Do you find that your Catahoula is constantly getting into trouble?
The problem might not be a disobedient dog but rather one who is lacking an important job to keep them busy.
Engaging with your Catahoula in a variety of meaningful ways can help curb some of these unwanted behaviors and make your life with your canine companion a little bit easier.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog does need a job to keep their brains and bodies busy. Popular options include structured walks, herding practice, and playing games that allow them to use their nose. No matter where you are, engaging your dog can minimize bad behaviors and build your bond with them.
For more information on why Catahoulas need a job and how you can better engage with them, this comprehensive list will give you everything you need to know!
Do Catahoulas Need a Job?
Many new dog owners wonder whether their four-legged friend might need a job to occupy their bodies and their minds. Catahoulas are an extremely active breed who do require some extra attention to truly thrive.
They were initially bred as working dogs for French settlers who are thought to have combined their own war dogs with the dogs used by Native Americans to hunt in the forest and swamps.
Given their extensive history of being used as hunting dogs, the Catahoula is quite a catch when it comes to endurance. They can go for hours at a time without ever seeming to get tired. This is why it is so essential for them to have a job that occupies them in both mind and body.
Why Jobs are Beneficial for Catahoulas
Catahoulas who don’t have a job to do are likely to engage in some problematic behaviors. Owners often find that their dog takes on bad habits like nuisance barking, digging, or even chewing on items that don’t belong to them. A particularly excitable Catahoula without a job to keep him tired and happy may even begin to jump on you or your guests.
A job takes away some of these bad habits by allowing them to get their energy out in a more acceptable way. A tired dog is often a happy dog, and their owners will surely agree with this sentiment once they see what a difference it can make for their dog to have a job.
Furthermore, jobs are great for building the bond between you and your canine companion. They need a firm leader who is willing to work with them and lead them in these activities. Your dog will likely come to trust you and respond better to you as a result.
What are Catahoulas Bred For?
Catahoulas are known for their ability to help their owners hunt. They have tons of energy to expend on vigorous sports and activities. Many people use them as watchdogs or guard dogs, as well as stock dogs and tree dogs. Some people even teach their Catahoula to herd livestock or toys to keep them busy.
20 Jobs or Activities for Your Catahoula
Are you ready to dive in and give your Catahoula a job to do so you can start reaping the benefits? These twenty activities and jobs will keep them active so that they have less time to engage in destructive behaviors. They will also help to build your bond with your four-legged friend.
Backyard Activities for your Catahoula
1. Hide and Seek
While your dog is distracted sniffing the bushes or exploring, seize the moment to quietly move away from them. Duck behind a large tree or hide in your child’s playset. Make sure you are in a location where your Catahoula can’t see you. Wait until they lose interest in their current activity and encourage them to come find you by whistling and calling for them.
If you have lots of room in your backyard, you may want to invest in a set of large rubber balls to teach your Catahoula how to play Treibball. In this game, they must “herd” the balls into a goal at the direction of their owner. This is a great way to build a bond with your dog and improve the communication between the two of you.
Your Catahoula has energy to burn, so why not make the most of your time with them to zap some of their energy, build a bond, and teach your dog a cool new skill? Set up agility courses in your backyard using things you already have around the house. You can utilize hurdles, weaving poles, or tunnels that your kids have outgrown.
4. Find It Game
For this game, you will want some smelly treats that your dog loves to consume. Ask them to sit and wait while you hide the treats somewhere in the backyard. Release them and guide them to the treats so that they get the idea. After a while, you can stop guiding them and let them use their nose to seek out where the yummy treats are hidden!
Give a dog who loves to run a job to do by playing flyball with them. This is great, especially if you have multiple dogs at home. It is essentially a relay race where your dog will run down a course complete with hurdles and obstacles. They press a button at the end, grab a tennis ball, and return to you as quickly as possible. This also reinforces some basic obedience commands like sit and stay while your dog waits their turn to run.
6. Carrying a Pack
If you want a physically tired dog, you might want to consider taking them for a long walk at the park while they carry a pack. Tuck filled water bottles and snacks into a bag that is situated over their back, remembering to try to distribute weight evenly. This makes even the easiest walk a bit more difficult and tiring for them.
The Catahoula is known for its herding behavior, so it makes sense that you may want to allow them to tap into these skills every once in a while. Purchase an extra-long leash for your dog that will give them more freedom to explore. When they come upon a flock of geese or ducks, set them loose to practice their instinctive herding behaviors.
8. Structured Walk
Your Catahoula has boundless energy, but it needs to be contained. A long walk can help them to burn off excess energy, but you can also engage their minds during the walk by requiring your canine to walk at a heel.
