Activities For Chinooks

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Introduction

The Chinook breed was first developed at the tail end of the 19th century by adventurer turned musher Arthur Walden. Mr. Walden combined the strength of a mastiff-type dog with the stamina and pulling power of Greenland Husky, which resulted in a sled dog that quickly became well known for their all-around sledding ability as well as their pleasant and affectionate nature. While the breed nearly became extinct after Walden’s sudden death in 1947, breeders who were particularly fond of the Chinook were able to restore the breed’s numbers and they have since been named the official state dog of New Hampshire. 

Skijor

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Cold Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 90 min
Items needed
Skis
Poles
Harness
Belly Band
Waist or Hip Belt
Activity description

The dog sport of Skijor is a Nordic sport that was designed for Arctic sled pulling dogs, like the Chinook. While there are other versions of Skijor in which an individual can be pulled by a vehicle or horse instead of a dog, canine Skijor is generally the most well known. The Chinook breed was developed by adventurer Arthur Walden, specifically as a sledding dog, making them ideal candidates for this sport. Chinook dogs are typically very friendly animals and while they are certainly powerful enough to Skijor individually, they are also friendly and cooperative enough to work together in pairs as well. 

Step
1
Gear up
Skijor participants will need to acquire the proper equipment before they will be able to take part in this activity. The skier will require skis, poles, boots, and bindings, much like a traditional skier, as well as a belt that connects the skier with the dog or dogs that are providing the extra power. The dogs wear a specialized harness with a towline that connects to the skier's belt as well as a belly band and a good pair of booties in order to protect their belly and paws from the elements.
Step
2
Train
Jumping into Skijor without ensuring that your dog is ready can be a dangerous proposition as the dogs could easily pull you off course. There are several commands that you will need to teach your dog before you hit the open trail including line out (getting in position to begin), hike (to start pulling), easy (slow down), and either on-by or leave-it (to continue on past a distraction), as well as commands for turning right or left and for speeding up and slowing down
Step
3
Hit the trail (safely)
Although protection gear like helmets and kneepads are not strictly required for this sport, they are is definitely recommended, particularly when you and your canines are just starting out. Make sure you have scouted out the trail prior to running it with your dogs for the first time to minimize surprises and either skijor with a partner or let someone know where you will be Skijoring and when you will be expected back.
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Advanced Obedience

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

Chinook breed dogs are best known for their pulling ability and their stamina, but they are very intelligent animals as well who enjoy working closely with their human family and learn quickly. They are more than capable of learning advanced obedience commands, also known as conformation, they are rarely shy or fearful in nature and due to their outgoing character, they tend to enjoy the attention they are given when they are in front of an audience. These qualities make the Chinook breed an ideal candidate for advanced obedience competitions where they are likely to thrive and may even excel. 

Step
1
Technique
There are a number of different training techniques that are suitable for teaching your Chinook dog both basic and advanced obedience commands as well as trick training. There are several techniques that can be effectively utilized for teaching your dog both basic and advanced obedience and trick training. Some of the methods available include positive reinforcement, model or mirror training, clicker training, and relationship training.
Step
2
Train for the basics
In order to compete at the novice level of obedience trials, your dog will need to learn several basic commands. Along with a long sit (1 minute) and a long stay (2 minutes), your dog will need to know how to heel on and off leash, stand for an exam, and of course to come when they are called. Novice level dogs who successfully perform may be awarded the Companion Dog title which allows them to move on to more challenging commands and bigger awards.
Step
3
Locate a venue
Once your dog has mastered the commands that are needed, it is relatively easy to find an appropriate level obedience trial nearby. Local training facilities, breed clubs, and other pet-related companies are likely to host local competitions, and the AKC also hosts larger competitions that include both purebred and mixed breed dogs. Larger competitions like these sometimes require paperwork and registration that may need to be filled out several days or months in advance of the actual competition.
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Agility Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Teeter-totter
Pause Box
Weave Poles
A-frame
Hurdles
Activity description

Agility training is a cooperative dog sport in which a handler, most often the dog’s owner, directs their canine companion through a series of obstacles. The performance is judged not just on accuracy, but also on speed, and can be very exciting for both members of the agility team. Most Chinook breed dogs were bred for speed and stamina and they tend to be very agile for their larger size as well as being very sure-footed, even in slippery situations. They are also very people oriented and quick thinking, traits that are particularly beneficial to dogs who wish to participate in agility trials and competitions. 

Step
1
Introduce the obstacles
Agility courses generally combine several obstacles of differing types and degrees of difficulty. The standard obstacles that your dog will need to become familiar with can include teeter-totters, tunnels, an A-frame, hurdles, weave poles, and the pause box. Most trainers recommend introducing the obstacles each individually to your dog, before stringing them together into a more standard course.
Step
2
Combine
Once your pup has begun their mastery of the individual obstacles, they are generally ready to start putting them together. Chinooks can vary somewhat in their capacity to handle new things and while some bold dogs are able to deal with several obstacles right away, others prefer to master two or three at a time before trying to increase to the fifteen to twenty-two obstacle courses that are usually seen at competitions.
Step
3
The next level
Agility competitions can be found for all levels of participants and can be quite rewarding, both for the canine and the handler. Contact your local agility club or training center for guidance on choosing the right level of competition for your specific dog as well as for tips and suggestions from veteran competitors. If your Chinook shows any signs of being shy when out in public, you may want to visit an agility competition as a spectator first in order to get them used to the noise and activity present at competitive events.
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More Fun Ideas...

Canicross

Canicross is a dog sport in which the dog is harnessed to their human partner’s waist or hips. This allows both the human and canine team member more freedom to move, giving them each a more effective workout.   

Sledding

The Chinook breed was specifically developed as a sled dog and due to their strength and stamina, they continue to excel in that capacity today.

Conclusion

Chinook dogs are an active and often enthusiastic breed that enjoys working with either canine or human partners. They are happiest and healthiest when they have a physically active job to do, particularly if it a job that keeps them close to their families. These dogs are designed to handle cold arctic temperatures, and should be given plenty of water and watched carefully when exercising in higher temperatures.