Going barking mad

I’m sick to my stomach over this. A new neighbor opened a dog daycare 2 years ago without permission from county. He’s in the process of getting it so not been shut down. Barking is heard at my farm and caused several accidents and injuries. In opposing the use, my photo evidence of those denied as can’t I prove they were caused by barking even though that is my testimony under oath. How am I able to prove link in future or fight this thing. We are a breeding and training farm starting horses so acclimating difficult with new horses and new dogs. Dogs are out of sight but the horses sure hear and react to them :pensive:

I think it would be pretty hard to prove that barking on some neighboring property caused accidents and injuries.

I am not sure how barking on a neighboring property would cause accidents and injuries. Are the dogs right near a fence?

I think we need more details to help.

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Just desensitize the horses to the barking.

Your angst about the barking is likely causing more of the reaction in the horses than the barking itself.

If they’re permitted, there’s nothing you can do. If they’re right on the fence line, you’ll have to make a buffer.

I bet the dogs react to the horses whinnying too. Maybe your neighbors should testify to that.

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use audio recordings … might want to find where the board members live then park in front of their houses and play them the lullaby

The issue is Sound Pollution, which is a real zoning use problem

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Oh, I feel for you OP. I have a neighbor who had a horse-aggressive dog and for the few years that dog was alive it made riding and working with horses in my own home a living hell. I have some pretty worldly dudes on this farm and they did not like that dog or how it would throw itself on the fence while barking. I thought I could desensitize the horses to the dog with some slow work up and down the driveway (the dog’s fenceline bordered our gravel driveway where I do most of my fitness work) but instead it just made them upset. They would do it because I asked but were miserable. These were horses that were okay with dogs on trails, hounds at a hunt, and our own dogs - but this one was aggressive and it upset them. I ended up making a whole new bridle path by clearing woodland on the other side of the property. In hindsight the bridle path has been great for me, but it all started because of an aggressive dog.

Unfortunately I don’t know how you could prove injuries were directly caused by the dogs. You may be able to lodge complaints if you find the barking is incessant. I’d check with your town bylaws/ordinances and see where that goes.

It’s hard to acclimate horses to barking dogs if they can’t see or be introduced to the dogs. I find most horses are fairly reasonable about dogs, but they have to be able to see that barking predator isn’t interested in them. When I was trying to desensitize my crew I’d hand walk or tack walk them up and down the driveway where the dog’s fenceline was. I wasn’t above bribing the end of the driveway with a grain bucket.

Unlike farm cannons, gun range noises, and the highway, I think horses are less likely to naturalize themselves to dog barking because these are their predators, and they are prey. I hope you can get to the bottom of this soon OP.

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Barking has spooked horses causing them to slam into people and injure them directly or by throwing people into things. Has caused bolting and rearing. Hard to acclimate as horses in for training. Dogs are 500ft from my foaling barn too

Wow, I’m sorry you had that experience. It is living hell. Nearly all of my horses know and have experienced dogs but several have still reacted badly. Those coming for training who don’t know me or the farm is a big hurdle to gaining trust

I am sorry that your neighbor is not what you want next door. I truly am.

It sounds like horses being horses and that kind of spooking can happen for just about any reasons. Hard to blame it on dogs.

500 feet is quite the distance. One and a half football fields.

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If I couldn’t settle my horse with a dog that far away, I’d have some other questions for myself, not the neighbor.

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OP, I’m not some saint here. I have anxiety about dogs, leashed or not, on trail rides due to past experiences. My Old Man horse, who is positively unflappable about any and everything, feeds off of me and also exhibits anxiety about dogs. I recognize this and have to consciously not clench, not hold my breath, not stare…

All that to say - at 500 feet, it’s you triggering the severe reactions, not the dogs. That, or your horses are WAY too bubble wrapped and need exposure anyways.

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500 feet is to the foaling barn. Mares are spinning around at outbursts of barking when I’m not even handling them putting newborn foals at risk. Horses that are new to the property for training are way reactive. I’m not a nervous Nelly or bubble wrapper. Came here looking for answers or solutions…

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I do not think there is a way to make them go away so maybe it is time to think of a way to make the horses not worried about it.

