Activities For Irish Dobe Setters

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Introduction

Combine an Irish Setter and a Doberman Pinscher into one hybrid breed and what do you get? The answer is the highly intelligent and agile Irish Dobe Setter. Doberman Pinschers are known for their strength, intelligence, and protective nature. Dobermans are alert and loyal, but they love adventure and can be playful. Irish Setters are enthusiastic hunters who have a laid-back and good-natured attitude. 

The Irish Dobe Setter takes after both parents, with a somewhat serious demeanor, though they can have fun and let loose. The hybrid can exhibit traits from one parent breed over the other, though they tend to be highly energetic and intelligent with a knack for guarding and protecting. They're good with all family members, but the Irish Dobe Setter's size and strength can make them overbearing for children. The parent breeds of this hybrid both have extensive exercise needs which can't be met with a walk alone. To meet your pup’s physical and mental needs, vary the activities you explore and get creative with your choices.

Tracking

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Any Day
Free
Hard
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Scent Layer
Extra long Leash
Harness
Activity description

Tracking not only gives your Irish Dobe Setter a physical workout, but it also forces them to utilize their intelligence in combination with their superior sniffer to succeed. You can decide to teach your pooch how to track using the official rules, or you may decide to modify the activity to meet your pup's needs! 

Generally, tracking involves a handler using an extra long leash attached to a harness. The dog wears the harness and leads the handler as they track a scent introduced to them at the beginning of the set course. Tracking usually involves another person laying the track, and so for this activity, you may want to involve a friend! Before getting ahead of yourselves, though, you must first teach your Irish Dobe Setter how to track before they can complete a difficult challenge. This will require repeated training sessions, approximately 30 to 60 minutes in length. Each session can contain a variety of tracks for your pup to explore, but using food as an incentive is a must to begin! 

Step
1
Preparing
To begin your tracking experience, you need to pick a large outdoor area for the exercise. You'll also need some form of an edible treat. You will be using the treat to make a short track for your pup to follow. You want your pooch to follow the scent of the treat, so begin by placing the treat on the ground and stepping on it to get the scent on your shoe. Now you're ready to lay the scent.
Step
2
Creating your track
To lay the scent, simply walk a few paces before dropping a piece of the treat for further encouragement. Press the treat into the ground when you place it, to get more on your shoe before walking again. This will make the scent of your track strong. Set a short track when beginning your training, and as your pooch progresses through each session, increase the length of the track. After setting the track, test your pup by allowing them to try it out!
Step
3
Allowing your dog to lead
When it's time for them to start, be sure you have their harness secured and you're walking behind them. Encouraging your pup while they are trying to sniff can be a distraction, so as hard as it may be, be a passive participant and do not lead your pup. If you do notice they've got off track, redirect them. After completing the track, praise your pup and give them a treat. Continue practicing for 30 to 60 minutes, setting multiple tracks within this timeframe.
Step
4
Tracking competitively
Once your pup has become a master at tracking your courses filled with treats, increase the difficulty by removing the scent from your shoe, keeping the incentives along the way. Eventually, if they can master a track without any treats and just the final reward, you may consider taking your pup to the next level by competing. Official tracking competitions have leash requirements, set track lengths and require a dog to track a scent laid by a human!
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Agility Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Agility Obstacles
Leash
Treats
Activity description

Take advantage of your Irish Dobe Setter's strong physique by introducing them to agility course training. Agility course training, like tracking, can be done for fun but it can lead to competing down the road. You can build an agility course in your backyard with do-it-yourself obstacles, enhancing your pooch's play time and challenging them physically.

Start this activity off by deciding on which obstacles you’d like to explore. Keep in mind that it does depend on your pup’s abilities, but as you introduce the activities, you'll be able to determine which appeal to them quickly. After deciding on the activities and gathering the supplies, you can build a course and begin the training! 

