Activities For Polish Tatra Sheepdogs

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Introduction

The Polish Tatra Sheepdog is a large, white dog that originated in a small region of Southern Poland, near the highest peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, the Tatra mountain range. They were developed as herding and guard dogs for the sheep and goats in the area and are hardy animals that are able to withstand both hot and cold weather remarkably well. Developed to guard livestock, they are typically clear-thinking and confident canines who tend to stand their ground rather than attack but can be naturally territorial if they are not properly socialized.

Camping

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
24 - 72 hrs
Items needed
food and water
Toys (optional)
Canine first aid kit
Tent
Waste Bags
Activity description

Camping allows us to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life and gives us a chance to see the beauty of nature. Many of our canine companions enjoy the adventure of camping as much as we do and can provide their human family with additional warmth, security, and companionship. In most cases, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog is a territorial but non-aggressive animal, who will let you know that someone is coming, but is unlikely to attack unless they are provoked. Their thick white fur helps to protect them from both high and low temperatures. When camping with your dog, they should remain your constant companion throughout your adventure and should never be left either alone at the campsite where they could run across unfriendly or diseased wildlife or in the car, where temperatures and lack of airflow can quickly cause a canine to overheat. 

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1
Research
While many campgrounds welcome well-behaved pets, some of them have restrictions that prevent your canine companion from staying there, generally in order to avoid disturbing local wildlife. It is important to check for specific rules and regulations for each campground that you intend to stay at before traveling in order to avoid confusion and grief. It is often a good idea to locate an emergency veterinarian near your campground as well and keep their contact information with you in case the unexpected happens.
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Get the gear
Camping with your dog requires that you bring along additional supplies in order to keep them safe and satisfied with the trip. You will want to carry the dog’s normal food with you, as well as plenty of fresh water for both of you, along with dedicated bowls, and a favorite toy or two. You will also need to bring a six-foot lead, a first aid kit consisting of a tick removal tool, a muzzle (or a bandana which can be fashioned into a makeshift muzzle), an emergency blanket, white socks or some other form of paw protection for damaged paw pads, needle-nosed pliers for removing thorns or porcupine quills, and styptic powder in case the dog’s nail gets cracked or broken.
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3
Training
Whether the trip is an enjoyable trip or an unnerving one depends a great deal on your dog’s ability to behave. Before heading out into the wilderness, your dog should have mastery of a few essential commands, specifically come, stop or whoa, and some sort of a leave it command. The leave it command is particularly important for camping trips to help prevent your dog from eating toxic plants or contaminated wildlife.
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Carting

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Sunny Day
Expensive
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Cart
Harness
Tracers
Shafts
Activity description
Dogs have been employed to pull carts for many centuries in several different countries. They were often responsible for conveying carts of meat and milk to the market as well as transporting the occasional passenger cart. Due to fears of communicable diseases like rabies, excessively heavy loads, and improper practices that were unhealthy for both the dogs and people, carting with dogs was made illegal in many European countries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. When properly managed, teaching a dog to pull a cart helps them to maintain muscle mass and improve cardiovascular health. These large, athletic animals are typically calm and confident but have a great deal of energy making them well-suited to this type of activity.
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1
Suitability
Most Polish Tatra Sheepdogs will be up to the challenge of pulling a cart, however, this activity can be hard on dogs that are afflicted by disorders like hip dysplasia or arthritis. Dogs under the age of around two should not attempt this activity unless the maturity of their skeletal growth plates has been confirmed by x-ray technology. Before attempting the training for carting, your dog should have mastered essential obedience commands such as sit, stay, and leave it.
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2
Choose your equipment
Carting is an equipment-heavy activity, requiring not only the cart itself, but also a harness for the dog, lines or straps known as tracers that go between the dog and the cart, and solid metal or wooden bars known as shafts, which connect to the harness so the dog can pull the cart. You can choose between smaller, more maneuverable two-wheeled carts and larger, more stable four-wheeled carts, depending somewhat on what your canine companion will be transporting. Harness choices include a buckle harness, with a thick band that goes across the chest of the dog, and a siwash harness, which has a padded “V” shape that crosses the dog’s chest.
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3
Training
Most training recommendations indicate that you should start the training by simply having the dog wear the unfamiliar harness for an hour or two at a time and get used to the way it feels when they move and shift. The tracers are added after a few days of the dog getting used to the harness, followed by connecting something like empty milk jugs to the tracers to allow the dog to become accustomed to added weight and sounds behind them, and walking behind them encouraging them to pull instead of stop when they feel the additional weight all before the cart is ever attached.
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Guests at Home

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Any Day
Free
Easy
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
High value rewards
Activity description

Dog breeds that are used to guard livestock tend to be naturally territorial, and while they are typically vocal rather than aggressive, their sheer size and strength can make them quite intimidating for guests, particularly if they decide that your guests are intruding on their territory. Socialization in the home will help to ensure that your particular pooch remains friendly, respectful, and pleasant towards your guests, an important skill for a large animal indoors. The training steps used to help your Polish Tatra Sheepdog become comfortable with having guests in their territory are much the same with large dogs as they are with smaller dogs and can be used for any breed of dog. 

Step
1
Basic socialization
Basic socialization is typically managed by introducing your dog to as many positive interactions with guests in your home as possible, preferably including people of different genders, ethnicities, and even hairstyles. It is also helpful to socialize your dog to different types of clothing as well, like heavy work boots, large puffy parkas, sunglasses, and all sorts of hats. This process is most effective during the dog’s early formative weeks, typically between three and twelve weeks of age. While the steps are the same for older dogs, it may take more time before they are comfortable with new things.
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Positive association
During the socialization training period, greet your guests out of your dog’s sight initially, giving them a high-value food reward to offer to your canine companion. The treat should only be offered to your dog if the dog is remaining calm and not barking or showing any aggression. This association will help the dog to view guests coming into their home as a good thing rather than an imposition.
Step
3
Counterconditioning
If your dog is already showing some minor fearful or aggressive behaviors, additional training methods can be utilized to counteract these responses. Counterconditioning is one of the most commonly recommended methods, in which your dog is taught a command that essentially interrupts their aggressive behavior such as "lie down" or "settle". If you are attentive and can become aware of your dog’s specific triggers, you may even be able to use counterconditioning to stop the behavior before it starts.
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More Fun Ideas...

Walking Tour

Practice your Polish Tatra Sheepdog's socialization on a tour about the neighborhood. This is a good time to practice skills like heeling and sitting on command as well.

Swimming

Although these dogs may not be as eager to jump in the water as your average water retriever, swimming is an extremely beneficial activity for large dogs that are more prone to joint problems and hip dysplasia like the Polish Tatra Sheepdog. Swimming provides both a good muscular and cardiovascular workout without stressing the joints.

Conclusion

Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are large and somewhat imposing animals, but they are also extremely devoted to their family and their charges. While they are generally calm in the home, these independent and intelligent canines do require a great deal of exercise to maintain their mental stability and their muscle tone.