By Allison Armstrong Rehnborg
Our horses are our soul mates, but dogs are our best friends. In this blog, learn all about how Draw It Out can help keep your favorite canine companion happy and healthy for the long haul!
CHOOSING YOUR NEXT BARN DOG
When you’re looking for a good barn dog, it’s important to think carefully about the role you want your dog to play in your life. Is this dog one who will live at your barn, or one who will live with you? Is he filling the role of livestock protector, or is he going to be your constant companion? Will he be the only dog at your private barn, or do you plan to take him with you to places where he or she will encounter other dogs on a regular basis, like your boarding stable? How much training time and energy are you willing to invest in the dog? How often do you want to groom your dog?
Your choice of breed will depend on the answers to these questions and others, but there are many great breeds of dogs that serve as popular choices for horse people. The most important part of selecting a good barn dog is doing your research on what type of breed will suit you and your lifestyle best, but here are just a few of the most popular breeds of barn dogs:
Rat terriers and Jack Russell terriers are small, clever and energetic, with a penchant for hunting rodents.
Miniature Australian shepherds and Australian shepherds are intelligent, energetic and loyal. While they generally love spending time outdoors, they are herding dogs, so these dogs may require special training to ensure they don’t herd your horses.
Corgis are a popular choice among horse people – just ask Queen Elizabeth II! They’re compact, bold, playful and friendly, but like Australian shepherds, they are also herding dogs.
Labradors and golden retrievers are beautiful, easy to train and always down for an adventure.
If you’re looking for a dog to live at your barn or serve as a livestock guardian, consider a Great Pyrenees. These large, fluffy dogs are gentle enough to care for small animals but fierce enough to fight off coyotes and other aggressive dogs. Their long hair coats and dew claws require a lot of maintenance, and they are prone to wander, so good fences are a must.
Blue heelers, or Australian cattle dogs, are another popular choice. Like Australian shepherds and corgis, they are herding dogs, so they will require training to harness those instincts.
Don’t discount mutts or rescue dogs. Some of the best barn dogs are mutts of indeterminate breeding. In addition to having lots of hybrid vigor, mutts can be the best combination of characteristics from a variety of breeds – not to mention they can be one-of-a-kind!
Ultimately, depending on how much time and effort you want to put into training your dog, almost any breed of dog can become a great barn dog – but individuals may vary. It’s important to keep the welfare and safety of your dog and your horses as a top priority, so even if your next dog ends up not working out as a barn dog, you can always enjoy them at home.
CARING FOR YOUR BARN DOG
Whether your dog lives at home with you or stays at the barn, good health care is an essential responsibility of dog ownership. Make sure your dog receives regular veterinary checkups and is on a consistent vaccination and deworming schedule. Likewise, don’t skimp on providing your dog with adequate flea and tick control as well as monthly heartworm prevention. Dogs who spend a lot of time outside are at greater risk of encountering wildlife as well as picking up fleas, ticks and internal parasites, so it’s important to protect them. You should also spend time on a daily basis inspecting your dog for injuries, skin issues and other problems. Long-haired breeds will also require more grooming, so budget time for that, too!
Regular bath times need to be part of your doggie-care routine. Mild, efficient and biodegradable, Draw It Out Soothing Dog Shampoo with Lavender contains a blend of essential oils that help reduce anxiety and inflammation. Plus, it smells great! And if your dog loves to go on long trail rides with you or suffers from arthritis or other age-related joint pain, consider using Draw It Out Dog Liniment Spray. Specially balanced to be gentle on animal skin, Draw It Out Dog Liniment Spray doesn’t burn or tingle. It’s also safe if accidentally ingested, so there’s no need to worry if your dog decides to lick after you apply the product! Just like Draw It Out Horse Liniment Spray, our dog products are odorless and colorless and can help reduce inflammation and pain in ligaments, joints, tendons and muscles. Apply it before, during or after exercise, and enjoy watching your dog feel and perform better!