Activities For A Tracking And Hunting Dog

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Introduction

Quite a large number of popular dog breeds were originally bred to help their masters track and hunt down other animals. Many of these breeds are decades or even nearly a century old, and they've endured this long thanks to their keen instincts and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Most, if not all, dogs have something referred to as a "prey drive"; this trait is what compels most dogs to chase after squirrels and bring pigeon cadavers to one's doorstep. Hunting and tracking dogs have a particularly powerful prey drive that can be sated by a number of the activities listed below.

Dog Carting

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
45 - 60 min
Items needed
Dog Harness
Dog Carting Equipment
Water and Food
Activity description
Dog carting will really put your pet's strength and ability to follow directions to the test; as the name implies, this activity is very similar to horse carting and is intended to be attempted by medium to large sized dogs. This activity consists of outfitting your dog with a sturdy and reliable dog harness, securely fastening it to a lightweight dog cart, and then sitting back as your dog takes you for a leisurely stroll around the block. A number of smaller, more compact dogs can complete this activity with children and a very small and lightweight dog cart.
Step
1
Lock...
You know how the old saying goes; "it's always better to be safe than sorry." Since this activity is essentially like a land-based version of mushing or sled pulling, you'll want to take the same precautions that a dog sledder or musher would take before setting off to the races. Spare no expense when looking for a dog harness for your pet, as cheaper ones can chafe and pinch your dog. The same goes for the cart they'll be pulling; higher grade carts can run upwards of $300 or so, but they're worth every penny in the long run.
Step
2
...And load
With all of the safety precautions taken care of, you and your dog will now be set to roll out for a stroll. This activity was placed on the list because it's assumed that your dog has developed their muscles, as well as their ability to follow your lead, to a satisfactory level. But even if not, the other activities listed will definitely help develop your dog's physical and mental prowess. You can work on your pup's stamina by taking training walks and runs before trying the carting activity if you feel your pup needs a little cardio work.
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Treasure Hunting

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Bones
Treats
Toys
Shovel or Spade
Activity description
Searching for hidden surprises utilizes your hunting dog's natural sense of direction and intuition without requiring them to lay a paw on any other living creatures. This treasure hunting activity is a delightful alternative for any owners who want to give their dogs the same rush and sense of adventure that comes with game hunting without having to bring harm to anyone or anything else. We recommend that you and your dog attempt this activity in a setting similar to a game hunting session, like a forested area or anywhere in which there's lots of room to bury a number of treasures for your dog to find.
Step
1
Perfect treasure hunting grounds
The first step towards completing a successful treasure hunting session with your dog is to find an area where you and your dog will have lots of space to play while also avoiding any areas with particularly dangerous forms of wildlife. We recommend using an online search engine that suits your fancy to scout ahead for this step.
Step
2
Knock out the busy work
If you're looking to complete this activity in the traditional sense, you may need to get a hold of a shovel or a spade in order to dig a very small hole in the dirt, place one of the treasures inside, and cover it up so that your dog will have to use their sniffer and their paws to get at it. Conversely, you can always cover some of the treasures with shrubbery and twigs. We suggest using both methods as well as hiding a few treasures in plain sight to create a sense of progressing difficulty.
Step
3
Let the games begin
After all of the busy work has been taken care of, it's time for you and your dog to get out there and get after that treasure! If your dog is apt to wondering off, consider keeping them leashed if the two of you are going out into a large area. Otherwise, have fun and look forward to getting a pretty decent mini workout in walking around the treasure hunting grounds.
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Scented Fetch

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0 Votes
Any Day
Cheap
Easy
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Scented Frisbee
Scented Stick
Scented Toys
Activity description
This modern twist on a classic activity will put your dog's incredible sense of smell to work while also helping them reach their requisite physical activity goals for the day. Scented fetch is exactly what it sounds like; a more intense version of a classic game of fetch that prompts your pooch to use their sense of smell to find the item they need to fetch more than any of their other senses. The great thing about this activity is that it's very flexible; you can do a few sit ups or push ups yourself to make this activity into active scented fetch or you can try it out in the water.
Step
1
Smells and aromas
Before you and your dog head out to give this activity a try, be sure to gather a number of items and toys that your dog will enjoy fetching and cover them with the scent of your dog's favorite food. This will ensure that your dog uses their sense of smell to find the item they need to fetch, even if they might not be able to see it.
Step
2
Go long
The best way to get the most out of this activity is by ensuring that your dog won't be able to find the item they need to fetch with their eyes. If need be, incorporate a few methods from the treasure hunting activity and physically cover up an item or two that you'd like for your dog to find. Barring that, do your best to toss the item in question into an area where your dog will have to sniff around for it while also not landing too far off to be reached.
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More Fun Ideas...

Dog Scootering

Scootering is a lot like carting or skijoring; it involves outfitting your dog with a reliable dog harness and mostly relying on vocal commands and mushing to safely steer your dog around. However, scootering incorporates the use of a high tech dog scooter and is overall a very physically strenuous activity.

Obedience Obstacle Course

This activity encourages you to innovate and really get creative; hunting dogs have very active minds and need lots of mental stimulation as opposed to other dog breeds. One of the best ways you can mentally stimulate your dog is by setting up a makeshift obstacle course for your dog using chairs, tires, tables, and more.

Household Hunting

This activity plays on your dog's prey drive, just as we mentioned earlier, hunting dogs have an inborn need to track down small creatures and trophies that they can bring back to their masters. For this activity, try hiding a bone or even a scented dog toy around your place of dwelling and then letting your dog after it.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, hunting and tracking dogs are some of the most adaptable breeds around. What's astounding to us is the sheer variance found in the hunting and tracking category of dogs; everything from Beagles to Poodles to Bloodhounds to most breeds of Terrier were bred with the express purpose of helping humans hunt down game and prey. Yet it's these very same dogs that have become popular for being excellent family pets and competent show dogs. The activities listed above will help satiate your dog's need to hunt down prey but they'll also afford the both of you a unique means to bond with one another.