Activities For Chatham Hill Retrievers

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Introduction

There are a number of ways to entertain a Chatham Hill Retriever with a little creativity and energy! The Chatham Hill Retriever is a hybrid breed combining the lively Flat-Coated Retriever with the elegant Cocker Spaniel breed. The result is an exuberant and playful designer pup that inherited a working mentality from both parent breeds. 

Both the Cocker Spaniel and Flat-Coated Retriever have a history of hunting in their genes. Being bred initially to track and hunt game makes these dogs intuitive, intelligent and hardworking. The Cocker Spaniel is known for their elegant appearance, having a long and luxurious coat. Given the nickname of being the "merry" Cocker, expect this breed to be a playful bundle of joy who gets along with all members of the family.

Likewise, the Flat-Coated Retriever is a lively dog, known for their sweet and devoted demeanor. They easily adjust their temperament to the outside, where they're likely to be busy and rambunctious, whereas inside they tend to be calm. As a result, the Chatham Hill Retriever requires moderate grooming as well as daily exercise. Giving them a job will accommodate their hunting and working instincts, which is why some form of mental stimulation is also recommended.

Tracking

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Any Day
Free
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Item to Track
Healthy Treats
Activity description

Have you ever noticed your Chatham Hill Retriever sniff along the ground following what seems to be an invisible trail? It's likely they've caught the scent of something intriguing, which they can't resist following. This is tracking, and it's actually been turned into a sport in the dog world. Tracking is "pawfect" for satisfying the hunting instinct within a Chatham Hill Retriever. The sport requires both mental exertion and physical endurance, depending on the route they are following. 

Tracking is similar to obedience training in that your pooch is expected to complete a task, but for this activity, they take on the role of being a leader. Typically, the sport requires a dog to follow a scent trail. This trail can vary in length, depending on ability. Once introduced to the scent track, the dog is free to go and follow the trail, with their owner behind on a long leash. Depending on your pup, they may have a quick pace, or be methodical and take their time when searching.

Step
1
Introducing the scent
Typically, the sport of tracking requires your pooch following a scent that has been left by the person known as the "tracklayer." Tracking can also be done with objects, but if you intend to learn to official sport, use a person instead. The tracklayer is introduced to the dogs, then heads out on their route. After making the route, your pooch heads on, nose to the ground!
Step
2
Determining the track length
Route length must be adjusted to ability. Determine the start and end point of the track. If you're introducing the sport for the first time, set a short track. Each time your pup is successful, try increasing the length of the track. You can also vary the terrain for your track. After the route is set, that's when the fun begins!
Step
3
Following the leader
While tracking, it's up to your Chatham Hill Retriever to take on the role of leader. Unlike a traditional walk, for tracking you need an extra long leash (30 feet in length traditionally for competitions) and a harness. The handler walks behind the dog at all times while they sniff along their route.
Step
4
Rewarding the find
Like with any behavior you want to reinforce, it's important for you reward a successful track. Do this by bringing along your Chatham Hill Retriever's favorite treat. As soon as they complete their track and arrive at the ending point, give them the reward and couple it with praise. Praise is another useful reinforcement tool to utilize.
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Flyball

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Hurdles
Flyball box
Tennis balls
Activity description

Flyball is a sport designed for dogs to work in teams to achieve a group goal. The activity requires endurance and focus, working both your Chatham Hill Retriever's body and mind.

You can create your own flyball course and do the sport independently; however, it's much easier and more convenient to find a dog training facility that "offurs" the sport. That way, your pooch can have access to a pack of dogs to tackle the challenge with, as the sport typically requires a team of four. 

The purpose of flyball is simple: to work with a team to retrieve an object (usually a ball) at the end of a straight course with a series of jump obstacles between. After retrieving the ball from a spring-loaded box, the dog runs back through the course to release the next teammate. The team that finishes first wins. This activity is a "pawsitive" fit for Chatham Hill Retrievers by combining play with duty. 

