Genetic Outlet Activities

Once all of your obedience has been created and self-control filters have been developed, you can begin adding healthy activities that are outlets for instinctual drives. Be certain that genetic outlet activities do not break down everyday manners or compromise your dog's mental well-being.

Don't do these activities prior to obedience training and distraction training. Natural instincts are so hardwired that distraction training is needed first so the dog learns to make choices rather than act purely on instinct. Once good choices are established, then we can go back and give instincts their outlets.

Cart pulling is one activity for drafting and working dogs such as Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Pyrenees, and others. In this activity, dogs are fitted with harnesses and are hooked to carts. The pull is a competition utilizing natural working and drafting instincts of these giant breeds.

(j(j Weight pulls are great outlets for I I sj »breeds prone to being quite tough. American Bulldogs, American Staffordshire Terriers, Malamutes, etc., all can benefit from the release of aggression during this sport. Dogs are fitted with harnesses and initially taught to pull an empty cart. Weight is added to the cart and is gradually increased as the dog learns to pull more weight. When watching one of these events, one can see exactly how much these dogs appear to be enjoying this "tough guy" outlet!

Herding clubs exist for dogs and • their owners to get experience channeling herding drive. This usually takes place on a farm where the club owner has either sheep or geese or both on the property. Dogs and handlers alike are taught the proper way to channel a dog's natural herding energy on livestock. This is also a fantastic use of the dog's intelligence and working ability. Herding exercise is especially good for breeds like German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Corgis, and many more.

Tracking/search and rescue clubs are • not only wonderful ways to use the intelligence and hunting drives of certain breeds, but also a way to employ dogs to do important real-life jobs. Labs, Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Bloodhounds are all breeds that have great abilities in hunting and scent detection. Their abilities, instincts, and training education through this activity have saved many lives.

(j (j Q Lure coursing is an activity that uti-I I Vj*lizes a sight hound's incredible visual skills and speed. No live rabbits are used, but a rabbit's zigzagging path is simulated using pulleys and a set of white bags. The coursing is judged on the dog's enthusiasm, speed, agility, endurance, and the ability to follow the lure.

Hunting and retrieval: some people like to use their sporting breeds to actually hunt. A sporting breed loves nothing more than to utilize her natural instincts for her owner. Even if you don't hunt, you can utilize these instincts by working retrieval games with toys on land and water. Both allow your dog's drive to be channeled appropriately and with enthusiasm.

Schutzhund trials are based on • obedience, tracking, and protection training. Since obedience is one of the areas judged, it must be extremely precise. In this way, the protection training is more reliable and safe, since the owner has complete control over the dog and his responses. Along with that, the dog has learned to control his behaviors rather than allow his pure guard instincts to rise unchecked.

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Advanced activities give your dog more ways to use his smarts and his natural instincts. As a team, you will also have more to do together.

Dog Training 101

Dog Training 101

If you own a dog, you will have to do more than just feed him and give him toys to play with. Just about every dog, no matter what breed, will have some bad habits and behaviors that you will need to break.

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