Activities For Munsterlanders

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Introduction

Munsterlander dogs come in two varieties, the Large and the Small Munsterlander. Both are hunting dogs that were developed in Germany with a strong pointing instinct and an ability to track and retrieve both waterfowl and upland birds, even the occasional small game animal. While the two have many similarities, they are considered to be separate breeds, with differences in appearance, temperament, and hunting styles. There are many activities, however, that both breeds will enjoy in common, and both are likely to excel at.

Dock Jumping

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Dock
Target Bumper
Activity description
Dock jumping, known in some circles as dock diving, is a canine water sport that was introduced at the Incredible Dog Challenge in 1997. In this sport, dogs run to the end of a thirty-five to forty-foot dock and jump off into a long body of water or pool after a specific target which is either suspended above the water or thrown into the water for the canine competitor to retrieve. Both the Small and the Large Munsterlander breeds tend to be quite comfortable in the water, and they have a strong desire to retrieve making them very competitive in this sport.
Step
1
Getting comfortable
The great majority of Munsterlander dogs are perfectly happy to jump right in the water, but a few may require a little bit of time to get used to the idea of swimming. Once the dog is comfortable and confident navigating in the water, you will want to ensure that they are comfortable jumping into the water as well, generally by throwing a favorite toy into the pool for them to jump in and swim after, which you will eventually replace with a target bumper similar to competition bumpers. This is often achieved by the trainer initially by throwing the toy into the body of water while they are on the same level before they are introduced to the idea of jumping off of an elevated dock into the water.
Step
2
Types of competition
Dogs can participate in three different types of events; extreme vertical, big air, and speed retrieve. In the extreme vertical of competition, the bumper or target is extended eight feet from the dock and is hung at a minimum of four feet and six inches above the pool, with the height being increased in increments. The dog that knocks it from the highest point is the winner. Big air competitions are judged based on how far your dog is able to jump into the water, either by utilizing the place and throw or chase techniques. In speed retrieve, the target bumper is hung thirty-eight inches from the dock, and the canine is then timed on how long it takes for them to reach it.
Step
3
Chase or place and send
The target bumper for both the speed retrieve and extreme vertical is stationary at the start of the run, the target in big air competitions is typically thrown in the water for the dog to chase after. With the place and send method, the handler walks with the dog to the end of the dock that is extended out over the water, throws the bumper into the water, and then walks the dog back to the far end of the dock so they can run and jump into the pool. With the chase method, the canine competitor is placed in a stay at the far end of the dock, and when the handler throws the bumper in from the jump off area, the dog chases it into the water.
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Hunting Games

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Boat
Long Lead
Whistle
Activity description

Most Munsterlander breed dogs are still employed as hunting dogs, although there are a few filling the role of either a companion animal or therapy dogs. Dogs are not just born as hunting dogs, and while instinct is helpful, a good hunting dog requires training in order to effectively track the correct prey, to know when to point or flush, and how to retrieve the quarry. Many of the techniques that are used to train hunting spaniels have to wait until the dog has reached a certain level of mental maturity,  but some common training techniques can even be started when your gun dog is a young pup. 

Step
1
Walking in the pocket
When hunting upland game and fowl with a canine hunting partner, keeping the canine within the swath of cover in front of them from the area around ten o’clock to two o’clock, also know as the pocket, is a good way to keep your dog in sight, which helps to keep the dog safe and prevents backtracking. Pups as young as three months old can begin learning this behavior, and the earlier started, the better. Use a long lead when walking your pup, in order to give them room to roam. Whenever they happen to go too far off course or fall too far behind, uses a sharp clap to get their attention, point in the direction you want them to go, and, if necessary, tug very gently on the leash or move them into the correct position, praising them enthusiastically for returning to the pocket.
Step
2
Boat buddy
When hunting waterfowl such as ducks and geese, many hunters prefer to hunt from a boat rather than from the shoreline. It is crucial that the canine hunting partner of a hunter who hunts from a boat is calm and confident in the vessel. You can begin acclimating your dog to the way that the boat feels at a very early age by taking them out in a boat on the water on a regular basis. This can greatly increase their confidence in both riding in the boat and retrieving downed birds from the boat.
Step
3
Whistle work
A soon as you are able to train your dog to come, to range out further, and to get them to turn in another direction, you can train them to respond to whistle patterns or commands for the same behaviors. This is a very useful lesson as whistles can be heard much more clearly than your voice over long distances, heavy cover, and loud winds.
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Scent Work

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Essential Oils
Activity description

While humans have just six million olfactory receptors in their nasal passages, the average dog has around a hundred million olfactory receptors, and the portion of their brains that are dedicated to interpreting those scents is at least forty times larger than most humans. Dogs bred to hunt were prized for their ability to locate prey by scent giving them even greater acuity than the average dog and Munsterlanders, both large and small, are no exception. This makes this breed well-suited to both practical scent work, as you would see in both hunting trials and search and rescue operations, as well as competitive scent work.

Step
1
Pick a place
Generally speaking, pet parents typically start scent work training for their dogs in familiar surroundings such as their home, backyard, or even at a nearby park, but as their dog progresses they may want to expand their dog’s territory as well. Individuals who are training their canines with an eye towards competitive scent work may want to contact a dog sport facility, giving their dog an opportunity to get used to searching even with an audience, while those that are training their dog for hunting are often better served by practicing in fields and forests similar to the areas they will be hunting in.
Step
2
Choose a scent
While many pet parents will instinctively reach for high-value food rewards as a direct temptation for the dog that they are training, most professional or experienced trainers typically start with a specific scent such as birch, clove or anise. If you are not sure about working with oils, consult with your veterinarian about the suitability of them with your particular pup. Introductory scent work kits typically include these specific scent markers, and dogs that are meant to be will be utilized as hunting spaniels may be better served by learning to track the scent of the animals that they will be searching for.
Step
3
Search
Once the scent marker has been connected to the reward, the search can be intensified. The trainer can utilize timed trials or find more difficult hiding spots in order to increase the challenge for your dog. If your particular dog is competing in trials, they will need to be able to locate the scent in several different situations, including in indoor and outdoor environments as well as in containers and vehicles, while dogs that are to being used as hunting and retrieving spaniels will be ready to start using scented training dummies or previously killed birds at this point.
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More Fun Ideas...

Flyball

Another great canine sport for dogs with a penchant for retrieving is flyball, a fast-paced game of competitive fetch in which the dogs are required to jump over hurdles.

Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise for the large and the small Munsterlander, even if they do not participate in dock jumping, as it helps to increase their cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength without stressing the joints, an important consideration for a dog like the Munsterlander, who is somewhat prone to hip dysplasia

Conclusion

These dog breeds are active and intelligent hunting dogs who require a combination of both mental and physical activity on a daily basis in order to maintain good mental and physical fitness. They are both fairly easy to train, picking up commands quickly and retaining them. A light touch should be used with training as they can be rather sensitive and the Small Munsterlander tends to get bored with repetition if they are not out in the field actively using their skills.