It sounds like they are reacting to sudden dog barking, so that means the dogs are not barking all day. Which in the big picture is probably a good thing.
I can see mares with a foal at their side totally wanting to protect their foal when they hear a predator.
I am guessing the problem is the not necessarily the noise of dogs barking the noise of dogs rough housing, which sounds like dogs fighting to your horses.

Is there some type of white noise system that can be installed? Does running the radio help?

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There is a low level of continuous barking and bursts of much louder with greeting/play and sometimes aggression. A radio in the barn hasn’t helped. The dog conditional use is still in process not yet approved. Fighting it

I am truly surprised you have so much problem, that is part of why it is hard to offer solutions.

My horses do not even pick their heads up when the coyotes talk in the adjoining field (much closer than 500’).

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Thank god your neighbors haven’t complained about the noise and smell of the horses, and tried to get your business license revoked…

…yet.

OP you need to figure out why your horses are so sensitive to this. This is far less about neighbors and a lot more about your management practices.

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Believe me I’m trying to figure it out. We’ve tried all kinds of things. I’ve been working with horses and training them 40 years. I’m a full time equine professional. These issues have only been happening since that place opened. Nothing changed here to create issues or otherwise in this area. I’ve tried changing things in response to see if we could improve it…

It is a big hurdle. Most of these horses have been with us for at least a decade so the training and trust is there; but the dog being some twenty feet from the fence line and actively aggressive really unsettled them.

It’s natural for horses to react with flight in these situations. It sounds like a stressful environment for them especially if they just moved into the barn or are green and in for training. I’m not sure what I would do in your shoes, but I feel for you knowing it is not so easy. Even our filly, who was raised by me on a busy farm, exposed to dogs, hounds, parachutes, motorcycles in her paddock, goats, quads, cranes, turkeys, coyotes and all manner of circus BS hated that dog.

Maybe for now start small. See if you can train on the other side of the facility away from the distractions. If you have a steady Eddie maybe have him present when handling the greener or insecure horses. It could just be they need a few weeks to adjust, but I understand why the mares are high strung over their foals.

It only takes someone - a horse or a human - being attacked by dogs once to permanently change their perspective. Having a bunch of dogs so close to your farm is a liability. But I am not sure how you can get them to stop, if they are there legally they have a right to operate their business too. Having worked in a kennel I can tell you the barking is just as stressful for the dogs as it is other people. No one wants dogs to be barking 24/7.

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Please hear me out, I’m honestly trying to think how I’d handle this problem.
I think @clanter has offered the most practical advice.

From your description of the accidents/injuries, could those handling the horses be transmitting their own nervous reaction to the barking to the horses they’re handling?
Handlers need to be hyper-aware that the horse they have in hand or U/S is likely to react to the dogs & stay alert for the start of any reaction.
If I approach anything that might startle a horse I’m riding or in my hand, I try to keep myself calm - the Nothing to See Here approach.

It sounds like this could become a permanent nuisance for you.
While I’m sympathetic (I have neighbors who routinely have target practice & fireworks are legal here) you have to decide if you can live with it or need to relocate.
I know the latter is an unfeasible choice, but it might come to that.

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Do you already have a hedge in place? That might muffle some of the noise.

Otherwise, you’re probably SOL. Animals, as a business (horses or dogs), come with noise and smells. You are also making noises and smells, that might be disturbing the dogs. Be careful what war you start here.

Sound proof the barn if the horses are whirling. Plant the hedge. Get better about desensitizing. The dogs are not that close, your horses are acting irrationally.

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Second the idea of an evergreen hedge, and you may have to invest in fencing along the shared property line. A basic solid wood fence helps, and if you are really desperate there are companies that provide outdoor acoustical panels to add to fencing.
If you could induce the property owner to also put up a solid fence on the shared side of the outdoor dog yard I think you’d be in good shape. But this would be a courtesy on their part, so perhaps friendly negotiation is a better place to start.

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