Activities For Stabyhouns

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Introduction

The Stabyhoun was originally developed in the Netherlands to be an all-around hunting dog, used to track, point, and retrieve birds and other small game, but they soon became known for their talent as mole catchers, and were often borrowed by nearby farmers to hunt moles in their homes and barns, for a small fee. While they are very sensitive animals who prefer a great deal of close contact with their families, they are also independently minded and don't have as strong a desire to please their owners, making them somewhat challenging to train.

Barn Hunt

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Secure Rat Tube
Hay Bales
Activity description

Barn Hunt is a newly developed canine sport that was designed to allow dogs that were traditionally employed as pest control on farms or ships a way to satisfy their instincts without being exposed to toxins or diseases that might be found in wild rodents. Hay bales are set up in a maze for the dogs to search for rodents. The rats that are used are generally pets that have been conditioned to be comfortable in their specially designed safety tubes, even with dogs pawing at it. While Stabyhouns were not bred specifically for the purpose of hunting rodents, it is one they took to quite readily, and in the Netherlands they often provided pest control for multiple farms, netting their owners a little extra income. 

Step
1
Find a club
This dog sport is available to any dog that can fit through an opening that is eighteen inches wide by twenty-two inches long and it has exploded in popularity since the AKC began recognizing Barn Hunt Association trials in 2013. A listing of available clubs, which can be filtered by state or by province, can be found online on the official Barn Hunt Association website. Registration to compete in the sanctioned hunts can be purchased on the barn hunt website for $30.
Step
2
The instinct test
This test introduces your dog to the idea of the safety tube, and for some companion dogs, it may be their first experience being physically near a living rat. During the instinct test, three tubes are placed on the ground in plain view. One contains a rat, another a rats nest, and the third is entirely empty. The dog is timed to see how long it takes them to find the tube with the live rat and those that are able to do so within one minute are able to continue on to earn more advanced titles, from Novice to Champion.
Step
3
Compete
There are several levels of competitive barn hunt, designed to make it fair and fun for every canine. While you can move directly to the larger hunts, many pet parents opt to start at clinics or fun hunts, to get their dog comfortable with participating in the activity itself before attempting their first actual competition.
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Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Free
Normal
5 - 20 min
Items needed
Toys
Activity description

Stabyhoun breed dogs are known as velcro dogs, and they like to be near their owner as often as possible, sometimes becoming nervous when their chosen people are not nearby. The childhood favorite of hide and seek can easily be modified to entertain your pup and playing this game not only stimulates your dog’s mind, but it can also help to reassure your canine companion that just because you happen to be out of sight, does not mean you are gone. As an added bonus, this particular activity doesn’t cost you anything more as a pet parent than your time and attention. 

Step
1
First steps
Initially, your hiding places can be fairly obvious and nearby, so that your dog can get used to the idea of finding you. Call your dog's name and follow it up with a “find” command. When your dog locates you, give them plenty of praise and affection as a reward, or toss them a ball if they are more motivated by play.
Step
2
Increase the challenge
Hide in progressively more difficult spots in your home or in your yard as your dog improves their seeking skills, always following with praise or play. You can also have multiple family or household members hide for your dog to find. Remember not to make your dog break the rules in order to find you, such as hiding in rooms they are not supposed to go into or in cupboards that you don’t want them opening.
Step
3
Super seeker
Once your dog has truly mastered locating you on their home territory, you can really kick the game up a notch by taking the game somewhere else. Enlisting a friend or family member to handle the leash, you can hide in nearby parks, near walking trails, or in familiar pet stores that your dog is allowed to go into. You can also change up the game now and then by hiding a toy as opposed to yourself.
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Rally Obedience

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Rally Signs
Rally Course
Leash
Activity description

The dog sport of Rally Obedience, often referred to simply as Rally O, was originally developed by Charles L Kramer, a dog trainer and retired professor emeritus of biology and mycology from Kansas State University, from a type of freestyle and warmup exercise known as doodling. The sport is based on obedience training but resembles agility training in that the competing teams base their circuit on signs posted at designated stations rather than waiting for the judge’s instructions. Stabyhouns may occasionally be difficult to train, but it is well worth the work as they are quite intelligent and consistent and positive training will help them to be a happier and better behaved canine companion. 

Step
1
Find a group
Although many individuals are able to start training their dogs for some of the commands and tricks that are needed to complete a novice course in Rally O, the support and companionship of others in the sport are very helpful when you are first starting out. Working with others also gets your dog used to training and performing in front of other people and their pets. Lists of groups can often be found on websites that are dedicated to the sport, or you can ask for recommendations at a local dog training facility.
Step
2
Train
There are several commands that your canine companion will need to master in order to compete, even at the Novice level. Novice level commands can range from rather simple commands like sit, stay, and heel to more advanced requests like spirals, pivots, and figure eights, and during competitions, they must be completed without utilizing treats or toys as the reward in the ring. Dogs are expected to be on leash for novice level competitions but should be off lead for both the Advanced and Excellent titles.
Step
3
Visit and compete
Stabyhouns are sensitive dogs, so it is generally best to introduce them to new things slowly to avoid overwhelming them. It may be a good idea to visit a Rally Obedience trial as spectators before entering as a competitor in order to get them used to the energy at a competition. During the competition, teams start with one hundred points and get points taken away for incorrect or imperfect execution of the tricks or commands.
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More Fun Ideas...

Flygility

While this dog sport which combines both agility training and flyball has not gained a great deal of attention as of yet in North America, it is becoming more popular in Australia and New Zealand.

Carting

Although the Stabyhoun tends to be smaller than many of the breeds that are traditionally seen as carting dogs, this breed frequently served as a draft animal for farmers in the Netherlands, helping to transport goods to and from the market.

Conclusion

Stabyhoun breed dogs are sensitive, friendly dogs that tend to be gentle and very attached to their family. They were bred as working dogs, however, and require somewhat more exercise than most companion dogs and a great deal of mental stimulation. This is not a breed that is comfortable spending much time alone and they tend to get more stressed than other breeds when there is discord in the home.