Activities For Swedish Lapphunds

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Introduction

Swedish Lapphunds are a rare and ancient breed of dog used to herd reindeer in northern, Scandinavian countries. These unique dogs have big furry coats for winter travel and a high-pitched bark meant to tell the reindeer to move without scaring them. Activities for Swedish Lapphunds besides herding reindeer should challenge them mentally and physically. Agility training, hiking, and skill-based games are all perfect for playing with these dogs and keeping them healthy and out of trouble.

Herding

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Sunny Day
Expensive
Hard
45 min
Items needed
Sheep
Treats
Leash
Activity description
Let your Swedish Lapphund do what they were born to do, herding. Allowing your dog to work on their instincts is the best way to let them feel fulfilled. Herding is one of the best activities for Swedish Lapphunds because it allows them to hone their natural skills, keeps them fit, and gives them a job to do. Herding is done year-round in all kinds of weather, unless you have a farm you can practice on sunny days outside. Herding can be costly to get into, especially if you need to travel to a trainer who had animals, but it will be rewarding to both you and your dog.
Step
1
Herding test
Though your dog comes from a long line of herding stock, it's still a good idea to see if their instincts are up to snuff before you invest in classes. The American Kennel Club has created a test that allows trainers to determine whether or not a dog has inherited the herding instinct. Ask your trainer about the test and get your Swedish Lapphund evaluated before you start.
Step
2
Basic herding commands
Before you let your pup loose with a herd of sheep, make sure you teach them the basic commands you'll use to communicate with your dog. The most important is "here" which asks the dog to come back to you. Your dog should also learn to "lie down" anywhere you ask them to. The next is "come bye" which means go to the left and "away" which means go right. Make sure your dog can perform these even in highly distracting environments.
Step
3
Attend a class
Now that your dog knows their commands, it's time to sign them up for a herding class. This class will not only teach your dog how to begin working with sheep, but it will help you learn too. Don't be surprised if the beginning lessons have very little work with your dog and more work with you and your body language. It may take several classes before you and your Swedish Lapphund learn to work together, but it will be well worth it to see them moving sheep where you ask them to.
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Agility

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Treats
Leash
Agility obstacles or membership to an agility center
Activity description
Activities for Swedish Lapphunds need to give them a job, something to concentrate on and accomplish, to support their natural herding behavior. Agility helps dogs focus, control impulses, and gives them a good workout in the process. You can purchase or build agility obstacles for your backyard, or you can join an agility center near you and have access to training and obstacles. Most of these centers are indoors, meaning you can practice in any kind of weather. While it does take some monetary investment to do agility, it will be well worth it when you see the growth not only in your dog but in your bond, too.
Step
1
Basic skills
Before you can let your pup loose on an agility course and expect them to follow you through obstacles, you need to master basic training skills. The most successful agility teams have a strong bond rooted in basic training. Start by teaching commands like sit, stay, and come. You should also practice impulse control like making them wait to get a treat or toy. These commands create the foundation of your agility relationship.
Step
2
Take a class
Even if you are planning to practice at home, it's a good idea to take a class from a trained instructor. Introducing your dog to new obstacles can be tricky, and a trainer will show you how to break the steps down for your specific dog. Swedish Lapphunds are smart and eager to learn, so a trainer can help you understand when they are ready to move on to something more difficult and when they need a little more time.
Step
3
Enter a competition
For the ultimate challenge, enter your Swedish Lapphund in a fun agility competition. You can often find classes for beginner and first-timers that will help you ease into the sport. There will also be inspiring teams who have been working hard for years. Watching them work together will give you new goals for your pup.
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Snowshoeing

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Cold Day
Moderate
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Snowshoes
Treats
Leash
Dog boots or musher's secret
Activity description
Activities for Swedish Lapphunds that involve cold weather and snow will be their very favorite. These dogs come equipped with thick and weatherproof coats that keep them warm and dry no matter the weather. They were born to spend days jumping through the snow looking after their reindeer herds. Even if there are no reindeer in your neck of the woods, taking your dog for a snowshoe will be just as much of a treat. Not only is it good for your dog, but it will help keep you in shape and find a fun activity to make winter one of your favorite seasons.
Step
1
Get equipped
Your Swedish Lapphund might come equipped for snow travel, but you're going to need a few things to help you keep up. The first is a good pair of snowshoes fitted to your frame. Take some time to go to an outdoor store and ask to be fitted for snowshoes. The sales associate can recommend a style based on your goals and the terrain you want to use. While you're there, pick up some wax for your dog's paws. The most common kind is Musher's Secret, and it will keep snow from balling up in your pup's paws.
Step
2
Take an outing
Snowshoeing is much like walking with a wide stance, so it should be easy to pick up. Though the shoes may help you float on the snow, it's still hard work. Make sure you pick a first outing that isn't too long and helps you get used to this new activity. You also need to make sure you pick a trail that allows dogs, so your pup can be free to roam and romp and play in the snow.
Step
3
Increase the challenge
As you get used to snowshoeing, make sure you increase the challenge both for you and your dog. There are many beautiful trails that lead you to incredible scenery you may not otherwise see in the winter. Research your local trails and find longer, steeper, or harder trails each time you go out. The challenge will help motivate you, and your snow-loving dog will be happy to be at your side.
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More Fun Ideas...

Obedience class

Swedish Lapphunds are smart dogs that do well will focus and impulse control. They excel at obedience and will enjoy learning each new command. Obedience will also help relax their minds and bodies.

Running

One of the best ways to get your pup a little exercise is to bring them along on a run. Swedish Lapphunds don't need to run for miles, but they will enjoy jogging next to you on local trails.

Conclusion

Activities for Swedish Lapphunds should be rooted in their natural tendencies like herding and snow travel. This breed of dog is closely related to the wolf and is rare to find. They enjoy colder climates and will often look like they are having the time of their lives out in the cold weather. They are smart and do well when they feel as though they have a job. While you may not have a herd of reindeer for them to care for, you can teach them to herd other farm animals such as sheep. They will also love any time they can get in the snow, so be prepared for plenty of cold weather outings. These dogs make wonderful family pets and companions, even if they aren't working on the farm.