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Jobs for Dogs: Providing Boredom-Busting Activities for your Pet


Dogs behave best when their emotional, physical, and mental needs are fully met.  Many dogs require a job to perform, one which fulfills their original purpose.  For instance, if you own a sled dog breed, your pet will be happiest being given an opportunity to pull.  Specific jobs for all types of dogs are described here.

Herding Dogs
If your dog is an Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Old English Sheepdog, or another breed from the herding group; chances are it has supreme herding skills.  These dogs excel at chasing animals, cars, or kids in an attempt to create order in their doggy brains.  One way to fulfill this need for your pet is to visit an area that is overrun with geese (with the property owner’s permission, of course).  Allow your pet to round up the geese, either off-leash or with the help a check-cord.

Companion Dogs
Your companion pet will want to spend as much time with you as possible.  These breeds typically include Shih Tzus, Chinese Crested dogs, and Maltese.  Many pets cross categories, so dogs such as Beagles and German Shorthaired Pointers can qualify as companion dogs, as well.  One fun job for these pets is to play hide and go seek.  Ask your dog to sit and stay, then go hide in another room.  Yell “find me!” to your pet, and wait for your pet to discover your whereabouts.  Give plenty of positive reinforcement when your dog finds you.

Scent Hounds
These dogs are ones that have well-developed noses for sniffing out game.  Beagles, Pointers, Foxhounds, Dachshunds, and other hunting breeds all qualify.  A fun job for them is to play “find it.”  Hide smelly treats, such as cheese or bits of liver, around the house and yard.  Then, ask your dog to find the tasty morsels.  You can also play this game using essential oils by dabbing some oil on a toy or cloth, and hiding it in the house.  The trickier the hiding spot, the better!

If your dog is a Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, or a spaniel, it is likely good at bringing items back to you.  One job you can teach is to clean up its toys.  For instance, if all your dog’s toys are stored in an easy-to-access location, you can dump them across the room.  Grab a box and place it near your feet, then ask your dog to bring back each item one by one.  As your dog catches on, you can overlay a command so that your pup will learn to clean up after itself at playtime!

Pulling Dogs
Sled dogs such as Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Samoyeds are all bred to pull and transport freight.  Suitable jobs for these pets include pulling a wagon or cart during exercise, or even wearing a custom doggy backpack during walks.  Unable to provide a cart, wagon, or backpack?  Simply asking your sled dog to go for a run with you also provides an important job for your pet.


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Anna Weber

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