Activities For Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs

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Introduction

Bred to work, the Greater Swiss Mountain dog has handled numerous tasks, like herding cattle, pulling carts and acting as a guard. The modern Greater Swiss Mountain dog lives life as a family pet, though as a result of years of being bred to work, these energetic dogs tend to enjoy being busy and like to be employed. To ensure that your Greater Swiss Mountain dog is happy and healthy, you will want to be sure that they have plenty to do. Fortunately, your amicable companion can successfully participate in a variety of activities, which will not only meet their needs but allow them to further increase the bond they have with you.

Bikejoring

Popular
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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
30 - 90 min
Items needed
Bikejoring kit
Bike
Treats
Water and Bowl
Waste Bags
Helmet
Activity description
Greater Swiss Mountain dogs regularly engaged in weight pulling as one of their tasks. A way for your dog to be put to work in a similar activity is to try bikejoring. Just what is bikejoring? The activity involves your riding your bike, while your dog, who is connected to your bike, pulls you along. Bikejoring is a great activity for strong dogs with a lot of energy. For example, if your dog seems to be dragging you along on your walks, wanting to run, then bikejoring may be a good fit. You will find that bikejoring can be quite an adventure, meaning it is best for dogs and their people who are up for some excitement and willing to take a few falls. Bikejoring truly is a team effort and is a great way to further develop your relationship!
Step
1
Bikejoring information
If bikejoring sounds interesting to you, before you start, it can be helpful to learn more about the activity. Search online for a club or group in your area that engages in the activity. You can contact someone from the group to ask questions, or attend one of their activities. This will give you the opportunity to meet people who are experienced in bikejoring and ask any questions that you may have. These individuals can also point you in the right direction as far as what equipment you will need, should you conclude that bikejoring is something you and your pup will enjoy.
Step
2
Introduce the sport
A bikejoring kit will provide you with what you need in order to connect your dog to your bike. Be sure to wear your helmet when bikejoring; it is likely that you will take many spills, particularly as you are first learning. In order for your pup to get used to the bike, walk around the block with both your dog and your bike several times a week so that they get used to seeing the bike close up. Bring some treats along to reward your dog for their efforts. Be sure to have plenty of water available. Bikejoring will take a lot of work on the part of your dog and you will want to be sure that they remain hydrated.
Step
3
Give it a try
Once your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is familiar with the bike, you will need to attempt the first connect of dog, bikejoring attachment and bike. It may be helpful to do this with someone that you have met from a bikejoring club or group. This way, you can have help connecting your dog to your bike as well as receive guidance on how to proceed. Expect that you will have many falls at the beginning as you and your pup learn to work together. Fortunately, while you and your pooch will likely have multiple challenges as you get started, these challenges will increase the bond you have with one another.
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Agility Activities

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
PVC Pipe
Hula Hoop
Kids' Tunnel
Orange safety cones
Treats
Activity description
A working dog breed like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog will do best when kept busy. Agility activities are a great way to spend time with your canine companion while keeping them both mentally and physically engaged. The fun thing about agility is that you can work with your dog on as many tasks as you would like. As your pup starts to master a few of the activities, you can connect them together in order to develop a personalized agility course for your pup. You can work on new activities with your pooch or change the order of the course, meaning that working on agility can always be challenging for both of you. Working on agility at home takes away the expense of lessons and you can enjoy the activity in your backyard year-round!
Step
1
Choose the challenge
The internet is a great place to get ideas on different activities. After doing a little research, decide on a few activities that you think are a good fit for your particular pup. If you have noticed that your dog likes to jump over things, for example, focusing on jumps will offer your pup an opportunity to do what they enjoy and are likely already pretty good at. Research what you will need to build a jump that is easily changed in height as your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog's skill increases.
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2
Build the course
A little online research will help you get ideas on what you need for a particular activity and how to set it up. For example, if you are working on jumps with your pup, you can use a hula hoop. To start, place one end of it on the ground and encourage your dog to walk through. You can then increase the height slowly until your dog has to jump to go through the hoop. You can also set up jumps with PVC pipe, starting low to the ground and increasing height. PVC pipe, as well as orange cones, are helpful to create obstacles for your pup to weave in and out of. A kids' tunnel makes for a fun place for your dog to run through...and back!
Step
3
Gain confidence
Once you have what you need and have set up the particular activity, you can begin working on it with your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Remember to start simple. This will help your dog (and you) to gain confidence in each particular skill. Also be sure to reward their efforts. Each time they walk through the hula hoop, for example, reward them with a treat. You can increase the difficulty of each activity as they can handle the simple version. Once your pup is comfortable with a few tasks, connect them together for an agility course, increasing the challenge for your pup!
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Search And Rescue

