Activities For American Eskimos

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Introduction

The American Eskimo Dog is a small spitz-type dog with a long, puffball-like coat that is usually solid white, although a light biscuit cream color is also possible. They were developed in Germany as a watchdog, and they tend to have an outgoing but protective nature. These little dogs are particularly talented at agility and performance related activities, especially those types of activities that allow them to work cooperatively with their owner or trainer. Their tendency towards showmanship and their bright white coats made them highly sought after as circus performers and helped to increase this dog breed’s exposure as they were spread throughout the United States by means of traveling circuses.

Agility Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Treats
Leash
Activity description

The average American Eskimo dog tends to be very sure-footed and is able to quickly and easily navigate most obstacles. They enjoy learning new tricks and are able to pick up complicated routines with very little difficulty, characteristics that made them sought after as circus performers in the 19th century. It was in the Barnum and Bailey Circus that an Eskie by the name of Stout’s Pal Pierre became the first dog ever to walk a tightrope. The same characteristics that allowed them to travel the United States as treasured circus stars also make them excellent candidates for agility training, both casual and competitive.   

Step
1
Introduce the obstacles
There are several standard obstacles that are included in an agility course that your dog will need to be familiar with, particularly if they intend to compete. The standard obstacles that can be found in an agility course include an A-frame, a teeter-totter, a tunnel, hurdles, a tire jump, weave poles, and a pause box. In many cases, it’s best to train your dog on each obstacle individually before combining them. Some obstacles, such as tire jump and hurdles, may be more appropriate for dogs older than a year or two old whose bones and joints are fully developed.
Step
2
Combine the steps
Once your pooch has learned to do each individual step dependably, you can start stringing several steps together at once. While some dogs will be able to quickly start working with a string of several obstacles, most of them will be more comfortable starting with just two or three in a row, later increasing the number of obstacles per course.
Step
3
Compete
While your canine will benefit from this activity even if you choose not to compete, many dogs and their owners truly enjoy the experience of competing with other teams. Reach out to your local agility club or training center, and they should be able not only to steer you in the direction to find the best competition for your level but also give you helpful suggestions and tips for navigating your first competition.
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Jump Rope

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
5 - 25 min
Items needed
Jump Rope
Activity description

The American Eskimo dog breed is an energetic little dog with a natural bounce in their step; they are rarely if ever timid, and they tend to be quick in both mind and body. If these clever and active canines are not given a sufficient outlet for their high mental and physical energy, they can develop negative behaviors such as bossiness, destructive chewing, and problem barking. While some dogs might balk at the idea of jumping over a wildly whirling rope, most American Eskimo dogs will take to it rather well with a little thought and patience, and this is definitely an activity that gives the dogs a mental and physical workout. 

Step
1
Jump on command
The first step to teaching your pooch to jump rope is teaching them to jump on command, preferably with both a verbal and physical command. Once your dog has the idea down, practice your jumps together, until your dog is making jumps that are a consistent height and you are both able to jump at the same time. Be careful not to overwork your dog as they may start to associate the muscle pain with the jumping.
Step
2
Introduce the rope
A new item like a whirling rope can be a scary experience for many dogs and introducing the dog to the rope should be done with care. First, introduce the rope as a still object, encourage your dog to jump over it, and praise them. Once they are consistently going over the still rope, introduce movement. If your dog is sensitive be sure reward them any time that the rope touches them as well as any time they are startled, but control their fear; these steps will help to extinguish any fear-related responses and make the activity more enjoyable for both of you.
Step
3
Combine
The last step to teaching your dog to jump rope is to combine the jumping with the whirling rope. It's generally best to start with a single jump at a time, praising and rewarding at every jump. Remember that it may take a while to get your timing down and be sure to reward your dog for attempting to jump, even if you haven’t gotten the timing quite right yourself. Once your dog is managing the single jump effectively, you can increase the intensity by doing several jumps in a row.
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Advanced Obedience

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Any Day
Cheap
Hard
30 - 120 min
Items needed
Treats
Leash
Activity description

American Eskimo dogs became popular in the United States partially due to their popularity as circus dogs. This was due to both their white coats that shone brightly under the spotlight and their well-established behavioral traits. Many of the traits that help the American Eskimo breed to excel at agility training and competitions make them excellent candidates for advanced or competitive obedience lessons as well. These dogs are generally outgoing and rarely shy away from attention;  their overall friendliness and willingness to please coupled with a high level of intelligence and a typically alert disposition make them well-suited to either endeavor. 

Step
1
Pick a technique
There are several techniques that can be effectively utilized for teaching your dog both basic and advanced obedience and trick training. Some of the methods available include clicker training, positive reinforcement, relationship training, and model or mirror training. American Eskimo breed dogs often do particularly well with positive reinforcement training, however, consistency must be applied to their training as they are prone to developing manipulative behaviors otherwise.
Step
2
Train for the basics
There are several commands that your dog will need to know in order to take part in obedience trials even at the Novice level, including stand for exam, come when called, heeling on and off leash, and both a long sit of one minute and a long stay of two minutes. At the Novice level dogs are often awarded the Companion Dog title, allowing them to compete in more advanced competitions.
Step
3
Locate a venue
While the AKC does host several competitions at all levels for both purebred and mixed breed dogs, they are by no means the only way to showcase your pup’s new skills. There are often competitions held by local training clubs and other pet-related companies as well as specific breed clubs such as the American Eskimo Dog Club of America. Events sometimes have paperwork and registration that needs to be filled out several days to weeks prior to the competition, so it is important to do a little research and to ensure that all of the paperwork has been submitted.
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More Fun Ideas...

Musical Canine Freestyle

Eskies have many traits that give them an advantage when performing Canine Freestyle, traits such as agility, a flexible mind, and a willingness to please. They are better able to improvise than many breeds if the need arises, and they shine when they have an appreciative audience.

Treiball

While American Eskimo dogs look very much like a sledding dog, they were not often used in that capacity. These dogs were usually used as watchdogs to protect both people and property, but Eskies are also very capable herding dogs with a strong herding instinct. This may give these little white dogs an advantage at a newer dog sport by the name of Treibball, in which inflated spheres are “herded” by the dog to a specified spot.

Skijor

While many American Eskimo Dogs are too small to safely pull a human behind them, some of the larger Eskies, those over thirty-five pounds, may be able to enjoy this winter sport, particularly if they are able to work in teams of two.  

Conclusion

While American Eskimo dogs tend to be small in stature, they are rarely small in personality and these energetic and bold canines require both physical and mental activity each day if they are to be at their best and brightest. These dogs tend to be quite adventurous, as long as you come along, and there are several activities that they will enjoy and possibly even excel at.