Activities For Saarloos Wolfdogs

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Introduction

The Saarloos Wolfdog is a hybrid dog breed whose ancestry can be traced all the way back to the 1900's. Hailing all the way from the Netherlands, these dogs have strong lupine physical features as a result of their mixed heritage; a 2016 DNA study revealed that Saarloos Wolfdogs are part Grey Wolf and part German Shepherd. Though they heavily resemble the former physically, they more closely act like their German Shepherd ancestors in terms of their personalities and behaviors. Overall, a Saarloos Wolfdog will be able to engage in the same kinds of activities that a German Shepherd can and they'll be just as receptive to the same sorts of training methods that German Shepherds are.

Canine Socialization

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Dog Leash
Dog Treats
Activity description
Though canine socialization may sound like an incredibly complex matter, it really just refers to the process of teaching a dog how to interact with other animals and people. Socialization is key to helping a pet become more well rounded and better adjusted to living among humans - whenever you hear about or encounter a dog that's got a mean streak for misbehaving, nine times out of ten that mean streak is the result of them having never been properly socialized. If you're thinking about adopting a Saarloos Wolfdog, or really any dog for that matter, look to socialize them at as soon as possible (we're talking about within the first few months of their life). You won't need to spend more than $20 for this activity and you can do it during whatever kind of weather suits your fancy, so there's really no excuse to not socialize your puppy ASAP.
Step
1
Start young
Socialization works best on young pups and puppies who are still trying to learn what is and isn't proper in terms of interacting with others. When your dog is no younger than 3 months old, start taking them out and about so that they can get used to seeing other faces besides those in their household.
Step
2
Friends and family
Showing your dog how to interact with your friends and family first is one of the best ways to help them get used to human interaction. As an added bonus, your Saarloos will begin to form strong bonds with those that are close to you at an early age. If you have any young family members (or if any of your friends have any kids of their own,) make sure that your dog and the child are interacting in a safe way with one another.
Step
3
Beating the chase instinct
All dogs have a "chase instinct" that compels them to chase after other animals and people who they're unfamiliar with - the old tales of dogs chasing after mailmen aren't all entirely made up, as a canine's chase instinct could make that scenario a reality. To help your dog beat their chase instinct, spend some time walking with them around the block at a young age and reinforcing positive behavior with treats.
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Skateboarding

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
45 min
Items needed
Skateboard, Longboard, or Min Cruiser Skateboard
Activity description
A dog darting around the place on a skateboard may sound like something that could only happen in a low budget Hollywood movie, but it's actually a lot easier to teach a dog to skate than most might think. All you really need is a reliable skateboard that's big enough for your pet to stand on comfortably and enough space for your dog to tear up the asphalt. This activity is best attempted on a sunny day, where the likelihood of coming across slippery puddles should be significantly reduced. Since a solid board can be bought for around $60 or so, you won't need to break the bank to try this activity out.
Step
1
Identification
First off, you'll have to help your Saarloos come to understand what a skateboard even is. You can do this by pointing to the board, saying something like "board" or "skateboard" and then rewarding your dog with a treat whenever they look at the skateboard once you say the magic words. To get your dog to come near the skateboard, you'll want to point at the ground next to board while issuing a command and then rewarding your dog when they come near.
Step
2
Slow and steady
Next, you'll want to show your dog how to properly move forward using a skateboard. You can do this by getting your Saarloos to put their front paws on the board before walking towards you, pushing the board forward all the while, as you slowly walk backward from your pet. This step will definitely take some time to get down pat, but continue to use vocal commands so that your dog can continue to reinforce their understanding of certain words and phrases.
Step
3
All in
Lastly, you'll want to teach your dog how to safely move with a board while putting all four of their legs on it. You can do this by standing in front of the board, issuing a command that will coax your dog towards yourself and the board, and then moving out of the way as your dog jumps on the board. Their momentum will carry them forward, making them official skateboarders!
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Bikejoring

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Sunny Day
Expensive
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Bicycle
Dog Harness
Bike Antenna
Activity description
Joring sports refer to any activities that consist of dog powered travel. Based on that description, you'll be able to see that bikejoring simply refers to the act of having a dog pull you along while you're riding a bike. This activity is a bit expensive as the cost of a reliable bike combined with the cost of all the equipment you'll need to get your hands on to go bikejoring with your pet can total in the $200 to $500 range, but this activity is also an excellent way for you and your pet to reach your health goals together. It's best to go bikejoring on sunny days, where there shouldn't be any rain to trip you or your dog up.
Step
1
Know your equipment
The pieces of gear used for bikejoring aren't the kinds of items one is likely to encounter on an average day, save for the bike itself. You should spend some time breaking in your new equipment with your dog so that both of you feel comfortable with the bikejoring gear before the two of you even hit the trail. Walk around the block several days in a row with your dog and your bike so they can get used to this apparatus being alongside them. As for the harness, put it on your dog at the same time to familiarize them with it as well.
Step
2
Hidden Commands
Joring activities area all about trust and understanding when you get down to it; you have to trust that your dog will understand your commands so that you can properly steer them around. You'll need to teach your Saarloos a few commands, if you haven't already done so, in order for them to understand their role in this activity. The "hike" command is meant to encourage a dog to trot forward, so you'll need to help your dog associate that command with moving forward long before you tether them to your bike. Try this out; get your dog to move forward in a straight line while saying "hike" every few seconds. Without physically assisting your dog, say "hike" again and see if your Saarloos begins walking forward on their own. Reward them with a treat with they do and offer them words of encouragement if they don't.
Step
3
Practice makes perfect
We've found that it's best to teach a dog the commands you want them to replicate by encouraging them to repeat their actions multiple times. Even when it looks like your Saarloos has gotten the hang of a particular command, quiz them and see if they can replicate certain actions without the need for you to physically help them along. It's only when a dog is able to follow a command with the need for physical assistance or even treats that they'll be ready to go bikejoring.
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More Fun Ideas...

Tug of War

If you've got a towel or a few shirts lying around that you don't really use anymore, you've got everything you need for a fun and friendly game of tug of war with your dog. Don't pull to hard or get too aggressive in order to keep this activity light and harmless.

Obedience Training

Dogs of all breeds and all ages can greatly benefit from obedience training, even if they already have fairly obedient personalities like the Saarloos typically does. If you've been able to establish a strong enough rapport with your dog then you may not need to take as many classes, but we strongly advocate trying this activity out with your dog either way.

Conclusion

Despite their names, Saarloos Wolfdogs aren't really too wolf-like on the whole; whereas wolves largely tend to make it a priority to avoid humans, Saarloos Wolfdogs love being around people and are very cuddly creatures. For many out there, a Saarloos Wolfdog will provide them with the best of both worlds; they'll have a dog that looks as cool and stoic as wolf but that acts as friendly and caring as a German Shepherd. Overall, a Saarloos Wolfdog can make an excellent pet for just about anybody out there so long as they're respected and properly trained - which can really be said for all dogs of all breeds.