Activities For Berger Picards

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Introduction

The Berger Picard, also called the Picardy Shepherd, is a type of sheepdog that originates from France. This breed is believed to be the oldest of any French sheepdog type, having existed as early as 800 A.D. While the original purpose of the Berger Picard is for herding, the breed has become a fan favorite over the years. In fact, the breed can be seen in a lot of big Hollywood movies such as Daniel and the Superdogs, Are We Done Yet?, and Because of Winn Dixie. Because of their exposure in popular media coupled with a cute, scruffy appearance, Berger Picards have become a top choice for a household pet and companion. If you own a Berger Picard, here are a number of activity ideas that you may try with your pup. 

Obedience Training

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Any Day
Free
Hard
10 - 30 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

The Berger Picard is a working-class dog and was bred specifically to do herding work. In general, Berger Picards are quite versatile and can take on many tasks and can undergo many types of training. One of the best and most useful types of training that you can have your Berger Picard undergo is obedience training. This is because this specific breed is known for being a free thinker, which makes the Picard quite a stubborn dog, especially when being commanded to do something. By doing obedience training on Berger Picards, you can reduce their doggedness and will make it easier for them to learn the basic dog commands. Although the Picard is not a usual choice for competitive obedience trials around the world, with the right tools and enough patience, you can certainly make an obedient dog out of the breed. 

Step
1
Find your dog's motivation
Berger Picards are definitely unique in what makes them tick and what motivates them. While treats may work the first few times, their obedience is not always based on food. Sometimes, it is their prey drive that will get them up and running. It is your job to figure out what they want at the moment. Use this motivation as a way to get started with the training.
Step
2
Use positive reinforcement
Picards are a sensitive breed and have a tendency to shut down when they are offended or hurt. Hence, positive reinforcement is an important part of their obedience training. Be careful when making corrections and do not use a harsh or loud voice. Instead, use praise, friendly gestures and even awarding of treats for a job well done.
Step
3
Keep your sessions short
One thing about Picards is that they can get bored easily, especially with repetitive routines. Start with one or two commands during the training. When your Picard is having a lot of fun, cut the session short. This will make your dog want more and will get them excited for the next session.
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Jogging

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Leash
Water
Collapsible bowl
Treats (optional)
Activity description

For humans, jogging has long been a polarizing activity – either you love running or you absolutely despise it. However, when it comes to dogs, running can actually be a lot of fun. Berger Picards are an active breed and exercise is a must for them. A lack of physical stimulation can cause the Picard to display some destructive behavior and aggressive attitude. To make your running schedule more fun and to use up your Picard’s energy at the same time, why not go for a run? Picards make for the perfect jogging buddy because of their high energy levels. By jogging with your dog, you get your dog physically active while also spending some quality time with your pooch. 

Step
1
Find a jogging spot
Finding a spot for jogging is relatively easy. In fact, if you have a spacious backyard, you need not go far and just go jogging there. You can also go around your neighborhood with your dog on a leash. Dog parks are a great option, too as these spots usually have designated running areas. For more challenge and a new environment to explore, look for hiking trails or state parks that allow dogs.
Step
2
Bring some essentials
When going on a run, you would not want to bring anything that could add some weight and make your run more challenging. This is why you have to only stick with the essentials. Water is important not just for you but also for your dog. Bring a small bottle and a collapsible bowl for your dog. You can even bring some treats in case your dog gets hungry.
Step
3
Have some running fun
When all is set, go jogging with your dog in tow. It is advisable that you keep your dog on a leash so that they will not run off on their own. This is also a must if you are in a public place where your dog might display aggressive behavior toward other people. Also, check your dog for any indication of fatigue. Most of the times, energetic dogs such as the Picard may not show signs of fatigue or stress. A good rule of thumb is that dogs get 5 minutes of exercise for each month of their lives. This helps you control how much effort they exert and will prevent any chances of over-exercising.
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Flyball

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Any Day
Cheap
Hard
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Tennis ball
Hurdles
Flyball box
Treats
Activity description

At present, there is a growing number of dog sports that are being invented. One that goes perfectly with the Berger Picard’s personality and behavior is flyball. The sport is a competitive game against other dogs. In flyball, dogs participate in a relay race to fetch a ball and return it to the starting line. The race is done in an obstacle course consisting of four hurdles, which your dog has to clear by jumping over it, and a spring-loaded box, which the dogs must pounce on in order to retrieve the ball. What’s fun about flyball is that it is open to all dog breeds so long as the dog can go through a course and fetch a ball. Flyball competitions are held everywhere. However, before you can get your dog to join one, you first have to teach your dog how to play. Flyball training can be done within your own home with a makeshift obstacle course. 

Step
1
Train your dog to fetch
In essence, flyball is a game of fetch, albeit in a more challenging environment. Thus, if you want to train your dog how to play flyball, your dog must first master the game of fetch. Start with a 15 to 20-minute session of fetch using a tennis ball. Your objective is to get your dog to bring the ball back to you without dropping it once. Give your dog a treat for effort. This not only gives your dog positive reinforcement, it also gets your dog to drop the ball so that you can start the game all over again.
Step
2
Gradually add hurdles
Once you are satisfied with your dog’s fetching skills, make things more difficult by adding a hurdle. Place the hurdle on a flat surface and stand with your dog in front of your hurdle. In this position, throw the ball over the hurdle and command your dog (in a friendly tone) to get the ball. Try this as long as possible until you get your dog to jump over the hurdle and retrieve the ball to bring it back to you. Do not forget to praise your dog or to give treats as a reward. Once your dog completely understands what to do with the hurdles, add another one to the course until your dog learns to clear all four hurdles.
Step
3
Introduce the flyball box
When your dog has the hurdle part down, it is now time to introduce the box into the mix. Prepare your flyball box and load the ball into it. Then, entice your dog to press on the box by offering a treat. Try this repeatedly until your dog gets used to retrieving the ball coming from the box. Once your dog gets how the box works, increase the distance until your dog gets used to running to and from the box.
Step
4
Play with the full course
Now that you have introduced all the important elements of the sport, set up the course. The hurdles should be at least six to ten feet from each other while the box should be at least fifteen feet away from the fourth hurdle. Load the tennis ball onto the box and position yourself beside your dog. Then, give your dog the go signal to jump over the hurdles and fetch the ball. Practice this repeatedly until your dog ultimately masters the sport. When your dog becomes well-trained, you can add other dogs into the mix or even join a local flyball club and start joining competitions.
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More Fun Ideas...

Fetch

A classic game of fetch is a great way to let your dog have some fun outdoors while also spending some bonding time together. Take a toy, a ball or even a stick and throw it some distance away and watch as your dog runs after the item to retrieve it. Give your dog a treat or a belly rub as a reward. 

Agility training

Agility training is a good way to train your Berger Picard while also putting your dog’s obedience skills to the test. Do a quick search of how you can create a DIY agility course in your home. Then, train your dog to go through the courses and give treats for a job well done. Remember to keep your sessions short to avoid tiring out your Picard. 

Conclusion

Berger Picards are a great choice for a pet and an everyday companion. The breed requires constant stimulation and a whole lot of exercise to keep them active and occupied. By trying out the different abovementioned activities, you can get to spend time with your scruffy pooch in a number of ways.