Activities For Thai Ridgebacks

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Introduction

Thai Ridgeback dogs are considered to be one of just a handful of landrace breed dogs, meaning that they are believed to have developed with little interference from humans, and their similarities are due more to their isolation from other breeds. They are also one of just a few breeds of dogs that have a ridge of hairs on their backs that run the opposite direction of the rest of their coat. These unusual and athletic dogs are rarely seen outside of Thailand, but in their native country they are known to make good guardians, hunting dogs, and if given the proper socialization and training, as well as plenty of daily exercise, they make good family companions as well

Lure Coursing

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 45 min
Items needed
Slip Lead
Coursing blanket
Activity description

Thai Ridgeback dogs are a primitive breed that was reported as a hunting dog and a guardian in Thailand over three hundred years ago. Lure coursing is a dog sport that was developed with the idea of giving sighthound breed dogs a way to engage their natural instinct to chase prey in a safe and controlled environment. It is set up so that a lure, usually a white plastic bag, is quickly drawn along the ground by a series of pullies designed to mimic the speed and motion of fleeing prey. Thai Ridgeback dogs also tend to hunt by sight and speed, making them natural competitors for lure coursing, and they are listed as eligible to earn suffix titles as a Foundation Stock Service breed with the American Kennel Club, although they are not eligible to compete with the FCI, the American Sighthound Field Association, or the Canadian Kennel Club.

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Health verification
The canine sport of lure coursing can be physically taxing, and although this breed tends to be very healthy overall, they are somewhat prone to developing hip dysplasia, a disorder that may require surgery to correct. Although hip dysplasia is considered to be a genetic disorder, high impact sports such as lure coursing may intensify degeneration of the joints for some dogs. It is recommended that you contact your veterinarian to ensure your dog is healthy enough for this sport before participating. This sport is not advised for dogs younger than a year old as it can damage still forming growth plates in the skeletal system.
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Observe
Before entering a competition, you will want to ensure that you and your dog have had a chance to observe a lure coursing competition. This allows you to observe what a lure coursing competition looks like and it reduces your dog’s confusion and anxiety when it is time to run by getting them used to the noise and chaos that can be found at a canine sporting event. Be sure that you check the rules before visiting as some trials and competitions require a muzzle for all dogs that are not actively competing.
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3
Practice and compete
The first time your dog participates in this sport, it is generally best if you start your dog off with just two or three straight runs so that your dog can get some good practice in, adding in runs with turns the next time you and your canine companion attend. Most dogs will participate in these practice runs a few times before graduating to a full competition. Many competitions will allow novices to the sport a chance to run the course on their own before competing with other dogs.
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Carting

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Any Day
Expensive
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Cart
Harness
Shafts
Tracers
Activity description

While these dogs are slightly smaller in size than many of the dogs that are more traditionally utilized today as drafting dogs, such as Bernese Mountain Dogs and Newfoundland breed dogs,  they are very powerful dogs and were used both to guard and to pull carts through much of Thailand’s history. This activity, when properly managed, helps to improve muscle tone and cardiovascular health for the dog, and may even help give your Thai Ridgeback greater confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Although the activity of carting itself does not generally involve a fee, procuring the equipment involved can be fairly expensive ranging from a few hundred dollars to nearly a thousand dollars.

