Activities For American Hairless Terriers

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Introduction

 American Hairless Terriers are a relatively new breed of dog that was derived from the American Rat Terrier by breeders Edwin and Willie Scott of Louisiana, with the original progenitor of the breed being a Rat Terrier named Josephine that was naturally born hairless. They are highly intelligent and energetic animals that need a great deal of both mental and physical activity each day or destructive, boredom-related behaviors may develop such as chewing, excessive barking, and irritability.

Competitive Obedience

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Any Day
Cheap
Hard
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Treats
Leash
Activity description

American Hairless Terriers, like their direct ancestor, the Rat Terrier, are very intelligent little dogs who quickly pick up new commands. Continuing training after they have mastered the basic commands can help to keep their very active minds occupied and can also help to reinforce previous training. While these little dogs can display some stubbornness during training sessions, ensuring that sessions are varied in nature and kept fairly short will produce the best results with this breed.  Advanced obedience training is a good way to reinforce training techniques, entertain your dog, and improve both the communication and the overall bond between pet and pet-parent. 

Step
1
Choose your technique
There are several training techniques that can be employed to successfully train your pup with both the basic obedience commands as well as with the more advanced obedience courses. Some methods that are frequently cited include positive reinforcement, relationship training, clicker training, and mirror or model training. These energetic little dogs often do very well with being taught multiple techniques.
Step
2
Basic training
In order to participate in obedience trials, there are several commands that your particular pup will need to be taught. Obedience skills that are needed to be awarded a Companion Dog certification that allows them to compete in higher levels can include come when called, on and off leash healing, as well as a long sit and a long stay.
Step
3
Locate a venue
There are various levels of competitive obedience training, and many different competitions are available both for purebred dogs like the American Hairless Terrier as well as for mixed breed dogs. You can showcase your canine companion’s new skills at competitions that are put on by breed groups, training programs, and pet product companies as well as at officially sanctioned AKC obedience competitions.
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Barn Hunt

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

American Hairless Terriers, like many terrier breeds, were bred for hunting vermin. In the case of Rat Terriers and their descendants the American Hairless Terrier breed, they were specifically developed to hunt rats in barns, making them naturals at the newly developed sport of Barn Hunt. This sport involves placing rats in safety tubes and hiding them in specially designed mazes, usually made up of eighteen inch bales of hay, and is open to any dog that is able to fit through an eighteen inch tall opening; deaf dogs, senior dogs, and even dogs with missing limbs are often able to compete at these events. 

Step
1
Find a club
Barn hunt as a sport is quickly gaining popularity, and many different Barn Hunt clubs have been spawned as a result. It is not a sport that most people can easily replicate in their backyard and joining a group or club dedicated to Barn Hunt will give you opportunities to both practice and compete. You can either speak to local training and dog sports academies to see if they have any recommendations or access the list of clubs recognized by the Barn Hunt Association.
Step
2
Introduce the target
The intent of Barn Hunt is to test the dog’s ability to locate the rats in a barn-like setting, and the best way to do that is to use actual rats in the hunt. These rats are often family pets who have been specially trained to be calm and relaxed in their safety tubes, and while some dogs will start tracking the rats automatically, others may need to be introduced to the rat and safety tube so that they know what specifically they are searching for.
Step
3
Compete
The sport of Barn Hunt is, by nature, competitive and there are many different levels of difficulty, each with their own titles and championships. Many participants in this type of activity find that winning and losing are less important in this particular sport than the level of satisfaction that it brings to the individual dogs, and in most cases, human and canine participants enjoy the sport itself as much as the competition.
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Search For Supper

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

Searching for your supper is an activity that can be done to make your dog’s meals more entertaining for them as well as giving them an extra opportunity to use their minds in everyday situations. American Hairless Terriers are very active little canines, but like many small dogs, they can be prone to obesity if they get bored and lethargic or if they are given too many treats. They are also somewhat natural foragers as their ancestors were developed to search for and eradicate rats and vermin from human habitations, and this activity gives them an opportunity to follow their natural desires in a way that increases their physical activity without increasing their caloric intake. 

Step
1
Start slow
This is particularly important with adult and more mature dogs that have been getting their food in the same place in the same way for several years. In many cases, it is easiest to start by just hiding the food, in its bowl, a few feet from its normal spot in a simple hiding spot, like behind a chair or under a towel. Remember to follow your own rules, if your dog is not normally allowed in the kitchen, hiding their supper there can be very confusing and may sabotage your efforts.
Step
2
Distance
Once your dog understands that they will be searching for their supper, you can start hiding it in more difficult places to find all over the house, such as in open boxes, in closets, or even under beds. If this activity is done at the same time as your supper, it may also reduce your pet’s tendency to visibly covet your food by keeping them busy searching for their own food.
Step
3
Increase the challenge
When your canine companion has mastered searching for their food in a food bowl, you can even up the game by removing the main supper bowl and using multiple small bowls hidden throughout the house as well as treat dispensing toys filled with kibble. Hiding several small meals is a great way to ensure that your dog isn’t as likely to overeat at mealtime and provides a great opportunity for the dog to exercise their very active mind.
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More Fun Ideas...

Canine Parkour

American Hairless Terriers are bold and adventurous dogs that are likely to enjoy constantly changing nature of parkour, a type of exercise technique that turns objects in the everyday world, such as park benches and fallen logs, as obstacles in an ever-changing obstacle course.  

Earthdog Trials

Earthdog Trials are specifically designed in order to test your terrier’s skill at tracking and hunting small burrowing animals. American Hairless Terriers can be particularly adept at this dog sport due to their speed, size, and natural ratting instincts.

Frisbee

These little dogs are very agile and quick with a natural instinct to chase, making the sport of canine flying discs a natural choice for these energetic animals. 

Conclusion

American Hairless Terriers are bright and active dogs with the ability to learn several different activities. They have a natural desire to search out small things and this can often be used in order to keep them both active and occupied. The activities listed here tend to add both physical activity and mental stimulation to your dog's routine, improving their quality of life.