Activities For Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

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Introduction

The Anatolian Shepherd is an ancient breed of livestock guardian that was developed in the area currently occupied by the country of Turkey, some six thousand years ago. They are large, imposing animals with an extremely protective and loyal nature and a fierce and independent mind. Because these dogs are very large, some higher impact activities, such as agility training or lure coursing, may not be recommended as they could cause injury to the joints, particularly for dogs that are still growing. 

Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Free
Easy
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

A childhood favorite for many of us, hide and seek is an easy game to modify for your canine companion’s abilities and a great way to provide mental stimulation as well as increase the bond between you and your dog. Hide and seek is a great game for larger dogs as it is a low impact game that can be played at any age, a plus for large canines that tend to mature more slowly than other dogs. This game may also appeal to your Anatolian Shepherd’s nature as a livestock guardian and their desire to keep tabs on their flock and their family. 

Step
1
To treat or not to treat
When first teaching their canine companion this new game, many pet parents automatically reach for a favorite treat to give their pooch as a reward for finding them. For many dogs, the approval and praise that they get when they find the hidden person is enough to motivate them and make it fun and treats are unneeded.
Step
2
Where to hide
Initially, you will want to pick fairly easy hiding places in order to give your dog the idea of the game, possibly even ones that are partially visible. You can later increase the complexity of your hiding places as your dog gets faster at finding you. Remember to increase complexity just a little at a time in order to avoid frustrating your dog to the point that they just give up on the game.
Step
3
Increasing the challenge
There are several ways to increase the challenge in a game of canine hide and seek: increasing the number of hiders, taking the game outdoors in your backyard, or even having both a handler for the dog and a hider so you can choose hiding places in larger outdoor areas like outdoor parks or near hiking trails.
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Handy Supper

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

Anatolian Shepherds are large, powerful dogs that are employed to guard livestock against predators such as tigers, bears, and cheetahs, and may capable of causing a great deal of damage without really meaning to. Playing games that encourage careful behavior towards people will help your dog to understand their limits. Anatolian Shepherds have rather large appetites, but it is also important that they not bolt their food in order to avoid developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. This activity does double duty for your dog by both breaking up their meal into multiple portions, preventing your dog from eating too fast, as well as teaching your dog both patience and gentleness. While this games can be played with dogs of any age, it is most effective when introduced while your dog is still quite young. 

Step
1
Feed your dog
In order to avoid frustration on the part of this large canine, start by giving your dog approximately half of their normal supper in their bowl so that they are not overly hungry. This should be enough food, so they are not distracted by their hunger while training but not so much that they are uninterested in their kibble as a reward.
Step
2
Hand feeding
You can hand feed the dog the last quarter to half of their meal for this exercise. The food used for this portion of the exercise should not be taken directly from the dog’s bowl but should be held in reserve for this step. Take a handful of dry kibble and close your hand around it, then signal your dog to come to you and let them examine your hand.
Step
3
Wait then release
Ignore behaviors like growling or barking, nibbling, hitting your hand with their paw, and aggressively punching your hand with their nose, only opening your hand when they lick your hand or very gently nuzzle it. Continue doing this for the remainder of the meal, praising them enthusiastically for each successful handful.
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Swimming

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
swimming pool
Lifejacket (optional)
Activity description

 Some breeds of dogs enjoy the activity of swimming to the extreme and are quite eager to jump in just about any body of water, and there are a few breeds that are not well-built for swimming or for getting wet, such as the English Bulldog breed, some American Pit Bull Terriers, and many northern dogs such as Malamutes and Huskies abhor getting wet due to their extremely thick coats and undercoats. Anatolian Shepherds tend to fall somewhere in between the two when it comes to their enthusiasm. Swimming is a particularly good activity for large dogs like the Anatolian Shepherd as it can provide an additional way to build muscle and improve overall cardiovascular health, but without providing additional stress to the skeletal system and joints. 

Step
1
Find a pool
In most cases, the best place to introduce your Anatolian Shepherd breed dog to the activity of swimming is at an indoor pool designated for use by canines. Here, the environment is controlled, protecting your dog from unexpected currents, wildlife, and diseases that may be lurking in certain natural water sources.
Step
2
Introduction to the water
This is not a breed which is as likely as your average retriever or spaniel to take to the water right away, and they may require some convincing. If you are at a canine swimming pool, a trained professional will help your dog into the water for the first time and help them to become comfortable with letting the water support the weight of their bodies.
Step
3
Keep going
This activity is most beneficial if done on a regular basis as it is very effective at strengthening the muscles, particularly the muscles in the legs, shoulders, and hindquarters. Encourage your dog to retrieve thrown toys in order to motivate them to swim faster and praise them for their efforts, and you are likely to see a stronger, healthier dog within just a short time frame.
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More Fun Ideas...

Canine Massage

These dogs have a longer lifespan than the average dog of their size and are likely to develop a few aches and pains over the years. Practicing disciplines like canine massage on your pooch could help ease those aches and pains naturally.

Rally Sport

While agility sports may be difficult on the joints of this large dog, rally sports are based on the same principles of obedience and communication but without the physical strain or agility based obstacles.

Conclusion

There are many beneficial activities that you can do with your Anatolian Shepherd breed dog, including activities that work the canine’s physical body as well as ones that work the mind and enhance problem-solving skills. It is important to ensure that this breed of dog is kept occupied as boredom often leads to severely destructive chewing when it comes to Anatolian Shepherds.