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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!