had "made our stand"

The woman sounds like she was a real nervy bat, but she's absolutely right, the WORST thing you can do if you're ever chased or attacked is to run--and the second thing is to shriek in a high voice.

Running triggers a chase reflex in ALL dogs. Dog trainers, especially agility and obedience trainers, can exploit this reflex to get a dog to 'come' on the run. All you have to do to test this out is get about 150 feet away from your average dog. Now yell 'come', and jump up and down while waving your arms and using a high pitched voice to keep encouraging him: "Hear boy come come come atta boy" etc. When he starts toward you, run backwards and keep shrieking excitedly. The average dog that does a half-hearted "come' on command will CHARGE toward you, thanks to the chase reflex. Fortunately, the majority think it's just a fantastic new game, but with a seriously vicious dog, running will get you hurt.

With one dog, or especially with a couple, you have to make a stand. If you can see it coming, face your horse to the dog and move AT him. Drop your voice as low as you can make it, and BELLOW at the dog. Yell anything you want--"Go home, Get outta here, You mangy bleep bleep dog!" You want to make an impression on the dog that you're bigger, you're fast. you move preemptively, and you growl and snarl louder than he can. If there are two of them, you need to charge the leading dog with the intent to drive it toward the other, and then to force them both back.

Ninety percent of what goes on with critters is in the body language. The dog(s) and your horse will read your intent, and if you're serious, the horse will take courage from you, and the dog(s) will back down.

It helps to do some practice and visualization if you're not confident in yourself or in your horse. If you tend to squeak when you get excited, then practice a deep-voiced bellow. Get mounted, then think about being on one of the Black Rider's horses out of LOTR. Pretend your baby is a big, black, monster that wouldn't think twice about stomping a dog into bits. When you do a canter depart think "CHARGE!"

I know taking a stand works, because I've used it too many time to count. If you're really interested in a long-winded story, email me privately, and I'll tell you about the Rottweillers.


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