because you don’t know what
distractions your dog will find.
Keeping treats in your pocket to
reward your dog helps create a
2. Stay – It doesn’t need to be
a sit-stay, but for safety’s sake,
you need to be able to stop your
dog in his tracks. I consider the
stay to be equally as important as
the recall. If you need to test out
uncertain terrain or check the
depth of a river before you cross,
having your dog stay and wait in a
safe area is a top priority.
3. Leave it – Dogs can always
find items of interest on the
trail, but they won’t necessarily
be good for him. Skunks,
porcupines, snapping turtles,
snakes, and dead things are just
a few examples of why a well-ingrained “leave it” command is
4. Go ahead – When you are
out on the trail, it is much easier
to stay focused on your horse and
riding if you can keep the dog
in your line of sight by sending
him ahead of you off to one side.
This is especially useful at the
beginning of your ride when both
dog and horse are full of energy.
5. Go behind – This keeps the
dog following behind your horse
at a safe distance. It’s useful on
narrow trails where you don’t
want your dog to slow down in
front of you and get stepped
on. Tired dogs are usually quite
happy to go behind the horse.
You will need to check over your
shoulder more frequently to
check if the dog is falling further
behind. If he is, it’s time for the
6. Rest – Dogs will tire before
a horse, they just don’t want to
admit it. You need to have a rest
command that allows your dog to
either sit or lie down and take a
break without being anxious that
you will be leaving soon.
Stay is a crucial command for
the safety of your dog.
Dogs love to
investigate and eat
things along the way,
so teaching him to
“leave it” will come