Always losing your keys? Tired of picking up after your pets? Maybe you wish your newspaper got left on the front porch rather than always ending up at the end of the driveway. Put Fido to work helping around the house! It’s not as outlandish as you think. How many times have you seen a funny video where some guy sitting in a barcalounger tells his dog to fetch him a beer, and the dog accommodates him by trotting to the fridge, pulling open the door with a towel tied to the handle, and then delivering it to his pleased human?
Dog breeds who have been bred over the centuries to perform tasks don’t just lose the trait because they become city dwellers. These behaviors are ingrained in them, and it’s going to take a lot more than the occasional walkies around the block to fulfill the urge to perform. If you watch the Westminster Kennel Club’s annual dog show or the National Dog Show on NBC, you’re familiar with the working class canines. These breeds include the Alaskan Malamute, Anatolian Shepherds, Boxers, Mastiffs, Dobermans, Great Danes, and many others.
Get a Job!
According to pet experts, behavioral issues and anxiety can become common problems in working dogs without jobs. Wearing them out is one option to ensure that isn’t something that happens with your dogs. The other is providing them with the space to work. If you don’t have a large yard or access to an open field or dog park, there are still ways to get around it by giving them a job at home. The mental and physical stimulation can do wonders for their behavior and your sanity. The AKC recommends channeling your dogs’ working instincts with jobs that correlate to the traits they were intentionally bred for.
Training Dogs for Work
1. Dogs that enjoy playing fetch or carrying things in their mouths can channel those holding instincts. It’s recommended that before you put your dog to work, you’re going to want to make sure your dog has strong fetch and drop-it cues. Once your pooch masters these skills with balls, toys, or what have you, you can then generalize the behavior and skills.
2. You may love giving your pet toys and watching them play, but at the end of the day, they still need to be put away. Believe it or not, pets can do it themselves! To begin, trade putting toys away in exchange for treats. When you start teaching this skill set, give your pet a toy when they’re standing next to/over the box or container they’re kept in and instruct them to drop it. The object of this instruction is obviously for the toy to fall into the bin.
3. Dogs may explore new things by putting them in their mouth, but they interpret the world through smells. With a bit of scent training, your pup will be able to detect where misplaced items have ended up, but they’ll also be able to bring them to you, or at the very least, alert you to their location. Start simple with items such as keys and get them used to the scent while repeating the word “keys” to them. Next, place them out in the open where they’re visible and ask, “Where’s the keys?” When they go to them, reward them with a treat.
You can also train your dog to search the house or perimeter or even close doors.
Most dogs are treat motivated. Training boils down to repetition, consistency, and rewards. If you need some treats to get started training, our Animal Rescue Site Store has everything you’re looking for. With all of these different brands of dog treats, you’re sure to find something Barney or Mr. Jinx will love, and every purchase of these products provides meals to 35 shelter pets!