Activities For Black Russian Terriers

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Introduction

The Black Russian Terrier is a somewhat rare breed in the United States. They are a large working breed that has been used in police and military work. They are an excellent guard dog and with proper training will be a marvelous companion. The Black Russian Terrier does need a strong leader in the home or they will try to rule the roost. These dogs require a good amount of exercise each day and there are several activities that you can do with your Black Russian Terrier to keep them happy.

Schutzhund/IPO Training

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Bite suit
Bite sleeve
Harness
Leash
Blinds
Jumps
Activity description

Schutzhund, also known as IPO or Internationale Prugungs-Ordnung, is a three-phase training system that fosters a strong bond between the handler and dog. These three phases include obedience, tracking, and protection. Both dog and handler must be in great condition to be able to handle the rigorous training and competitions. IPO is a tool for protection training of police and military dogs; it is also a sport that many people enjoy. This activity can be done in any weather. IPO training is an expensive sport and you can expect to dole out a lot of time and money while training. During IPO training, your dog will earn different levels of achievement. Puppies should never start IPO training until they are over a year old. It takes most dogs two to three years to earn their first achievement level, IPO1. 

Step
1
Find a club
There are several different training styles when it comes to IPO training. Be sure to research each dog club that offers IPO training and pick the club that fits your philosophy on training and discipline. Watch a training session to see how the trainer handles the class to be sure this is the right club for you. Look for a mentor within that club that is willing to work with you through your dog’s training. You will want to stay with the same training club until your dog has earned their IPO1 title.
Step
2
Learn the basics
It takes a lot of patience to learn the fundamentals of IPO. Younger dogs will need an exceptional amount of patience since their attention span is much shorter than an older, more settled dog. When working with your dog, be sure to keep the training sessions upbeat and short in length. Take plenty of breaks to allow your dog to have some quiet time. While learning the basics, keep all distractions to a minimum. Once your dog is more focused, you can expect the training sessions to be longer and more intense. Your first step will be to start them on obedience. Obedience is the cornerstone of IPO training.
Step
3
Practice
IPO handlers must be strong, athletic and be able to persevere through the rigors of Schutzhund training. There will be great days and there will be not-so-great days when training for IPO. In this training, handlers and dogs are expected to perform during any weather condition, although training classes will not allow their handlers or dogs to work in conditions that could be dangerous such as storms, severe cold or severe heat. This is an extremely trying sport, but it can also be a rewarding one. Enjoy the experience and be sure you and your dog work at your own pace.
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Rally Obedience

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Treats
Rally Signs
Activity description

Rally obedience or simply, rally, is a competition where you and your dog work together to navigate a set course. Rally was approved by the American Kennel Club in 2005 and dogs can earn four different titles. Rally Novice or RN is the first title that can be earned, followed by the Rally Advanced or RA title where the dog performs off-leash. The Rally Excellence or RE and the Rally Advanced Expert or RAE are the hardest titles to earn and must be performed completely off-leash.  The handler steers their dog through a course that has between 10 to 20 instructional signs. Handler and dog move continuously through the course and are judged on how well the skills are executed and how quickly the course is navigated.

Step
1
Know the basics
Rally is based on basic obedience commands and the ability of the handler and dog to work together as a team to complete the course as quickly as possible with the fewest mistakes. Before delving into rally obedience, enroll in an obedience class so you and your dog can use that class as the building blocks for rally competitions. Once you are comfortable with your dog’s abilities in obedience, then you can start training them for rally competitions.
Step
2
Practice makes perfect
You have heard the old adage that practice makes perfect. This is especially true in rally obedience. The rally course will change with each competition and you will not know what the course will be until the day of the competition. You are allowed to walk through the course before the competition, but a dog that has practiced all of the skills will be able to adjust to any course they are given.
Step
3
Find a competition
Once you feel your dog and you are ready to compete, you will need to look for a venue that is offering rally obedience. Entry fees will vary depending on the venue. If you have trouble finding competitions, contact local dog clubs and ask if they host competitions or can send you information on competitions they are familiar with. When you get to the venue, take the time to let your dog settle down and get used to their surroundings. If this is your first competition, you will also need to calm down or your dog will sense your nervousness.
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Agility

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
45 min
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Treats
Agility Course
Activity description

Most people are familiar with this fast-paced dog sport where dogs race through an obstacle course at top speed. Usually, small to medium-sized dogs excel in this sport, however, the Black Russian Terrier has been known to adeptly race through an agility course and amaze onlookers with their quickness. Training a Black Russian Terrier for agility is fairly easy. They are smart and intrepid, willing to work for food and praise. It can be expensive to train for agility if you purchase the obstacles and set up your own course. You can cut costs, however, by joining a dog club with an agility course. Entry fees can also be expensive depending on the venue hosting the competition.

Step
1
Basic obedience
In order for your dog to be successful in agility, they must be able to listen to your instructions while racing through the course. Knowing their basic obedience skills will make learning agility much easier. Before diving into agility, take a basic obedience class to make sure your dog knows the commands necessary to productively compete in agility.
Step
2
Introduce obstacles
There are several obstacles that your dog must master before they are ready to enter a competition. Introduce each obstacle slowly and use plenty of praise and treats to keep them focused. If your dog struggles on a particular obstacle, ask a friend to bring their seasoned agility dog along to help your dog out. Most dogs will follow another dog through an obstacle and they will become more comfortable with the course.
Step
3
Enter a competition
When you enter your first competition, do not expect your dog to go in and wow the crowd. Usually the first few competitions are for experience; you and your dog will improve with each competition. As you and your dog improve on the agility course, you will become more competitive and start placing or even winning. The main goal of agility, though, is to have fun while working together to get through the obstacle course.
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More Fun Ideas...

Long Walks

The Black Russian Terrier needs a lot of exercise and also needs a strong leader to keep them in line. Long walks through the neighborhood are great ways to get the needed exercise but also to work on their obedience skills. While walking, be sure to use obedience commands to keep them in line and build a mutual respect between you.

Trick Training

Trick training is a fun and easy activity to do with your Black Russian Terrier. Trick training is simply building on your dog’s obedience skills. It is easy, cheap and can be done anywhere. Plan on spending about 15 to 20 minutes at a time learning a new trick or reviewing tricks they already know. 

Conclusion

While the Black Russian Terrier is not the right dog for everyone, they are a majestic, large breed that requires a significant amount of exercise. The foundation of any activity with your Black Russian Terrier will be basic obedience skills. Obedience should be started at a young age. These dogs also require early socialization to be able to participate in dog activities without incident.