Activities For Hamiltonstovares

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Introduction

The Hamiltonstovare, also known as the Hamilton Hound or Swedish Foxhound, is one of the more popular breeds in Sweden but is still relatively unknown outside of their country of origin. They were developed by Count Adolf Patrick Hamilton in the late 1800s as sturdy, yet agile hunting hounds that specialized in tracking rabbit and fox. The English Foxhound and Harrier Hound formed the base of this breed, but several breeds that are now extinct also contributed to their development, including the Curlandish Hound, the Holsteiner Hound, and the Heiderbracke. They are still utilized as hunting dogs in Sweden and have gained recognition as exceptional medical alert dogs in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Socialization

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Any Day
Free
Normal
5 - 45 min
Items needed
High value dog treats
Activity description

Unlike English Foxhounds who tend to hunt in packs, Hamiltonstovare dogs were developed to hunt either singly or in pairs. Although typically friendly with most people and with other dogs, they also tend to be a bit excitable and can sometimes be a little too enthusiastic about making friends. Proper socialization with both people and other dogs can help to curb this tendency and encourage your dog to develop a little more confidence and restraint in social situations. While socialization is best achieved when the dog is between three weeks and four months of age, with a little patience older dogs can often be socialized as well.

Step
1
Puppy socialization
Between the ages of three weeks and four months, puppies are primed to absorb and learn from new experiences. Socializing your dog is not just a matter of exposing them to several different things, but of exposing them to these things in such a way that they associate positive consequences to them, either using praise, play, or treats as a motivator. If your pup is exposed to negative consequences surrounding certain objects or subsets, such as children that are loud and frightening or pain and fear from something like a broom falling on on them, it is crucial to try and counter this association as soon as possible by exposing them to calmer, friendly children or giving them treats or praise when they remain calm around brooms.
Step
2
Socializing the adult dog
When socializing the adult dog, particularly one that has previously shown fear or anxiety, slow and steady is the way to go. When exposing your adult dog to new experiences or to something that has previously caused anxiety, pair a positive reaction on your dog’s part with a great deal of praise and with high-value treats. It is important to accurately gauge your dog’s reaction so that you don’t unintentionally reward anxious, fearful, or even aggressive responses.
Step
3
When not to socialize
There are times in which socialization activities can have the reverse effect on your pet, causing fear rather than extinguishing it. If your dog is overwhelmed with the situation, don’t force them to continue as this will develop negative rather than positive association. It is important to recognize signs of distress in not only your canine companion but in other dogs as well. While not introducing your dog to a dog that is growling and lunging is rather obvious, understanding more subtle signs that are easily overlooked, such as yawning, looking away, or even physically backing off, will help you to avoid negative reactions from other dogs which could potentially undermine your socialization efforts.
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Scent Work

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Scent
Activity description

The average dog has around a hundred million olfactory receptors in their noses, as opposed to just the six million or so that are found in the human nasal passages. This gives them a much more defined sense of smell and is even more pronounced in hound dogs like the Hamiltonstovare, with some hound dogs having up to three hundred million olfactory receptors. Teaching your dog to discriminate and follow specific scents can not only help to provide your dog with mental stimulation and an outlet for their energy, but dogs with these skills may also be able to be employed as hunting companions or search and rescue dogs as well. 

Step
1
Pick a place
Most pet parents begin scent work training in familiar surroundings such as a nearby park, their backyard, or even in their own home, but as their dog progresses they may want to expand their dog’s reach. Individuals who are training your dog with an eye towards competition, you may want to contact a dog sport facility so that their dog gets used to searching while being watched, while those that are training their dog for hunting would be better served by practicing in fields and forests similar to the areas they will be hunting in. Dogs being trained to work in search and rescue operations should be exposed to as many conditions as possible.
Step
2
Choose a scent
Individuals who are inexperienced with scent training may initially reach for high-value food rewards as a direct temptation for the dog that they are attempting to train, but most experienced and professional trainers typically recommend starting with a specific scent. Introductory scent work kits frequently come already equipped with specific scent markers such as birch, clove, and anise, which are commonly used in competitions. Dogs that will be utilized as hunting hounds can be introduced to the scent of the animals that they will be tracking, while search and rescue dogs may be trained to search for human scent.
Step
3
Search
Once your dog has connected the scent marker to the reward, you can intensify the search, finding more difficult hiding spots or utilizing timed trials. Competition trials require your dog to be able to track in four situations, indoor, outdoor, containers, and in vehicles, whereas pet parents for a dog that will be used exclusively for hunting may start using scented training dummies or previously killed birds at this point.
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Swimming

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Canine Lifevest
Activity description

Hamiltonstovare dogs are typically utilized to hunt land game like rabbit and fox, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy the water. While they are not generally as eager to jump in the water as your average water spaniel or retriever breed, an upbeat but gentle introduction to the water is likely to be well received, making this a fun activity for your canine companion. Swimming is a great way in which to increase both muscle tone and cardiovascular health and burn fat, without putting strain on the joints, a bonus for dogs like the Hamiltonstovare that are somewhat prone to obesity and hip and elbow dysplasia. 

Step
1
Water location
If you choose to teach your dog to swim in natural bodies of water, be cautious about where you choose to swim. Don’t let your dog swim in water that is covered in algae or in water too near a large number of livestock as it may be contaminated, watch for posted signs, and do your research on what kind of wildlife may be around. Choosing a beach designated for canine swimming will help to avoid some hazards related to swimming outdoors, and may provide opportunities for your dog to socialize with other dogs as well. Another alternative is to find an indoor swimming pool that caters to canines; these facilities typically charge a small fee, but the water is typically treated to eliminate bacterial threats, there are no dangerous currents, and trained individuals are often available to help you introduce your dog to the water.
Step
2
Introductions
Novice or weak swimmers should be fitted with a canine life vest before swimming, as should elderly animals and those with physical limitations. Even strong swimmers should utilize a life vest when swimming in natural bodies of water as unexpected currents can crop up at any time. It is important not to force your dog into the water or coerce them using fear, but to instead coax them into the water gently. If you utilize a canine swimming pool, there is often a trained professional who will help your dog become used to the water in a positive manner.
Step
3
Cleaning up
It is important to ensure that you rinse off your dog after swimming to avoid dirt and any possible pathogens when swimming outdoors and to ensure that any of the residual chemicals or salt that are frequently found in swimming pools are not left on the dog’s coat or skin. The Hamiltonstovare breed, like many long-eared hound breeds, is prone to ear infections, making it particularly important that you clean and dry their ears as well.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hiking

The  Hamiltonstovare dog breed is a sturdy breed with a great deal of energy. They were developed to hunt in the mountains and forests of Sweden and are right at home on woodland trails, but should be kept on a leash when hiking to ensure that they don't run off.

Skijor

While hounds are not typically the most commonly seen dog on the skijor trail, this breed was developed to be able to handle harsher conditions than most and have a thick undercoat that develops in the winter, although you may want to fit your dog with booties to protect their feet from the snow.

Conclusion

Hound dogs, in general, are a unique blend of sweet and stubborn, and the Hamiltonstovare is no exception to that rule. Early training and socialization will help this dog to remember their manners but due to their exceptional scenting ability and high prey drive, they should not be let off lead unless they are working.