Activities For Swedish Elkhounds

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Introduction

The Swedish Elkhound, also referred to as the Moosehound and the Jamthund, is an intelligent and independent hunting dog that hails from Scandinavia. Their full history is a mystery, but they are known as one of the many descendants of the canines originally developed by the Sami people, an indigenous people with several livelihoods, including fur trapping, coastal fishing, and sheep and reindeer herding. Their independent nature can turn into stubbornness if not given enough guidance at an early age, but they are generally eager to please, making them happiest when they are trained with consistent, firm training techniques based in positive reinforcement.

Pack Walks

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Any Day
Free
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Six Foot Lead
Activity description

The Swedish Elkhound looks very much like a wolf, and with good reason. Genetic studies tell us that the Swedish Elkhound, along with several other Nordic dogs, such as the Norwegian Elkhound, the Lapphunds, and the Lapponian Herder were all created with some degree of hybridization of male dogs to female wolves. They are prone to developing dominance issues with other dogs, and the best way to counteract this tendency is to ensure that they have proper socialization. While dog parks often seem like a good way dog to interact with other dogs, it is not a controlled environment, and there may be uncontrolled and poorly socialized dogs, as well as additional opportunities for the spread of germs. Walking together in a pack is a more natural experience for dogs, and although there may be an adjustment period, it is beneficial for most. If handled properly it is particularly beneficial for canines that are already showing fearful, reactive, or dominant behaviors.

Step
1
Choose a group
If your dog has already exhibited dominant or aggressive behaviors, you may want to seek out a group that developed in order to deal with these traits. Groups designed for aggressive or reactive animals are typically headed by a canine behavior specialist or someone with extensive training experience and frequently have a small cost attached to them. If your dog is already solidly socialized and tolerant of other canines, there are many groups that meet, although these may or may not have a team leader with extensive canine knowledge, and are typically free or ask only for a token fee.
Step
2
Learn the rules
It is important to learn the rules and regulations for the group you are walking with. A casual meet up group may require that your dog is proven friendly with other dogs before they are allowed to join and some groups are set up only for specific sizes or breeds. Groups that have been assembled for reactive and aggressive dogs may have more stringent rules, some even requiring that muzzles be worn for the safety of all participants. In most cases, certain types of equipment are not permitted on pack walks for safety reasons, such as retractable leashes, leashes longer than six feet, prong collars, choke chains, and e-collars.
Step
3
The walk
In most cases, people and their canine companions start the walk somewhat spread out, particularly if the dogs are not familiar with one another yet. Nervous or reactive dogs may even start at the back of the pack, giving the other dogs room while they learn to tolerate the proximity of other dogs, but the walkers usually begin walking in a tighter formation as the canines become more confident and comfortable with the situation, allowing the humans to better socialize.
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Hiking

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Easy
2 - 4 hrs
Items needed
Six Foot Lead
Water
Snacks
First Aid Kit
Backpack
Blanket
waste bags
Activity description

Hiking is a great way to get some exercise while getting out and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature, but it is always more enjoyable with a partner. Swedish Elkhounds were developed to hunt elk and other large game through the wilderness, so they tend to be adventurous dogs who love the outdoors. These dogs have a great deal of stamina and are generally sure-footed and alert hiking companions. It is important to keep them on their lead, however, as these intelligent and independent canines also have an extremely high prey drive, and may find chasing after deer or rabbits irresistible. Hiking itself is not expensive, although ensuring that you have the appropriate gear can increase the cost first time out. 

