Activities For Bakharwals

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Introduction

Bakhrwals are an ancient dog breed found in India in higher elevations of the Himalayan Mountains. Bred for many centuries as livestock watchdogs, Bakhrwals having the instincts of herding dogs and the coats of cold-weather dogs. The breed is exceedingly rare and on the verge of becoming extinct. 

If you are lucky enough to own one of these rare dogs, you probably already know that they require a lot of exercise. Their protective nature can make them dangerous, aggressive dogs that do best in homes without children or other dogs. Their high-energy level needs at least an hour of exercise per day, preferably outdoors. While they are a breed that would rather be outdoors than indoors, they are also very prone to wandering and chasing smaller prey.

Herding

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

Barkharwals are herding dogs by nature and at their happiest when doing their job. In recent years, businesses have started to pop up that allow dogs to visit their farms and herd sheep, cows and other livestock.

If you are located near one of these businesses, it would be a great weekly or monthly activity for your pup. If you don’t have any in your area, consider a coop of chickens in your backyard. Your Bakharwals should herd them, not harm them. Supervision is required for both options and your dog should be rewarded with positive reinforcement when they herd without injuring the animals.

Step
1
Find a local farm
The first step in letting your dog use its herding instincts is to find a local farm that allows dogs to come and herd their livestock. Once you’ve found one, you’ll need a car to get there and a leash for your dog. Fido should remain on the leash once you get there until the business owner says otherwise.
Step
2
Train your dog to herd
While herding is in your dog’s genes, they will still need training. Use treats or other positive reinforcement to encourage non-aggressive behavior. If you see your pup being aggressive in any way, immediately remove them from the situation. While this is an activity that can be done in any climate, these dogs are better suited, genetically speaking, to cooler weather.
Step
3
Repeat the activity
Unless you find a local farmer who is willing to let your dog herd on his property for free, the cost of herding might only allow for the activity happen monthly or bi-monthly. In between those herding days, rely on the other high-energy activities for your pup. If inspiration fails, take Fido on a really, really long walk, but be sure to squeeze in exercise every day.
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Pick up Toys

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Green Toy
Blue Toy
Yellow Toy
Toy Box
Treats
Activity description

Bakharwals are a working breed and they enjoy having tasks to do. Training your dog to pick up toys is an activity that stimulates them mentally and physically. As mentioned, these dogs prefer to be outside, so if you have a yard, you can do the activity outdoors. 

These dogs are very intelligent, and training them to recognize their toys by color is excellent stimulation. Various colored toys will help Fido see them, as their color vision is different than humans'. A lot of treats and verbal praise help your dog learn the trick. And an added bonus -- you won’t have to clean up after your dog anymore when they decide they want to play with all of their toys at the same time.

Step
1
Purchase toys of different colors
Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not colorblind. They can see colors, just not on the same spectrum that humans use. Red and violet look grey to dogs. Green, blue and yellow all look like varying shades of yellow, but dogs can typically tell them apart. When you're shopping for toys for Fido, skip the red toys and go for the green ones.
Step
2
Give your dog a toy
Ideally, for this step of the activity you want to be as close to the toy box as you can. If you hand your dog a toy and then encourage him verbally where to put it (the “drop it” command is useful here), they will most likely accidentally drop the toy into the toy box. At this point, you should go wild with praise and give your pup a treat. After a few repeats, your pup should get the point of the game.
Step
3
Move further away from toy box
As your pup learns the game and gets better at it, place yourself a few feet away from the toy box, increasing the space every time you do the activity. Once you’ve started moving away from the toy box, try to verbally encourage your dog on which toy to pick up and in what order. Or you can simply point at the toy. Reward with treats when your pup does it correctly.
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Camping

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
2 days
Items needed
Leash
Waste bags
Treats
Food/Water
Activity description

As dogs who love the outdoors, your Bakharwal pup will enjoy camping. Before you arrive at the campsite, make sure it is dog-friendly and check to see if it requires an additional cost for dogs. If you’re not a fan of tent camping, consider investing in an RV camper.  You and Fido could tour the country and camp in different places.

Be aware of any wild animals that might be found at the campsite. If the area is home to rattlesnakes, ask your vet for the serum for bites. Make sure your pup is up-to-date on all their shots, as mosquitoes will probably be an issue at any campsite in warmer weather.

Step
1
Find a dog-friendly campsite
Your first objective is to find a campground that allows dogs. Most campgrounds and RV parks welcome dogs, as long as they follow standard "petiquette" rules. Once you find a campsite, be sure to read all the rules and regulations that will tell you what areas of the site your dog is allowed to be. If it’s a state park, dogs are usually allowed on hiking trails as long as they are on leashes.
Step
2
Pack your gear
If you’re ruffing it out in the open, you’ll need a tent that is big enough for both you and Fido to easily move around in. You will want to make sure the tent is made from durable material that can withstand your pup’s teeth and paws. If you plan to sleep in a sleeping bag, bring an extra dog bed for your pup so you won’t be packed in like sardines.
Step
3
Stick to your dog's routine
Most dogs have a daily routine that includes a potty schedule. Dogs are creatures of habit, so your pup may have trouble sticking with the potty schedule. Reward with treats when Fido alerts you that it's potty time. Many campsites require owners to pick up after their pets, so bring baggies.
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More Fun Ideas...

Mountain Hiking

Take your pup back to their natural habitat and hike in the high mountain ranges. Your dog will love the exercise and the altitude. Make sure to bring water in case Fido gets overheated.

Keep your dog on a leash in case you come upon any wild animals. It’s best to avoid going to off-leash dog parks or other areas because the herding instinct in your dog might not be appreciated by other dogs.

Swimming

If you own a pool on your own property or have a lake nearby that allows dogs, take Fido for a swim. Your pup will enjoy it on hot days because Bakharwals are bred to live in the colder climate of the Himalayas.

If you don’t have a pool or lake nearby, stop at a local store and buy a kiddie pool, fill it with water and let your pup splash around in it!

Conclusion

As the owner of a rare breed on the cusp of extinction, it is important to keep your pup healthy and happy with the right amount of exercise. Bakharwals have centuries of ancestors who were herding, working dogs in the Himalayas. You can’t recreate that for them, but you can try activities such as hiking, herding, and picking up toys to mentally stimulate your pooch.

These dogs do best in homes without small children or other pets. They can unintentionally injure kids and pets with their herding behavior. In addition to herding, they are fierce watchdogs, which can make them protective and possessive. But they are loyal and loving, making them an excellent choice for the right person!