Activities For Golden Shepherds

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Introduction

The Golden Shepherd is a stunning mix of the Golden Retriever and the German Shepherd. These are both medium to large dogs with a lot of energy, so they will need plenty of exercise, both physical and mental. For most people, our fur buddies are part of our family, and we enjoy spending time with them every day. Why not find a sport that you and Fido both enjoy that you can do together? This breed is athletic, loyal, and smart so they should be able to do just about anything you want to try. 

Schutzhund

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
2 - 3 hrs
Items needed
Leash
harness
decoy with protective padding
treats
Activity description
Schutzhund means protection dog in German, and that is what this dog sport is all about. Starting in Germany in the 1900s, it was mostly done with German Shepherds, so your Golden Shepherd will be a wonderful candidate for this activity. Many people use the Schutzhund trials to test their dogs for jobs in police or other types of protection detail like search and rescue or military assignments. To qualify for this sport, your dog has to have a strong desire to work, protective instincts, loyalty to their owner, be intelligent, and have a lot of courage. There are different phases of this type of training, so it is a commitment for you both. The phases include tracking, obedience, and protection, which includes having your dog protect you by attacking a decoy. 
Step
1
Tracking
Training starts with teaching your dog to listen to your commands. If your pooch cannot do this, you may as well forget about trying the Schutzhund trials. Once your dog is able to follow your commands, you need to teach them how to track. This is done by introducing your dog to a toy and letting them get used to it. Then tell them to sit while you take the toy and put it on the ground a few feet away. Tell your pooch to find it. Point at the toy and get them excited. When they go to it, reward them with a treat. Continue to do this until your dog is able to find it no matter where you put it. Introduce other objects such as clothing or other random items. Let your dog get the scent of the item and then have them find it.
Step
2
Obedience
This is done in pairs, so you have to get your Golden Shepherd to work as part of a team. Your dog will be expected to heel while the other dog is placed in a down position far away while a gun is shot several times to test the dogs’ reactions to loud noises. You will also need to teach your dog good recall, retrieving through an A-frame, jump, and flat, and then to run away and lie down on command. Your pooch should be obedient but not scared. This may take a lot of training so be patient and reward your dog with treats when they do something right.
Step
3
Protection
In this phase, your dog will have a decoy, who is a person wearing padded arm protection, pretend to attack you and your dog. This is to test your dog’s courage and ability to protect themselves as well as you. They also have to search for the decoy and must have excellent recall. After your dog grabs the decoy by the arm, you typically tell them to “out” and they have to let go of the decoy. If your Golden Shepherd does not let go, they will fail the test.
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French Ring

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
2 - 3 hrs
Items needed
harness
leash
muzzle
decoy with padded suit
treats
Activity description
This is similar to the sport of Schutzhund, but it involves more detailed steps, your dog works without another dog, and there is no tracking. Also, the decoy will be wearing a full padded suit because the dog can bite them anywhere and the routines are random. There's a number of different commands that your pooch will need to master to pass the French Ring competition. These include heeling on a leash with and without muzzle, long sit/down, refusing food, high jump, palisade, long jump, different positions, several thrown retrievals, send away, a face attack, fleeing attack, defense of the owner, attacking an armed decoy, search, holding the decoy and barking, stopping the attack, and guarding an object. There are four different titles that you and your Golden Shepherd can earn which include ring one, two, and three, and brevet. Each one is more complicated with the ring three being the most complex. 
Step
1
Command control
Your dog has to be under your complete control and listen to your commands whether they are voice or hand signs. Most of their work, however, is done independently and your pooch has to know what to do to protect you. No collar or leash is used during the competition except for the heel with leash and muzzle portion so your dog has to know to do what you command without being leashed. You will need to work with your dog on a daily basis to get complete recall and obedience. This can take months and you may even consider a professional trainer, if needed.
Step
2
Test your dog
Test your dog by having a friend (in a padded suit) try to attack you. If your dog runs away and hides, you may want to reconsider this sport. But, with German Shepherd genes, your fur buddy should be as brave as they come. Keep training and practicing until you are confident that your dog is able to do all the steps in the competition.
Step
3
Don't expect to win
The first time you compete, don’t expect to win. It is a learning experience for many the first time. There is always going to be something that you or your pooch was not prepared for at first but once you learn your mistakes, you will be able to correct them and go back again to win.
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Barn Hunt

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
rats
tubes
hay bales
treats
Activity description
This is a terrific activity for everyone, and you and your dog will probably enjoy doing it from the beginning. Although it is a sporting event with judges, rules, and trophies, many people just have unofficial barn hunts in their yard or at parks for fun. To do this activity, you will need to make a maze of hay bales, live rats, a few PVC tubes to hold the rats, and lots of treats. Even though it is called barn hunt, you do not have to have a barn. Your Golden Shepherd doesn’t chase the live rat and no rat gets hurt in the game because it is in a protective tube. Several tubes are hidden under loose hay in random areas along a course that includes tunnels, ramps, and hurdles that your dog has to complete before finding the tube with the live rat. Several decoy tubes will also be hidden, and it only counts when your dog finds the one with the rat inside. 
Step
1
Teach the rules
Both you and your four-legged friend need to learn all the specific rules and regulations whether you are going to compete officially or just for fun. The rules are in place for the safety of the dogs, rats, and humans involved so it is essential that you both understand what you can and cannot do.
Step
2
Get the scent
If your dog has never hunted rats before, you need to let them see and smell a rat but make sure you keep it safely in a cage. Give your dog a treat for looking at and showing interest in the rat. Once they get the scent, you should take some of the bedding from the rat cage and make a trail going through a hay bale maze similar to the official one. Place a tube with bedding in it under some hay so your clever Golden Shepherd can find it.
Step
3
Go for it
After you have learned the rules and your dog is able to find the tube every time, you are ready to try a barn hunt trial. You may want to just do an unofficial hunt the first time to let your pooch get the hang of working with a crowd before you go to a real barn hunt game. It won’t be long before your dog is finding the rat with the rest of the dogs.
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More Fun Ideas...

Frisbee

Dogs love to play catch no matter what it is you are throwing. In fact, some dogs will fun after nothing if you pretend to throw something. But, don’t do that because it’s not nice, even if it is funny. But, a frisbee is always fun for the both of you. It is easy to throw, goes a long way, and does not get all slippery and slobbery like a ball or stick. Try using two frisbees if your dog does not like to give it back after they go get it. Once you throw the second one, they will drop the first one, and you can just keep going all day. 

Hiking

Take your fur buddy to a park or a hiking trail that allows dogs and get some exercise together while enjoying the peacefulness and beauty of nature. Most parks prefer your dog be on a leash, and that is probably best because there are usually wild critters along the trails. Your Golden Shepherd will love smelling and barking at all the wildlife, and you will enjoy getting out in the fresh air. 

Conclusion

Spending time out in the sunlight and fresh air is good for both you and your four-legged fur buddy so you should do it every day. Of course, there may be days that you just do not have the time and, on those days, you can hire a professional dog walker to take Fido for a walk for you. However, it's important that you make time to spend with your Golden Shepherd on a daily basis to have a healthy and happy relationship.