This requires a lot more intense focus from your dog as they must always be aware of where you are. Give them some freedom to sniff and explore at designated parts of the walk, but then resume the heel position as you move forward.
If you really want your dog to get in a good workout, consider bringing your bike to the park. Using a harness, attach your dog to the front of the bike and allow them to gently pull you along the trail while you sit on the bike.
You may have to pedal some to take the burden off your pup, but they will love the intense workout this gives them!
Nothing burns energy like a quick run at the park. Allow your dog to have a long leash and to run ahead of you, propelling you forward with their momentum. This gives them the added benefit of expending more physical energy, keeps them fit, and gives you an opportunity to bond with your canine companion.
Jobs Around the House
11. Basic Obedience
Nothing is better than having a dog who listens carefully when you ask them to do something. Some commands are even the basis for safety such as a good recall. Engage your dog in obedience training to teach them some of these necessary skills.
You will be engaging their mind as well as giving them a job to do. As a bonus, you will also have a dog who is more reliable!
12. Advanced Obedience
Once your Catahoula has the basic obedience commands such as sit, down, and stay mastered, you might want to move on to more advanced skills. You can teach them to retrieve objects like their leash for a walk. Roll over, shake, and play dead are equally popular skills that your dog will enjoy learning.
If you aren’t sure how to start with training these skills, you can find great tutorial videos online or sign up for an obedience class at your local pet store that will give you the tools you need to teach your dog.
13. Shell Game
Chances are that you have played the shell game at one point in your life. The good news is that your dog will also enjoy this simple game. Take a smelly treat and hide it under a plastic cup.
Shuffle it around with two others and then encourage your dog to figure out which cup houses the treat. As they get good at it, you can add more than three cups to the game.
14. Scent Work
If your Catahoula doesn’t love the fast-paced sports of flyball or agility, they may instead love doing scent work because it doesn’t rely on speed. Also known as nosework, this game teaches your dog to find different smells around the house.
You can start by hiding tasty treats with a strong smell to get them used to the idea. From here, you can move to any strong smell that will appeal to your canine.
15. Puzzle Toys
One quick way to engage your Catahoula mentally is through the use of puzzle toys. They will love having to use their brains to tap into the special treat that awaits them when they figure out how the toy works.
Preparing a puzzle toy like a Kong ball stuffed with frozen peanut butter often takes just a few minutes, but your dog can enjoy it for hours. It is especially great for when you must leave your Catahoula at home while you head to the office or run errands.
Jobs in the Community
16. Dog-Friendly Restaurants
If you want to get your Catahoula out of the house and give them a job to do, try taking them to a restaurant with outdoor seating that allows pets. You can work on basic obedience skills like sit and down in a new environment with more distractions. This makes it harder for your dog to focus and wears out their mind. A change in scenery is also a great way to enrich a dog’s life.
17. Practice Obedience in Pet-Friendly Stores
Do you dream of taking your Catahoula out on the town with you?
Generalize their obedience skills to new locations by taking them to pet-friendly stores such as pet stores or home improvement shops.
Anywhere that allows pets in the store can be a great way to give your dog a new job and a change of scenery. Remember to bring some high-value rewards with you so that your dog relishes their newfound freedom!
Water Play with your Catahoula
Does your Catahoula love to be in the water? Purchase lightweight toys that can float and play a rousing game of fetch in a local pond or a pet-friendly pool. They will love diving into the water and it will give them an extra workout. Be sure to outfit them with a lifejacket to keep them safe in case they grow tired of swimming.
19. Dock Diving
If your dog is a bit older or has joint issues, swimming might be a better option than going on a long walk or taking a run around your neighborhood. For this type of activity, your dog will launch themselves off the end of a dock and into the water in pursuit of a toy. The goal is to get them to jump as far as possible from the end of the dock.
Allow your dog to experience the relaxing effects of a day on the water with a quick swim while you kayak alongside them. Always keep them on leash to ensure that they don’t get separated from you and give them a lifejacket that will help them float when they get tired.
Read Next: Are Catahoula Leopard Dogs Aggressive?
Finding the Right Activities for your Catahoula
Chances are that your Catahoula may not enjoy every job on this list, but they are certain to love at least a few. Experiment with your pup to find out what they truly enjoy doing and try to incorporate it into your daily routine. Giving your Catahoula Leopard Dog a job is essential if you want to see good behavior from them and increase the bond that you share!
How do you keep a Catahoula busy?
The best way to keep a Catahoula busy is to engage their mind and body. You can do this through playing games with them such as hide and seek.
Puzzle toys may also stimulate their brain and keep them occupied while you run out for errands or spend some time at the office. Make sure to give your Catahoula a job to do so that he can burn off excess energy. Jobs like running or bikejoring can be great additions to your daily walks.