Activities For Karakachan Dogs

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Introduction

Originating in Bulgaria, the Karakachan is a breed of dog that is adept at guarding livestock. They are also known as the Ovcharsko kuche or the Thracian Mollos. The nomadic shepherds of the Balkan were known as the Karaka Chans. These shepherds used this breed for centuries to guard their flocks and even their temporary property. One of the oldest breeds in Europe, this guardian and herder is rarely found in the US. Those in North America that own Karakachan dogs say they are the best herding dogs and protectors of livestock.

Puzzle Play

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
Puzzle toy
Activity description

Yes, they make actual puzzles for dogs. Some of them are easy and some of them are quite difficult. Typically, puzzle toys have treats involved, and the dog has to figure out the contraption to get the treat. Putting a treat in it that your dog doesn’t normally eat (such as a piece of boiled chicken), to make it even better, may up the game. Either way, your dog will have to configure and work the toy to get a hold of anything inside, so this may be a real winner for you in terms of working your pet's mind!

Step
1
The decision
Find a few puzzle toys your dog may enjoy. Only give one puzzle toy at a time to your Karakachan so your dog will not be overwhelmed and can focus on the enjoyment of one task. You can find puzzle toys online or at your local pet store. Typically, the bigger pet stores carry a large variety of these toys.
Step
2
Introduce one puzzle
Introduce the puzzle toy when you are ready. Be sure your dog is not stimulated in any other way, such as outside playing, or indoor playing with another enjoyable toy. Try to do it in the evening after dinner when your dog is not necessarily thinking about dinner time! Let them focus on getting the treat, or after-dinner “dessert”!
Step
3
Introduce another toy
After your Karakachan has mastered the puzzle toy, take it away and introduce another. Once your dog has mastered the other one, take it away and give the previous one to your dog. This will eliminate boredom. You may wish to switch back and forth, or even purchase another. Once their skills are improving, you can increase the difficulty of the puzzle.
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Kick the Ball

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 Minutes
Items needed
Various sized colorful balls
Activity description

You may want to train your dog to play an old-fashioned game of soccer with you! You don’t need a soccer goal for this game, because you will just want to see your dog kick and nose the ball down the field or yard! A big, colorful inflatable ball, like a yoga ball (they are huge!) will make the experience even better. Watch how well your Karakachan “herds” the ball, and see if you can catch them! You may also use a regular-sized inflatable ball or even a traditional soccer ball. Or mix it up and use all three to really stimulate them!

Step
1
Purchase the balls
Purchase one or two large balls. You may wish to purchase regular-sized balls or the extra-large yoga balls for your dog. Or…you can purchase one of each! Be sure the balls are durable, though. Also be sure they are safe to use with your dog. A ball that is easily punctured or torn is not the best choice.
Step
2
Introduce and model
Take your pet outside and toss or roll the ball towards your companion. See how your dog reacts as you toss it into the air. Keep introducing the ball to your dog and show them how you can run with it and bounce it. Bouncing it into the air may really raise your dog’s curiosity, and your furry companion may even try to catch it.
Step
3
Join in!
If your dog likes the ball or balls, stand at one end of the yard and continue rolling it, kicking it while running or walking, or whatever you feel your dog will enjoy. You will most likely call out your dog’s name over and over, or whistle at them. Talking to them during the fun makes it even better. Now, let your curious pup have a turn!
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Tetherball

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 Minutes
Items needed
Tetherball set
Activity description

Tetherball can be set up in your yard and can help provide the physical activity that your dog greatly needs. Sort of like the old-fashioned game of tug of war, the pole takes the place of you. The spinning pole stimulates your dog both physically and mentally and gives your buddy great enjoyment. Once they catch the rope they tug at it, giving them a lot of satisfaction. You can even play with your dog! Active dogs such as the Karakachan will love this game that keeps them guessing and gives them a real challenge. You can purchase games like this at your local pet store or online. You can even make your own!

Step
1
Plan ahead
Plan ahead where your new tetherball game can be placed in your yard, and purchase a tetherball kit from your local retailer or even online. Be sure to choose a flat even area without sharp rocks or debris. Safety is important while having fun! Think ahead about how you are going to install it into the ground as well.
Step
2
Set it up
Set up your new game and be sure the pole and the rope attached are very secure. Your dog may be a big tugger, so you may want to test it out first. You may look at various games to be sure your game is the right one for a bigger dog, such as your Karakachan.
Step
3
Expose your pal to the game
Teach your dog how to play by showing them how the rope swings around the pole. See if you can get your dog to participate by enticing them a bit with the swinging rope, and seeing if your dog will participate in the fun!! Don’t forget to play along!
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More Fun Ideas...

Field Running

If you are fortunate enough to have a large backyard or field that your Karakachan can safely run free, use it! You may be surprised at how much running your dog can do, but be sure they are trained to come back to you.

Frisbee Toss

Take your Karakachan outdoors and throw the Frisbee a far distance. See if your dog will go after it, or even jump in the air and catch it! This is a classic game of fetch with a twist!

Conclusion

Herding dogs such as the Karakachan must get their exercise, of both physical and mental type. These activities will provide the much-needed stimulation for your dog, while allowing you time to bond with your companion. If your Karakachan is not actively herding livestock, your dog can still be “worked” in the sense of play!