Activities For Afghan Sheepdogs

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Introduction

Afghan Sheepdogs are an incredibly unique breed. They are sensitive and rugged and can go all day in the heat as long as they can move at their own pace. These dogs may be shy and unsure around new people, but their breeding means they are great at a variety of tasks. There are many activities for Afghan Sheepdogs that take advantage of their sturdy nature and help them overcome any shyness or guarding. Whatever you choose to do, it should cater to their smart nature and leave room for patience to accommodate their sometimes stubborn and sensitive personalities.

Competitive Obedience

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
30 mins
Items needed
Treats
Clicker
Leash
Props
Activity description
Competing in obedience is an amazing activity for Afghan Sheepdogs and their very dedicated owners. This competition requires dog and handler teams to perform a grueling series of commands and actions in sequence and with ultimate precision. To onlookers, it can almost seem like a dance, but to the dog and owner, it's a difficult and exacting practice. Afghan Sheepdogs are well suited to the intelligence and concentration it takes to compete, but their stubborn nature can sometimes make it even more of a challenge for their owners. Through this activity they will learn important skills such as instinct control, concentration, and how to follow their owner.
Step
1
The basics
You'll want to start by learning the basics of obedience. It's a good idea to take your dog to a trainer or an obedience class with a leader who is familiar with this type of breed. You need to learn the best way to train your Afghan Sheepdog, and they may require different techniques than a typical Lab or Golden Retriever. Basic courses will create the foundation and relationship you need to move on to advanced moves.
Step
2
Learn the routine
If you don't have an obedience club near you, you can download a list of common commands used in obedience competitions and enlist a trainer or watch a few videos on YouTube. Using the training techniques you learned in your basic class, you can work on training the new commands and perfecting your execution.
Step
3
Sign up for competition
The best way to challenge your dog and see how far you've come with your training is to sign up for an obedience competition. The American Kennel Club hosts competitions all over the country and has sections for beginner, intermediate, and advanced teams. Sign up for the beginner competition, but make sure you stick around to watched the advanced teams for inspiration.
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Search and Rescue Team

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
3 - 6 hrs
Items needed
Harness
long lead
Scent to practice tracking
Activity description
If you want an activity that is good for your dog and your community, you can train your Afghan Sheepdog to be a search and rescue dog. This breed is known for their excellent sense of smell and natural ability to follow a scent. Their capacity to move through the woods during many different kinds of weather and their ability to concentrate make them ideal for this position. You will need to take them through extensive training programs where they learn how to do this very important job. When they graduate, your dog will be an important part of a team that helps find lost hikers and saves lives.
Step
1
Find a class
Start training for search and rescue when your dog is young, and enroll them in a course specially designed for search and rescue. These programs are often long and grueling for both you and your dog, but they will teach you how to work as a team in the wilderness, track and follow clues, and use scent to find lost people in varying terrain and many different circumstances.
Step
2
Volunteer
When your dog has completed the search and rescue class and received their Search And Rescue certified card, you are ready to start volunteering for your local Search and Rescue. Prepare for your first call by becoming familiar with the local terrain and keeping a bag of necessary items packed so you can grab it at a moment's notice.
Step
3
Make your first rescue
When the call comes in to head out on your first rescue, grab your packed bag, put on your dog's special SAR vest, and head to the meeting point. This is the time to put all your practice to use. Trust your dog and remember everything you learned, and soon you'll be helping a lost hiker to safety.
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Hunting

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Any Day
Cheap
Hard
4 - 6 hrs
Items needed
Scent for training
orange safety vest
Activity description
Because they are descended from Afghan Hounds, which were bred for hunting both large and small prey, your Afghan Sheepdog is a natural hunter. With the right training, your dog can help you track and find deer and locate an animal that has run off after it has been shot. They are equally adept at hunting smaller animals like rabbits and squirrels because of their keen sense of smell and steady focus. Though they may seem lazy or unmotivated at times, it's usually because they are reserving energy for something else. Once they pick up the scent, you may have to jog to keep up with them.
Step
1
Teach them to track
Start by teaching your dog how to pick up and follow the scents through the woods. You can find a bottle of deer scent at your local hunting store, and if you're planning on hunting another kind of animal they can help you find a matching scent for that animal too. Practice by creating a trail using drops of the scent around the yard leading to a big prize for your dog. This could be a big bone or a favorite toy. It won't take them long to figure out the trail, so make sure you up the challenge by making the trail more faint or harder.
Step
2
Get clear on commands
Before you head into the woods for a hunt, you need to make sure your dog is clear on their commands. They should listen to you even when they are on a scent. Teach them to sit, stay, heal, wait, and of course track. If you are having some trouble with this, you can enlist a trainer who understands the needs of an Afghan Sheepdog. Another task to check off the list is to expose your dog to the sound of gunshots and what to do when you fire your gun. With some practice first, your dog will be an excellent hunting companion.
Step
3
Time for the hunt
When you head out for your hunt, be sure your dog is wearing an orange safety vest so they cannot be mistaken for a deer or another animal. This is where you test everything the two of you have been working on. The first few times out, your dog may make a mistake. Patiently correct them and they will be the best hunting partner you could ask for. With their skilled nose, you'll be able to fill your freezer in no time and reap the healthy rewards of wild game.
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More Fun Ideas...

Agility

Agility sports are a great activity for Afghan Sheepdogs. By learning to control their impulses and pay close attention to commands from their owners, agility helps these dogs learn their place in the family and feel happy and healthy.

Family Bath Time

Afghan Sheepdogs need to be bathed periodically to make sure their fur doesn't get matted or too dirty. Luckily, bathing this giant dog is a fantastic family activity on a hot summer day. Get the kids involved to help suds up your dog, rinse them off, and brush through their thick coat while it dries.

Conclusion

Afghan Sheepdogs are incredible and unique dogs that will compliment any family. While they don't need to run or chase balls to get rid of excess energy, they do need a strong relationship with a confident leader to give them confidence and teach them their role in the family. There are many activities for Afghan Sheepdogs that take into account their large size and affinity for using their brains. Whether they are using their nose on a search and rescue team or waiting for their owner's command during an obedience competition, Afghan Sheepdogs make wonderful teammates and will always be on your side.