The Finnish Lapphund can be trained in a versatile amount of jobs and hobbies, such as to compete at agility, obedience and working trials. Finnish Lapphunds are also used in Finland as trained tracking dogs for search and rescue and for searching out injured reindeer and elk, unfortunate casualties of the motorways in Finland. There are a number of Finnish Lapphund obedience champions in Finland, and in other countries there are dogs competing in a variety of different dog sports/disciplines.
The Finnish Lapphund’s friendly nature has been put to good use, with a number of these dogs being temperament-tested, certified and trained to visit hospitals, hospices and retirements homes as therapy dogs. Perhaps one of the greatest ambassadors for this dog breed is “Tara,” the first fully trained support dog working for Dogs for the Disabled. Tara is an invaluable friend and helper to her disabled companion, Norma Cail. Her talents include loading the washing machine, tidying up, helping undress Norma and putting her to bed.
While this dog breed is undoubtedly trainable, Finnish Lapphunds definitely do have an independent streak, some more than others. Although most Finnish Lapphunds can be let off the lead for free exercise, many are not adverse to a short hunting spree, chasing rabbits and squirrels and anything else that moves, only returning to their owners when the sport has gone to ground!
The Finnish Lapphund’s independent streak is perhaps more obvious in dogs that are not trained from an early age—this dog breed can be independent and will soon learn to please itself if not given the incentive to work as part of a team with its human companions.
Excerpt from Finnish Lapphund, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Finnish Lapphund here.