Sometimes people mistake the Shiloh Shepherd for a German Shepherd, however, they are their own breed with their own unique characteristics. The Shiloh Shepherd is a larger herding dog that makes an excellent family companion. These dogs are versatile and can partake in several different activities varying from herding trials to confirmation shows. Spending time with your Shiloh Shepherd will strengthen the bond between you and keep them in top physical condition. There may be only one or two activities that interest you or that you feel able to do and that is perfectly acceptable. Research the activities and put your best foot forward.
Rally is the epitome of teamwork between owner and dog. Shiloh Shepherds are very smart dogs that want nothing more than to please their owner. Rally is different from obedience trials in that you and your dog navigate a course of 10 to 20 signs and you can talk to and encourage your dog through the entire course. While performing on the course you cannot touch your dog but can use hand signals, clap or even pat your leg. In obedience, commands are given once and it is a more rigid format. Rally gives you the opportunity have fun with your dog and earn American Kennel Club titles in the process.
For dogs that have a natural herding ability such as the Shiloh Shepherd, participating in herding trials is a great way to keep them happy and well conditioned. If your goal is to train a fantastic herding dog for your farm or just for herding trials then you will look for a young puppy that seems to have a natural instinct to herd things, whether that be their littermates or even other young animals. There is just something special about training a dog to herd and watch them bloom into an intense dog that can move stock from place to place with ease. Herding training must begin at a young age in order for your dog to be comfortable and competent with all types of livestock. Herding trials can be somewhat costly but are also rewarding. Plan on spending about an hour each day working with your Shiloh Shepherd on their herding skills but do not allow them to run the stock too hard or cause health issues.
People are becoming more familiar with agility thanks to the Westminster Kennel Club introducing it through the television during their annual dog show hosted at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This fast paced obstacle course is a great way to keep you and your dog in tip-top shape! It may seem a bit daunting when learning the ins and outs of an agility course, but once you have gone slowly through the course a few times you and your dog will feel comfortable enough to go a bit faster. If you purchase all the agility equipment yourself it can be very expensive. However, if there is a park with an agility course already set up it will not cost you a lot to train. Entering agility trials can be costly depending on the hosting club.
Many people are interested in conformation shows, however, only dogs that are deemed quality and closely fit the breed standard should be entered in these shows. It does take a lot of commitment to keep your dog conditioned and able to compete against the best of the best of their breed. When considering showing in conformation, take the time to visit several dog shows so you can determine if this is the type of atmosphere you wish to join. Talk to your dog’s breeder about showing in conformation before purchasing so you have the right registration paperwork to do so.
Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs. Therapy dogs are more comfort animals whereas service dogs perform daily tasks for their owner. Dogs that are used for therapy will go into nursing homes and hospitals. They visit with people that are in need of a loving, non-judgmental being to give them comfort or bring them happiness. Therapy dogs work as a team with their owners and can earn different levels through the American Kennel Club therapy dog program.
Having a Shiloh Shepherd can be so much fun, but it also does require a strong commitment. These larger dogs are intelligent, agile and loving. They do need activities to keep them in shape and from becoming bored with life. If you are adventurous, you may want to try a few different activities with your Shiloh Shepherd and then decide which activity or activities you really like and want to keep pursuing. Enjoy the time you have with your Shiloh Shepherd!