Step
1
Finding a flyball facility
To play the sport, you first need to locate a facility with a course, unless you tend to make one yourself. Flyball courses are laid out with four jumping obstacles, usually spaced out with ten feet between. At the end of the course there’s an object to retrieve, typically a ball, up on top of a spring box. If you intend to build your own course, you’ll need to purchase or make your obstacles. If you choose to find a flyball facility, check online or at your local pet shop for the closest and most convenient location that meets your Chatham Hill Retriever's needs.
Step
2
Learning the sport
One way to prepare your Chatham Hill Retriever for the sport is by practicing jump obstacles. To do this, prepare an obstacle low in height to start. Make sure there’s lots of room for your pup to build speed and momentum to clear the jump. You may need to guide them on leash the first few attempts, while running beside them, giving lots of slack. Eventually though, you’ll want them to make the jumps alone, in good time. Training can be completed at home and within the flyball facility.
Step
3
Competing
After learning how to master the course, it’s possible you’ll want to register your Chatham Hill Retriever in a flyball competition. Be prepared for a loud and busy show when watching flyball as the audience and handlers get excited! When competing, two teams simultaneously complete the course side by side. By competing to achieve a goal in flyball, Chatham Hill Retrievers satisfy their innate need to work and please.
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Agility Course Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Leash
Household items
Tunnel
A-Frame or Ramp
Healthy Treats
Activity description

Agility training is the "pawfect" way to meet your Chatham Hill Retriever's need to please as it requires the completion of a series of obstacles, with the option of adding timed runs. Whether you're interested in building an agility course of your own or finding a facility where they can train, both options have their benefits. If you build your own course, you can modify the obstacles and make them the correct size and height for your pup. You can also change the order of obstacles and modify the space being used. Of course, you need to get creative when making the obstacles. If, on the other hand, you use a training facility, you have the convenience of no set up but must pay the price for said convenience.

Once you have established where you’re going to go, it’s time to ensure your pooch is prepared. For your Chatham Hill Retriever to be successful, they need to already have received obedience training. After this is established, an introduction to the course is necessary. Though it may take time to learn each obstacle, the activity is a phenomenal mental and physical workout. 

Step
1
Establishing obedience
The first thing you want to do if you plan on training your pooch to complete an agility course is establish basic commands with your pup. They must know how to respond to you so they can be successful with each obstacle. As the leader, your pooch will look to you for guidance while completing the course. If you haven't used obedience training to establish commands, do this before attempting to tackle the course.
Step
2
Building or finding a course
Depending on your preference and space, you may decide to build a course versus joining a dog training facility. If you do take this route, refresh yourself with basic course obstacles such as weave poles, a-frames, walking tracks, jumps and tunnels. Look for household items that could be substituted for equipment and begin designing your course. Obviously, signing up to utilize an already created course is more convenient, but also more costly. Decide which approach you would like to take with your Chatham Hill Retriever and get started with the obstacles!
Step
3
Introducing obstacles
When you introduce the obstacles to your Chatham Hill Retriever, they may be able to complete the task with little prompting or modelling. When first introducing the obstacles, keep your pup on a leash and walk beside or ahead of them to guide them through the course. Eventually, you'll want them to master the activity without a leash. Introduce each obstacle one at a time and have your pup succeed before moving on. Using rewards for incentives is also recommended.
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More Fun Ideas...

Frisbee

Frisbee is very similar to fetch, except your Chatham Hill should eventually master catching the disc while it's still in the air. Depending on their abilities, experience and skill level, dogs can learn to jump and catch the frisbee midair, making the most of their workout.

Swimming

Chatham Hill Retrievers, like most dog breeds, tend to enjoy taking a dip on a hot day. Grab some snacks and head to a nearby beach, lake or conservation area that permits dogs. Spend the day lounging in the sun and cooling off as needed.

Conclusion

Chatham Hill Retrievers have the innate instincts to work, hunt and please that characterize the parent breeds of this hybrid. The Cocker Spaniel is both visually appealing and a playful companion who aims to please all members of their family. Likely, the Flat-Coated Retriever has a friendly and gentle demeanor, though their energy level is much higher, requiring extensive outdoor exercise daily.

These traits combined make for a stunning companion with a moderate energy level. Intelligent in nature with a working instinct, the Chatham Hill Retriever should receive moderate to extensive exercise daily ranging from 60 to 90 minutes. To meet their exercise needs, fill their day with agility course training or register for flyball training at a nearby facility. Swimming is another way to beat the heat on those hot summer days. Try frisbee at the park or challenge your pooch mentally by tracking for fun or competitively. Remember to vary your activities to maximize your Chatham Hill Retriever's experience and have fun while exploring new ways to exert energy together!