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Lacey UD, RE asked in PetsDogs · 8 years ago

Horse training vs dog training?

So I'm stuck inside on a cold snowy day. As I'm flipping through the channels on the boob tube, I found a show on horse training. I've noticed that they don't talk dominance/submission but they also don't let the horse back down from a problem either. They talk about gaining respect of the horse. They also discuss harmony and partnership between the horse and rider. It seems like the dog training shows (there are not many) don't really discuss the actual partnership with the animal. Instead they speak dominance/submission.

The other thing that I have noticed is that the TV horse trainers appear to use all four squares in the operant conditioning quadrant. The TV dog trainers seem to use just positive reinforcement or positive punishment. Negative reinforcement or negative punishment don't seem to be a part of their methodology.

So my question: Do you feel that horse trainers are ahead of dog trainers in the way that they understand the animal and training in general? Why or why not?

Again no TDs from me.


Cookie I have worked with horses, cattle and sheep. I've even trained a chicken or two and a goat. My question was based on the TV trainers. I know of quite a few horse trainers that use the "old" style of training which can be pretty brutal. I also did not TD you.

Update 2:

Everyone answered the question beautifully. I'm going to put this up for the vote.

13 Answers

  • Jojo
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favourite answer

    In my opinion you just cannot compare training a dog to training a horse. They are two entirely different species of animal. Most horses are extremely submissive and timid natured and readily submit to human control once "broken". A horse has tiny brain form it`s size and is a herd animal like sheep and cattle rather than a pack animal like a dog which is why a horse will always choose to be with another horse, even if its a strange one, rather than its human owner. Whereas a dog will always follow its human owner rather than another dog. Also Dogs are much more domesticated than a horse.

    I don`t think horse trainers are any more ahead in understanding animal training, than a dog trainer is. Specialised horse trainers understand horses and specialised dog trainers understand dogs, that`s about the crux of the matter.

    Elephant trainers understand elephants!

    I owned TB horses for 37 years and I would never compare my understanding and training of them to how I understand and train my dogs. Jmo.

    Add@ ms manners>> Notice I stated MOST horses are extremely submissive. The very fact that they are this way is what allows us to be able to ride them. Elephants are similar, but being more intelligent some often rebel against being domesticated and used by us.

    I have also known a couple horses that are quite vicious , but its very rare for a horse to retaliate if severely chastised by a human. It`s in a horses nature to flee from a threatening situation. A horse will kick out if threatened but that`s mainly from fear, and based on self preservation, not from aggression as in dog aggression. Also If horses were as intelligent as dogs there is no way that they would submit to being ridden by all and sundry. Horses have no concept that with their size and strength they could kill us with one kick or maim us with one bite. Any horse aggression is "mostly" based on fear. There are as always a few exceptions now and then to the rule! Jmo.

    Source(s): Gsd owner for 48 years. Horse owner for 37 years.
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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    There are a few real keys to dog training, whether you are trying to train your dog to come when called, sit, stop barking or any other behavior. Understanding their importance is critical to achieving rapid results that are long lasting and help develop the bond between you and your dog.


    The first is simple; you must win your dogs mind. If you don’t achieve this first then you will be struggling the all the way. When I talk about winning your dogs mind what I really mean is that your dog looks to you for all the decisions. Before you do anything else watch one of the amazing video sites that show you the 5 Golden rules to establishing yourself as the pack leader. If you aren’t putting these in place then you are setting yourself up to fail. Just at the crucial point where you really want your dog to listen they will go and do their own thing. For sure your dog may play ball occasionally or even most of the time, you may even have a dog that is obedient 99% of the time, however if you want a dog who always listens to you and does as you ask then you need to win your dogs mind.

    The second key to success is to motivate your dog. It is really important that you discover what it is that your dog enjoys both in terms of exercise and play but also in terms of a reward. If you can make the experience enjoyable then you will both achieve more and look forward to training.

    Some dogs love to fetch, others love agility, and other dogs simply love obedience training, or swimming out into water and retrieve. At least to start with find out what your dogs love is and help them develop this, what I am saying is work with your dog. The other point to recognize is to make training enjoyable reward your dog.

    The three main rewards are:

    Food- anything from a single dry biscuit to a whole piece of sausage!

    Affection- pats, cuddles, lots of high verbal praise

    Toys- games, throwing a stick or object, chasing your dog etc

    Your dog is always going to work harder if you are fair in your training. Even if you do not want to use food you should make sure that you use affection accordingly when your dog does well

    If you want to use food rewards then always follow these simple tips:

    Always vary food rewards

    Do not give food rewards every time

    Never let your dog know what the reward is

    If your dog doesn’t come first time then do not give them the reward

    The third key to achieving perfection is practice! Learning how to encourage behavior that is closer to what you want than the last is the third key to success. Again this is where rewards come in so handy! Motivate and then show your dog what it is that you want and there is no need for any negative training!

    One of the best sites that shows you all of this and more is The Online Dog Trainer, put together by top Dog Trainer, Doggy Dan.


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  • Holly
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Hi, I understand that you are looking for some advice or resources to help fully train your dog or fix behavior problems. If a professional dog trainer is not an option at this time, or if you want to trt training your dog on your own (a great way to bond), I'd suggest you

    A friend recommened it to me a few years ago, and I was amazed how quickly it worked, which is why I recommend it to others. The dog training academy also has as an excellent home training course.

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  • 8 years ago

    I trained horses for many years.

