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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I got a black mouth cur about a month ago as my first ever dog. I do know a LOT about dogs already, and she’s doing great, but I was wondering what I can do for enrichment for her? I want her to be able to use some of her natural instincts but I’m not sure how to simulate that for her. She’s about 3 years old, fed a mix of raw and kibble, and extremely active. Her name is sassafras or sassy for short
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Grass Fawn
 

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She's adorable!

Food and treat dispensing toys are usually a hit.
1) Stuff Kong toys with various things she has to work to extract. I've heard of some people putting canned or moistened dog food into a Kong and then freezing it, turning the Kong into a doggy popsicle. I put treats into my Kong toys and then plug the opening with a piece of freeze dried lamb heart
2) I like the Kong Wobbler for feeding kibble; the dog needs to keep poking the toy to get kibble to drop out
3) Reuse plastic bottles - milk jugs, gatorade bottles, etc. - as treat dispensers
4) Reuse small paper and cardboard boxes - cereal boxes, Kleenex boxes, lunch bags, even the inner cardboard from a roll of toilet paper - as treat dispensers
5) Put your collection of treat dispensers into a larger box and bury them under crumpled paper, so she has to work to find them

Make a flirt pole using some clothes line, a four foot long piece of half inch PVC pipe, and a worn out T-shirt as a lure. Drag the lure on the ground and encourage her to chase it. (Be careful to avoid aerial maneuvers or high speed turns. You don't want her accidentally doing a backflip while jumping up or blowing out a knee while cornering.) Use this play to practice impulse control commands such as "Drop It" and "Wait"
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maybe! She is getting service dog training which will work on some of that, I really want her to be able to use her instincts and what she was bred for. Since she’s a working breed but not a working dog I want her to get as much enrichment as possible
 

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Blackmouth curs are bred to herd cattle and hunt prey such as feral pigs. Since you want your girl to be a service dog, I'd be hesitant to go too far down the road of encouraging her drive to hunt or to herd. If she weren't intended for service I'd look into Schutzhund/IGP training. Shutzhund is a combination of obedience, tracking, and protection work. A good training program (and there are plenty of bad ones run by yahoos) will make sure the dog is rock solid on obedience before ever starting on the protection work.
 

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I second the nosework suggestion by @Curls ! Service dog training is demanding and can be challenging. I would “counter” that with an activity that is low stress, pleasurable, relaxing and teaches focus, and nosework does this for most dogs.

The “find mine” game is another useful service dog skill and also a fun game for regular pet dogs, plus, you can do it at home on your own (you teach the dog to find objects with your scent on it).

Another simple at-home thing is also to bring in items (old clothes, shoes, toys…) that belonged to other humans (variation: to other dogs, pets). You set them around a room or yard and let the dog sniff to its heart’s content. You can do it with unusual objects too, it is just important to not overwhelm the dog. This is a good easy way to introduce novelty.
 
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