This one comes via e-mail, only it wasn’t in the form of a question. Actually it was a tirade…
Here’s the problem: While the back yard is 1/2 acre fenced, there are 2 equine family members that live there: Charlie has been with us 18 years. Hal came to us 11 years ago. They are family, just like the dogs. They require love, care and protection, just like the dogs.
Until now, the horses and dogs have lived peaceably, even playing together.
Willy has decided they, more particularly Charlie, is a threat, and attacks. Charlie was bitten twice. Willy has been kicked several times, the last time he got hurt pretty bad. Despite several minor and one serious injury, Willy will not stop.
Enter Mortimer. If Willy starts it, Morty has to finish it. Morty is a chaser, not an attacker, but when the horses are worked up from Willy, they don’t discriminate on who finds a hoof in the head. Where Willy focuses his attention on Charlie, Morty is an equal opportunity chaser. If one horse is getting chased, he runs to the other, meaning dealing with one is the same as dealing with both, and the situation gets dangerous pretty fast.
So, add an attacker and a chaser to a pack and what do you think happens? It is a free for all pack attack where the horses or ANY of the dogs can get hurt. Chain the leaders (Willy being the primary instigator, Morty to a lesser extent) and everyone leaves the horses alone, or they go back to the playful cohabitation that existed before Willy and Mortimer.
If you have been following the posts on Willy in the William’s Demons category, response to verbal commands remains problematic, so calling Willy off is ineffective.
We even broke down and tried a remote collar on Willy. It didn’t work.
We had no choice but to resort to chaining.
Willy and Morty are inside / outside kids. Even if they didn’t go after the horses, they wouldn’t be left in the back yard to fend for themselves anyway. Though not crated, the dogs are still alone all day while we are working. To avoid them by banishing them to the back yard when we get home isn’t an option, especially when at that point, all they want is attention from us.
Tying the boys out amounts to maybe an hour, broken down into smaller chunks throughout the day – all in the interest of preventing any of the boys, Willy, Morty, Hal or Charlie from getting hurt.
As of now, the stalls have been secured so Willy and Morty have free rein when the horses are in their stalls during the day. Where Morty runs, romps and otherwise moves about, Willy plants himself in front of the stalls and doesn’t move. Way to take advantage of your new-found freedom Willy!
With the temperatures cooling off, the horses will be turned out during the day and in their stalls at night. The arena has not been secured. That is the next project, and there may come a time where the boys will have to be chained again until that is done. Just know, they don’t live at the end of a chain. That is only a very small fraction of their lives right now.
If you have a question for The Crazy Dog Lady, either post it in a comment or send an e-mail to Runamuck.firstname.lastname@example.org