Activities For Smaland Hounds

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Introduction

The Smaland Hound is a Swedish breed of scent hound with a long and storied connection to their homeland. Thought to be the oldest living scent hound to have originated from Sweden, the Smaland Hound was first bred sometime during the 16th century. The first Smaland Hounds were created to help ancient Swedish farmers protect their crops and livestock. As such, the Smaland Hound was trained to serve as a very well rounded hunting dog that could sniff out approaching danger. Though this breed is incredibly old, it wasn't officially recognized by the Swedish Kennel Club until around 1921. This is likely due to the fact that Smaland Hounds are actually pretty rare dogs, even in their homeland of Sweden. Smaland Hounds are also known as Smålandsstövares or simply Smalands.

Scent Work

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
toys
Peanut butter
Bacon
Activity description
This is the sort of thing that Smaland Hounds were born to do. For any other type of dog that wasn't specifically bred to do scent work, we'd rank this activity as hard for them. For a Smaland Hound, however, scent work is something that can become second nature to them with enough time and practice. You don't need to spend much money to help hone your dog's sense of smell - purchasing a few aromatic foods and items like a toy which you will smear with dog-safe peanut butter will get the job done. It's also best to do this activity on a day where rainfall can't disrupt things or mask the scent of the items in play.
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End goal
The end goal of engaging in scent work activities with your pet is to get them to the point where they can find obscured items by scent alone. In essence, scent work is just practice for the real deal - if you want to be able to hunt with your Smaland then you'll need to procure scents and aromas that smell like the sort of game you intend to hunt. If you have no intentions on hunting with your Smaland, then feel free to use more general scents (like hot dogs and bacon) and even consider adding fragrances to the mix.
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How it's done
To effectively hone your Smaland Hound's sense of smell, get a hold of your scented items and then let your dog get a whiff of them. While your Smaland is sniffing the item, repeatedly say the name of the item so that your dog associates the smell and sound with the item. Next, get your dog to stay still while you head off and place the item somewhere out of sight. When you return, ask your Smaland to find the item - presenting them with a sample of the smell if your dog begins straying off course.
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Tips and Tricks

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
30 - 45 min
Items needed
Toys
Treats
Activity description
Just like small children, dogs benefit greatly from having structure and goals implemented in their lives. That's really all most dog tricks are - objectives that dogs are asked to complete in a very specific and structured manner. It's actually not too hard to teach a dog how to perform a number of basic tricks like sitting or staying on command. All you really need to do is show your dog how to do a trick then present them with the proper motivation to follow through. Dog treats are some of the best motivators that can be used to get your Smaland Hound ready for action. You can get some great tasting snacks for $10 or less or use bits of dog-friendly food that you already have on hand.
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Reconditioning
Before attempting to teach your dog any tricks, you may have given them treats for no apparent reason. While you undoubtedly meant well, giving dogs rewards without cause can engender negative habits - they'll start expecting to be rewarded without following your instructions or behaving well. If you've inadvertently spoiled your dog before starting this activity, you'll have to spend a lot of time reconditioning them early on. Start by only giving them treats once they've followed your directions.
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Following through
Once you've successfully reconditioned your Smaland Hound, you can then start asking them to perform certain actions in exchange for treats or even praise later on. To have your dog sit on command, you'll need to entice them with a treat, lower their rump to the ground while saying "sit" a few times, then hand them a treat after they've remained in that position for an extended period of time. This is effectively how you can teach a dog to perform any trick; entice them with a treat, show them the action you want them to perform while saying a corresponding command, then rewarding them with a treat after they perform the trick.
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Canicross

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Any Day
Free
Hard
2 hrs
Items needed
Hands Free Dog Leash
Water
Waste Bags
Activity description
Canicross is a high-intensity cardio activity that combines cross country running with, well, canines! This sport is incredibly difficult even for seasoned runners, so approach it understanding that you won't immediately master it upon for first few tries. There are a few pros to canicross that we feel are worth mentioning; it costs next to nothing to actually go on a canicross run with your Smaland Hound, it will get you out of the house, and this is one of the fastest and most effective ways to lose weight and get in shape. You're free to try this activity during any sort of weather that you'd like - just know that it will be much more difficult to do during snowy or rainy weather.
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Train and run
Before you can begin the running aspect of canicross, you will need to get adjusted (both you and your dog) to walking and then running with the canicross harness and leash. Having your dog strapped to your waist as opposed to holding the leash does take getting used to. Several times before attempting a run, walk around the yard with your Smaland Hound attached to the canicross leash.
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Slow, steady and short
These are three "s" words that best describe how you and your dog can actually begin to improve at canicross. Start by jogging at a slow and steady pace but keep your first few runs short. This is especially pertinent if you and your dog haven't participated in these sorts of long burn activities in a while. It can also be worth keeping track of how long each individual run has taken you and your dog to complete.
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Better all the time
Once you and your pet complete enough short runs together, you'll notice that things have become progressively easier over time. Once these short runs have become so trivial that you and your dog aren't really even challenged by them that much, then you'll know it's time to take things further. We mean that literally by the way; try extending the length of your subsequent runs incrementally. Before you know it, you will be running the full length of a cross country mile with ease!
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More Fun Ideas...

Movie Marathon

Here's an activity that you can do with your Smaland Hound after the two of you have both done your physical activity for the day or if you have to stay indoors to the weather. Smaland Hounds like to have their minds challenged just as much as they like to be physically challenged. Marathoning your favorite movies can be challenging, in a good way, for your dog as they'll attempt to make sense of the strange little moving images that are being displayed before them.

Standing Salute

It's possible to teach your Smaland Hound how to stand on their hind legs on command. Much like how one goes about teaching a dog any other new tricks, you'll need plenty of time and patience to help your pet get the trick down pat. You'll also need some dog treats to help egg your Smaland into performing certain actions.

Conclusion

Thanks to the Smaland Hound's impressive pedigree and background, these dogs have adapted over the centuries - making them very flexible pets overall. If you're a game hunter then you may want to consider adopting a Smaland Hound to help aid you during your hunts. If you're a person looking for a loving and loyal pet, you could do worse than a Smaland. It should be noted, however, that Smalands are very active dogs that need play and exercise on a regular basis. If you're not a fan of working out or getting physically active on a daily basis, then the Smaland Hound may not be the right dog for you. If you can rise to the challenge and meet a Smaland halfway, then you'll find yourself in good company when all is said and done.