Popular
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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
1 - 6 hrs
Items needed
Water and bowl
Leash
First Aid Kit
Activity description

A dog that is bred to work does best when having a job to do. Becoming a part of a search and rescue team is a great way for your dog (and you) to have a job and give back to your community. Search and rescue dogs and their people can be of assistance during natural disasters and in helping find missing persons. In order to participate in a search and rescue mission, a dog and their person (handler) have to go through significant training that will challenge their intelligence, agility, stamina and determination to pass the national certification. Dog and owner must be prepared to put in hundreds of hours towards certification. Added expenses to this activity must be expected as travelingĀ is required from one training location to the next. Search and rescue work is very challenging for the dog and their handler, requiring that both remain in good shape to be able to safely handle missions in difficult conditions and often dangerous terrain.

Step
1
Search and Rescue research
If search and rescue seems like a possible good fit for you and your dog, begin researching groups near you. The best way to learn more about what you need to do to get involved is to ask a group that is already doing it. You can also learn more about the work and get a better idea if it is right for both of you. Can you train several times per week? Are you able to travel to various locations for training? Each search and rescue team will have different requirements for handlers, so you can ask about these as well, so you have an idea of what you and your dog will need to do to get involved.
Step
2
Certifications required
A local search and rescue group can let you know which certifications are required to work with them. They also may be helpful in recommending where to go to get the certifications. Most search and rescue teams look for handlers to have training in crime scene preservation, compass use, and radio communications as well as courses in the Incident Command System. Search and rescue specific certifications are required for both dog and handler.
Step
3
Get to work
After a few hundred hours of practice and training, you and your Greater Swiss Mountain dog will have the certifications that you need to get to work. By this point, it is likely that you have established a relationship with a group in your area. Chances are that they will be excited to add you and your dog to the team. As a member of the group or team, you will be invited to assist in missions as they come up. In the meantime, you will keep training together as a team so that you can be on top of techniques and always ready to go. Search and rescue work can be very challenging but also very rewarding. Best of all, you and your pup will have the opportunity to spend quality time together.
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More Fun Ideas...

Go For A Hike

Your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog will enjoy going on a hike with you. A hike will keep your pooch busy as well as provide a few jobs to do. They will need to walk up and down hills while also ensuring the safety of their person. You can even give your pup an additional responsibility; carrying their own water! A Greater Swiss Mountain Dog will be able to hike for miles. Make sure to bring plenty of water and provide it to your dog regularly, to ensure that they do not get dehydrated. Treats can also be helpful, whether for motivation or a distraction!

Give Skijoring a Try

Remember bikejoring? A similar activity is skijoring, where your dog is connected to you to be able to pull you along, only this time, on skis! For a dog bred to pull, this is a great activity to meet their need for hard work and the thick fur coat on your Greater Swiss Mountain dogs means that they will likely do well in the snow. This is a challenging activity that will likely require some effort to get the hang of. Fortunately, you and your canine companion will be embarking on the adventure together!

Tug-of-War

As a working dog, your Greater Swiss Mountain Dog will love having something to do; and if you don't provide a job, they may find their own way to keep busy. Tug-of-war is a simple game that will give your pup something to accomplish; whatever the item is, whether a thick rope, a toy or a towel, they need to get it for themselves. Not only will your dog take the task seriously, they will give it their all. A short amount of time playing tug-of-war with your dog will help them get a lot of energy out while having a clear focus on the "work" to be done!

Conclusion

It is important to give a working dog like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog plenty of "work" to keep them busy; after all, they were bred to herd, guard and pull. Fortunately, there are quite a few activities that will not only provide your pup with the job that they crave, but offer the opportunity for the two of you to spend time together. A few of these activities even bring to mind some of the work dogs of the breed used to do. Regardless of how you feel about a particular activity, by getting involved in them, you will have further developed the bond you and your pup share.