For the last five weeks I have written about how to train behaviors such as “Recall” and “Loose leash walking” and how to address certain problematic behaviors like jumping and barking. Owning a dog isn’t just about “behaviors”. So this week we are going to discuss something that has dramatically changed the lives of dogs and their owners. We are going to talk about your dog and his JOB.
Jobs give people and dogs purpose. Honestly, most dog’s lives are pretty boring. Humans have sports, TV, children, spouses, jobs, or vacations to preoccupy their time. But your dog pretty much has just YOU. That’s why he follows you to the bathroom and stares at you. It’s the reason he may bark on the leash or bark out the window or tear up the back yard. Those “bad” behaviors bring some enjoyment and stimulation to his life. Simply put, he needs a job. A job can give purpose and stimulation to a dog’s life and channel his energy into something productive. It can also improve your relationship! A better relationship always translates to a better-behaved dog.
Any sport is a job. Most breeds have a sport designed for their specific tendencies. Some examples are: Agility, fly ball, cart pulling, lure coursing, dock diving, duck hunting, etc. There are other jobs like search and rescue. This is a big job and usually requires a lot of certifications for the owner and dog. A very popular job is therapy dog work. This also usually requires a certification. Simpler jobs include getting the paper in the morning or carrying their own water in a backpack on their walk.
I do a “dogs with jobs” talk at the end of class number five and by far the jobs that people are most interested in are therapy and agility. Agility is pretty simple; you can buy the equipment on-line and watch YouTube videos. You can learn on your own or just sign up for an agility class. Therapy work is a little more complicated. There many different companies that certify therapy dogs.
My dog, Bosco has a job that he loves. He drives around with me a couple of days a week and helps me with my client’s dogs. He also helps maintain order at our Board and Train facility. He often has to be assertive with them and sometimes he helps me work with aggressive dogs. I would not be the trainer that I am today and Beckman’s Dog Training would not be the company that it is today without Bosco. His job as my helper is what he lives for and I’m confident that he will live longer and be happier because of it.
So I encourage you to think about a job that you and your dog might enjoy doing together and then set aside a little time each week to work on it. As always, please contact me if you have any questions.