Activities For Saint Shepherds

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Introduction

What do you get when you mix one of the world's most popular dogs, the German Shepherd, with another breed who's become synonymous with canine rescue workers? The Saint Shepherd, a fairly new mixed breed that's steadily growing in popularity in the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as other places around the world. Saint Shepherds physically resemble both of their parents in equal measure; this breed of hybrid dog retains the Saint Bernard's floppy ears and fluffy coat while also retaining the German Shepherd's sleek, muscular frame and pointed muzzle. The Saint Shepherd also has a lot of energy due to its unique pedigree, so here are a few activities that we think your Saint Shepherd will appreciate.

Splash Swimming

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
20 min
Items needed
Goggles
Dog Life Jacket
Dog Floaties
Activity description
German Shepherds are excellent swimmers, so it's no surprise that the Saint Shepherd also has a knack for swimming as well. Like most dogs, Saint Shepherds will innately figure out how to maneuver through water on their own. However, and we feel that we can't stress this particular point enough, younger Saint Shepherds, just like younger human children, should only be allowed to swim around in very shallow waters under the supervision of someone who can swim after them, should the need arise. Grave warnings aside, Swimming can be a very fun activity to engage in with your dog when done properly. So here are a few steps to help you and your dog out.
Step
1
Test the waters
Before you and your dog set foot inside of a swimming pool, you’ll need to figure out how competent of a swimmer your Saint Shepherd is at the moment. As mentioned before, younger Saint Shepherds will likely be able to paddle around shallow bodies of water just fine - although it never hurts to equip them with a dog-sized life jacket just to be safe. Regardless of your Saint Shepherd's age, be sure to step into the water with them and remain by their side if they’re new to swimming.
Step
2
Go the distance
The main goal during the training stages of this activity is to build your dog’s confidence in the water as you refine their ability to swim in it. One of the best ways to do that is for you to wade out in the water, at a set distance away from your dog, and encourage them to step in and swim towards you. Reward them with praise when they go the distance and position yourself further away as your dog gets better at swimming.
Step
3
Rinse, wash, repeat
After enough sessions have been completed with safety gear on, try encouraging your dog to take a swim without a life jacket on. This step primarily pertains to older dogs, but young puppies and pups can eventually learn to swim without safety gear on, provided they get enough practice in. In deep water or during strenuous activity, it is always a wise choice to keep the flotation vest on for safety's sake.
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Tracking Games

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Scented Items
Dog's Favorite Snack
Leash
Activity description
As many of you may very well know, Saint Bernards and German Shepherds both possess powerful noses that help them sniff out various hidden objects with ease. Being the offspring of both breeds, Saint Shepherds also posses a particularly strong and reliable sense of smell. It's that very sense of smell that Tracking Games aim to put to good use; whether you decide to lay a simple game of scented Fetch or whether you create a makeshift obstacle course for your Saint Shepherd to sniff their way through, your pet will likely appreciate any opportunity they get to put their nose and mind to good use.
Step
1
Scented fetch
Not only is Scented Fetch one of the easiest tracking games you can play with your Saint Shepherd, as well as one of the cheapest games to boot, it’s also a great way to get your dog familiarized with the concept of using their innately potent sense of smell to find objects that aren’t easily found. For added effect, try rubbing off the scent of your dog’s favorite snack onto a tennis ball before tossing it.
Step
2
Hide and Seek
This tracking game will not only put your dog’s sense of smell to the test, but also your ability to remain incognito and undetected. Once your dog gets a hint of your scent, they’ll likely be able to track you down sooner than you might expect. Nevertheless, this activity is primarily testing your dog’s ability to sniff you out, not hear you out. So try to stay as silent and still as possible during Hide and Seek
Step
3
Scent based obstacle course
For this particular tracking game, you’ll either need to set up a makeshift obstacle course (gratuitous amounts of cardboard and/or wood can work wonders here) or you can find a pre-built one at a dog-friendly park or other similarly dog-friendly areas. In the same vein as a mouse finding cheese in a maze, you’ll want to set the scented item or treat at one end of the obstacle course opposite to your dog’s starting point.
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Snow Hiking

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Cold Day
Moderate
Hard
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Snow Gear
Hiking Gear
Dog First Aid Kit
Activity description
This final, rather arduous activity is exactly what it says on the tin; hiking in the snow can be twice as challenging as hiking on rocky or leafy terrain but that just means that you and your dog will feel twice as satisfied once the two of you complete the trek. Saint Shepherds descend from two dog breeds who are more than capable of handling themselves in the snow, so your pet will likely be elated to put what their Mama and Papa gave them to good use. The thick coat of the Saint Shepherd will help them stay warm in the cold while their sleek frames will help them go the distance.
Step
1
Gear up
As with any venture into snowy terrain, the success and overall enjoyment of a hike in the snow is largely contingent on what you bring on the trip; thick jackets and reliable boots are recommended for any humans looking to go for a hike in the snow, as well as a reliable backpack that you can carry all of your stuff in. We advise that you get a hold of a snow jacket for your dog as well; many are sold for around $10 or $20 dollars and they’re very fashionable.
Step
2
Small and early
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, no one ever hiked to the top of a snow covered mountain on their first try. When planning out your first hike, we highly recommend that you plan on hiking no more than 5 miles up a mountain, as you and your dog will then have a 10-mile round trip when all is said and done. Furthermore look to start your hike early, as you and your dog will want to be off the trail long before the sun sets.
Step
3
Take bigger strides
After you and your Saint Shepherd have completed enough short and simple hikes, consider extending your trip gradually over the course of many months of practice. Don’t be afraid to change locations as well, if you feel that one particular trail doesn’t have enough, or conversely has too much, incline for you and your Saint Shepherd
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More Fun Ideas...

Agility Trainng

German Shepherds are versatile breeds who are well known for their ability to adapt to various circumstances. Saint Shepherds have inherited a lot of that adaptability from their parents, so there's a high chance that your Saint Shepherd will take a liking to agility training activities after enough time has passed.

Fishing

This activity is less physically intense than others, and is geared more towards the human caretaker, but will nonetheless serve as an excellent way for man and beast to bond; the next time you go fishing, bring your dog along (as well as a life jacket for your pooch) and enjoy the ambiance together.

Active Scented Fetch

This activity adds a more physical touch to your average everyday games of fetch; as mentioned above, get a hold of your dog's favorite food or something else with a strong scent and rub that scent off on a ball. But this time when you toss the ball and your dog chases after it, do a few push ups or sit ups in the meantime.

Conclusion

The Saint Shepherds may be the new dog on the block, but their distinguished pedigree will likely help them carve out a place for themselves in the hearts and minds of dog lovers all around the world. The activities we listed above all give a general sense as to which activities the Saint Shepherd truly excels at and has a natural predilection towards, but feel free to try other activities that involve testing your dog's sense of smell and physicality as time goes on. Saint Shepherds are very friendly and intelligent dogs who like a good challenge, so try to test their limits as the years pass by.