Activities For Spanish Scenthounds

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Introduction

The Sabueso Español, or Spanish Scenthound, is a rather energetic and fun-loving dog. This long-eared, medium sized hound is hardy. Like all scenthounds, they will use their nose to find fun things to get into and many times get themselves into trouble by following an interesting scent. The Spanish Scenthound may look like a slower moving dog, but do not be fooled; they love to run and are pretty active dogs. Keeping them entertained might prove difficult if you do not have a lot of time to devote to them. Before bringing a Spanish Scenthound home make sure you have plenty of time to spend with them.

Tracking Trial

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Scent decoy
Activity description

The American Kennel Club (AKC) offers competitions that improve a dog’s scenting capabilities by testing them in unfamiliar areas. These events are open for purebreds; however, several chapters of the Mixed Breed Dog Club of American also host tracking events for mixed breed dogs. Many dogs that are involved in search and rescue will participate in tracking trials, allowing them to earn titles along the way. During the trial, your dog is expected to track and find a lost person or other animal. The ideal weather for tracking trials would be sunny or even overcast and the cost can become pricey with entry fees and if you have to travel to an event. Most tracking trials will last all day; however, your dog is not expected to be tracking the entire day. 

Step
1
Practice scent work
Your dog will have to have experience with scent work prior to participating in a tracking trial. If you are an experienced trainer, then you could train your dog for basic scent work and then join a club to tweak their skills. If you are a novice in scent work, then you will want to find a mentor or join a club that offers scent training.
Step
2
Find trials
Dog clubs that offer scenting classes will also be able to give you information on any tracking trials in the area. Many times, club members will travel together to tracking trials that are out of your area and it helps to have people at the trials when you are just starting out to help you understand how things work and the scores given. The price to enter each trial will vary depending on the club that is hosting the trial.
Step
3
Earn titles
The AKC does offer tracking titles to dogs that successfully demonstrate their natural scenting abilities. Unlike other dog sports, your dog only has to successfully complete one tracking trial to earn each title. There are five tracking titles that your dog can earn: Tracking Dog or TD, Tracking Dog Urban or TDU, Tracking Dog Excellent or TDX, Variable Surface Tracker or VST, and Champion Tracker or CT.
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Search and Rescue

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Any Day
Expensive
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Collar or Harness
Leash
SAR Vest
Activity description
Search and rescue training for your Spanish Scenthound will take a lot of commitment but it is also very rewarding once your dog finally earns their certification. Search and rescue involves locating lost people in various situations and provide immediate help. These dogs even help search for missing animals that are in distress or danger. Search and rescue dogs work with their handler as a team and must be able to move easily over all different types of terrain. If your heart is set on training for search and rescue, be ready to spend a great deal of time and money in the process. However, the benefits of having a certified search and rescue dog are very rewarding.

Step
1
Join a class
Training your dog for search and rescue certification will require that you work with a club that offers this specialized training. Research clubs in your area that offer training and watch a class in progress so you have a better understanding of what is expected. Most clubs offer a block of classes for a set price or they may charge a per class price. Make sure you have the time to commit to search and rescue training before you sign up for classes.
Step
2
Train for certification
Once you have found a club to join; it is time to start training for your search and rescue certification. Expect to spend several months, if not years, working toward full search and rescue certification. There are several different levels that require specific testing and training before your dog is awarded any type of certification.
Step
3
Get certified
The Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States or SARDUS have five different types of search and rescue work that your dog can become certified in. Area search offers Type 1 Airscent certification; Trailing is for wilderness, suburban, rural or urban environments and offers Type I and Type II certification; Human Remains Detection offers Type I HRD certification; Disaster for Type I Disaster and Type II Disaster certification; and Water and Avalanche Search certification.
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Field Trials

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Decoy
Treats
Leash
Collar
Activity description
Field trials are an excellent way to bond with your dog and spend time with people who love the same sport. Field trials were originally developed to test the ability of gundogs, including scenthounds. The field trials are set to closely mimic a day’s hunting in the field with the dogs being able to appropriately handle all manner of game from pheasants and partridges to rabbits. These trials usually have hundreds of competitors attend and many hunting clubs offer weeklong field trials instead of just a two day weekend trial.
Step
1
Research
Before deciding to participate in field trials, do your research and learn more about what is expected of you and your dog. It does take dedication and commitment to train and participate in field trials. Hunters and their dogs take great pride in these trials and look forward to each one throughout the season. You may even contact a local hunting club and visit a field trial as a spectator.
Step
2
Training
The first step to training for a field trial is to test your dog’s hunting ability. Since you have a Spanish Scenthound, you will want to test their scenting abilities so you know how much work will be involved in training. If your dog is a natural, then half the work is done! Most hunting clubs will offer mentor programs so you can work one on one with someone who is experienced in training for hunting.
Step
3
Enter a trial
Once you are comfortable working your dog in the field, you will then want to toss your hat into the ring and enter a field trial. Your dog’s abilities will be tested against other dogs of the same experience level so you do not have to worry about going against a seasoned hunter the first time out. Have fun while at the field trial and make some happy memories with your Spanish Scenthound.
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More Fun Ideas...

Nose Work

Nose work or scent work is when you introduce your dog to a specific scent and then hide a decoy that has that scent. Encourage your dog to search out the decoy. Once they find the decoy, give them plenty of praise and treats. You can repeat this exercise with different scents and in different places, such as the park or backyard.

Hide and Seek

Scenthounds are known for using their noses to find treats and other goodies around the house. Make a game of their natural abilities and play hide and seek with them. Hide various toys and treats around the house and have them find each one. This is a fun, free and easy activity to do with your dog.

Conclusion

Your Spanish Scenthound is a fun loving dog that has the ability to use their nose to either get them into trouble or find a lost person. The possibilities are endless when trying to decide what activities best suit your lifestyle and your dog’s abilities. Some activities do require extensive training and dedication such as search and rescue whereas there are simpler activities that you can do in an afternoon such as playing hide and seek. No matter what activity you choose, you and your dog will enjoy the time spent together.