I love barn dogs! I think they are the best barn companions for humans and horses.

CarolGauthorPixpasted image small 17 Tails from the Barn -- by Carol Gosselin

There’s nothing like being in the barn when it’s just you, the horses and the best darn barn dog around. But there are a few commands every barn dog should understand. Although some dogs simply aren’t suitable for the barn environment, most just need to learn a few basic skills to stay out of trouble.

“OUT” is the command used to tell the dog to leave this space immediately, whether he’s bringing muddy paws into the house or standing in the middle of the barn aisle, or blocking the way as you’re taking out a horse. “Out” is an important command for both safety and convenience.


This command lets him know that you like it when he hangs out nearby, but out of the way.


This command will keep your dog from doing a number of things you don’t like, such as chasing your horse around the round pen, nipping his heels while he’s being longed or running through the arena while you are riding. This will help your dog to understand that you really like it when he observes what’s happening from a distance.

The “come” command is probably the single most important skill for any dog, but for a barn dog it can be a real lifesaver!


“Leave it” is a command that tells the dog to leave alone whatever he is thinking of bothering. It’s typically something he’s looking at, sniffing or considering eating. If his eyes are on it, his attention is on it. “Leave it” tells him, “Do not touch whatever you are thinking of touching.” “Leave it” is very helpful for calling a dog off from chasing a horse, eating the horse’s feed or manure, or licking up spilled dewormer or other medications, which can have dire health consequences for a dog.

Source: EQUUS issue #431, August 2013.

There are two best barn dogs in my life that I adore. One is at my current barn (Peaches) and the other is at my former barn (Dora).

Horse Barn DogPeachesMeet PEACHES Moses, barn dog extraordinaire! She is a 14 year old English Setter who is full of life and joy and she makes my heart smile!! She absolutely loves being in the barn! Her favorite barn hobbies are chasing reflections and mouse hunting. When not in the barn, she loves playing Frisbee and carrying it around on her tooth.

Photos of Peaches by HorseGal

carriage dog English setter barn dog

barn dog English Setter


dog sleeps with goatshorse barn dogMeet DORA Britton!

Another barn dog extraordinaire! She is the total opposite of Peaches in that Dora has got to be the most low key, laid back barn dog ever. She brings such happiness to everyone at the barn. Look at the smile on her face. I’m smitten with her! Dora is an 11 year old mutt who melts my heart. She, like Peaches, absolutely loves being in the barn! Dora’s favorite barn hobbies include napping with the goats, getting belly rubs from adoring barn kids and, posing for pictures.

Photos of Dora by Nora Britton

gentle barn dog

We’d love to see a picture of YOUR barn dog!