Step
1
Preparing your obstacles
A variety of obstacles are used in official competitions and are easy to recreate at home. For starters, you can make jump obstacles practically from anything. Ideally, an adjustable stool would be best. Irish Dobe Setters are large dogs who could easily clear larger objects after mastering the basics! For a weave pole obstacle, pick up some PVC pipes from your local hardware store. Tracks are also easy to create using large pieces of wood such as 2x4s. A tunnel is another option, with children's play tunnels being a perfect do-it-yourself substitute.
Step
2
Building the course
You'll need a large area to set up the course. Consider spacing out obstacles so your pooch can build up momentum, especially for a ramp or jump obstacles. Consider starting with just a few tasks when introducing the activity, and continue to enhance your course as your pup’s skill level increases.
Step
3
Introducing the obstacles
“Unfurtunately,” your pup won’t be able to navigate the course until they’ve learned how to complete each task. To do this, you will need to walk your dog through the course, using a leash and plenty of treats. For example, when introducing a weave task, walk beside your pooch and complete the weave with them. As soon as they finish, reward the behavior. Focus your training sessions on learning one specific task, but revisit past learned tasks as you build on your pup’s ability. For each task, pick a verbal command and a gesture to accompany it. Eventually, your pooch can learn to navigate the course off-leash by following your commands.
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Rally Obedience

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
Course
Leash
Activity description

Rally obedience is a specific type of training that emphasizes the interactions between a dog and their handler while they complete a performance full of tricks. Together, handler and pooch navigate through a designated area following instructions. The instructions vary depending on ability level, which is why rally obedience is ideal for any dog. Novice courses consist of the simplest tasks -- as the difficulty increases, so does the number and complexity of the functions.

The purpose of rally obedience is to work in partnership with your Irish Dobe Setter to complete the course with high energy and at a quick pace. How your pooch responds to you is an essential component of scoring, rather than the emphasis being on precision. Explore rally obedience in your own backyard, as it's an activity that requires both thinking and doing, making it the "pawfect" workout for your Irish Dobe Setter! 

Step
1
Introducing the activity
To truly understand what a rally is, take some time to watch online videos of past rally competitions together. Explore different levels of competitions to see how your pooch can develop throughout their training. When competing, you have a certain amount of time to complete the rally. Each rally consists of a specific number of instructions, which can range between 10 to 20 depending on the competition level.
Step
2
Starting with the basics
In total, there are three official levels for rally obedience designated by the American Kennel Club, which include Novice, Advanced and Excellent. Rally obedience is much different than agility training because the focus is not on obstacles, but rather movements with handler and pooch. When walking through a course, a handler will follow commands on signs that dictate what to do. Novice courses generally consist of directions like sitting, laying down, heeling and changing direction. Handlers are to use gestures to give directions for the tasks. Decide on your gestures and begin practicing these basic commands using obedience training before introducing the performance component.
Step
3
Developing your course
Start your rally sessions by designating a space where you can complete the course. Begin with sit, heel, and changing directions. Set up your course so that you have included a few variations of these three instructions, e.g., walk straight until first sign, sit down and pause, turn direction and continue forward walking until next instruction, and so on. Remember, rally obedience is about communicating with your dog while they complete the tasks to demonstrate the strength of the bond between you and your pup. Practice completing a course with simple instructions, and increase the number and complexity as your Irish Dobe Setter improves.
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More Fun Ideas...

Wading

If your pooch has already had a physical workout, treat them to a refreshing walk along the beach. Wade the water, allowing them to cool off, and if you haven't gotten in your workout, take them for a swim.

Dock Diving

Dock diving, or dock jumping, is a relatively new sport in the dog world. This activity requires pups to leap from docks to retrieve objects mid-air. Practice dock jumping for fun or look for chances to compete through organizations near you.

Conclusion

Irish Dobe Setters are high-energy, bright breeds who need consistent, vigorous stimulation. This stimulation should target both the body and mind to work your pooch completely. Look beyond taking just a typical walk by exploring more thought-provoking activities like rally obedience or tracking. Rally obedience is an efficient way to deepen the bond between you and your pup, as the focus of this activity is your performance together. 

Obstacle courses provide you with ample "oppawtunity" to test your Irish Dobe Setter's agility, and they allow you to strengthen the skills they already have. A less demanding activity you could try is going for a swim together at a local beach. Wading the water is another option if your pup has already had a workout for the day. If you want to add a challenge to your beach day, introduce your pooch to dock jumping. If you own an Irish Dobe Setter or are looking to acquire one, remember this pup does have extensive physical and mental needs which must be met to promote healthy development!