We had a bit of a debacle here yesterday. The neighbors right next door have an adult daughter who has gotten a dog and she brings it over on weekends and lets it run loose on their property. Except (of course!) the dog is obsessed with our fence line and the horses and donkeys and since it is unleashed, has come under the fence at least one time and was charged by the pony. The owner was right there and saw it but denied that it happened.
The entire herd gets revved up and they start running. I've asked the dog's owner to consider putting the dog on a leash until it learns to come when she calls. As it is, what she is doing, which is to run alongside the dog with a stick trying to lure it away from the fence, is just teaching the dog to run the fence line, which is a huge mistake, in my opinion. I mean, let's create a dog that is an ongoing nuisance for people with horses!
Yesterday my daughter was getting ready to ride Cody when all this transpired. The parents and aunt (they are the neighbors who live there) came out and all four of them were up at the fence, in effect making it a game for the dog to try to get through. The dog was being rewarded by play when it approached the fence. The horses started running, Cody freaked out and started spinning, and the whole thing just went south.
I don't know how much more clearly I can explain to these neighbors that horses are prey animals and this kind of thing gets them worked up. We've had this discussion over the years with their other adult children and dogs, with grandchildren throwing sticks at the horses, with ridiculous tent gazebos being put up right at my fenceline, with guests coming over and trying to get the horses to come up to the fence, etc. etc. I told the dog's owner that at this point, with Salina gone, I am not as concerned about my horses, but I am concerned that the dog is going to get hurt if the pony and/or the donkeys get hold of it. And I told her that if her dog is in the pasture she is not to climb in the fence to get it because the very last thing I want is for her to get trampled by galloping horses.
And the last thing I want to have to do is go out there and pick up a dead or injured dog and hand it to them over the fence.
I admit - it annoys me to no end to see my horses in protective herd mode. It was more stressful when Salina was here and I knew she could go down and get stuck that way. And it's clear that the donkeys have residual anxiety about that. I hate seeing them get so upset.
At this point I feel like I have warned them, I have asked that they stop clustering near the fence (they have 10 acres!! Take the dog to the other 9.5!), and short of dog-proofing and privacy fencing that entire side of our property, I guess things will get resolved when the dog gets kicked or stomped and hopefully lives through it and learns to stay the heck away from big animals.
A hundred acres in the middle of nowhere sounds pretty good to me right now!