Activities For An Azawakh

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Introduction

Azawakh dogs are a breed sighthound that was developed by nomadic tribes in West Africa. Genetic studies indicate that while these dogs are physically and temperamentally similar to other sighthounds, they are only closely related to the Pariah Dog and the Sloughi. They are capable hunters but due to a lack of appropriate game in the area have more frequently been employed as livestock guardians. 

Lure Coursing

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Crate (for before the activity)
Water
Muzzle (if required by club)
Activity description

Like other sighthounds, the Azawakh dog was often used to hunt and take down game, although they were more likely to hunt in packs than other breeds of sighthounds. They have an extremely high prey drive, and they often worked together to chase and bring down any prey that could be found in the area as well as providing protection for both livestock and people from local predators. Lure coursing is an emerging dog sport designed for canines with high prey natural prey drives. The dogs chase a lure meant to mimic fleeing game. This lure, usually a white plastic bag, is attached to a series of pulleys that quickly shifts the bag around the field in a zig-zag pattern to test the animal’s ability to mimic the speed and quick direction changes of fleeing game. 

Step
1
Check your dog
When starting any activity strenuous activity, such as the dog sport of Lure Coursing, it is important to ensure that your dog is physically healthy enough to participate. Speaking with your dog's current veterinarian will allow them to look at the dog’s joint and heart health, as well as their spinal health, to ensure that they are physically fit enough to participate. While hip dysplasia is relatively rare for the Azawakh, they may be slightly more likely to develop cervical vertebral instability than other breeds.
Step
2
Find a club
Lure coursing is not an activity that is easy to replicate at home unless you have access to a large amount of open space and are able to set up the complex pulley system required, so finding a group or club is usually required to participate in this activity. There are only four officially sanctioned coursing clubs: the FCI, the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, and the American Sighthound Field Associaton, however, there are many smaller local clubs throughout the United States. Visiting at least one coursing event as spectators to acclimate your canine to the activity of a competition will help you to evaluate their behavior before participating in lure coursing as competitors.
Step
3
Learn and compete
In order to compete in this sport you, as the handler, need to do a little research before participating. The rules and regulations at different individual clubs and competitions often differ, and some groups have stricter rules than others. While Azawahk dogs are usually cooperative with other dogs, some groups require that muzzles are required on every dog except when they are actively competing. Some courses allow those who are new to the sport to run the course on their own at first and will instruct you on the proper usage of the coursing blankets and slip lead.
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Flirt Pole Play

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Flirt Pole
Activity description

A flirt pole is, in many ways, very similar to many cat toys; it generally consists of a pole, a line, and a tug toy or rope as a lure. It is also used in much the same way as a cat toy and is used as a tool to utilize encourage your pup to run and jump in order to try and catch the lure on the end of the line. The pole used for a canine flirt pole is generally around four and six feet long in order to accommodate for the dog’s larger size. This activity can help improve the stamina and agility of dogs with a high prey drive.

Step
1
Assure cues are read
Azawakh breed dogs are often very healthy, so physical limits are rarely obstacles for these dogs, but the intense jumping activity can be damaging to joints that have not fully developed, so it is not advised for dogs under a year old. Behavior problems can also make this activity inappropriate for some dogs and those that become possessive or overstimulated to the point that they stop listening to your cues should avoid this activity.
Step
2
Make or buy a flirt pole
Fashion a simple flirt pole out of four to six feet of PVC pipe, ten to fifteen feet of rope and a suitable lure, one that is too large to present a choking hazard, but not so large or hard that it can hurt your dog if it hits them during play. There are also several varieties of the flirt pole that can be found in pet stores, like those made by the Squishy Face Studios and Kong companies.
Step
3
Toy and tool
For many pet parents the flirt pole will simply act as a toy to wear out and entertain their canine companion, but for some, it can be used as a tool as well. When positive training methods are used in conjunction with the flirt pole, it can help to strengthen their training by encouraging obedience even when they are distracted or in a state of arousal.
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Therapy Dog

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
30 - 90 min
Items needed
Time
Patience
Certification
Activity description

Azawakh dogs can be somewhat more variable in temperament than most sighthounds; when properly socialized they tend to be affectionate, gentle, and playful but when socialization is neglected they can be suspicious and nippy. Therapy dogs typically make visits to schools, hospitals, and nursing homes to provide unconditional love and comfort for those who need it. Although Azawakh dogs that are not well-socialized with people are known to be suspicious and somewhat reactive, the playful but sensitive nature of the well-socialized Azawakh frequently make them excellent candidates for therapy work. For dogs that are suited to this job, training typically only takes a few months, and the canines can often start making visits after just a few months of training.  

Step
1
Socialize
A therapy dog makes frequent visits to unfamiliar and unusual surroundings, and the best way to prepare your dog for their new role as a therapy dog is to properly socialize them for the job. Extensive socialization will help your Azawakh feel comfortable in as many different situations as possible by introducing them to as many situations as possible. They should be introduced not only to an array of sights, sounds, and smells, but also to different people, textures, and surfaces in order to give them the ability to remain calm in a greater variety of environments, making them more effective therapy dogs.
Step
2
Training
Therapy dogs require good manners in order to do their job and will need certification to prove it before they can begin work. Your canine companion will need to dependably exhibit good behavior such as not jumping up uninvited and responding consistently to your basic obedience commands. Once your dog has earned an AKC Good Citizen award, they can attend therapy dog classes that will help to ensure their success as a therapy dog.
Step
3
Register and visit
Once your dog has graduated from their training, they will be ready to be registered with a National Therapy Dog organization of which there are several across the United States. These organizations will help you to get insurance, support, and information as well as helping you to find locations where you and your dog are needed to make visits.
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More Fun Ideas...

Flyball

Fetch, taken to a higher level. This competitive canine sport includes hurdles in a relay-style race to retrieve a tennis ball.   

Fast CAT

Fast CAT is a dog sport similar to lure coursing, but it is run individually on a straight course of 100 yards.   

Rally Sport

A canine sport in which you and your dog compete by completing a course with ten to twenty commands to demonstrate your dog's knowledge and skill.

Conclusion

Like most sighthounds, the Azawakh is a high energy dog with a strong prey drive. They typically work in packs when hunting as well as when guarding livestock, and tend to get along better with other dogs than some other breeds of sighthound. This breed generally consists of very healthy dogs, but require vigorous activity on a daily basis in order to maintain their health