Ukrainian Shepherds, more commonly known as the South Russian Ovcharka, are a large breed of dog with a lively and active temperament. While traditionally they were used as herders for flocks of sheep and as guardians in the Russian Steppes, they are now firm favorites in the family home – although not without a few challenges along the way. Many people now also own Ukrainian Shepherds because they make excellent guard dogs, prefer to be an outside dog, and are a breathtakingly beautiful breed. However, given the liveliness and dominance of these dogs, it’s crucial for you to provide them with enough training, stimulation, and activities to turn a pampered puppy into a well-rounded dog. They are not a breed for a meek owner and do require a substantial amount of grooming, exercise, and feeding. Below are a few of the many ways you can cater to their needs.
Because Ukrainian Shepherds can be tricky to put in social situations due to their large size, sometimes the best activity for them is a long walk. They get the opportunity to leave their yard while being able to enjoy the sights, sounds, and scents your neighborhood has to offer. The best part is, going for a walk only takes an hour or so, and you can go in any weather. All you need to do is make sure your leash or harness is on securely, take a doggy waste bag with you, and choose a route.
While it’s true that Ukrainian Shepherds don’t always get along with other dogs, they are more than capable if you socialize them from a young age. You may even notice that your pup likes to protect other dogs and animals, as is in their nature to do. Therefore, when your dog is growing restless and bored with no visitors to be able to alert you to, you may find a trip to the dog park is an acceptable activity. Set aside an hour on a sunny or warm day, clip on their leash, grab a toy and a waste bag and get going.
One of the most valuable activities you can carry out with your Ukrainian Shepherd in any weather is obedience training. As soon as you bring your puppy home, it’s in your best interests to book them into a class so they can pick up good habits from a young age. Ukrainian Shepherds tend to try to be the pack leader, so asserting your dominance with obedience training should be your primary goal. What’s more, training can teach your dog to be more welcoming of other animals and people, while avoiding hostility and potentially dangerous situations. All you need to do is set aside an hour or two per week. However, you need to continue training not only throughout puppyhood but their adult life as well. Book them in, grab a treat and their leash, and get going!
If you own a Ukrainian Shepherd, then you will no doubt have plenty of space in your backyard to entertain them. Therefore, when you’ve got free time and the sun is shining, why not go outside and play with them? It doesn’t have to be anything in particular, but if your dog likes to fetch or play with a specific toy, you can use the opportunity to reiterate your training techniques and stimulate them both mentally and physically.
Running is very beneficial for the body – be it yours or your dog’s. Therefore, if you have a large backyard or a vast field, you will find that completing shuttles with your dog can create a lot of fun and laughter. Set up five cones or markers along your fence line, then run to each one and back again until you complete all five. The endless to-ing and froing and excitable language from you will be enough to have your dog wagging their tail and taking part in what they are sure to believe is a super fun activity!
The Ukrainian Shepherd takes the term ‘furry friend’ to a whole new level – given the length of their coat. They are a beautiful, high energy dog that loves spending time with their family doing fun things. Therefore, when you find yourself with a bored puppy and some spare time, try any of these activities above. You are sure to find man’s best friend wants nothing more than to hang out with you and burn off some energy.