How to Put Your Freeloading Dog to Work at Home

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photo: Ermolaev Alexander (Shutterstock)

While many dogs today enjoy fairly comfortable lives of tummy rubs, daytime naps, and treats galore, that wasn’t necessarily the case for previous generations of their families. which may have been used for hunting, on a farm, or in a household.

But even if you don’t need your dog in these functions, You can benefit from some simple tasks. Here’s what you should know.

Why give your dog a job?

Some dogs are perfectly content to loaf around all day. Others need some mental stimulation to get through the day happily.

According to that American Kennel Clubpurpose-bred dogs—such as shepherds, retrievers, hunting dogs, search and rescue dogs, etc.—were once given jobs that required focus, problem-solving, and decision-making.

So, when dogs that are hardwired to do mentally demanding work don’t have anything to occupy their minds, they can become bored, and if left to their own devices, they can take matters into their own paws.

While they probably won’t have a problem finding projects to keep them busy, you may not be as happy with the end result as they are (e.g., bed, or unrolling and then shredding a roll of toilet paper).

“Jobs” to mentally stimulate your dog

To be clear, we’re not talking about officially using your dog as some sort of service dog (that’s a very different thing and requires a lot of training). These are more along the lines of strategies to keep your dog occupied from destroying your home and/or relentlessly pursuing your attention.

Some examples are:

  • Search for misplaced items: Start by placing an item outside like your keys, teaching your dog they are called “keys” and asking them to find your keys (reward them with a treat when they do). Then start actually hiding your keys in less obvious places until they are able to find and retrieve alone.
  • Clean up: Depending on how quickly your dog learns new commands, it may be possible to teach them how to tidy up your own toys.
  • fly hunting: If your dog has a natural tendency to pursue flying or crawling insects that have invaded your home, you can encourage him to spend more time controlling pests by asking reward them with a treat after catching something.
  • fragrance games: Dogs who love to sniff may appreciate a little sniffing nose work. While there are official kits that you can use to train your dog to recognize and recognize the scent of birch, anise, and clove, you can start by hiding treats with a scent that your dog has in different parts of your home (in its range) recognizes ). This will keep them busy while they sniff out and hunt for their treats.

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