Because we've all had our horror stories with dogs and livestock, right? (Well, maybe you've been lucky.) It's hard enough to raise up your own dog to not chase horses or other livestock, but often there are neighbors whose dogs are the problem. You know, the ones who just moved to the country and who think it's "cute" to see their dogs exhibiting a "herding instinct."
In most rural areas I've lived in, this "cute" behavior can be reason enough for the dog to be destroyed, either by the owner of the livestock or animal control.
Sometimes, even your own dog can be the problem. One of my most embarrassing incidents happened at a team-penning. I was there to compete, and had brought our little Heeler/McNab along, who was six months old. Like a lot of horse people, I tend to like these kinds of dogs, but their herding instinct is strong. I had the dog securely fastened to my horse trailer, and she was behaving (or so I thought.)
I was horseback, watching another team compete, when I noticed a flash of black and white, and suddenly a little dog was in the middle of the arena scattering cattle in every direction. With three horses trying to quietly pick out their animals from the herd, and cattle all of sudden bolting like crazy, it's a wonder someone wasn't hurt. Then I heard the announcer's voice over the loudspeaker: "Whose dog is that? Get that *&^%# dog out of the arena!"
*Gulp* I wanted to claim innocence -act like I'd never seen the dog before. But I called her, and she came, and I promptly put her inside my rig, where she couldn't get out. Gosh, I thought I'd never live that down. (And I left her home at future team-pennings.)
And you might have experienced the kind of dog-owners who drive up to your home or stable, and immediately (without asking) lower their tailgate and allow a couple of huge dogs to run all over - just because they're now "in the country." Bad idea, folks. Always ask, or better yet, leave your dogs in the vehicle or leave them home.
Oh, and as far as our dog search? We haven't found the right one yet. Found a wonderful older black lab who is great with our livestock, but she chases cats - badly. And that's a deal-breaker for me. So we're still looking - for another best dog ever.
How about you? What kind of dogs do you have, and are they good with your horses?
Ever had any bad (or embarrassing) incidences of dogs misbehaving around livestock?