Activities For Pumis

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Introduction

Pumi breed dogs, also known as Hungarian Herding Terriers, are small to medium-sized herding dogs that are believed to have been developed around two to three hundred years ago in the country of Hungary where they helped the farmers and shepherds keep control of the half-wild herds of Racka sheep native to the area. They are adept at all aspects of herding and exceptionally easy to train, but without enough mental and physical activity, they can develop some undesirable traits such as barking, digging, and overprotective behaviors.

Treibball

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

Treibball is a dog sport that was developed in Germany and was sanctioned for competition as recently as 2008. It was developed as an outlet for dogs that didn’t have access to sheep or cattle but had an intense herding instinct. Instead of herding livestock, the canine participants are taught to use their noses and paws to herd large inflatable balls, similar to exercise balls, into a specified goal. The dog’s handler remains in one area and is able to direct the dog utilizing both hand gestures and voice commands, but are not allowed to move out of the area or to use any harsh methods for instructing their dogs. This challenging activity is easily enjoyed at home in the backyard and only requires balls, perhaps something to use as a goal post, and an aim for fun!

Step
1
Fun in a time frame
Treibball is a fairly simple game; your canine companion’s challenge is to move as many of the treibballs to the goal as possible within a set time frame, which is usually anywhere between two minutes to fifteen minutes. There are several rules that you as the handler will need to know in order to properly instruct your dog for each trial. Current sanctioned rules for most competitions can be found on the American Treibball Association website.
Step
2
Push the ball
Before teaching your dog to push the ball, you will need to train them to ignore the ball until the proper command has been given. Once your dog is used to ignoring the treibballs, you can begin the process of teaching them to roll the ball with their nose and paws so that they avoid biting or nipping at the ball, and teaching them how to guide it to the goal. You can learn how to train your dogs for these techniques by either reading books and watching videos or by attending a treibball training class.
Step
3
Add twists and turns
Once your pooch has mastered the basics, you can start increasing the challenge. Along with setting things up to mimic the conditions at a competition, you can add in challenging twists to the game, such as placing obstacles in between the ball and the goal, requiring that the treibballs be driven to the goal in a certain order, or having your canine partner single out a specific ball to drive to the goal.
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Barn Hunt

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Registration
Leash
Activity description

Barn Hunt is a competitive sport in which small to medium-sized dogs race through hay bales in search of live rats, usually pets themselves, who are hidden throughout the course in specialized safety tubes. This sport originally designed to allow companion dogs whose breeds were traditionally employed as pest control to showcase their talents without actually killing other animals, but was later expanded to include all dogs small enough to fit through a twenty inch tall and eighteen-inch wide opening. Pumi breed dogs tend to have a strong desire to hunt down rats and mice. This moderately priced activity allows your Pumi to use their mental smarts and practice socialization skills at the same time.

Step
1
Hay and rats
Barn hunt is a brand new canine activity that was first introduced to the scene as recently as 2013 and has exploded in popularity since then, but it is a difficult activity to recreate unless you have several hay bales lying around. A complete and comprehensive list of barn hunt clubs that have been recognized by the official Barn Hunt Association is located on the Barn Hunt Association website, and you also may be able to find small meet up type groups by inquiring at local dog sports facilities and training centers.
Step
2
Dog meets rat
While Pumi’s that are employed by shepherds and farmers are likely to have encountered mice and rats, many dogs that serve as companion animals instead have never had the opportunity to see a live rat in their day to day lives. The rats that are employed as bait animals for these trials are safely cocooned in specialized bite-proof tubes to keep them safe. They are often family pets that have been specifically conditioned to make them feel secure in their safety tube even with dogs that are barking right outside of it. When first starting with barn hunt, your dog will often be introduced to three tubes, one with a live rat, one with a nest, and one that is empty. This will help to determine if your dog has the instinct to chase the rodents.
Step
3
Compete
There are several levels of competitive barn hunt, and it can be enjoyable for both novice hunters and experts. In many cases, letting your dog experience this activity at a clinic or fun hunt is a good way to prepare them for the experience of a competitive barn hunt and better set them up for success. In order to enter sanctioned barn hunts, you will need to purchase a barn hunt registration number which can be purchased on the barn hunt association’s website for a $30 annual fee, and competitions typically have entry fees of around fifteen to twenty-five dollars.
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Canine Freestyle Dance

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Music
Activity description

The first official Canine Freestyle Dance organization was founded in British Columbia in 1991, but this activity, in which a human and canine team perform a carefully choreographed musical routine involving specialized heelwork and tricks, initially gained notice in the 1980s. This activity is a great way to provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation for your canine companion. The routines can range from simple to complex, and the continually changing nature of the tricks appeals to the Pumi learning style. These independently minded but intelligent dogs are known for their ability to practically read the minds of their humans and may even improvise moves that can be added into the routine and improve the overall performance. 

Step
1
Verify health
It is a good idea to have your dog’s physical health checked before developing a routine in order to cater to your dog’s physical limitations. Pumi’s are a typically a healthy breed, however, some of these dogs may develop disorders like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. While the early stages of these disorders may not prevent your dog from participating, moves that include leaping, jumping, or standing on the hind legs should be avoided for these dogs. An updated veterinary exam will help you to know about any accommodations that need to be made in the choreography.
Step
2
Choreograph the fun
There are two categories of canine dance that can be mastered. This will depend on your preferences and your dog’s disposition. You can either choose to choreograph the routine for freestyle heeling, in which the dog performs in a close heel to their handler throughout the routine, or for musical freestyle, in which choreography includes specialized heelwork combined with several different types of tricks and commands such as rolling over, jumping over or into objects, playing dead, and standing on their hind legs.
Step
3
Perform
Once you and your pup have choreographed and practiced your routine until you feel it is mastered, it is time to present it to an audience. Many teams are more comfortable performing the routine for friends and family members before entering any sort of competition, both to get used to being watched, and to get feedback on the routine itself. The major kennel clubs host large competitions which are performed for a large audience, and smaller local competitions are sometimes hosted by producers of pet products or dog sport clubs.
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More Fun Ideas...

Agility Training

The Pumi is a medium to small-sized dog with a great deal of energy and an ability to pick up on new commands very quickly. The canine sport of dog agility, in which the dog runs through an obstacle course designed to show off their ease of movement, as well as their ability to communicate with their handler, is a natural choice for them

Herding

The Pumi is still traditionally used as a herding dog in their native country of Hungary, typically herding the Racka Sheep that run semi-wild throughout the country, although they also work with Hungarian Grey Cattle as well. If you do not have any livestock like sheep or cattle yourself, registering your dog at a facility that rents out their livestock and land to teach family companion animals to herd is a great alternative.

Conclusion

If not given some sort of a job, these dogs tend to start looking for a job on their own, which can result in the dog learning annoying and even destructive habits. Fortunately, the Pumi is both bright and attentive, making them suitable for a number of different canine-centric sports and activities that will keep them entertained and occupied.