Activities For Australian Kelpies

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Introduction

The Australian Kelpie is an extremely active breed that needs lots of physical and mental exercise every day.  Your pooch will have strong herding instincts that regularly kick in and due to their intelligence, they can become stubborn if they are not actively challenged.  If you love the great outdoors, or if you live on a farm or ranch, this really is the paw-fect working dog. Your Kelpie will really appreciate a job and wants to become an effective member of your family. There are many activities to keep this breed busy, but the most important thing is to teach them the basics first, in order to maintain a positive social environment.  Training and socializing is the key to success for your Kelpie. You don’t want your canine to start rounding up and other dogs if herding instincts kick in.

Obedience Class

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 Hour
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

We send our children to school, so why not send our beloved companion to doggie school?  For an Australian Kelpie, this can be extremely useful because it will challenge your furry friend’s mind, and also, it’s a good idea to get this breed used to other dogs from an early age.  If you are going to let your Kelpie run free for games like fetch, then it’s a good idea to make sure they are well-trained and obedient in time for this. For the Kelpie, classes are a positive influence, because it means you and your pet are socializing with other dog owners and their canines.  Many people are more than capable of training their own pooch and this is certainly less expensive, so if you don’t want to pay the cost of classes, maybe you could arrange or join a dog meet up with people in your community that have a little know-how in this area. 

Step
1
Looking for a class or group
You could start by looking for a local Kelpie group. The Kelpie is a unique breed, so if this isn’t an option, then search for obedience classes online or ask around next time you are at the dog park. Make sure you do your research as you want the right class for your pooch. Give the instructor a call and see if they can provide a suitable class that caters to an energetic Australian Kelpie.
Step
2
Attendance and consistency
You need to be committed to your obedience/training class. If you make the decision to go, then you should be consistent. You want your Kelpie to be committed to you, so show your canine how much you care. Be firm with your active friend, but also use your calmness to model positive behavior.
Step
3
Reward the behavior
Don’t rely on this class to provide exercise for your Kelpie as daily outings and exercise are still needed. Reward your Kelpie following this session with a brisk walk or run, and of course, a small nutritious treat. Don’t forget to reward your pooch by praising them during the training session. You should always let your pooch know that they’ve done the right thing and you are pleased with them. Positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise and a smile goes a long way.
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Herding-style Fetch

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Sunny Day
Free
Hard
20 Minutes
Items needed
Teddy
Ball
Frisbee
Other toys (Optional)
Activity description

Most dogs can play fetch well, but for the Kelpie, it’s best to increase the intensity. Fetch is already an athletic game which has numerous health benefits for your pooch. Hip dysplasia is common in the Kelpie and although this is down to genetic make-up, things like keeping their weight down as well as a suitable exercise routine can help to prevent this. Of course, diet is important to maintain a healthy pooch, but athletic games like fetch can certainly prevent weight gain.  Once your canine pal is fully trained and well-behaved with other dogs, this game is perfect for them. Herding style fetch will test obedience and intelligence, while also providing physical exercise.

Step
1
Obedience for set up
Don’t expect to get this right the first time. The aim here is your Kelpie will sit by your side, while you name your objects (Frisbee, ball, teddy, stick, or other toys) and throw them. You don’t want your pal to move during this phase. Show your Frisbee and tell your canine that it's a ‘Frisbee,’ before throwing it, but tell your dog to stay. You may need to work with your pet so that they know the name of each item.
Step
2
Go when signalled
Your doggie friend should only go on your signal. Choose your words carefully, as you want your dog to fetch one object at a time. So, say something like, ‘Get the Frisbee,’ or ‘Frisbee, go.’ Your Kelpie should then retrieve the named item, drop it at your feet or in another specific place, and return to sit by your side so you can state which item they need to next retrieve.
Step
3
Tasty nutritious treat
A tasty, nutritious treat is a great reward if your companion completed this task correctly. It can be difficult to master, so maybe a bone that they can chew over a period of time will then keep them content. If you need to increase the difficulty, try adding more toys and throwing them further away.
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Swimming

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 Minutes
Items needed
Dog life jacket
Activity description

It’s difficult to put a price on this activity, because it’s entirely down to your preferences and needs.  If your canine friend can swim, if you have a pool, or can take your buddy to the beach then this will be a cheap or free activity.  If you need to pay for some lessons at a pool for your pet, then this will obviously have a fee. For the purpose of this activity, we are going to say that you are able to take your pooch to the beach.  Your canine will adore the beach as they can run in and out of the water, and swimming is great exercise as it works several muscles all at once. This activity is especially good for health conditions like hip dysplasia and again, can help your dog maintain a healthy weight, as well as being great fun. 

Step
1
Choosing a place to swim
Choose where your dog should swim based on their abilities, the proximity to home, and availability of venue. If your dog can’t swim or is a weak swimmer, it may be best to choose to bring a life jacket or sign up for lessons. Choose a place to swim that suits your dog’s capabilities; for instance, it’s no good expecting to take your furry friend to the beach and for them to be able to swim instantly. To begin, a walk along the shore will be the best way to get your dog used to the water and waves.
Step
2
Encourage your pooch
Either swim yourself or splash your dog, to encourage them into the water after you. Maybe you could throw a stick for your pooch. Make it fun, but always be mindful of the dangers of swimming, especially in the sea. Remember, your buddy may need swimming aids if they are a weak paddler, young, old, or have never swam before.
Step
3
Introduce water games
Try throwing a stick, a ball or Frisbee into the water to encourage your dog to retrieve as this will keep them active. You could use inflatables, like a beach ball and get your pooch to nudge it along with their nose. There are lots of fun and games to be played in the water, so splash your buddy (if they like the water) and make it fun.
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More Fun Ideas...

Obstacle Course

If you have room in your yard, why not create an obstacle course for your Australian Kelpie?  This challenges the mind as well as being a physical activity.  It can also test obedience. Use a seesaw and have your dog balance while walking along it, create a tunnel, and have them jump over something or through a hoop. Obstacle courses are great because you can make them as difficult or as long or short as you like. 

Hill and Pack Walking

Why not present a challenge by taking your dog on a steep, uphill walk?  This will increase the intensity of the walk and once your pooch masters this, you could look at buying packs for dogs that hold weights which will again increase the difficulty and tire your energetic companion out.  This will also build up the Kelpie’s muscular form. Be careful not to overdo it with this task though, take it one step at a time. 

Find and Retrieve the Treat

For this game you need 6 balls, a six-hole muffin tin, and some treats or kibble. Pop the treats or kibble into one of the muffin tins and put a ball in each of the muffin cases. Encourage your dog to approach the tin. They should feel challenged trying to remove the balls, to retrieve the treat.

Conclusion

Your Australian Kelpie wants to feel loved like any other dog, but it’s so important to train and socialize this breed from a young age.  Providing you do this, there are many active tasks and activities that you can complete to keep your dog fit and healthy, both physically and mentally.  Developing their social skills is extra important as the Kelpie will try to herd children and other animals.  Not only can you keep your Kelpie fit and healthy, their need for exercise means that they can keep you fit and healthy too – it’s the paw-fect partnership!