Activities For Airedale Terriers

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Introduction

Airedales are one of the largest of the Terrier breeds, often referred to as the King of Terriers. They generally stand just under two feet tall and weigh in at between forty and sixty pounds. They were originally employed as farm dogs, to eliminate pests on the farm and to protect the land and the landowners. They are known to be intelligent, protective, quick thinking, and stubborn, and they can excel in many different activities and sports developed with dogs in mind. 

Swimming

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Canine Lifevest
Floating toy (optional)
Activity description

Many people will conjure up images of retrievers or water spaniels when they think of canine water sports; however, this terrier type dog is also well-designed for swimming and tends to enjoy the activity a great deal. Although they are not considered to be in the retriever category, they are listed as a gun dog by the AKC and have a strong instinct to locate and retrieve game. Airedale Terriers, like many of the larger retrieving breeds, are prone to joint problems, particularly hip dysplasia, and the activity of swimming can help to strengthen the muscles that support the hip joints without adding as much stress to the joints as walking or running, due to the cushioning effect of the water. 

Step
1
Find a location
If it is your first time introducing your dog to the sport of swimming, you may want to consider locating an indoor swimming pool designed for dogs. There is typically a small fee for using these type of facilities, but the advantages to an established canine swimming center typically include a certified trainer who can help your dog acclimate to the water for the first time, and a safe, controlled environment free of wildlife, water plants, and unusual or dangerous currents. Owners of dogs that are learning to swim in a more natural environment should find a clear, non-stagnant body of water, be aware of local wildlife, and check websites and posted signs in an attempt to avoid toxins, bacteria, or aggressive wildlife. The presence of blue-green algae is of particular concern and dogs should avoid swimming or even wading in water that has algae growing in it, and definitely should not drink it.
Step
2
Introductions
Pets who have their first swim at a canine swimming pool are generally introduced to the water by a certified trainer at the pool to ensure all goes smoothly, but if your dog is learning to swim in a personal pool or natural body of water, this responsibility will fall to you. Most Airedale Terriers will quickly take to the water with very little coaxing, and some may even jump right in, but others will take a little convincing. It is best to enter the water before your pup and slowly coax them deeper into the water using praise. While toys can be used to lure your dog into the water, using treats may be ineffective and are not generally recommended.
Step
3
Swimming safely
Airedales are known for not knowing when to quit, and it is a good idea to remember that when they are swimming. Until your dog has become a proven swimmer, ensure that they wear a well-fitted canine lifevest, particularly in uncontrolled natural environments and keep an eye on your dog for any signs of distress or exhaustion. Once your swimming session is over, be sure to rinse your dog off with clean, clear water, as this can help keep elements like salt, harsh chemicals, dirt, and bacteria from remaining on your dog’s skin after they dry off.
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Fast CAT

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Crate
Muzzle (If required by club)
Water
Activity description

Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test) is another new dog sport that has recently increased in popularity. It is similar to Lure Coursing in that a lure, usually a white plastic bag, is pulled along very quickly by a pulley, encouraging the dog to give chase. In most lure coursing competitions, however, the lure switches directions several times throughout the trial, and the course is either three or six hundred yards, but in Fast CAT the lure is pulled in a single, straight 100-yard dash in order to test the dog’s top speed. This sport is often better for dogs who are reluctant to make to quick twists and turns that are inherent in longer lure courses and for dogs with shorter attention spans.

Step
1
Prepare your dog
This activity is slightly less strenuous on the joints than lure coursing as there are no twists or turns, but it is still an active and demanding sport. It is generally not recommended for dogs under the age of a year as they may still be growing and a check by your veterinarian can help to ensure that your canine’s heart, hips, and lungs are strong and healthy enough to engage in this activity. Some Lure Coursing clubs that hold these competitions may require the use of a muzzle at all times, while others are laxer about this issue. Some pet parents find it helpful to get their pups used to wearing their muzzle before they attend an event.
Step
2
Learn the sport
While the American Kennel Club has recently begun including Fast CAT trials to their list of events, in many other venues, Fast CAT competitions are still handled as a subset within Lure Coursing so contacting Lure Coursing groups may be a good way to find out where competitions are taking place and what the rules and regulations are in your area, including what paperwork should be filled out and what gear needs to be worn by the participating pooch. It may also be a good idea to attend an event as a spectator rather than a participant at least once before competing to attenuate both you and your dog to the competitive environment.
Step
3
They're off!
Once you are at the starting line, there isn’t a whole lot left for you to do, except make sure there is someone to collect your dog at the end of the track. One of the things that draw many pet parents to this particular activity is that it doesn’t require a great deal of training for the canine to be able to participate, making it a great activity for prey driven but stubborn dogs.
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Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Free
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Reward
Activity description

Hide and seek is a great game for any thinking dog that enjoys interacting with their chosen people. While Airedales were not developed specifically for their tracking ability, being able to locate small rodents when they were trying not to be located was a key component of being a ratter, and they have an effective and methodical manner of searching. Their ability to track was also useful for finding game when they were employed as gun dogs and for finding criminals when they worked as police and security animals. You can put this ability to use by teaching your dog to play hide and seek with you, a fun game that strengthens your bond and improves your canine companion’s problem solving skills. 

Step
1
Choose a reward
While using high value treats to help convince your dog to find you might sound like an obvious choice, it isn’t always the best choice. Many dogs are perfectly happy to play this game just for the praise they get when they find you, and others are better satisfied when they are given one of their favorite toys or if a ball is tossed for them.
Step
2
Choose a hider
When first starting out, it is usually easiest for your dog to concentrate on just one missing individual, often yourself, but as your dog gains confidence in their abilities, you can challenge your dog further by having several people hide, or by having the hider occasionally move from place to place. These kinds of adjustments can help to keep the game interesting and fresh for both you and your dog for many years to come.
Step
3
Choose a hiding place
Initially, hiding places should be kept simple, possibly even allowing yourself to be slightly visible as your pup searches for you. As your pooch increases their skill level, however, you will need to increase the challenge for it to continue stimulating their mind. You can up the intensity of this game by finding increasingly difficult hiding spots in the house, or by moving the location, perhaps taking the game outside into a secured yard.
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More Fun Ideas...

Earn a Versatility Award

As you can see, the Airedale Terrier is a very versatile canine, and to celebrate their diversity, the Airedale Terrier Club of America offers recognition to Airedales that excel in multiple sports and programs, including many of the activities that are listed here.

Agility Training

Airedale Terriers are quick moving and flexible making them excellent candidates for the sport of Agility training. It is important to remember that consistency is key when training this breed as they tend to exploit any loophole that they can find.

Conclusion

Airedale Terriers are strong, versatile dogs that are able to think quickly yet methodically. This breed, often referred to as the King of Terriers, is able to excel in many different disciplines including tracking, swimming, hunting, and pest control, but also has a very independent mind, which can lead to some difficulty during training if training is not handled consistently.