The Entlebucher Mountain Dog was developed as a cattle herding dog in Switzerland thousands of years ago, and while they are currently seen more often as a companion animal for the family, many of these dogs still retain their herding instincts. Many modern pet parents do not have their own livestock, so dogs with strong herding instincts end up trying to herd other animals or people in and around the home. In an attempt to help herding dogs get back to their roots, some farms and ranches have started renting out their fields and livestock herds to these dogs and their owners, even providing herding classes to refine their skills and hosting competitions to show their progress. The cost to participate in these activities can vary widely, and many of the farms and ranches may require a bit of a drive to get to as they are outside the city limits.
Often referred to simply as Rally-O, Rally obedience is a dog sport that is particularly appealing to pet parents with dogs like the Entlebucher Mountain Dog that are prone to hip dysplasia because it combines elements of both agility and obedience training, without being as hard on the dog’s bones and joints. This is a team sport involving a dog and their handler, usually the dog’s owner, in which they navigate a course that includes ten to twenty signs indicating specific behaviors for the dog to display. While you can learn to train your dog in Rally Obedience by reading books and watching videos, many pet parents prefer to be guided by a professional which can cost between $50-$350 per course depending on whether you choose a group format or private trainer, how long the course is (usually between four and eight weeks) and whether lessons will be given at a place like a pet store, in a dedicated training facility, or at your own home.
Canicross is a dog-powered sport in which your canine companion is tethered to a belt around your waist or hips rather than you holding on to a leash. This allows both you and your dog to run more freely and allows the dog to pull you along at a slightly faster rate of speed. While this sport first originated as a technique to maintain the fitness of sled dogs during the snowless summer months, it can be enjoyed by any healthy adult dog. As this sport is becoming more popular, many pet parents are finding that this activity is a healthy and enjoyable way to maximize fitness for both themselves and their dog as well as improving their overall communication and bond. Canicross can be enjoyed as a casual activity, either solo or in groups of runners, or it can be organized as a competitive sport for those who prefer to compete.