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Suitability
Thai Ridgebacks that are younger than two years old, are infirm, or have been diagnosed with early-stage hip dysplasia should not participate in carting as it may cause permanent damage to the joints, particularly the joints that are in the hip, and this activity requires a certain level of mental maturity as well. A veterinary professional should be consulted before attempting this activity to ensure both the cardiovascular and skeletal system are healthy enough to handle the strain that is entailed. High strung dogs and dogs that are poorly trained are not good candidates for cart pulling.
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Procure equipment
Canine carting involves more equipment than most dog sports. Carts come in several sizes and shapes, including smaller carts with just two wheels and larger carts with four wheels. While the four-wheeled carts can typically carry more and tend to be very stable, the two-wheeled carts are more maneuverable. A comfortable harness designed for carting will also be needed, as well as shafts and tracers, which connect the dog’s harness to the cart.
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3
Train your dog
You will need to ensure that your dog consistently responds to some basic commands such as stop or whoa and stay, as well as some commands that are specific to activities like carting, including the commands to instruct your dog to pull, turn left, or turn right. Once your dog has mastered these commands, you can start getting them used to the equipment. Have your Thai Ridgeback wear the harness, then add the tracers, then attach items like empty milk jugs to the ends of the tracers to get them used to the feel and sound of having something rattling behind them on the trail. Once they are responding to the commands reliably with all of the gear on, you can hook your dog to the cart using the shafts and the tracers.
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Disc Dog

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Flying Disc
Activity description

This particular breed is typically very good at jumping and at catching, making them excellent candidates for the high-flying sport that is better known as disc dog. This team sport involves your canine companion catching specialized flying disks that you throw to them. It was first introduced to the world in 1975 when a dog by the name of Ashley Whippet, and her human partner, Alex Stein, jumped the fence of a televised baseball game and began an impromptu performance that showcased Ashley’s speed, jumping ability, and agility. This sport not only gives your Thai Ridgeback an intense physical and mental workout, but it also helps to encourage good communication between you and your canine companion. 

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1
Preparation
This is not a sport that should be attempted by dogs that under a year old as the impact caused by the jumping can cause permanent damage to the bones and joints of dogs with immature skeletal systems. A veterinary exam that analyzes the dog’s cardiovascular health, respiratory system, and joint health will help to determine if your dog is in good enough condition to participate. If your dog has not been participating in a great deal of vigorous activity, you should start with simple, short sessions and work up to longer and more complicated stretches of activity.
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Discs
Although Alex and Ashley used a regular Frisbee, these disks were not designed with a dog’s teeth in mind, and the lightweight plastic can splinter if the canine bites down too forcefully. Many pet stores offer soft fabric discs or heavy, chew-proof disks that are safer for your canine companion but are generally too heavy to toss the long distances that are required to be competitive in this team sport. To find disks that are sanctioned for competitive play you may need to visit a store or website that specializes in disc dog equipment or in competitive dog sports in general. Teams can choose either a fairly inexpensive, light-weight disk that can easily be tossed but is often destroyed after just a week or two of play, or a more bite resistant disc that can handle several weeks worth of play but is more challenging to toss long distances.
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Training
There are three varieties of disc dog competition, a short distance toss that is typically shorter than fifty yards, a long distance toss that is referred to as the Quadruped, with throws ranging anywhere from around fifty yards to upwards of ninety yards, and an artistic freestyle competition, in which several discs are tossed to the dog, in a performance lasting thirty seconds to two minutes which often includes additional tricks and jumps. It is also crucial that your dog has essential obedience commands mastered. A rock-solid recall and drop command will make this sport much more enjoyable for both you and your pet.
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More Fun Ideas...

Agility Training

Although Thai Ridgebacks are known to be independent and can be difficult to train, they are very intelligent animals, and with patience and consistency, they can learn quite a lot. Agility training not only provides mental stimulation by focusing on teaching your dog to navigate the obstacles, but it also improves communication between you and your pooch.

Socialization and Group Training

The Thai Ridgeback is extremely independent and without proper and consistent socialization and training, they can become mistrustful and even aggressive. Socialization in the home will help your canine companion to become accustomed to guests, and enrolling your Thai Ridgeback into group training classes will help them to learn that other dogs are not typically a threat.

Conclusion

Thai Ridgeback dogs are highly intelligent and independent animals and while training them can be a challenge, they are exceptionally versatile and can excel at a number of canine sports and activities. These remarkably loyal dogs do best if given a great deal of mental stimulation and exercise, which helps them to remain stable and secure.