Activities For Bavarian Mountain Scent Hounds

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Introduction

Bavarian Mountain Scent Hounds are very active and driven hound dogs that need a suitable outlet for their considerable intelligence and energy. While their favorite activity is the one they were bred for, tracking and hunting alongside their favorite humans, there are a number of suitable activities that can be employed that use their natural talents to keep them occupied. They are extremely adept at tracking, particularly cold trails, and they have exceptional mental and physical determination and stamina. 

Canicross

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Harness for Dog
Bungee Line or Lead
Waist or hip belt for human
Activity description

Canicross is a cross-country running sport that originated as an exercise technique to help prepare dogs for mushing or sledding or to maintain their fitness during the summer months when there is no snow for sledding. Fortunately, it is not restricted to sledding or mushing dogs; any canine that that is in good enough health to run can participate. The popularity of this sport is increasing dramatically both as a casual activity and as a competitive sport as it allows both the human and canine participant to get a better workout as well as improving the communication skills and the overall bond between them. The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound was bred specifically for stamina and endurance, traits that make them well-suited to this particular activity. 

Step
1
Prepare your equipment
It is important to ensure that the equipment you will be using to run with your dog is free from damage or defect. The sturdy harness that your dog wears should leave just enough room for the chest to fully expand when they are running, and the bungee lead connecting you and your canine companion should easily spring back into shape after being stretched, to ensure that it is providing enough shock absorption for both you and your dog.
Step
2
Train your dog
Communication with your canine during canicross is essential for this activity to be safe and fun, but while you are actively participating in canicross, your dog is unable to watch you for cues as both you and they will need to look where you are going when you run. This means that you will need to teach them to reliably respond to short, easy to distinguish commands for several types of behavior, such as passing something by without stopping, turning right or left, or even just speeding up or slowing down.
Step
3
Get moving
Once you and your dog are communicating clearly and consistently, the two of you are ready to hit the open road. Canicross is a cross-country sport which is best accomplished on woodland park roads, forestry trails, and other non-paved areas, as running canicross on paved roads and asphalt can add a great deal more stress to your feet, ankles, and knees than running alone. Choosing a mix of softer and harder ground to run over is often the best way to provide good conditioning for the pads of your partner’s paws.
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Geocaching

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Doggy Waste Pickup Bags
Leash
Cell Phone
Souvenir
Activity description

Geocaching is billed as the world’s largest treasure hunt, a planetwide scavenger hunt that engages people all over the world using GPS and satellite technology. Participants in this activity search for containers that come in several shapes and sizes using tracking information found on their cell phones. These containers generally contain a way to note that you have found the item, and may even have a small souvenir inside. Geocache souvenirs can range from simple paper cutouts and plastic toys to special trackable coins and novelty items that can be purchased on the official Geocaching website, some of which people are allowed to keep, and others that are meant to travel from cache to cache. More and more participants are taking their dogs along with them on these excursions and with the Bavarian Mountain Hound’s love of the outdoors and excellent sense of smell, they typically make excellent geocaching companions. 

Step
1
Create an account
Individuals who want to participate in the activity of Geocaching will need to start by creating a free account at the official Geocaching website. Once you have set up the account and downloaded the geocaching app, an online map will appear on your phone indicating the coordinates of caches near you, including information about how difficult it is to find the cache, and whether or not it is a dog-friendly cache.
Step
2
Follow the map
The interactive map that is found on the geocaching app will help you to discover the general location of the hidden container, and once the map has led you to the overall area, you and your dog can start searching in earnest. Finding the container itself may be a little more challenging than just navigating to the area using the map as the container can look like just about anything and can be hidden be hidden in, behind, or under something in the environment.
Step
3
Share
Once the geocache has been found, you will want to record that you found it. You can do this by logging the information on the app as well as signing and dating whatever log is found within the cache. If the cache included a souvenir you can choose to exchange it for a souvenir that you leave for the next searcher, and if it is a trackable coin or novelty item, you can move it to a new container so that it can be tracked by other searchers.
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Search and Rescue

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Doggy Waste Bags
Activity description

Bavarian Mountain Hounds are known for their scenting ability, in particular, their ability to track cold trails, and they have an exceptionally strong work ethic, both traits that can be very helpful in a search and rescue dog. Search and rescue dogs often work in many different environments, and will need to be calm and able to work in all sorts of circumstances. In order to work as an active search and rescue team, both you and your dog will require training and certification that will test both of your intelligence, determination, and physical fitness. This is not an activity to be undertaken lightly, preparation and training typically take six months to two years, but it is one that can save lives and provide a great deal of personal satisfaction for both partners.  

Step
1
Determine eligibility
While a large number of Search and Rescue dogs are breeds like German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Dobermans, most good-sized breeds could be eligible but must be physically and mentally fit enough to search for people in many different circumstances. Search and Rescue dogs should be at least 18 months of age before they begin serious training, although socialization and some training games can occur when they are younger in preparation for their later education.
Step
2
Get your certifications
There are a number of certifications that you will need to earn and keep updated in order to function as half of a Search and Rescue team. Some of the typical required certifications for the human half of the team include basic life support and CPR, although other certifications could be required as well, including navigation, HazMat training, or backcountry survival skills.
Step
3
Train and certify your dog
There are several different organizations that offer nationally recognized SAR training programs that can provide certification for dogs that are suited for this job. Some of the programs include FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Certification, National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR), Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States (SARDUS), and National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA).
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More Fun Ideas...

Search For Supper

Teaching your Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound to search for their supper gives them an extra opportunity to use both their mind and their nose during what would normally be a boring, everyday activity.  

Group Walks

The Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound is generally friendly with people, but they can be a bit less sociable with other dogs. Many people have found controlled group or pack walks to be an effective tool to help reduce reactivity between canines

Conclusion

Activities that engage this dog’s natural ability to track and search are a good way to help them to use their instincts and their minds, but these dogs were bred for stamina as well, so it is important to ensure that these dogs also get enough physical activity each day. This breed is less likely than other scent hounds to be cooperative with other dogs, so early socialization is especially important to ensure civil behavior.