Activities For Huntaways

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Introduction

The Huntaway is a beautiful herding expert from New Zealand. Many professional breeders and dog enthusiasts feel that Huntaways should only be sold to owners who will work them. These same people feel that the Huntaway breed should not be raised solely as a family pet. However, there are many who disagree, and those who do indeed have Huntaways as their family pet provide different activities for them to stay active and content. Yes, Huntaways are bred to herd animals on farms. Their talent is impeccable. It is in their instinct and drive, but owners can still provide happiness in the home as long as the dog is challenged. There are many activities that mimic the skills used in herding, such as agility training, complex retrieving games, and more. It is very important to understand that herding dogs do need not only physical activity but mental stimulation as well.

Agility Course

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Sunny Day
Expensive
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
Weave Poles or Cones
Wooden Teeter Totter
Tunnels
Tires
Hurdles
Activity description

A popular sport in the canine world, dog agility is performed with the direction of the owner, or handler, as the dog is guided through various obstacles. An agility course is a great way to stimulate your dog's mind and body. Once a dog is trained, they can work the course daily and be challenged if you change the course for a more challenging experience. You can make anywhere from a basic to difficult agility course for your Huntaway. You may also choose to take your dog to an agility trainer who can help them get started, and many places have an agility course for your dog to use as well. If you do choose to make your own course, you can purchase many items from your local home improvement store. You can make hurdles from PVC piping, purchase long and short tunnels that pop-up and collapse for storage, purchase a teeter or make your own out of wood, and also buy bright cones for weaving in and out of. In order to learn how to create your own agility course, you can research online (especially in making the hurdles and teeter), or get a friend or two to help.

Step
1
Training the dog
In order for your Huntaway to learn how to perform an agility course, they will need to be trained. You may know someone who can help you train your dog on your own (gradually each day), or you may choose to go to a professional agility trainer. Proper training will lay the foundation for your intelligent Huntaway, and will ensure the enjoyment of doing agility course runs. Using treats and positive reinforcement will make the training go more smoothly. Doing the course along with them is a must a first; you'll be surprised at how much fun it can be to crawl through a tunnel with your pup following behind!
Step
2
Find a course
There are agility courses that you may choose to take your dog to, perhaps as often as each day (if you are fortunate to live close to one!) or a few days a week. Paired with other activities throughout the week, agility will change up the routine a bit for your dog and give that mental and physical challenge. Research any courses in your area, or you can make your very own if you have a nice yard!
Step
3
Direct your Huntaway through the course
This, of course, is the best part! Once your Huntaway is trained, you can have a ball with your dog as they spend each day working on the agility course. Completing the course each time will give your dog a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, and will certainly give your companion that "I just had a good workout" feeling. Changing up the course from time to time, perhaps once a week will really keep your dog on their toes!
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Treibbal

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 Minutes
Items needed
Soccer Net
Inflatable exercise balls
Activity description
Treibbal is like soccer for dogs! Since Huntaways are bred for herding, rather than herding animals, balls are "herded" instead! Several large, brightly-colored balls are used by the dog pushing them with his nose past you and into the soccer net goal. Of course, training  your dog how to "herd" the inflatable balls is necessary for this sport, but since your Huntaway is quite intelligent and a quick learner, you both will be playing together in no time. Professional Treibbal has a set time limit to get all the balls into the net, depending on the difficulty level. In order to train your dog for Treibbal, several sessions will be needed for teaching how to push the balls and run with the balls as well. In order to do so, you can research any trainers in your area, research online on how to train your dog with balls and do it on your own, or even get a knowledgeable friend to help.

Step
1
Train your dog to push the ball
When beginning to train your dog how to push the ball and run along with it toward the goal, start with one large ball. Over time and with consistent sessions, your Huntaway will grasp the concept of not only running as he is pushing the ball, but also the direction and goal for where the ball is supposed to go. Take time to research the various commands that go with the game and use them consistently. Be sure to have treats on hand for when progress is made, step-by-step. Once your dog learns how to push and run with one ball, introduce another. A novice Treibbal "player" has two minutes to push three balls into the goal. An advanced dog typically uses eight balls and has a timed period to get all of them into the net, which is typically 15 minutes.
Step
2
Try a novice game
Once your Huntaway can avidly push and run a ball, try a novice game with your companion. Set two or three balls in the middle of the yard and stand at the goal. You may have to even guide your dog along, or your dog may have already grasped the notion that they need to push the balls toward the goal. It is important that you are able to run with your dog and guide them. Treibbal really connects the dog to the handler!
Step
3
Play often!
The more you play, the better your dog will become. You may choose to take your dog out every day, twice a day, or every few days to change up their daily activities. Either way, you may want to aim for being able to play with eight balls, and even set the timer for 15 minutes.
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Frisbee

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
15 Minutes
Items needed
Treats
One or two frisbees
Activity description
Huntaways are tenacious herding dogs and have wonderful talent in the field. Not every Huntaway owner has the opportunity to take allow their pet this sort of fun, but we can suggest a good alternative. This breed also loves to play fetch! A free and easy activity, Frisbee can be done just about anywhere and in any type of weather. You can play alone with your dog, or invite friends (human and canine alike) for a fast game of Frisbee fun. With practice over time, you may be surprised at how well your dog learns to catch that Frisbee in mid-air!
Step
1
Get your dog familiar with the Frisbee
This is to see how well your dog responds. Your dog may try to jump up and catch it, or he may watch it fall to the ground before getting it. Some owners start with a tennis ball, thrown at a fast speed multiple times. Once the speed is mastered, you can move on to changing the object to be caught. The Frisbee will arrive at a slower pace and will not seem so daunting since your pet has the gift of catching the tennis ball at a speedy pace.
Step
2
Toss it!
Continue tossing the frisbee to your dog at mid-range. If your dog doesn't catch it mid-air right away, your Huntaway will eventually learn how with consistent sessions. When they do catch it, you can offer a treat along with tons of praise. This will encourage them to keep trying!
Step
3
Get up high
If you have a deck or porch, toss the frisbee from that area as your Huntaway awaits in the yard. Tossing from a higher point will allow the frisbee to be higher and in air and go farther, which will mean that your dog will have to exert more physical activity to catch it!
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More Fun Ideas...

Tug of War

There are many tug of war toys available on the market. The thing about tug of war is that you need to have the dog tug more gently than super rough. The game is designed to have a moderate pulling against you rather than knock his teeth out! Tug of war is a timeless classic game that many dogs, including Huntaways, love!

The Kong

A Kong filled with items is a wonderful activity, especially on rainy days. The Kong is a large, rubberized ball that has a hollow inside. It allows for you to add things to it, such as peanut butter (dog-friendly peanut butter only!), and other treats. Freeze the Kong for even more fun. It makes the dog work for the inside contents and keeps them occupied and content.

Conclusion

Huntaways are very intelligent herding dogs who require a lot of physical activity. With these activities incorporated into their routine, they will be stimulated and content. Even if they are not actively herding real farm animals, these activities can replace the need to herd and be active. Enjoy your beautiful Huntaway and have fun together!