Gun dogs, hounds, and other hunting dogs are wired to be more active than other breeds. But these dogs also make superb pets for owners who prefer not to hunt.
Hunting dogs make great family members, but they are bred to be on the move – it’s instinctive. If that need isn’t satisfied, it often lead to troubling behavior such as chewing on shoes, shredding the couch, and destroying the entire house.
One way to keep your property in tact is to find ways to help your dog burn off energy. When you fulfill your dog’s natural exercise keep them in shape and – equally important – keep their minds occupied and stimulated.
Here are some tips for exercising and stimulating non-working dogs who are bred to hunt.
Motivate Your Dog’s Senses
Dogs naturally use their nose to locate things and there are a lot of games to play to further develop this trait.
You can train your dog to learn commands like “find,” “seek,” or “look”. Using any of these commands, you can have your dog pick in which hand you’re holding a treat, find something under cups or boxes, or try either in the dark.
Hide Your Dog’s Toys Or Treats
Letting your dog put his nose to work will satisfy his natural urge to track prey. You can try hiding treats or his favorite toy in the house or yard. If there is snow, make holes in snow banks and put dog biscuits inside.
This will help keep your dog occupied for hours while still using his hunting his nose and mind.
Playing fetch is a common pastime for dogs and their owners, but you can add a twist to it by playing in water.
If your dog’s a good swimmer, take him to a nearby dock and throw a stick or toy off the end.Encourage your dog to jump in to retrieve it. Water-loving dogs like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Newfoundland dogs love this game, and they build stamina by swimming.
If there’s no water near you, chasing a ball in the park and catching a Frisbee or running around the yard will work just fine.
Hunting dogs are natural athletes, so fast-moving activities such as jogging, skijoring, and dog carting will help your dog burn off loads of energy. The faster and more intense the activity, the more these dogs thrive on it.