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Bring Your Dog to the Farm With You

Updated on November 21, 2018
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

Breeds

The breed of dog you have will most certainly make a difference in how they handle being on a farm. If you have an obedient dog that stays right with you and has a low prey drive. You probably are perfectly safe taking your horse to the barn with you. Assuming the rules allow it, some places do and others don't so know what the rules are at your facility.

My bloodhound, Banjo was raised around horses. I would tie him in the barn or walk him around on the leash while I was teaching. He is pretty lazy and though I never let him off the leash without a close eye on him. He never barked or chased the horses.

Keep in mind with the scenthound though, that the smell at a farm can put them into sensory overload. In other words, a bloodhound or a coonhound might follow their nose far away from you. Or a normally obedient dog might be so overstimulated that you can't get there attention.

Herding dogs are often seen around horses as well, but unless they are well trained their herding instincts can get them into trouble if they nip at the horse's heels, or chase them.

Any well-trained dog can learn to be a farm dog. As with anything else new that you would do with your dog or your horse, introducing them slowly is going to be the safest and least stressful way for all involved.

Banjo riding, back when he was just a tiny pup!
Banjo riding, back when he was just a tiny pup! | Source

First Bring Your Dog When You Can Focus On Him Or Her

When you make the decision that you want to integrate your dog into your horse life, first bring the dog on a day where you will only focus on him or her.

Keep the dog on a leash, walk around the farm and explore. Guage what their reaction seems to be. Do they like horses? Or are they scared? Do they want to run after them?

Sit with your dog in the barn as the normal routine is taking place. Horses walking by, horses tied up, feeders and stall cleaners working. Let the dog take it all and be there to reassure them if they seem to get nervous or scared.

Sit next to the riding ring and let your dog sit next to you and watch some horses go. Hopefully, it will be a nice warm sunny day and your dog will relax and bask in the sun.

My little mutt dog Ziva took to being a farm dog like she had been doing it her whole life!
My little mutt dog Ziva took to being a farm dog like she had been doing it her whole life! | Source

Leash Or No Leash?

Only you know your dog and know whether or not they will not only behave without the leash on but also be safe. Horses, tractors, trailers and other equipment can pose danger to your dog.

Depending on whether or not you think your dog is obedient enough will determine whether your dog can be off leash at the farm. You may have to work up to bringing your dog to the farm with you.

Some people have dogs they can bring to the farm, that just lay around and stay close to wherever their owners are. Other people have to get their dogs used to be tied somewhere. That would be a whole different article for a different day.

Unfortunately, some dogs or I should say some dog and owner combinations don't work at the farm. Some dogs are afraid of horses and bark. Others just plain run off and get lost. Some dogs don't have assertive enough owners to insist on the obedience that is necessary to keep the dog safe.

Even if your dog doesn't end up being one that can come with you on a daily basis while you are on the farm with your horse. Any dog can learn to be well behaved and enjoy an afternoon at the farm with you when you can give them all your attention. It can be a fun outing, like going to the park. Maybe by doing that the dog will acclimate and be a farm dog before you know it.

My doberman is usually okay off leash, but has been know to bark at the horses on occasion, luckily all it takes to get her attention back is a tennis ball!
My doberman is usually okay off leash, but has been know to bark at the horses on occasion, luckily all it takes to get her attention back is a tennis ball! | Source
With the hound dogs, Moses left and Savannah on the right, They were both best left in the fenced in yard, their hunting instinct made them impossible to keep track of loose at the farm.
With the hound dogs, Moses left and Savannah on the right, They were both best left in the fenced in yard, their hunting instinct made them impossible to keep track of loose at the farm. | Source

Temperture

Keep in mind the temperature if you are bringing your dog to the farm. Make sure that if they are thinly coated, they have some sort of jacket if necessary. Pet stores and tack stores have a wide variety of them available. From simple and practical, to fancy and stylish!

On the other hand, if it is really hot out, make sure your dog can get in the shade and has access to plenty of water. If it is super hot and humid, a day where you don't want to be at the barn, it probably isn't a great day for your dog to be there either.

Ziva has a wide variety of clothing to keep her cozy  being out by the ring in the chilly weather.
Ziva has a wide variety of clothing to keep her cozy being out by the ring in the chilly weather. | Source
Ziva in her hoodie!
Ziva in her hoodie! | Source

Other Things To Consider

Are there other dogs at the farm? If so are they dog-friendly? Is your dog-friendly with others? If there a few dogs that already frequent the farm introducing your dog to them is another aspect that you will have to keep in mind.

Zegna being a good girl, hanging out with me and getting used to walking next to me with my walker.
Zegna being a good girl, hanging out with me and getting used to walking next to me with my walker. | Source

They Will Get Dirty!

Any dog that you bring to the farm is going to get dirty. Whether they run through the mud or just get dirty from the sawdust or arena footing. Long-haired dogs especially. Are you going to be okay with your dog getting into your vehicle if he is muddy, or dirty?

You should probably bring a towel to dry them off with if necessary, and if you are a dog person, you probably already know that you want to cover the seat or wherever the dog will be riding. Just to save the car from needing to be clean too.

Cover the truck seat! The dogs are going to get dirty! This is Texas, Caleb and Eli as babies. Weren't they just the cutest?
Cover the truck seat! The dogs are going to get dirty! This is Texas, Caleb and Eli as babies. Weren't they just the cutest? | Source

Up To Date On Vaccines And Flea And Tick Prevention

As with bringing your dog out to any public place, you want to make sure that your dog is up to date on all his vaccines.

Flea and tick prevention as well. In the summertime, the sand of a riding ring or tall grass can be tick heaven, and you want to make sure your dog is protected.

Grown Up Banjo
Grown Up Banjo | Source

Identification

Also, just in case, you want to make sure that your dog is wearing identification on his collar. A nameplate, or tag with the dog's name, your name and your contact information.

Microchipping is also a great way that many pets are identified these days, and it is a fairly cheap and easy procedure at the vet office.

A collar with a name tag or name plate is important! Microchipping is even more reliable.
A collar with a name tag or name plate is important! Microchipping is even more reliable. | Source

Having Your Dog At The Farm Should Be Fun, Not Stressful!

Being able to have your dog companion with you at the barn should be something that is fun for both you and the dog, not stressful.

It should not be if you take the time to properly acclimate the dog to the surroundings and horses. If your dog needs to brush up on obedience commands, work on that at home before you try bringing them to the barn.

Hopefully, in no time your dog will be able to come to the farm and enjoy themselves as much as you do!

Ziva and I relaxing after a long night out by the riding ring teaching lessons.
Ziva and I relaxing after a long night out by the riding ring teaching lessons. | Source

Comments

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  • DrMark1961 profile image

    Dr Mark 

    18 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

    This is great. I like your suggestions, especially the ones about name tags and microchips. Those farm dogs do love to run off.

    I published an article on farm dogs last night. Should have had Banjo on there!!!!

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