Give your dog a job

February 6th, 2014
Give your dog a job - Pinnicle

These days, our dogs spend a lot of time with us; on the couch, in our cars, even in our beds. Gone are the hunting days when dogs would get lots of necessary mental and physical exercise. Dogs Life editor Kylie Baracz writes about the benefits of giving your dog a job.

On an average day, most dogs spend their time napping, eating and generally wandering around the house. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Zoe Daly from Puppy Perfect says you can provide a ‘job’ for your dog that can give them essential mental and physical exercise.

“Every dog needs a job, whether it is search and rescue, like my dog Jay Jay, agility, fly ball or just being an obedient family pet. Giving dogs a ‘job’ provides them with much needed mental and physical exercise making them well-balanced companions, and it helps reduce unwanted behaviours such as barking and digging for attention or from boredom,” says Daly.

“When dogs are out doing their ‘jobs’, they are focused on what they have to do. They don’t worry so much about what is around them whether it be other dogs, people or children. This helps anxious dogs and fear-aggressive dogs (a problem many dogs have), and over time reduces their unwanted behaviours. It also helps overly excited dogs calm down as these once rare and exciting things become a regular occurrence.”

Dog jobs

There is a range of ‘jobs’ that dogs can do to suit everyone’s lifestyle.

Daly points out a few of the popular dog ‘jobs’:

  • Agility an obstacle course for dogs
  • Fly ball a team relay race
  • Canine freestyle tricks to music
  • Obedience and rally obedience competitions
  • Scent work teaching dogs to find objects or people and indicating by sitting or barking when they find something
  • Dock diving a sport where dogs jump off a dock into water for their toy

“The list goes on. Any breed of dog can perform these tasks, and they all enjoy them,” says Daly.

For the couch-potato dogs

Not keen on taking your dog to a canine sport like the ones above? No worries! A dog ‘job’ can be performed in the familiar surroundings of your own home.

“A job can be anything you can think of, from sitting before going out the door to saving lives finding explosives. Spending at least 10 minutes of quality time with your dog while they do what you ask them provides some mental balance. They know their place in your pack and it makes them happy.”

For the lazy dogs, a game of hide and seek is great. Teasing them with a tasty treat and running away quickly so they can try and find you gets them off their beds and keeps them active. “Teaching them to fetch items for you, such as their toys, and putting them away in a box is also handy,” says Daly.

“Providing jobs for our dogs is our responsibility as pet owners. Especially in a city environment, dogs need sufficient mental and physical exercise to be well-balanced members of the community. It reduces unwanted behaviours and, most importantly, it makes our dogs smile!”

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