Saturday, March 07, 2015

Dog Obedience can be used for Equine Obedience

The principal is much the same I've realize now after all of these years.

The lessons I learned in my first week of dog classes in 1980-something, was that it was important for your dog to learn to pay attention to you.

This was what we did for just one week in short 15 minute daily workouts.

A longe line was used, a very light cord tied to the collar.  In this case I had a corrective 'choke' collar.  We were never to nag or choke the dog.  The dog was to wander around and eventually 'not pay attention to the handler'.  As soon as the dog's eyes were not on you, you walked swiftly in the opposite direction.

Within two to three times my dog realized that she ought to keep an eye on where I was and she knew exactly how long that line was.

Now I wasn't working her a as a puppy, or taking her on walks as I did Morris as a pup because I lived in a city.  Her work started way after her puppy-hood.

How are equine trained?

In a round pen or on a longe line.  They need to learn to focus on the handler.
Does that sound familiar?

Dog Obedience can be transferred quickly to Equine Obedience.

Today's world is all about non painful training or Politically Correct training. Yet still the principles are the same and the goals are the same.
Happy are those dogs who understand what is expected of them and the rules of conduct.
Why not the same for equine?
I see so many equine walking all over their handlers...

Yesterday, as I was reading through the old lessons and the paper work I saw a very parallel line between equine and dog 'trickery'.

I used the method I'd learned in how to teach a dog how to 'heel' and transferred it into teaching a mule or donkey to 'heel' at my elbow on lead line.

I was surprised at how easily it was accomplished and how much faster the donkey and mules picked it up.  
And let me tell anyone who wants to know.....
No harm, no pain!

Not only that, I can walk my 'tricked' mules on a loose lead.  Siera is my new shining star in that respect.
She will 'heel' me in the pasture.  She will stop and stand if I stop.  If I turn into her and give her the shoulder signal to back up, she backs up as I turn into her.

I've shown this to visitors at our farm, and the believe I have a 'trick' mule.  All I did was apply Dog Obedience 'Heel' training to her at halter.

To some who've seen it, they think I've preformed magic on her.  No, I applied a few weeks of 'leash' work to her!

In the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1976 an article was done on Shepherd House and its Obedience Training classes.  One of the men interviewed said if he called his classes 'Trick' classes, he'd have more people sign up.
They did not use the strict Koehler method for training as they felt is was a bit harsh in some cases and wouldn't work on 'all' breeds.
So they developed a very non-harsh method that drew from several behavioral theorists.


  1. I guess I have trick ponies too. Over the years, all my horses have learned to walk next to me, halting and turning with no contact or lead line. Of course this was done in the indoor, not out in the pasture. At one time I had two horses that would do it at the same time, one on either side of me. When Phoebe (dog) was in her obedience classes, "watch me" was very important. "Leave it" was also used a lot. There are some definite similarities.

  2. I find the general aspect of teaching or training to be fun. I did all of Siera's training in the driveway but it translated somehow for her in the pasture.

    Today, she simply went for a walk with me. She really didn't want to leave her friends at first but patience won her over and we had a nice 'hike'.