Activities For Norwegian Buhunds

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Introduction

The Norwegian Buhund is a small to medium-sized dog from Norway with a long history. This breed has served as a herding and all-around farm dog for hundreds of years and many believe that this was also one of the breeds that accompanied Vikings in the tenth century. They are intelligent, independent, affectionate, and relatively easy to train compared to some other spitz-type dogs. Without enough physical and mental activity these energetic dogs can become overly vocal and they thrive with exercise and consistent training methods.

Canine Freestyle Dance

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

Canine freestyle dance is an entertaining activity which first gained notice in the 1980s, with the first official Canine Freestyle Dance organization was formed in British Columbia. This activity consists of a human and canine team performing a routine to music that incorporates tricks and specialized heelwork on the part of the dog. The carefully choreographed routines can range from simple to complex and can be either humorous or dramatic in nature. Herding dogs, in general, are quite talented at learning the tricks and timing that are needed for this activity, and the Norwegian Buhund is exceptionally loyal to their owner, making them well-suited to this entertaining activity. 

Step
1
Check eligibility
While there can be a fair amount of intense activity for Canine Freestyle Dance, the choreography can always be adjusted to suit the dog’s capabilities. A check-up by your dog’s veterinarian can help to determine the health of their joints and spinal column, including possible x-rays for young dogs to ensure that their joints have matured enough for activities such as standing on their hind legs, leaping, or jumping.
Step
2
Choreograph the routine
Once you have established your dog’s physical health and capabilities, you can begin choreographing the routine. There are two categories of Canine Freestyle Dance that can be utilized, either freestyle heeling to music, which is performed with your canine companion remaining in a close heel position to you at all times or musical freestyle, which can include several different types of tricks and commands such as jumping over objects, standing on their hind legs, or rolling over, often combined with the type of heelwork that you would see during routines based on freestyle heeling to music. Then it’s just a matter of choosing your music and your moves.
Step
3
Perform
Many dance teams find it helpful to demonstrate their routines for friends and family at least once or twice for feedback before advancing to competitions with larger audiences. Competitions that are hosted by the major kennel clubs, such as the American Kennel Club, the FCI, or the United Kennel Club, have large audiences and may even be televised, which can be intimidating. While some teams are confident enough to jump right into these larger venues, others are more comfortable starting out with local competitions hosted by dog sport clubs, breed associations, and other enthusiasts.
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Treibball

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Treibball Balls
Activity description

The sport of treibball was originally developed in Germany to allow herding dogs with no access to livestock an outlet for their often intense herding instincts. Instead of herding livestock, however, the canine competitors are guiding large, inflated balls to a specified goal. While handlers are allowed to use a combination of voice and hand commands to convey instructions to their dogs, they are not allowed to physically interact with the animal. This activity effectively works both the mind and body of your herding dog as well as fostering improved communication between you and your pooch. While there are many locations where you and your canine companion can practice and compete, this activity is one you can fairly easily practice right in your own backyard as well.

Step
1
Learn the rules
The basic idea of treibball is fairly simple. The aim of the activity is to encourage your dog to move as many treibballs into the goal as possible within a specific time frame. There are some rules that both you and your dog must obey. For instance, the handler is not allowed to shout at or intimidate the dog and must stay within a certain radius of the goal, while the dog must move the balls to the goal without biting at or breaking it. A full, up-to-date list of rules as sanctioned by the American Treibball Association can be found on their official website. When playing at home, don't worry so much about the rules - play for fun and the mental stimulation of your Norwegian Buhund.
Step
2
Train the canine
The first step in teaching your dog to play this game is to teach them to ignore the treibball balls until they are instructed to move them, and the next step involves teaching the canine competitor when it is appropriate to move the balls and how to do so using their nose or shoulder, in order to prevent them from biting or breaking the balls. Finally, the voice and visual commands that tell your dog where to roll the treibballs and when can be added into the training.
Step
3
Added challenge
Once you and your dog have mastered the basics of treibball, you can start adding twists and challenges to the game, both to work your dog’s mind and to continue improving communication. Some of the challenges that can be used during training can include placing obstacles in the playing field, shortening the time allowed to get the treibballs to the goal, or asking your dog to put them in the goal in a specific order.
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Flirt Pole Play

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Any Day
Moderate
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Flirt Pole
Activity description

Norwegian Buhunds are athletic and agile dogs with a fairly strong prey drive. A flirt pole is a toy used to exercise and entertain your dog by allowing them to indulge their prey drive in a safe and secure way. In numerous ways the flirt pole is very similar to many cat toys; it generally consists of a long pole, a line of some sort, and a tug toy or rope that is used as a lure. It is typically used as a tool to encourage your pup to engage in physical activity by running and jumping in order to try and catch the lure on the end of the line, but can sometimes be employed to help teach your dog impulse control as well. 

Step
1
Make or buy a flirt pole
While there are several great flirt poles that can be found in pet stores, like those made by Kong or Squishy Face Studios, a suitable flirt pole can also be made at home. Four to six feet of PVC pipe works well as a base, with ten to fifteen feet of rope and a suitable lure attached to it. The lure should be a cloth or rope toy that is too large to present a choking hazard; utilizing bones, rubber toys, or sticks should be avoided.
Step
2
Tips for getting started
Norwegian Buhunds are typically very healthy well-balanced dogs, so most will be well suited to this activity. There are a few things for the handler to keep in mind when playing with their canine companion, however. If your dog is young enough that their bones and joints have not yet matured, then the lure should be kept close to the ground to reduce the amount of intense jumping so as not to damage the developing joints, and it may be wise to do the same for elderly dogs, especially those who are showing signs of arthritis or problems with balance. This activity may not be appropriate for Individual dogs that are easily overstimulated or who tend to become overly possessive with their toys.
Step
3
Train and play
The flirt pole is a fantastic toy simply as a toy, it gives most dogs a great deal of entertainment, and it wears them out so they will settle down at home. Some pet parents are able to incorporate the play into their positive training methods as well, encouraging their dog to obey essential commands even when excited about the game.
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More Fun Ideas...

Competitive Obedience

This breed of dog is highly intelligent and truly enjoys learning new things. This combination of traits makes the Norwegian Buhund an excellent candidate for the dog sport of competitive obedience.

Toy Time

The Norwegian Buhund is not prone to separation anxiety and is generally content to wait at home for you while you work, but they do require mental stimulation while they wait or they can become restless and destructive. Strong, unbreakable toys should be used if you are not in attendance and stuffed toys, real bones, and toys that are easy to disassemble should be avoided.

Conclusion

The Norwegian Buhund was developed as an active working dog that requires a great deal of mental and physical activity on a daily basis in order to keep them healthy and strong. They are bright canines who enjoy learning and being the center of attention, but unless they are properly trained and socialized they can be wary of strangers and prone to barking unnecessarily.