Activities For A Finnish Spitz

1k Views
0 Comments
0 Votes

Introduction

Finnish Spitz breed dogs, known affectionately as Finkies, have been assisting hunters in Finland for thousands of years. They tend to specialize in tracking game birds in trees, but instead of flushing them, the dogs mesmerize and confuse the birds with their distinctive movements and vocal patterns. They tend to be lively and animated canines, with friendly natures, and while they are still sometimes employed as hunting dogs in Finland, they typically play the role of companion in the United States. They are intelligent but can be manipulative and strong-willed, and they have a natural tendency to vocalize, but early and continuous training can help mitigate these traits.

Scent Work

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Scents
High Value Rewards
Activity description

Compared to humans, dogs have an incredible sense of smell, somewhere around forty times more powerful than our own. The dog’s world is filled with smells we can only imagine, but we can utilize their need to follow their noses not just to enhance our dog's mental and physical health, but to clarify communication and increase the bond between ourselves and our canine companions. Although the Finnish Spitz does not look like the typical hunting hound, they are frequently employed as hunting partners in their native country specializing in tracking and treeing animals like squirrels and grouse, although they have been known to track and confront elk and bears as well. 

Step
1
Pick a place
Scent work is an activity that can be practiced in a number of different environments. While it is easy enough to start the training in your home and yard, it is also generally a portable enough activity that you can take practices to parks or forest settings as well. Dogs that are planning to compete in tracking trials will need to show proficiency in several categories of scenting including indoor, outdoor, containers, and vehicles, so should have exposure to each of these environments before competing.
Step
2
Train for scent
High-value food treats are a great reward for finding the scent, but in most cases, the dog will be seeking a non-food related scent as determined by the organizers of the competition. Classes to help you train your dog can also be found at many of the dog sport facilities and training kits for competitive scent work can be found at dog sports stores and online. Most training kits contain the scents most commonly utilized in tracking trials, birch, anise, and clove, although the AKC also has a handler discrimination division in which the canine in question searches for their handler instead, and some divisions will use additional scents such as cypress, myrrh, and lemongrass oil.
Step
3
Compete
Once your canine companion has mastered the idea of searching for the scent, you can exhibit your dog’s new found skill by entering competitions. You can search online for nearby competitions, contact your local dog sport facility for a list of competitions, or contact the major kennel clubs like the AKC directly. Many of the competitions require some sort of registration. For the American Kennel Club a registration number, either as a purebred animal, a foundational breed, or as an AKC Canine Partner, is required while the National Association of Canine Scent Work has their own registration guidelines.
Love this activity?

Speak and Quiet

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Free
Easy
5 - 20 min
Items needed
High value treats
Activity description

The Finnish Spitz is known for their unusual and penetrating vocalizations with a bark that can reach speeds of one hundred and sixty barks per minute, a sound much like a yodel that is extremely helpful in finding a hunting dog that has gone some distance from the hunter and in distracting game, keeping it treed until the hunter can arrive to dispatch the prey. Unfortunately, these dogs also have a tendency to bark at just about anything unusual, and with their loud, rapid-fire barking, this trait that can get very tiresome if there isn’t a good way to get them to quickly quiet down. One of the most effective techniques for teaching your dog to be quiet when asked is to begin by teaching them to bark on command first. 

Step
1
Speak
Offer your pooch a high-value food reward and give them the command to speak or bark. When your dog begins vocalizing, give them their reward and praise them enthusiastically. This step should be repeated until your dog barks each time that you ask them to speak, and over two or three days in order to cement the behavior in their minds. Do not reward the barking behavior with either treats or with attention of any sort if you do not say the command word.
Step
2
Quiet
Once your little yodeler is reliably barking on command, it is time to teach them how to stop barking. This step is best learned in an area that is quiet and distraction free in order to maximize their focus. Start by enclosing the treat in your hand and giving your dog the command to speak at which point they will bark. Give the quiet command as you approach your dog with the treat still enclosed in your hand. The dog will typically stop barking to sniff or lick your hand, at which point you release the treat and praise them heavily. Continue working on the speak command on its own and on the speak and quiet commands together over the next few days in the distraction-free environment until they are reliably responding.
Step
3
Quiet whenever
When your canine companion is responding appropriately to each command on a consistent basis, it is time to take the training up a notch and add in a few distractions. It is often easier to take your time with this step, starting with areas with fewer distractions, like quiet nearby parks and working your way up to more active environments like within visual distance of a noisy playground or an area with a lot of smells and sounds. Gradually moving up in distraction level will help to set your dog up for success rather than resulting in a frustrating time for both of you.
Love this activity?

Advanced Obedience

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Moderate
Hard
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

This breed of dog is highly intelligent and tend to be independent and strong-willed in nature. They do not respond well to harsh training methods, but when trained with gentle firmness they can become exceptionally well-mannered companions. Continuing with some sort of training is often particularly helpful in curbing the development of stubborn behaviors. In order to compete in advanced obedience trials, your dog needs to be focused on you and alert to your commands, behaviors that come naturally to your Finnish Spitz. Some pet parents may utilize video and books to learn the training techniques without the used of classes, while others prefer to have direct instruction. The cost for classes can vary greatly and the cost to enter competitions are typically around ten to fifty dollars per entry. 

Step
1
Choose a training method
There are several methods that can be utilized in order to teach your dog the commands they will need to know to compete in obedience trials. Clicker training, mirror or model training, positive reinforcement, and relationship training can all be employed, either on their own or in conjunction with one another. Finnish Spitz dogs respond well to positive reinforcement but respond very poorly to harsh reprimands and punitive methods.
Step
2
Semi-basic training
Along with the usual sit, stay, and recall commands that are learned in basic training courses and the proper manners that they will learn from a Canine Good Citizen Award, there are a few additional commands that your dog will need to learn in order to compete. Some of the things that may be required during novice competitions could include figure eights, retrieve over a jump, scent discrimination and your dog will also need to be able to hold a sit for one minute and hold in a stay position for two minutes.
Step
3
Choose your competition
Many pet parents prefer to initially exhibit their canine’s new found skills at smaller, local competitions such as those that are put on by breed specific clubs, local pet-related businesses, or even the local training clubs themselves. Local obedience competitions like these are often easy to find by querying local dog sport facilities, pet stores, and rescue societies as well as by looking at online event calendars. Larger competitions on both the regional and national level are put on by the major kennel clubs such as the AKC and UKC and may be televised.
Love this activity?

More Fun Ideas...

Agility Training

Dog agility sports involve a human and canine team, with the human directing the canine through a series of obstacles, aiming for a combination of accuracy and speed. This breed of dog is a very quick thinking and fast moving animal making them well suited to this fast-paced activity.

Barn Hunt

While Finnish Spitz dogs specialize in game birds in the trees, they are not limited to this type of hunting and they may excel at the activity of Barn Hunt, in which dogs hunt for rodents in a barn-like setting.

Conclusion

These astute canines are both energetic and intelligent and without proper guidance can become manipulative and strong-willed. When their energies are directed in a constructive manner, however, they can be vibrant and loving members of the family. It is important to find activities for these dogs to do that are able to exercise both their bodies and their minds.