Activities For Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens

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Introduction

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is a hunting hound that originated in France and dates back to the sixteenth century. They were developed with short, strong legs to hunt rabbits over the rough rocks of their homeland of Vendeen and thick coarse fur to protect them as they ran through the underbrush, thick with brambles. Most of these dogs are perpetually friendly with both people and canines, but their erect tail and enthusiastic friendliness can sometimes be misinterpreted as dominance by other dogs. They are intelligent canines who are well behaved and delightfully playful but tend to be independently minded and can sometimes be a challenge to train. They tend to respond best to patient and consistent training methods.

Scent Work

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

Dogs tend to have a much more refined sense of smell than humans with around a hundred million olfactory receptors in their noses to our six million or so. This more defined sense of smell is even more impressive in dogs that were developed for their tracking abilities, such as the Petit Bassett Griffon Vendeen. Training your dog how to discriminate between scents or to follow a specific scent will not only help provide your dog with mental stimulation and an appropriate way to expend their energy, it can also provide your dog with the skills needed to be employable as a search and rescue dog or as a hunting companion. 

Step
1
Location choice
In most cases, you will want to start your scent work training in familiar surroundings, such as in the home, in the backyard, or at a nearby park that you frequent. If you start your training at a training facility, it may be a good idea to familiarize your canine companion with the facility before starting classes. As your dog gains mastery of the subject, you can increase the challenge by extending your dog’s search area to safe but more unfamiliar surroundings.
Step
2
Choose a scent
Novices to scent work training may initially be tempted to hide high-value food rewards for their dog to find, however, experienced and professional trainers typically recommend starting with a specific, non-food related scent. Introductory scent work kits often include specific scent markers that are commonly used in competitions such as birch, clove, and anise. Many Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens are still utilized as hunting dogs; if this will be the case with your dog, you can introduce them to the scent of the game that they will be searching for, such as rabbit or grouse.
Step
3
Search
Once your dog has mastered simple searches, you can begin increasing the challenge by finding more difficult hiding sports or timing the hunts. If you choose to compete, your dog will need to be able to track in four different situations, indoors, outdoors, in containers, and in vehicles, so will want to practice each, whereas a dog that is being trained so that they can begin tracking game you may want to start using scented training dummies or previously killed birds or rabbits for your dog to retrieve.
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Flyball

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Flyball hurdles
Flyball Box
Activity description

Introduced in the 1970s in California, Flyball is a fast-paced dog sport in which teams of four dogs compete by racing relay-style down a flyball track punctuated by four hurdles to a flyball box which, when activated, releases a tennis ball for the dog to return to the beginning of the track. A powerful and athletic dog like the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen makes an excellent addition to a flyball team as they were developed to be fast enough to follow rabbits over rocks and brambles and branches, but have short legs. With the height of the hurdles being based on the dog with the shortest legs on the team, this can be quite an advantage. 

Step
1
Verify health
Flyball is a strenuous activity, and it is important that your pet is deemed healthy enough to participate before they begin training for competitions. Your veterinarian will examine your dog’s cardiovascular and respiratory system as well as their joints and bones. Long bodied dogs like the Petit Basset are at a greater risk of intervertebral disk disease than their shorter backed peers, so their back will also be inspected. Dogs that are less than eighteen months of age should not participate in this activity unless it has been confirmed by x-ray imaging that the growth plates in their skeletal system have fully matured.
Step
2
Train
Before beginning flyball, your dog should have a rock-solid recall and mastery of the basic obedience commands, but the training for flyball itself is not particularly complex. Many sources recommend training the dog to jump the hurdles from the end of the flyball track to the beginning, starting with just one hurdle, then adding more one at a time until you reach four hurdles. Once they are retrieving over the hurdles, you can introduce them to the flyball box and teach them how to activate it so that the ball is released.
Step
3
Register to compete
It is extremely difficult to properly judge this high-speed dog sport with the human eye alone, so competitions are judged by electronic or digital means. The two major official organizations that host these competitions include the United Flyball Association (U-Fli) and North American Flyball Association (NAFA), and each requires their own registrations so that they can keep track of the dog’s lifetime points from their sanctioned competitions.
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Rally Obedience

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Leash
Training books
Rally-O Course
Activity description
Rally Obedience, often shortened to Rally-O, is a dog sport that is based in basic obedience training, but instead of receiving commands from the judges, between ten and twenty markers are laid out on a course in order to designate which behaviors the dog is expected to exhibit, and in what order. It is a team sport, and it requires good communication between the dog and their handler so that the dog properly executes commands like figure-eights, changes in pace, spins, and jumps. The cost for professional training and guidance when learning this sport can range from fifty dollars to over three hundred dollars, depending on how long the course is, whether it is a group or private class, and where it is held. There are also many books and videos that outline how to train your dog for this activity on your own as well, which may be particularly helpful when first starting out. The cost to enter Rally-O competitions usually runs between twenty and twenty-five dollars per class level.
Step
1
Club or class
While there are several books and videos that outline the process of training dogs for rally obedience, many pet parents prefer to be guided by a professional trainer or to learn with the help of a training group or club. Group classes are often effective and provide good socialization, but private training has the advantage of one on one attention from your trainer to help perfect the details in the behavior. Both World Cynosport Rally Limited, a major organization for Rally Obedience that was founded in 2012, and the American Kennel Club include searchable lists of rally obedience groups and training centers on their official websites.
Step
2
Train
Your dog will need to understand and respond to several commands in order to receive a qualifying score in rally obedience trials and competitions. Basic obedience commands such as heel, sit, and stay, will be needed, as well as more advanced commands for things like changing pacing, pivoting left or right, spirals, and even slaloms.
Step
3
Visit and compete
Visiting a rally obedience trial as a spectator before participating in a competition will help give you a clearer idea of what to expect when you are in the ring yourself. If the trial allows well-behaved non-competing dogs to the audience, bringing them will help them to acclimate to the sounds and sights before having to compete themselves. Rally Obedience teams start out in the Novice category then as they increase their mastery and learn new commands they progress through to the Advanced and Excellent categories.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hiking

These dogs are hardy and rugged, developed to be able to keep up with rabbits across uneven ground. With just a little bit of preparation, these low-slung canines make an excellent companion for outdoor adventures.

Barn Hunt

This newer dog sport was first created so that family and companion dogs that were from breeds originally developed as a form of pest control could have an outlet for their instincts without actually harming any rodents. This sport is not restricted by heritage, however, and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen breed has both the instinct and the proven ability to search for and find small game.

Conclusion

These short-statured hunting dogs are happiest and healthiest with a job of some sort to do. They are intelligent and cheerful dogs, who are more than happy to try just about anything as long as they are able to spend time with their families. If not given enough attention and activity on a daily basis this breed can be particularly prone to nuisance barking and may resort to destructive behaviors as well.