Activities For Kuvaszs

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Introduction

Kuvasz breed dogs are large, imposing dogs that were used as personal protection dogs in Hungary as far back as the sixteenth century. Originally only royalty or favored nobles were allowed to own these dogs, but as time went on commoners were able to own them and found their protective natures, combined with their easily distinguishable white coat made them excellent flock guardians as well, guarding both sheep and cattle. These large dogs are typically very devoted and gentle with their families as well as with animals that they consider to be part of their pack, but they tend to be more aggressive with people and dogs that they are unfamiliar with, so early and continuous socialization is a must.

Pack Walk

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Six foot leash
Activity description

Kuvaszs can be reactive towards other dogs, which can cause isolation issues not only for the dog but to some extent to the owner as well. It can be very difficult to control a lunging dog, especially when the dog in question weighs seventy to a hundred pounds and has been developed to protect their charges from both man and beast. One way to help counter this behavior when walking is to join a walking group designed for the reactive dog, usually headed by a professional in the dog training world, who can read canine language and behavior. Walking dogs in groups is beneficial to nearly all dogs, and dogs who are reactive or fearful get a much-needed opportunity to socialize with other dogs, without really having to interact with them. 

Step
1
Choose a group
This will probably depend somewhat on your dog’s reactivity level. Dogs that are not particularly reactive, but also not all that social, may have no trouble starting out in the center of the pack in a fairly large group of dogs, where a Kuvasz who have not had exposure to other dog or who has displayed aggressive behaviors may want to start in a smaller group.
Step
2
Learn the rules
Different groups will have different rules to fit their specific needs. Some of the common rules in these walking groups include no interaction between the dogs, yellow ribbons for dogs that are likely to need space and listen to the trainer. As a safety measure, retractable leashes are generally prohibited on these walks and for some dogs who have proven to be aggressive, muzzles may be needed.
Step
3
What to expect
Group walks can be fairly small, just three or four walkers and their dogs while others are larger, upwards of thirty or forty members and may include both social and reactive dogs in their ranks. Often nervous, fearful, and irritable dogs will be asked to utilize a yellow ribbon and will start out farther behind.
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Hiking

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Harness/collar and leash
Dog Shoes
First Aid Kit
Backpack
Blanket
Water
Activity description

These large, white dogs were developed to guard as livestock as well as people in the high pastures of the Carpathian Basin in Hungry, a job which required the Kuvasz to follow the livestock throughout their territory in all sorts of weather. These strong and stable dogs have a great deal of stamina making them excellent hiking companions, but because of this breed’s protective and somewhat predatory nature, it is safest if they are kept on a lead during their outdoor adventures. Hiking itself is not a particularly costly venture, but the initial cost procuring the correct safety gear can increase the expense.

Step
1
Preparation
Hiking can be a strenuous activity that works the muscles and the cardiovascular system, typically increasing the health of your pet and possibly lengthening their life. It is important to get a checkup at some point prior to engaging in this activity to ensure your dog’s heart is strong and healthy, and to check the health of the joints as well. This breed, like other large breeds, is somewhat prone to disorders like hip dysplasia, so the hips should be checked as well. Before committing to a long hike with your canine companion, encourage proper conditioning by taking them on shorter, easier hikes and gradually working your way up to the longer, more challenging hikes.
Step
2
The gear
When taking your Kuvasz hiking, especially on extended hikes and hikes in remote territory, it is essential to prepare a first aid kit for them to carry with your own first aid kit. A first aid kit for your dog should include extra white socks, in case they injure the bottom of their paws, tweezers or pliers to remove embedded objects, a tick removal tool, saline for the eyes and disinfectant for wounds, and bandages, as well as antihistamine and anti-inflammatory medications approved by your vet. You may also want a mylar emergency blanket, a towel, and something to fashion a makeshift muzzle out of, like a bandana or hand towel. There are also many types of packs that have been developed so dogs can carry their own supplies. If your dog wears one of these packs, it should fit tightly enough to avoid rubbing and shifting but not so tightly that it cuts into the dog's skin or interferes with their circulation or respiration.
Step
3
Hazards
Improper planning and inattention can lead to dangers in the wilderness, including dehydration, exhaustion, toxic plants, and wildlife. Be certain you have control of your dog to avoid the hazards presented by toxic plants and wildlife, and bring plenty of water for both you and your pooch; offer fresh water frequently to your canine companion to avoid dehydration and remember to drink your own as well. If you live in an area where rattlesnakes are common, there are often rattlesnake avoidance classes offered to train your Kuvasz to avoid them in the wild.
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Carting

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Sunny Day
Expensive
Normal
15 - 60 min
Items needed
Cart
Harness
Shafts
Tracers
Activity description

Dogs have been utilized as drafting animals to carry produce, milk, and even meat to the market for many centuries particularly for those families who couldn’t afford an expensive luxury like a horse; they even pulled carts with the occasional passenger or two. Improper practices, excessively heavy loads, and fears of diseases like rabies caused carting with dogs to be declared illegal in many European countries, but when this activity is properly managed, it can help to improve cardiovascular health as well as maintaining a healthy muscle mass. The Kuvasz breed of dog is sturdy and patient which are good qualities for a dog pulling a cart.

Step
1
Health and well being
Kuvasz dogs are typically well-suited to this activity, but they should be checked by a veterinary professional to ensure that their joints have matured and are in good health. Dogs with immature joints should not attempt carting as it can cause permanent damage if the growth plates have not yet closed. Before starting any carting activity, make sure that your dog has a good grasp on their basic commands, especially their recall and leave it commands.
Step
2
Choose your equipment
There are several pieces of equipment that are needed In order to participate in the sport of canine carting. You can choose to connect your dog to either a smaller, more maneuverable two-wheeled cart, or you can pick a larger and more stable four-wheeled cart, using one of a few types of harness, including a buckle harness, with a thick band that goes across the chest of the dog, or a siwash harness, a harness with a padded “V” shape crossing the chest. Metal bars know as shafts, as well as lines or straps known as tracers, connect the harness to the cart for pulling.
Step
3
Train your dog
Many owners who are just novices at carting may find it more convenient to locate a local club with members and trainers who can mentor them although you will want to ensure that your Kuvasz is well-socialized before taking them to group events as they can be dog aggressive. Preliminary training often starts out by just getting the dog used to the unusual harness; after a few days, the tracers are added on during training sessions. Once your dog has grown comfortable with these pieces of equipment, empty milk jugs or the equivalent are frequently added on to the ends of the tracers. Finally, the cart and shafts are connected to the dog so that they can begin pulling.
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More Fun Ideas...

Group Training Classes

Group training classes are especially helpful for socialization during your dog's socialization window between four and fourteen weeks of age, but the structured nature of these classes can still be beneficial for helping older dogs to tolerate and sometimes even enjoy the presence of people and dogs that are unfamiliar to them.

Swimming

While this breed may not be as eager to jump into the water as the traditional retriever or water spaniel, swimming is an excellent way to increase both muscle definition and cardiovascular health, without causing undue stress to the bones and joints.

Conclusion

While not overly active, it is important that the Kuvasz get enough vigorous exercise to maintain their muscle tone and cardiovascular health, but due to their propensity to develop joint disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia they should avoid activities which involve a lot of jumping or standing on hind legs, particularly while they are still in their adolescence, which can last for two to three years.