Activities For Ariege Pointers

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Introduction

The Ariege Pointer, known in their native country as the Braque de l'Ariege is a versatile French hunting dog that was developed in the twentieth century to hunt various types of game including wild hare, quail, and partridge. These dogs are not only natural pointing dogs, but they are also talented scent dogs with a strong drive to retrieve. Most Ariege Pointers are still employed as hunting dogs and those that are kept as companions continue to need a great deal of mental and physical activity in order to keep them happy and healthy.

Teaching Whoa

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Any Day
Free
Normal
15 min
Items needed
Bench
Whoa Board
Activity description

The Ariege Pointer was developed as a natural pointing dog, a dog that indicates for the hunter where the prey is by pointing at it with either their muzzle or their paw. The Whoa command, designed so that your canine companion will hold absolutely still once you give the directive, is an essential command for any pointing breed dog that will be working in the field. This command stops your dog from lunging at their target after the point, preventing the prey from being startled and keeping the dog still so that they are not in the way of the gun either. This command is one that you can start teaching your dog at a very young age, and should be clearly understood before taking them out into the field to work with game.

Step
1
The bench
Whoa training is frequently started on some sort of raised bench or table. Either instruct your dog to stand on the park bench or lift them up onto the park bench. Once they are situated there, give the command “whoa” then walk away slowly. If your dog moves off of the bench to follow you, or sits or lies down during their training either physically move them back to their spot on the bench or instruct them to get back up on the bench. Work this step for a short while every day until dog consistently remains standing on the bench when you say whoa.
Step
2
Whoa board
When your pup is constantly responding to the whoa command when on the bench, you will want to graduate to the whoa board, a flat, wooden board that takes the place of the bench. This board should be portable so that it can be moved to different environments so that your pup can understand that the command applies anywhere. Repeat the same training techniques for the whoa board as you did on the bench until the dog is responding properly on a consistent basis.
Step
3
Whoa anywhere, anytime
Once your pooch has mastered the whoa command when standing on the bench or board, the final step is to teach your dog to follow the command without the bench or board, even in the face of distraction, including the distraction of the prey that they are hunting for. Begin occasionally using the whoa command without the board, and if your dog moves from their position after you’ve given them, gently correct them and move them back to the desired position until they are responding consistently, then reinforce the command when they naturally point at the target.
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Flyball

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Flyball Hurdles
Flyball Box
Tennis Ball
Activity description

The Ariege Pointer, like many hunting and gun dogs, has an extremely high drive to chase and retrieve. The fast-paced canine sport known as Flyball speaks to that drive and gives them a fun and healthy outlet for their urge to chase. Canines run Flyball competitions in teams of four which run the course relay-style, and all breeds are welcome. Like the game of fetch, the main goal of this activity is to retrieve the ball, but instead of it being thrown, the dog runs down a straight track that is punctuated by hurdles every ten feet, triggers a flyball box that releases the ball, and then returns the ball to their handler at the original starting line. 

Step
1
Health check
This activity is open for all breeds, but your dog does need to be in good physical health and fully matured. A veterinary professional should examine your dog prior to adding any new or strenuous activities to their routine in order to ensure that both their joints and their cardiovascular system will not be negatively impacted by the activity. The canine skeletal system for medium sized dogs does not typically mature until they are between eighteen months and two years of age, and excessive jumping at too young an age can cause damage to the still-forming growth plates in the joints.
Step
2
Train
The average hunting and retrieval hound, like the Ariege Pointer, typically picks up the idea of fetch without a great deal of prompting. They do need to learn how to jump over the hurdles, and how to activate the flyball box so that they can retrieve the tennis ball. In many cases, trainers will start with just one hurdle at a time adding in hurdles as training progresses. Once the process of jumping over the hurdles is mastered, the dog can be trained to activate the Flyball box.
Step
3
Register to compete
In order for your dog to officially compete in the sport of Flyball, your dog will need to be registered with at least one of the two official flyball organizations; the United Flyball Association (U-Fli) and the North American Flyball Association (NAFA). Due to the high speeds that competitors achieve, competitions hosted by these organizations are typically judged using digital or electronic means, and the scores are individually tracked throughout their careers using their registration information. Lifetime registration is $10 per dog with UFLI and $25 with NAFA at time of writing, and there are typically additional fees for entering the actual competitions.
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Search and Rescue

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Training
Certification
Activity description

While most people typically think of dogs like German Shepherds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, and Australian Shepherds in terms of Search and Rescue, hunting hounds like the Ariege Pointer can also make excellent Search and Rescue dogs. Their superior sense of smell is helpful to hunt not only prey, but also to help track lost humans and pets who are in need of rescue. Becoming a Search and Rescue team requires that both the canine and their human handler receive training to test their character and physical fitness, as well as provide the skills that will be needed to do their job correctly. Both you and your dog will require training and certification before you are able to take any assignments, and the training which can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. 

Step
1
Socialize your dog
Canines that are preparing for a career in the Search and Rescue field need to be able to get along well with others, both human and canine and have confidence in a number of different situations. While Search and Rescue dogs must be at least eighteen months old in order to start formalized training, early socialization can occur at any time. Introduce your new dog to as many new types of people and places as you can early in their lives, using positive reinforcement to help them to be more comfortable with shifting situations.
Step
2
Handler certifications
The human half of a Search and Rescue team must obtain certain skills and knowledge to make them effective at their jobs, as well. Handlers are typically trained and certified in subjects like navigation, basic life support, first aid, and CPR, but in many cases, this is just the beginning. Depending on the type of Search and Rescue that your team specializes in, you may need backcountry survival skills, Haz-Mat Training, or even training for crime scene investigations.
Step
3
Train and certify your dog
Along with basic obedience training and socialization, your Ariege Pointer is likely to need additional training, including scent work. Programs such as the Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States, the National Association of Search and Rescue, the National Search Dog Alliance, and FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Certification can help you determine which types of assignments you and your canine companion will be best suited to and which certifications will be required to perform that type of rescue.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is a game that not only allows your dog an outlet for their desire to search and find things, it also improves your dog's cognitive processing, and helps to support the bond between you and your pet.

Dock Diving

While this breed typically is used for hunting on land, they are also capable swimmers. The strong retrieval drive of these dogs, combined with their long, powerful legs make this an enjoyable exercise that they are likely to excel at.

Scent Work

The Ariege Pointer is a skilled tracker as well as a pointing dog, making them natural contenders for the canine sport of competitive scent work.

Conclusion

Dogs of all sorts need physical and mental activity on a daily basis, and dogs like the Ariege Pointer that were developed to fill active working roles often require more activity than a dog developed as a companion animal. Ensuring that your hunting breed dog gets enough activity throughout the day will help you to have a calm and composed companion at home when it is time to relax.