Step
1
Preparation
It is important to ensure that you and your pet have had recent checkups when starting a new exercise routine. Those who are new to hiking, either human or canine, should typically start with shorter, less intense hikes in order to work up to more strenuous hikes. This helps to safeguard you and your canine companion from muscle fatigue and exhaustion as well as helping to toughen up your dog’s paw pads in order to prevent damage to their feet.
Step
2
The gear
When venturing into the wilderness, it is important to ensure that you have the appropriate gear, particularly if it is a long hike or one that takes you to more remote areas. Along with your own first aid kit, you will need a first aid kit designed for your dog. This kit should include bandages, disinfectant, tweezers or pliers to remove splinters or porcupine quills, an extra pair of white socks in the event that your pooch damages the bottom of their paws, saline water for washing out eyes or wounds, a towel, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory medications that have been approved by your dog’s veterinarian, and a mylar emergency blanket.
Step
3
Hazards
Many of the most common hazards related to hiking are easily avoidable with just a little bit of foresight. Keeping your dog on their lead helps to prevent your dog from sampling toxic plants or encountering dangerous or diseased wildlife. Ensuring that you have plenty of fresh water along will protect both you and your pet from dehydration, and bringing along a healthy snack or meal for energy is a good idea, particularly if it is going to be a long hike.
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Red Light, Green Light

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Any Day
Free
Easy
5 - 30 min
Items needed
Treats
Six Foot Lead
Activity description

Swedish Elkhounds are typically easy to train dogs that get along well with children, but sometimes they need a little guidance on how to behave around them. The classic playground game of Red Light, Green Light can be modified to help teach your dog to control themselves in the presence of children in a way that is fun and intriguing for both the child and the pup. This game also involves the child in the dog’s training in a way that is fun for both of them, but still an effective tool for teaching the pup impulse control and proper manners. This should be played only with children mature enough to follow the rules of the game themselves, usually no earlier than four to six years of age.

Step
1
You and your dog
The first step of the training is to teach your dog to sit when you stop. Start by walking with the dog, then halt and instruct the dog to sit. When the dog sits down next to you, give them a treat as a reward. Reward your dog each time that you stop and they sit, even if you have not given the sit command. The point is to connect the act of you stopping with the behavior of sitting down next to you. Keep working with this step over a few days or even weeks, until your dog consistently sits down at your side when you stop moving.
Step
2
Bring in the kid
Give your child some treats to hold and explain to them that the phrase “Green Light” means to move forward, and “Red Light” means to stop with their hands at their sides. If your child is strong enough to control the dog on the lead, give them control of the leash, if not, leave the leash dragging next to the dog so that you can easily gain control if you need to. Walk next to the two of them for a short while, allowing the child to reward the dog whenever you stop. Say “Red Light” prior to stopping to connect the words with the behavior. It should only take a few tries for your dog to realize the goal of the game, to sit whenever “Red Light” is called out.
Step
3
Out of the way
Once the child and the dog both understand the goal of the game, you can move to the sidelines, so that the child and dog are walking together and you are simply nearby, watching and giving instructions. When you say “Green Light” the child should walk forward at a normal pace until you say “Red Light” at which point they stop, and when the dog sits, they offer the dog a treat. As the dog masters this skill after a few days or weeks of training, the child can move more quickly during "Green Light" by skipping, dancing, or eventually even running. It is crucial that you remain nearby at all times during this exercise, to step in and calmly end the game if the dog gets overexcited and jumps or nips at the child's heels. If the dog gets overexcited at running, for example, you should regress to an earlier stage the next time you play the game.
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More Fun Ideas...

Work for Supper

Dogs have a natural foraging instinct which can easily be satisfied by hiding their food bowl, or by placing their normal kibble in puzzle toys. This helps to control your dog's weight by slowing down the rate at which they eat and provides a way to help counteract the Swedish Elkhound's tendency to become obese.

Search and Rescue

These dogs tend to be intelligent and discerning as well as having a great deal of stamina and drive to find their quarry. Not only is this a benefit when hunting elk, it is also quite useful when trying to find missing people or pets as well.

Conclusion

This hardy and energetic breed of dog requires at least thirty minutes to an hour's worth of vigorous activity each day. They are intelligent animals with steady temperaments who are easily trained and are well-suited to a number of different activities. Training and consistent mental stimulation of some sort should be started early in life to prevent the development of problem behaviors later in life.