Activities For Treeing Curs

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Introduction

The term "treeing cur" refers to several Cur breeds native to the American South. The Treeing Cur has multiple purposes, such as working livestock and guarding property. The Cur is also used as a hunting companion. The Treeing Cur first tracks their prey, which can include small game such as squirrels or larger prey such as the bear. The dog then proceeds to chase their prey until they have gotten the prey into a tree. Because this is the primary instinct of the Treeing Cur, you will do well to find activities that allow your clever canine to "scent" and "chase" prey.

Go Fetch!

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
30 - 45 min
Items needed
sturdy chew toy or nylon rope
Activity description
The Treeing Cur was developed to guard property, herd livestock, and as a hunting companion, particularly of small prey such as squirrels. It is very possible to own a Cur without using them as a hunting companion. However, when planning exercise or activity for your Treeing Cur, do plan games which allow them to work out their basic instincts. Go Fetch is an easy game to play, almost instinctual for any dog. Furthermore, it will allow your Treeing Cur to work out their primal desires by chasing the proffered chew toy. You can also modify this activity; should your Treeing Cur enjoy the water. Grab a doggy disc (it's like a Frisbee but is safer for your dog's mouth) and throw it into the pool or pond; your Cur will dive in and bring the disc back, just as they would on land.
Step
1
Introduce the game
This step will involve a partner. Begin by showing your pup the chew toy or rope. Make sure that your dog sees you throw the toy to your (human) partner. Now, encourage the dog to go get the toy. Say, "Go get it!" Have your human partner call the dog. When the dog retrieves the toy from your partner, praise the dog. Call the dog to you and get the pup to give the toy to you.
Step
2
Practice without a partner
Once you have repeated throwing the toy to a partner and you're sure that the dog understands to bring the toy back to you, remove your partner from the game. Throw the toy, and say, "Go get it!" When the dog picks it up, encourage them to bring the toy back to you. At this point, introduce treats. When the dog gives the toy to you, reward the pup with a treat. Repeat this at least three or four times until you are sure that the dog understands what you expect.
Step
3
Practice makes perfect
Soon, the Treeing Cur's hunter's instinct will show itself. The dog will begin chasing the proffered toy all on their own. Always make sure that you make the dog return the toy to you. From time to time, practice the "give" command with your dog. When the dog brings the toy to you, say, "give." Be sure that the dog releases the toy into your hand, not that you take the toy from the dog. Repeat this activity as necessary.
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Hide and Seek

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
20 min
Items needed
treats
chew toys
pillows or blankets to hide the items under
Activity description
Hide and Seek is a great game for any dog that was developed to hunt. This activity is set up for the indoors, but you may also use durable chew toys outdoors. First, select some pillows and blankets that you don't mind your dog digging into (if you plan on playing indoors). Grab some treats. For the first few times you play, use treats that have a stronger scent. This makes things a little easier for your pup until the dog understands what you expect of them. If your Treeing Cur loves to spend time outside, then you can hide treats on the patio or on a deck. Your dog will enjoy the idea of scenting and the sweet reward of finding the treats.
Step
1
Ready, set . . .
First, make sure that your dog is out of the room when you hide the treats. Bring the dog into the room once everything is set up. You might want to leave the dog on their leash as you walk to each station, let the dog sniff, and find the treat. Be sure to say "find it" at each station. When your dog finds the treat, allow the dog to eat it, and be sure to praise the successful find.
Step
2
Ready, set . . . part 2
After two or three rounds of finding the treat with your assistance, take your dog off the leash. Again, make sure any time that you hide the treats, the dog is out of the room. Bring the dog in. Say, "find it." Step back, and give no indication as the dog scents out the hidden treats. Be sure to praise the pup each time a treat is found.
Step
3
Go!
To keep this game fresh and fun, swap the hiding places from time to time, even when training the dog. Once you believe your inquisitive pup has a grasp of what you expect, then you can play this game at any time. Always have the dog outside of the room when you hide the treats. Bring your dog in, take off the leash, and allow the pup to scent. You should always stand back, only instructing your dog to find the treat, and praising the pup for a successful "hunt."
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Retrieving Skills

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
45 - 60 min
Items needed
durable chew toy
Activity description
The Gundog Club, a United Kingdom organization, has created a type of field hunt activity that allows a dog breed developed for the hunt to act out those natural impulses without the need for actually killing and retrieving any prey. This author has modified the instructions so that you and your pup will be able to run through these exercises using a durable chew toy rather than the suggested "dummies." One point of interest, a hunting companion dog does enjoy the hunt, but the dog truly thrives on time spent with their human. This activity is likely best worked outdoors, but you can always work on the commands indoors as well.
Step
1
Heel and sit
Begin this activity with your dog on a leash. Have the dog walk at your heels (or "heel") while on the leash for at least twenty steps. While the "Beginning Retriever" under the UK Gundog Club must only heel for twenty yards, encourage your dog to sit for a count of five, then go back in the opposite direction with the dog heeling for another twenty steps.
Step
2
Stay
For this activity, your dog will need to have mastered the command "stay." You may need to practice this prior to this step in the "beginner retriever" exercise. Have your dog sit. Take the leash off. Command the dog to stay. Walk twenty steps away. The object is to get the dog to stay even as you walk the distance.
Step
3
Retrieve
This step will also require your dog to have some prior practice with retrieving. Go Fetch! is great practice in preparation for this retrieval. Have the dog heel, then sit. Be sure that the dog sees you place the "dummy" (chew toy) at fifteen yards, then another at twenty-five yards. The dog must stay until you command differently. Once the toys have been placed, say, "Go get it!" As the dog retrieves the toy, command the dog to stay. Then, have the dog bring the toy to you. Reward the dog with a treat. Then, send the dog for toy at twenty-five yards. Go through the same steps, then have the dog return to you with the second toy. This time, reward the pup with a treat.
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More Fun Ideas...

Snow-day Fun

Depending upon where you live, this might not be an option. However, one expert recommended poking holes in the snow (provided you're in an area where it is deep enough) and drop a treat in the hole, allowing the dog to dig for it.

Jogging

The Treeing Cur has been known to have great endurance, and your dog will enjoy a run with you. Be sure to place a little paw wax on their feet if you will be running on asphalt or concrete.

Conclusion

The Treeing Cur dog was primarily developed to hunt; however, the breed has become a popular family dog due to the dog's ability as a guardian. As the owner, you do not have to be a hunter to properly exercise your Treeing Cur! Simply take the dog outdoors, allow them to scent and dig, or take the dog on a fun jog around the neighborhood. Any outlet for the dog's great deal of energy will prevent the pup from finding mischief.