Activities For Barbets

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Introduction

Barbets are a breed of bearded water dog that developed in France hundreds of years ago. They were mainly employed as retrievers, locating and retrieving waterfowl in the wetlands and marshes of France. They are believed to be the ancestors to many other modern waterdogs such as the American Spaniel, the Portuguese Water Dog, and possibly even the Poodle, although some experts believe the Poodle gave rise to the Barbet instead. They are friendly, water-loving canines with quick and active minds who need a great deal of physical and mental activity each day. 

Agility Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Treats
Agility training equipment
Activity description

Agility training is a dog sport in which several obstacles, like jumps, tunnels, and weave poles are used as an obstacle course for your dog to move through accurately within a set time frame. This is a fun sport that not only engages your dog physically but gives them a mental workout too. It also has the added benefit of improving your overall communication and bond with your canine companion which may improve their behavior both during training sessions and at other times as well. The Barbet is an intelligent and agile animal with a great deal of stamina, traits that make this breed of dog an excellent candidate to participate in the competitive dog sport of agility trials.

Step
1
Introducing the obstacles
There are several standard obstacles that are used for agility courses, in several categories and you will want to introduce each of them to your dog individually first. Contact obstacles include the A-frame, the dog walk, the crossover, and the see-saw or teeter-totter. The traditional tunnel and the collapsed are most commonly seen types of tunnel, but the UKC also allows the crawl tunnel and the hoop tunnel in their competitions. There are several types of hurdles, including the long jump, the double and triple jump, the panel jump, and the tire jump as well as other obstacles that are just listed as miscellaneous, such as weave poles and the pause box and pause table.
Step
2
Putting it together
Competition level courses generally string obstacles in several different categories together in groups of somewhere between fifteen to twenty-two obstacles in a row. Once your pooch has become confident working with each item individually, it shouldn’t take long for your intelligent Barbet dog to be able to string two or three agility tasks in a row. Keep adding more obstacles to the course until you have reached levels suitable for competition, between fifteen and twenty-two in total.
Step
3
Compete
While this activity tends to be good for your dog even without entering any competitions, Barbets are intelligent and friendly dogs, and they may truly enjoy the activity surrounding competitions and shows and competing with your dog can help to strengthen communication between the two of you. Local agility groups or dog sports training centers are often able to help you find competitions that are appropriate for your dog, as well as giving helpful tips and tricks for novice competitors.
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Swimming

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Doggy Life Vest
Fetch Toy (optional)
Activity description

Most dogs like swimming, but the Barbet dog is likely to love swimming. This energetic activity is second nature to water dogs like the Barbet, who were developed to retrieve waterfowl.  During swimming activities, unlike during land-based exercises, the water supports the weight of the animal, preventing additional damage to the joints while still allowing the dog to get a good muscular and cardiovascular workout. This type of exercise is particularly helpful in preventing and sometimes slowing the progression of joint disorders like hip dysplasia, a condition that larger dogs, like Barbet breed dogs, are somewhat more prone to than other dog breeds.

Step
1
Scout a location
If your dog has never been swimming before, it is often safest to locate an indoor swimming pool designed with canines in mind. There is typically a small cost associated with utilizing a canine swimming pool, but these facilities provide a controlled environment free of wildlife, weather issues, toxins, and bacteria as well as employing people specifically trained to introduce canines to the water. Barbets typically take to the water naturally, and will not generally need much coaxing. If you choose an outdoor location for your first swim, it is best to find a body of clear, non-stagnant water, be aware of wildlife that could be lurking under the water, and thoroughly rinse your dog off afterward.
Step
2
Introductions
While most Barbets love the water and getting them out at the end of the session is more likely to pose a problem than convincing them to get in the water. Just because they are willing to swim, does not mean that they will instantly have the skills to know when to quit or the stamina of an experienced swimmer. Weaker or unproven swimmers will need a properly-fitted canine lifevest even in controlled environments like a canine swimming pool. The person introducing the dog to the water should enter first and coax the canine in. Forcing your dog into the water or tricking them into jumping into the water before they are comfortable may cause them to fear the water instead.
Step
3
Splash time
Barbet dogs were developed as hunting dogs that helped hunters to retrieve downed birds and waterfowl. Once your pooch is comfortable with the feel of the water and has figured out navigation, its time to play! This dog’s retrieving nature is not dulled by water and in many cases, will retrieve a floating toy over and over again for hours. It is possible for any dog to overestimate their strength, particularly young dogs and novice swimmers, and dogs should be monitored for signs of distress such as excessive panting and reddened eyes. Barbets tend to be rather social dogs and may enjoy a group swim session as well, where several dogs swim and play together, often for a reduced rate.
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Rally Obedience

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Leash
Treats
Activity description

Rally obedience sometimes referred to as Rally-O is a fairly new dog sport that is particularly appealing to some pet parents because it combines elements of both agility and obedience training. In this sport, a dog and their handler, usually the dog’s owner, navigate a course of between ten to twenty signs that indicate certain behaviors for the dog to exhibit, such as sit, do a U-turn, reducing and increasing the pace, and serpentine weaves. As this sport does not have the rigorous obstacles that agility training includes, it can be enjoyed by both young dogs that are over six months of age as well as senior dogs. 

Step
1
Take a look
Take your dog to a rally sports competition as a spectator to see what is involved. This will help you find out if you and your dog are comfortable the levels of noise and activity present at a competition, as well as help you to know what to expect in the arena. Rally Sport is open to more types of canine that some other sports and can be enjoyed by young dogs, seniors, and even many dogs with certain types of physical disabilities.
Step
2
Find a group
While there are many books and videos available that can help you learn the basics of training for this dog sport, a trainer or training group is often a faster and more effective way to learn the ins and outs of Rally O, and they may also be able to recommend appropriate competitions once you have mastered the sport. The American Kennel Club has a searchable list of rally obedience groups and training centers, as does World Cynosport Rally Limited, an organization that emerged in 2012.
Step
3
Train and compete
There are several commands that are taught at most Rally O training classes and groups. Some of the cues are familiar, such as sit, stay, and heel, while others may be new to your pet such as slow pace, fast pace, slaloms, and spirals. Once your dog seems to be picking up on your cues consistently, the two of you will be ready to compete if you so choose. Most pairs start out in the Novice category then progress through the Advanced and Excellent categories.
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More Fun Ideas...

Flyball

Flyball is an exciting dog sport that combines an obstacle course, a supercharged game of fetch, and a relay race. A great activity for a high energy dog like the Barbet

Dock Jumping

Dock jumping, also known as dock diving, is a fun and exciting new competitive canine activity in which canines jump off of a long dock into a pool after a specific target, with the goal being to have the longest jump.

Conclusion

The Barbet is an active and intelligent dog that requires both physical and mental exercise on a daily basis in order to remain at their happiest and healthiest. While they are more than happy to join you on a long walk each day, including more intellectually stimulating activities in their normal routines will greatly help to improve their quality of life.