Activities For A Braque Du Bourbonnais

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Introduction

The Braque Du Bourbonnais is a very old breed of pointer dog that developed at some point prior to the 1500s, possibly with a heavy Spanish Pointer influence. They are typically tailless and have a distinctive coat that is covered in ticking that comes in shades from fawn to liver. Strict adherence to physical characteristics led to a reduction in workability and in overall population in the 1960s and 70s, but dedicated breeders re-established this breed as a functioning pointer dog in the 1980s.

Scent Work

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Scent work Kit
Activity description

Dogs have a much more sensitive sense of smell than human beings, with the average canine having a sense of smell that is approximately forty times more sensitive than ours. Hunting dogs, such as the Braque Du Bourbonnais, have much more sensitive noses than other dogs as they were specifically developed to track and hunt game birds, as well as a strong urge to find birds. This particular activity is fun and challenging for your dog, and while casual scent work is definitely enough physical and mental exercise, teaching your dog scent work skills can lead to additional opportunities such as search and rescue placements, as well as trials for tracking and sniffer dog competitions. 

Step
1
Getting ready
While many pet parents begin working on scent work at home, often with start-up kits that contain several different smells, many people have reported that joining local dog sports or scent work groups and training facilities is a much more effective route to take. Professional trainers can often be found at these facilities and in some cases, may be able to help you by introducing more complex training methods and by giving you and your pup tips and tricks for entering into competitive trials.
Step
2
Choose a scent
While the first instinct of most dog owners is to use high-value food treats to tempt their pups, most experienced professional trainers recommend starting with a specific, non-food related scent. Introductory scent work kits often contain beginning scents such as anise and birch, and the dog is then trained to associate that smell with a motivating reward. As your dog’s mastery of this skill improves, other scents can be added, including more subtle smells that will challenge even the most sensitive of noses.
Step
3
Search harder
Once your dog has mastered the basics of scent work, you can increase the challenge of this activity. Some of the ways to intensify the search include locating more difficult hiding spots, imposing a time limit, or using more subtle smells. The type of skills learned by increasing the challenge may also help to improve critical thinking skills on behalf of your dog, as well as improving their chances when entering competitions.
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Search and Rescue

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
30 - 90 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

The Braque Du Bourbonnais is an excellent hunting dog that has been described in French literature since the late 1500s and is known for their keen hunting instincts. Search and rescue dogs help to track lost humans, often in very difficult situations and in many different environments. Both you and your canine companion will require quite a bit of training and certification that will test the determination, physical fitness, and intelligence of both members of the search and rescue team. Preparation and training for this job can take anywhere from six months to two years but can be extremely fulfilling for both you and your hound dog.

Step
1
Determine eligibility
While many search and rescue teams include dog breeds like German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Doberman Pinschers, any good-sized dog that is also physically and mentally fit can be eligible to perform this important service. Search and rescue dogs must be at least eighteen months old when they start formal training, but early socialization can occur at any time.
Step
2
Get your own certifications
Search and rescue teams are required to earn and keep a number of certifications in order to play your part as the human half of a search and rescue team. These are likely to include at least basic life support and CPR. However, other certifications such as including navigation, HazMat training, or backcountry survival skills, may also be required.
Step
3
Train and certify
Certification is required for your dog as well. Programs such as the National Association of Search and Rescue, Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States, FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Certification, and the National Search Dog Alliance can help you find which certifications will be required, and where your first assignments will be.
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Teaching "Whoa"

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Bench
Whoa Board
Activity description

The Braque Du Bourbonnais is a naturally tailless pointer who had developed as a hunting and tracking dog in France by the 1800s. When training a pointing dog like the Braque Du Bourbonnais to hunt, there are two essential commands that your dog will absolutely need to know, a recall method, such as here or come, and whoa, the command to hold absolutely still so as not to disturb their quarry. This particular lesson can be started even at a fairly young age and should be clearly understood by your hunting companion before taking them out into the field to work with game birds. 

Step
1
The bench
Give your dog a command to stand up on the park bench, or lift them up onto the park bench. Once they are on the bench, give the command “whoa” then slowly walk away. If your dog moves off of the bench during this training either give them the command to get back up on the bench, or physically put them back on the bench. Continue working with this step until your dog remains consistently on the bench when you say whoa. This step sometimes takes several days to master but is well worth the effort.
Step
2
Whoa board
Once your canine companion is consistently following the whoa command when up on the bench, they can graduate on to the whoa board, a flat wooden board that is used similarly to the bench in the step prior to this. You give the command whoa, and then by command or physical transfer ensure that the dog remains motionless on the whoa board. This often takes another several days to completely master as well.
Step
3
Introducing the bird
The final step in teaching the whoa command has to do with retaining the lesson in the face of the ultimate distraction, the bird that they are supposed to be alerting you to. Once your dog is able to remain motionless when alerting to the bird presented to them, they should be ready for more advanced hunting dog tracking games.
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More Fun Ideas...

Geocaching

The powerful tracking nose of the Braque Du Bourbonnais may be helpful when looking for a geocaching container in which you note your progress.  

Nature Walk

A walk out in nature with your pointer dog should allow the dog to sniff around and explore as much as possible in order to familiarize them with as many new sights, sounds and smells as possible.  

Conclusion

This ancient breed was almost wiped out due to strict adherence to a physical standard, but since the 1980s breeders have been concentrating on the dog's skills rather than their appearance and they have regained their status as skilled hunters and pointers. The activities listed here emphasize the dog's ability and give even a non-hunting pointer an outlet for their instincts.