    I have worked with problem dogs for the last several years, and frankly, I don't see a big difference between the two.

    I don't know much about quadrants, but I have always seen good training as providing a balance between respect and trust. Most animals seem to lean toward one end of the spectrum or the other, and need to be moved in the other direction. In order to do so, I have always used both physical correction and reward.

    Since I don't remember the last time I watched a horse trainer on TV, I can't answer your question about them. :o)


    Horses are naturally submissive? Funny...I've known some that would flatten you faster than a Rottweiler. :o)

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  • 4 years ago

    A well-trained dog makes everyone happy, including his owner. Take a little time training him, and you'll never regret it; you'll always have an obedient dog by your side. Find more

    By their nature, dogs are pack animals with a well-defined social order. Through basic training, you need to consistently make sure your puppy understands that you are the leader, not him. So in teaching him the basic rules, you take on the role of pack leader.

    To fit into the family circle, your dog must be taught to recognize his name and such commands as come, heel, lie down and sit.

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  • 4 years ago

    I'm doing basic obedience right now. My trainer hasn't once handled my dog. He has shown me how to handle my dog by using his own dog but that's about it. The reasoning is that I need to learn how to do these basic corrections and what not myself. Learn more

    I have never considered sending my dog away for training. I guess I haven't found that much of a problem with him to even think about it.

    Again, it may also have to do with the level of training you are looking for etc. No idea lol. I'm not a trainer. I think a first time dog owner needs to learn simple commands and how to handle their dog themselves as well.

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  • 8 years ago

    Horse trainers are working with a herd-based prey animal. Horses react to things like any prey animal reacts, and look to a human or animal "leader" or "person to respect" because they can protect them.

    Dog trainers are working with a pack-based predator animal. Dogs react to things like any predator animal reacts, and look to a human or animal "leader" or "person to respect" because they can provide for them.

    I have known many successful dog trainers who use all four quadrants (myself included) but none of them are on TV, horse training is naturally more entertaining since horses are more novel and exciting to us, whereas we all seem to own a dog, so a TV dog trainer better bump up the entertainment value a few notches so we will tune in.

    I think that there are good, bad, great, and terrible trainers for both dogs and horses. I don't think that one group is "ahead" of the other, as both dogs and horses seem to be getting trained quickly and effectively. Dogs are horses are rather different in their responses and relationships and so any successful trainer of one or the other (or both) needs to understand the animal they are dealing with.

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  • Z
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    My own experience is training people how to work their new guide dogs. As a whole, I've found that people with prior experience with horses tend to have a better understanding and more patience than non-horse people. They don't sweat the small stuff, they understand motivation, and they have realistic expectations about the work and time it takes to build a relationship. Their egos are not as fragile. This is a huge generality, of course, but I'm always happy when I get a horse-savvy student.

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  • Chix
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    I was actually living for some time in the country - with my dogs and horses and was routinely in conversation with horse "people". So accepting I'm not an expert on horses but have ridden - my view is in terms of training and general approach - they are not that different.

    There is the Pareli approach - and this is what I would call the "all positive".

    There is Dressage- and this is what I equate to the Show conformation and sport competitors. There was a topic recently in YA on the use of Rollkur and how cruel this is to the horse - done simply for exhibition purposes

    And there is Western - my own personal favorite which CAN require the horse to be used near livestock, possibly injured (as a service animal if you will) or simply for pleasure.

    My feeling is: people are as divided on horsemanship methods and training as they are on dog ownership methods. There is all kinds of theories - but one basic exception - Horses weigh upwards of 1000 lbs. You simply CANNOT have a horse become aggressive with you. And so, 99% of them are castrated - and those that are nasty either end up as buck-a-roos or dog food - unless they can run - or jump - or do something society puts commercial value on - in which case, they just stud them in a pasture like a bull - and have limited interaction with them.


    ETA : IF you are speaking of TV horse trainers - well, I watched a fascinating documentary I believe it was this on this man

    His methods would not be extreme punishment - or extreme permissiveness - but what I view as a level of physical interaction necessary to form a "partnership". He uses a whip - but not to beat the horse - rather to stimulate its natural prey response in a form of classical conditioning.

    If you are comparing TV dog trainers - well, I don't think the medium is about training - its about entertainment and ratings. I cannot take these TV dog trainers seriously. It is admittedly hard to watch someone correct a dog out of context on a 30 minute TV show - so its easier to show the dog responding to a treat and editing out anything in between.


    Here's Monty's position in hitting horses. I have the same attitude about hitting dogs - so I see great parallels in approach. I find this man to be subtle, calm and understated. All the qualities of a good horse- person or good dog person.

    • Julia5 years agoReport

      Rolkur has nothing to do with actual dressage. It is a short cut that those actually educated in the sport of dressage see as nothing but that - a cruel, unnecessary, destructive short cut. It's like saying that bank robbers are associated with banks because sometimes they are in the bank itself.

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  • 8 years ago

    Well some dog trainers DO use all 4 squares, and that CAN result in a neurotic, crazy, unpredictable dog if done IMPROPERLY.

    "Bite your dog, and don't be surprised when it bites back". Honestly I don't think either is ahead of the other, different methods work best on different animals, what works on a bird may not work on a cat, and what works on a horse won't work on a dog. The horse won't work properly if you let it run all over you and the dog won't work if you're too harsh with it. Dogs feelings are easily dampened when the leader is mad at it and it has no idea why. Only correct it for reasonable things.

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