Activities For Deutscher Wachtelhunds

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Introduction

The Deutscher Watchtelhund, also known as the German Spaniel, German Quail Dog, or simply Watchtels, is a rare but extremely versatile breed of hunting dog that hails from Germany. While they are sometimes referred to as quail dogs due to their flushing ability, they are also skilled at retrieving waterfowl as well as being capable of tracking and holding a wounded black bear at bay. These dogs are exclusively utilized by hunters and gamekeepers in Germany and most of the 100 to 150 Watchtels that are found in North America are owned by hunting enthusiasts. When not hunting, these dogs tend to be friendly and affectionate and truly seem to enjoy spending time with people.

Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Free
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Favorite toy
Activity description

The Deutscher Wachtelhund breed is descended from an older German breed known as the Stoberer, a name that translates into rummager, and they were said to have a nose as sensitive as a bloodhound. This olfactory sensitivity was passed down to the Wachtels, making searching for things a natural extension of their overall personality. The childhood game of Hide and Seek can easily be adjusted for canine sensibilities, and it can give your canine companion a fun way to satisfy their urge to search as well as encouraging them to strengthen their problem-solving skills and solidifying the bond between the dog and their family. 

Step
1
Choose a reward
Many pet parents will start by reaching for the dog’s favorite smelly treat to help encourage the dog to find them it is often unneeded. The joy and praise that you give your dog when they find you is often enough motivation and the exceptional scenting ability of these dogs mean that they are unlikely to need additional olfactory clues. Offering treats as a reward may trigger them to expect a treat whenever and where ever they find you, and too many treats can lead to obesity, digestion difficulties, and in the long run, even pancreatitis. Have their favorite toy in hand instead and offer a mini play session as their reward.
Step
2
Pick a target
Initially, you will want to simply start with one person hiding so that your pup can get the idea of the game. As your dog masters finding just one person, you can increase the challenge by adding more people into the game, by taking a more circuitous route to the hiding place, or by moving from one place to another.
Step
3
Choose a hiding spot
It’s generally best to start out with simple hiding spots when first introducing your Deutscher Wachtelhund to this classic game, possibly spots that are even somewhat visible. In order to increase the challenge as they become more adept at this game, you can find more challenging spots to hide in the house. Some pet parents even take the game outdoors, either by playing in a fenced backyard or by enlisting a second human partner and going to a park so that one person can hide and the other can manage the leash.
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Flyball

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Tennis balls
Flyball Jumps
Flyball Box
Activity description

The fast-paced dog sport of Flyball takes fetch to a higher level with teams of four dogs racing relay-style down a flyball track, where each dog jumps over hurdles then activates the flyball box, a device that produces a tennis ball for the dog to retrieve. Development of this sport started around the middle of the 1900’s in California, with the first Flyball tournament occurring in 1983. Hunting dogs like the Deutscher Wachtelhund were bred to have a great deal of energy and stamina, and when not hunting they will still need a way to release all that energy or they can become overly vocal. This sport can help to works both the mind and body of your canine, allowing them an outlet for their pent-up energy.

Step
1
Health check
This sport is meant to be a fun way to exercise your dog’s body and mind, but it is a strenuous activity for some. If your dog has not had a recent checkup at the veterinarian, this is a good time to get that updated so that they can have their respiratory and cardiovascular health evaluated to ensure that they are healthy enough to participate and that their bones and joints are fully matured, typically around nine months to a year of age for medium-sized dogs like the Wachtelhund.
Step
2
Train
Flyball takes a little more training than a traditional game of fetch as the dog in question has to learn to jump over the hurdles and to activate the flyball box. Many trainers recommend initially teaching this sport in reverse, starting with the dog jumping the hurdles from the flyball box to the handler before teaching them to run towards the flyball box.
Step
3
Register to compete
Competitions for Flyball are fast-paced and difficult to judge by eye alone, so they are typically judged using a digital or electronic scoring system. The two major organizations that host tournaments, the United Flyball League of America (U-FLI) organization and the North American Flyball Association (NAFA). Both have their own individual registries in order to track the points that each dog earns during tournaments.
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Barking and Quiet

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Any Day
Free
Normal
5 - 15 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

Hunting dogs like the Deutscher Wachtelhund were developed to range far from the hunter in pursuit of their quarry. In order for the hunter to keep track of where their dog is, these dogs were bred with the instinct to vocalize loudly so that they can be easily tracked. While this is a desirable trait in a hunting dog, it can be less than desirable when trying to relax at home. One of the ways to prevent this behavioral trait from becoming a problem is to train your dog to bark on command or speak, then follow that up with training the command to be quiet. 

Step
1
Speak
Start off by giving your Deutscher Wachtelhund the command to speak while enticing them with a high-value reward. Once your dog barks two or three times give them their treat. Keep repeating this step until the dog is reliably barking every time that you tell them to speak. Once your canine companion has mastered this step you can move on to training the Quiet command so that they will stop barking when asked.
Step
2
Quiet
In a quiet, distraction-free environment, give them the command to speak, then show them a reward and giving the new “quiet” command, calmly but firmly. When the dog stops barking to sniff the treat, give them their reward and praise them enthusiastically. Continue working on the quiet command in a distraction-free environment with controlled barking until the dog reliably stops making noise when commanded to.
Step
3
Quiet whenever
When your pooch is responding well to the quiet command in a distraction-free environment with a controlled bark, you can start using the command at other times, when they are barking at something, rather than when they are commanded to do so. Before long, your dog should begin responding to the command even with additional distractions like people walking by the house, squirrels in the yard, or children playing outside.
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More Fun Ideas...

Search and Rescue

The Deutscher Wachtelhund is an exceptional tracker that is able to handle a variety of environments and is friendly with others. These are all excellent traits for a Search and Rescue dog.

Whoa Training

While these dogs are generally friendly with people and other dogs this breed is an extremely aggressive breed when it comes to their quarry often going in for the kill when coming up on a bird or rabbit. Teaching your dog to freeze on command by teaching the Whoa command is a good way to teach impulse control.

Conclusion

Almost all of the Deutscher Wachtelhunds that are around today are employed for hunting purposes, but they are also very friendly and outgoing animals who make pleasant companions in the home. It is essential to keep these pooches busy for both their physical and mental health, so activities that can be engaged in during the off-season are essential for their well-being.