Activities For Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes

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Introduction

The Kooikerhondje is a small duck hunting dog that was developed in the Netherlands at some point before the 1500s. Rather than simply pointing out the birds or killing them and returning them, this breed lured the ducks with their fringed tails back to a waiting cage or net to be caught. They tend to be bright, friendly and eager to please, making them pleasant companions that are easy to train. These dogs had a severe drop in population after World War II, and are now quite rare, but they did receive recognition as a foundation breed with the AKC in 2004, with full recognition as a separate breed in January of 2018.

Canine Freestyle Dance

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

Canine freestyle dance is a relatively new activity that first gained notice in the 1980s, with the first official Canine Freestyle Dance organization being founded in British Columbia in 1991. A human and canine team perform a carefully choreographed routine to music incorporating dramatic tricks and specialized heelwork. The routines can range from simple to complex and can be either dramatic or humorous. The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is a devoted and intelligent little canine who is also very trainable, and the natural grace that this little dog utilizes to lure ducks into the traps can also make them a fantastic performer. Prices for training will be in the moderate range or you can choose to go the DIY route ar home with you as the trainer, making this an affordable year-round activity.

Step
1
Health check
It is generally recommended that you have your dog’s fitness checked shortly before developing your routine in order to ensure that you don’t choose something that is too complicated or physically strenuous for your specific animal. While this activity may not be as demanding physically as dog sports like agility training or flyball, there can be intense activity involved, including standing on the hind legs, leaping, and jumping. A veterinary exam can help to ensure that you are aware of any accommodations that need to be made in the choreography.
Step
2
Choreograph the dance
You can either choose to choreograph the routine using the freestyle heeling to music method, in which the dog remains in a close heel position to their handler throughout the performance, or utilizing the musical freestyle method, in which several different types of tricks and commands may be employed including, rolling over, jumping over things, and standing on their hind legs along with heelwork like you would see with freestyle heeling to music.
Step
3
Perform
Once you have choreographed the routine and taught it to your pooch, you can perform it for an audience. Some performers are ready to jump right into larger, competitive venues, while others prefer to demonstrate the routine to friends and family for feedback first. The major kennel clubs host larger competitions, and smaller local competitions are sometimes hosted by producers of pet products or dog sport clubs.
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Dock Diving

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Leash
Target item
Dock
Activity description

Dock diving is a dog sport that was introduced in 1997 during the Incredible Dog Challenge, in which a target is either suspended out over a long pool or flung far out into it, and the dog runs to the end of a thirty-five to forty foot dock and jump of in pursuit of it. Dogs are competing to make either the longest or highest leap in order to pursue the target. The sport has grown in popularity since it was first introduced, and there are several Dock Dog groups that offer opportunities to showcase your dog’s talent and athleticism. Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes are typically very comfortable in the water and can easily be taught to chase and retrieve a target. 

Step
1
Learn to swim
Most Kooikerhondjes are naturally drawn to water, but in order to participate safely in this sport, the dog should be a confident enough swimmer that they are able to jump into the body of water enthusiastically and without fear. Once you have ensured that your dog is a strong, confident swimmer, you can introduce them to the concept of jumping off of a dock into deep water so that they aren’t startled when chasing after the target.
Step
2
Jumping in
There are two different methods of tempting your pet to reach for either the longest or highest jump. Some handlers employ the chase method, a method in which the competitor is placed in a stay at the end of the dock while the handler walks to the end of the dock, releases their dog from the stay and throws the target out into the pool. Other competitions and handlers prefer the place and send method, in which the target is thrown in prior to walking the dog to the far end of the dock where the dog is then released to retrieve the target.
Step
3
Compete
There are several different levels of Dock Diving competitions which can be located in many types of venues both nationally and internationally. Smaller competitions and diving opportunities like you might find at county fairs and local competitions will typically have little to no fee to enter and will give your dog a fantastic opportunity to get used to the competitive events or keep in practice for larger events, while most officially sanctioned competitions cost somewhere between twenty to twenty-five dollars per splash.
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Barn Hunt

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
60 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

While Barn Hunt is traditionally seen as the territory of terriers and other dogs specifically developed for their pest control abilities, any dog that can fit through the eighteen inch by around eighteen inch opening into the maze is eligible to try. The Kooikerhondje was frequently employed with keeping rats and mice out of the cages that the ducks were to be lured into and they have the instinct and drive to be competitive at this sport. This sport allows your companion animal to hunt rats in a barn-like setting, without actually harming any rats, as the rats that are used as bait are placed in special safety tubes and trained to be comfortable around dogs. Although there will be club fees, your Nederlandse Kooikerhondje will reap priceless benefits.

Step
1
Find a club
The sport of Barn Hunt is much easier to learn and practice with the support of a club or group dedicated to this sport. They will be able to help you find places to practice this sport as well as helping lead you to the appropriate competitions. A list of clubs recognized by the Barn Hunt Association can be found on their website or you can inquire at local dog sports academies and training centers to see if they can offer any recommendations.
Step
2
Dog meets rat
The rats that are used as bait in these trials are typically family pets that have been conditioned to be comfortable in their safety tubes, even with dogs right outside the tubes they are safely cocooned in. Special care is taken to ensure that the rats are not only safe during this activity, but that they feel safe as well. While many dogs will instinctively search for the rodents, some will need to be introduced to a rat in a tube in order to know what they are looking for.
Step
3
Compete
Barn Hunt competitions are held for all different levels of difficulty, including hunts that cater to senior dogs or even dogs with certain types of impairments, such as deaf dogs and dogs that are missing a limb, each with their own prizes, titles, and championships. Registration to compete in Barn Hunts that are sanctioned by the Barn Hunt Association cost $30 and last the life of the dog and helps to keep track of the official titles that your dog earns.
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More Fun Ideas...

Swimming

In order to lure ducks into cages and nets, the Kooikerhondje needed to be confident in the water. Swimming an enjoyable pastime which helps improve their muscle tone and cardiovascular health, without stressing their joints, an important factor for dogs that are prone to luxating patella.

Competitive Obedience

This breed is known to be very attentive towards their owners and highly trainable, making them excellent candidates for advanced obedience techniques

Flyball

Flyball is a fast-paced relay race in which teams of four dogs race over hurdles to activate the flyball box, releasing a tennis ball that the dog returns to the owner. This high speed sport is a great way to give your Kooikerhondje an outlet for their energy.

Conclusion

These little dogs are both active and intelligent, requiring both mental and physical activity on a daily basis. When given enough exercise and activity the Kooikerhondje does make an exceptional companion animal as well as a duck hunting dog. They are quiet and content enough at home to live peaceably even in a small apartment, although they can be wary of small, fast moving children.