Activities For Shiloh Shepherds

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Introduction

Sometimes people mistake the Shiloh Shepherd for a German Shepherd, however, they are their own breed with their own unique characteristics. The Shiloh Shepherd is a larger herding dog that makes an excellent family companion. These dogs are versatile and can partake in several different activities varying from herding trials to confirmation shows. Spending time with your Shiloh Shepherd will strengthen the bond between you and keep them in top physical condition. There may be only one or two activities that interest you or that you feel able to do and that is perfectly acceptable. Research the activities and put your best foot forward.

Herding Trials

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 Hour
Items needed
Treats
Livestock
Leash
Collar
Activity description

For dogs that have a natural herding ability such as the Shiloh Shepherd, participating in herding trials is a great way to keep them happy and well conditioned. If your goal is to train a fantastic herding dog for your farm or just for herding trials then you will look for a young puppy that seems to have a natural instinct to herd things, whether that be their littermates or even other young animals. There is just something special about training a dog to herd and watch them bloom into an intense dog that can move stock from place to place with ease. Herding training must begin at a young age in order for your dog to be comfortable and competent with all types of livestock. Herding trials can be somewhat costly but are also rewarding. Plan on spending about an hour each day working with your Shiloh Shepherd on their herding skills but do not allow them to run the stock too hard or cause health issues.

Step
1
Introduce to livestock
This should be done through barriers so your Shiloh Shepherd puppy does not get into trouble when learning about the various animals found on a farm. If you do not have a farm or livestock, find a kennel club that offers herding training and go for a visit. The trainers will help you introduce your pup to livestock slowly and make sure they are safe and comfortable.
Step
2
Learn the commands
Before you actually enter the livestock pen with your Shiloh Shepherd you need to make sure they know basic commands, especially the recall command. An untrained dog working with livestock is a recipe for disaster and can be harmed by the stock or cause harm to the stock they are trying to herd. Take the time to make certain your dog is stable and will listen to your commands even in a high stress or intense situation. You may opt to take your puppy through basic obedience before tackling any part of herding trials.
Step
3
Work the stock
Once you feel your dog is stable and obedient enough, it is time to work the stock. This means your Shiloh Shepherd enters the field or livestock arena and learns how to properly move stock. When first starting out, your dog will listen carefully to your commands and you will keep a tight handle on them. Once you are certain they will not cause the stock to bolt, it is time to work off-leash. Again, your dog will listen to your commands and slowly move the stock without them bolting out of formation. It takes a lot of time and patience to mold a herding dog that can move livestock without needing to be told every move to make. Dogs that reach this status are much older and have been herding for their entire life.
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Rally Trials

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
Treats
Leash
Collar
Activity description

Rally is the epitome of teamwork between owner and dog. Shiloh Shepherds are very smart dogs that want nothing more than to please their owner. Rally is different from obedience trials in that you and your dog navigate a course of 10 to 20 signs and you can talk to and encourage your dog through the entire course. While performing on the course you cannot touch your dog but can use hand signals, clap or even pat your leg. In obedience, commands are given once and it is a more rigid format. Rally gives you the opportunity have fun with your dog and earn American Kennel Club titles in the process. 

Step
1
Find a club
Just like with most organized dog activities, being a part of an organized dog club will be beneficial. You will learn all the ins and outs of Rally and be able to work closely with others participating in this sport. Having other owners going through the same things you are with your dog will keep you motivated and help encourage you on the days your Shiloh Shepherd decides not to listen to a thing you say.
Step
2
Practice makes perfect
Well, maybe practice does not make perfect when we are talking about dogs and training! There will be good days and bad days but practicing every day will help you bond with your dog and prepare them for their first Rally trial. There are several levels that a dog can earn in Rally and it does take time, commitment and money to achieve these levels. Learn the different levels that can be achieved and set attainable goals for you and your canine partner to reach.
Step
3
Enter a rally trial
People in the dog club you have joined will have more information regarding upcoming Rally events and they will help you determine if you and your dog are ready to enter. Once you feel comfortable in class, take the leap and enter your first Rally trial. Even if you both bomb and do not earn any points towards a title, it is your first try and you should just have fun. Keep expectations low so you are not disappointed and your dog does not sense that disappointment. Rally is a fun event and should be upbeat and happy while performing on the course.
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Agility

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 Hour
Items needed
Agility Equipment
Treats
Leash
Collar
Activity description

People are becoming more familiar with agility thanks to the Westminster Kennel Club introducing it through the television during their annual dog show hosted at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This fast paced obstacle course is a great way to keep you and your dog in tip-top shape! It may seem a bit daunting when learning the ins and outs of an agility course, but once you have gone slowly through the course a few times you and your dog will feel comfortable enough to go a bit faster. If you purchase all the agility equipment yourself it can be very expensive. However, if there is a park with an agility course already set up it will not cost you a lot to train. Entering agility trials can be costly depending on the hosting club.

Step
1
Watch and research
If you think you would like to try agility with your Shiloh Shepherd, take the time to first watch a few trials and talk with people that are experienced in the sport. You will learn a lot more in person than you will from doing internet searches. During your research, you may also want to look for a dog club that trains for agility so you do not have to purchase any of the obstacles. Even with the cost of training classes or membership fees, it will still be cheaper than buying your own agility course.
Step
2
Start training
Your dog may be a little hesitant on some of the obstacles. Be sure to have plenty of treats available when introducing them and do not be stingy with the praise. Slowly walk them around the course so they can sniff things out and relax a bit. Once your dog seems comfortable, start introducing the obstacles. If you have joined a dog club, other members will help you when introducing the course. Take it slow and let them feel comfortable with the course before pushing for a quicker time.
Step
3
Enter an agility trial
After you feel your dog is mastering the agility course, you may want to try an actual trial and see how you guys do. It might be a bit scary to enter your first agility trial but you and your dog will have fun just being with other like-minded canine lovers. Agility trials are full of people that simply want to enjoy time with their dog and love the challenge that the agility course presents.
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More Fun Ideas...

Therapy Work

Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs. Therapy dogs are more comfort animals whereas service dogs perform daily tasks for their owner. Dogs that are used for therapy will go into nursing homes and hospitals. They visit with people that are in need of a loving, non-judgmental being to give them comfort or bring them happiness. Therapy dogs work as a team with their owners and can earn different levels through the American Kennel Club therapy dog program. 

Conformation Shows

Many people are interested in conformation shows, however, only dogs that are deemed quality and closely fit the breed standard should be entered in these shows. It does take a lot of commitment to keep your dog conditioned and able to compete against the best of the best of their breed. When considering showing in conformation, take the time to visit several dog shows so you can determine if this is the type of atmosphere you wish to join. Talk to your dog’s breeder about showing in conformation before purchasing so you have the right registration paperwork to do so. 

Conclusion

Having a Shiloh Shepherd can be so much fun, but it also does require a strong commitment. These larger dogs are intelligent, agile and loving. They do need activities to keep them in shape and from becoming bored with life. If you are adventurous, you may want to try a few different activities with your Shiloh Shepherd and then decide which activity or activities you really like and want to keep pursuing. Enjoy the time you have with your Shiloh Shepherd!