Working Dogs Gotta Work!
For all different dogs, no matter the breed, they need some exercise and activity in their lives. Some breeds may not need a ton (i.e.: English Bulldog, Pug, Greyhound, etc), while other breeds require more (i.e.: Shepherds, Retrievers, Collies, etc). There are certain breeds that are distinguished as “working dogs”, meaning that these dogs were bred to perform tasks and jobs, including pulling sleds, guarding property, or water rescuing. Most of these dogs need lots of physical exercise, but some do not. What working dogs do need is some type of job, just ask our friend and fellow dog trainer in The Woodlands who owns a working Labrador Retriever.
A job does not necessarily consist of heavy physical activity, though for some breeds, it would be beneficial. A job for a dog can also mean heavy mental activity and stimulation. Agility dog training can be a great way to both physically and mentally exercise your dog. I’ve worked with many Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers that had done some agility training, and it was something that helped relieve any anxiety, because it kept a dog busy, focused, tired, and happy!
If agility training is not for you or your dog, then basic behavior training can substitute. While this may not be as physically demanding, this type of training can be much more mentally demanding (while also making your dog into a well-behaved citizen and family member!). If your dog is a working breed that doesn’t need a lot of physical exercise (i.e.:a Great Dane), then basic obedience training can be a productive and fun way to give your dog jobs and keep their brains active.
Even simple commands like “Stay” or “Come” can be used to give your dog a job. It reinforces impulse control and solid focus and recall. It helps to work on training with little to no distractions in the beginning, so you set your dog up for success, rather than overwhelming or discouraging them. Once they master the basics, they can graduate to more distraction training, which is far more advanced and require much more work from the dog. So while your Husky might prefer to pull a sled, or your Lab might want to retrieve ducks for you on a hunting trip, you can always find other ways to give your working dog a job. When a working dog works, there’s no chance for anxiety-driven behaviors like destruction, hyperactivity, aggression, etc.
If your working dog needs a job and/or some behavior training, call us at 800-649-7297 and we’ll set up a training plan customized to your goals and your dog’s needs!