Activities For Portuguese Sheepdogs

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Introduction

Portuguese Sheepdogs are known in their native country as either Cao da Serra de Aires, a name referring to a mountain in Portugal, or as cao macaco, the monkey dog. While these dogs are lively and entertaining, they are also hardworking herding dogs who have been assisting the farmers and ranchers in Portugal for at least a hundred years. Not only do they guard all kinds of livestock for the farmers, from sheep to pigs, they also are well known for their ability to find lost members of the group.

Herding

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Livestock
Activity description

 The Portuguese Sheepdog is a devoted herding dog that has been working alongside the farmers of Portugal for over a century. They are skilled at herding many different types of livestock, including sheep, cows, pigs, and even horses. Herding dogs like the Portuguese Sheepdog often have an intense desire to do what they were developed for, and in the absence of livestock, they tend to begin herding other things, such as stuffed animals, neighborhood children, and even cats on occasion. Some farmers and ranchers have recently started renting out their land and livestock to allow these dogs an outlet for their herding instincts.

Step
1
Do a health check
Herding is often a high impact activity that requires a great deal of agility, intelligence, and stamina. It is essential to ensure that your dog is in good physical health before participating. If your dog has not had a recent checkup to evaluate their cardiovascular and joint health, it is a good idea to set one up before your first herding session. This activity is more appropriate for dogs who have the cognitive maturity to handle this intellectually demanding job, a maturity which is typically reached at between ten months to a year of age.
Step
2
Do your research
While the farms and ranches that provide this service are becoming more prolific, the idea of renting sheep and cattle to satisfy the herding instinct of companion dogs is still fairly new. Many of these facilities require a significant drive if you live in the city, so it is important to do some research before choosing which one is right for you and your dog. You can do much of the research through the internet and by phone, finding out the training methods that they utilize, which types of livestock they have, and checking reviews left by other customers, but it is also a good idea to visit the facility before enrolling to ensure that it is the right fit for you and your dog.
Step
3
Evaluation
Most rental and training facilities for herding dogs will combine the first visit with an evaluation of your particular dog’s herding instinct and drive. Dogs that have the instinct to herd and the ability to properly follow commands can continue on with lessons, and may eventually learn enough to enter herding trials where they can earn official titles and prizes.
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Search and Rescue

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Certification
Activity description

Herding breeds or retrieving breeds like Belgian Malinois, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Border Collies are frequently employed as Search and Rescue dogs. The Portuguese Sheepdog is a skilled herding dog who is also exceptionally accomplished at locating lost members of the herd. The job of a Search and Rescue dog is often about locating missing people, particularly children who have wandered off, patients with Alzheimer's, even people who just lost the trail when out hiking, a job which is second nature to these friendly and lively dogs. This particular activity can be an expensive endeavor due to the cost of training, transport to locations, and equipment.

Step
1
Suitability
Search and rescue is a physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing position, and ensuring that both you and your canine companion are well-equipped to deal with the stressors is an essential part of the process. Both the human and canine member should be examined by a medical professional to be certain that they are in good health, prior to beginning search and rescue work. While dogs younger than eighteen months can prepare for this job by working on things like socialization, basic scent work, and obedience training, they must be at least eighteen months of age before they are eligible for the targeted training required to become a Search and Rescue dog.
Step
2
Training the handler
A Search and Rescue dog is part of a team, and their human partner is not just there to look the part. The human member of the team also requires training and certification in order for the two of them to be an effective team, which often requires a great deal of additional education in areas such as such as life support, first aid, and CPR training. Those teams who are chosen to specialize in specific types of search and rescue are may require additional training in subjects like Haz-mat training, backcountry survival skills, and navigation techniques.
Step
3
Certifications
Search and Rescue teams will need to acquire their official certifications through the National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA), FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Certification program, Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States (SARDUS), or the National Association of Search and Rescue (NASAR). These organizations will then help them to determine what kind of Search and Rescue they are best suited to as well as helping lead them to any additional training they may need for specific types of Search and Rescue.
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Canine Freestyle Dance

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Props (optional)
Musical Selection
Activity description

The art of Canine Freestyle Dance is an activity in which a team made up of a human and one or more canines perform a carefully choreographed routine to music, which can range from simple to complex and may incorporate dramatic tricks and specialized heelwork. It first gained notice in the 1980s, and the first official Canine Freestyle Dance organization was founded in 1991 in British Columbia. The Portuguese Sheepdog is a lively and intelligent dog that picks up new tricks and commands very quickly and is likely to enjoy the attention as well as the fast pace of learning. Perfect fun any time but especially on a rainy day, practicing at home gives dog and owner enjoyable time together all for the cost of a little music!

Step
1
Health check
Before developing the routine that you and your dog will be performing, it is a good idea to have your canine companion’s health assessed. Portuguese Sheepdogs are typically very healthy, but if their skeletal growth plates have not yet matured, which typically occurs between a year and eighteen months of age, the dog’s choreography should avoid moves like leaping, jumping, or standing on their hind legs. The same is true for dogs that have developed joint issues like arthritis or hip dysplasia.
Step
2
Choreograph the routine
Routines can be choreographed in one of two styles, either the musical freestyle method, which typically includes tricks like rolling over, standing on their hind legs, or leaping over things, or the freestyle heeling to music method, in which the choreography consists mainly of remaining in a close heel position throughout the performance. Depending on the skill of both the dog and the trainer, these programs can be either simple or more complex and can be developed as either dramatic or comedic routine.
Step
3
Perform
Once you have chosen the music and developed the routine, you will want to train the dog to follow the choreography. When you and your pooch have mastered the routine, you can show off your new abilities to others by performing for an audience. Many people prefer to exhibit their routines for friends and family before jumping into larger, competitive venues. Small, local competitions may be hosted by dog sport clubs or manufacturers of pet products, and the major kennel clubs host larger competitions, which are often televised.
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More Fun Ideas...

Agility Training

These friendly but focused dogs are well-suited to the dog sport of agility training, where canines navigate through several types of obstacles in order to showcase both their physical and mental agility.

Treibball

This relatively new dog sport, in which dogs move inflated balls to a specific goal by pushing them with their head or body, was developed in Germany as a way for herding dogs without access to livestock an outlet for their often intense desire to herd animals.

Conclusion

Portuguese Sheepdogs have a can-do attitude and the intelligence to boot. Foster their desire for a job to do by involving them in activities that use both their mental smarts and their ability to be agile. Herding, Search and Rescue and Canine Freestyle Dance practice are just a few of the ways to keep this eager canine happy.