Activities For A Bouvier Des Flandres

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Introduction

The Bouvier Des Flanders is a large herding breed that is intelligent and usually easy to train. They can have a stubborn streak when they are not socialized or trained properly. Because the Bouvier Des Flanders is such an intelligent dog, they do require a lot of exercise and a task to complete each day. Whether you go for long walks, visit a dog park, or participate in performance events, there is always something to do to keep your Bouvier Des Flanders active. A Bouvier without a task to do is like having a toddler in the home.

Herding Trials

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Flat buckle collar
15-20 foot training line
Training whistle
5 foot bamboo pole
Activity description

Dogs that are classified as a herding breed, like the Bouvier Des Flanders, are expected to be natural-born herders. However, some dogs simply do not have a strong herding instinct and will need to work hard to be able to effective when moving stock. The Bouvier Des Flanders is a large dog able to move stock of all sizes. They are intelligent and easy to train. If you are not accustomed to training a dog to herd, find a local dog club that offers either classes or mentors to help you. Herding trials are done in any weather, but sunny weather is always ideal. You will need a flat buckle collar, a leash, training whistle, and a five foot bamboo pole; a PVC pole can also be used but an actual shepherd’s hook is not a good idea because of their weight. A 15-20 foot training line can also be used when you become a little more comfortable with training your dog to herd.

Step
1
Basic training
An effective herding dog must have a basic understanding of obedience. If you are not sure about how to start their obedience training, enter a beginner’s class. Once your dog knows their basic commands, it will be time to start learning the commands that are associated with herding. Again, if you have never trained a herding breed, contact a dog club and see if they have a herding class or a mentor that you can work with.
Step
2
Introduce the stock
Be sure to introduce the stock slowly. Start with only a few from the herd. Choose stock that is more settled and easier to move; these are usually older animals used to being moved by dogs. You do not want to introduce stock that is unruly or may threaten your dog. Be patient, your dog may exhibit uncertainty when first approaching the stock; reassure them and keep moving forward. If your dog is too excited when being introduced to the stock, take them out of the pen and calm down, then re-enter the pen.
Step
3
Keep practicing
Most dogs will need hours and hours of practice to turn them into expert herders. Do not give up if your dog exhibits uncertainty or excitability when with the stock. They need more exposure to the stock. Put them on a short leash and walk them through the herd so they can become accustomed to the other animals. Once you feel your dog is solid in their skills, enter them in a herding trial and test their skills.
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Search and Find

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Items to hide
Treats
Activity description

This is the canine variation of hide and seek and your Bouvier Des Flanders will absolutely love searching for treats or toys. You can play search and find inside your home, in the backyard, or even in the park. Weather is not a factor when playing inside, however, when playing outside the best weather is either sunny or cloudy with no rain. When hiding objects, pick items that have a stronger scent so they can differentiate scents and find the object. The Bouvier Des Flanders is not a scent hound, but like all dogs, they can use their nose to sniff out good smelling things. You can also hide and make your dog find you. Plan on spending about 30 minutes playing search and find with your dog. 

Step
1
Choose items with a scent
When choosing the items that you want your Bouvier Des Flanders to find, pick toys that they love and treats that have a strong scent. You can even rub a scent on the toys to make finding them much easier. Do not choose items that are small and could be a potential choking hazard if your dog gets too excited.
Step
2
Hide the items
For dogs that have not played search and find, make it relatively easy for them to find the items. A game that is too hard in the beginning will cause your dog to quickly lose interest. Do not hide items in places that your dog normally is not allowed to go; boundaries should be kept in place even when playing games.
Step
3
Time to search
Offer a lot of encouragement while your Bouvier Des Flanders is searching for their prize. Dogs crave your approval and praise, so do not be stingy! If your dog gets sidetracked, guide them back to the area where the item is hidden and encourage them to use their nose and find the object. Do not wear your dog out, some dogs have shorter attention spans and will quickly lose interest if their reward is not immediate.
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Treibball

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
15 min
Items needed
Collar
Balls
Treats
Treibball Field
Activity description

This is a canine game that is sweeping the nation. This game was developed in Germany and is played in 15-minute increments. There are several European countries that have formed leagues and dogs compete for titles. North America has also formed the American Treibball Association and it is becoming very popular in Maryland, California and Florida. Sometimes treibball is referred to as drive ball and is similar to soccer. Dogs will drive the ball across the field; balls are large inflated balls. In treibball, dogs work as a team to drive the ball across the field and into a goal. There are eight of these large, inflated balls in play on the field at the same time, creating total chaos while the dogs use their heads and muzzles to move the balls. 

Step
1
Learn the rules
Whether you are looking for a competitive treibball game or you just want to play a backyard game with friends, you still need to know the rules. Check out the American Treibball Association for the rules of the game and information on games forming near you. You will need to fully understand the rules of the game so you and your dog do not get disqualified and thrown out of a game.
Step
2
Form a team
Once you fully understand the game of treibball, it is time to find a team. You can either search for an existing team to join or you can form a team of your friends and your dog’s friends. When looking for potential team members, be sure to choose dogs that are well trained and not prone to dominant tendencies. You want a team that plays well together so everyone has a good time.
Step
3
Watch them enjoy
Do not be the stereotypical soccer mom or dad! Treibball is a fun game for everyone and you just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your dog have a blast. Be sure to closely monitor your dog while they are playing on the field and after each game cool them down in the shade. Keep plenty of water on hand to keep them hydrated while playing.
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More Fun Ideas...

Water Fun

The Bouvier Des Flanders loves water and will find great pleasure doing any activity that involves water. So, during hot, sunny days set up a sprinkler or have a pool party for your dog. Go for a walk on the beach and play in the water or go wading in a stream. No matter what the water activity is, your Bouvier Des Flanders will love the time spent with you.

Agility

Many people do not necessarily think of a Bouvier Des Flanders as a top agility contender. However, they are surprisingly quick and agile and can quickly move through the various obstacles of an agility course. There have been a number of Bouviers that have successfully competed in agility trials.

Conclusion

 The Bouvier Des Flanders requires a significant amount of exercise and activity each day. There are a number of activities your Bouvier will enjoy. Being a herding breed, they will obviously enjoy anything that plays on their natural abilities. They are super smart and will also enjoy other performance events, or even spending time playing silly games around the house.