Working Dogs and Dogs at Work!!
With ‘bring your dog to work day’ (Friday June 26) around the corner we can consider the amazing benefits that dogs bring to our happiness and well-being!
But let’s also take a moment to consider the benefits of your dog having a job!
Since the domestication of dogs, a wide variety of breed types have been established. Many of today’s breeds were established centuries ago, while some were already distinct thousands of years ago. When looking to get a puppy or dog it is so very important to do your research to find out what your dog’s ancestors were bred to do and therefore what instincts or behaviours your dog might enjoy.
Consider for a minute the ancestral history of your dog…
For example, in the 1800’s Terriers were bred to pursue fox, badger, rat and otter (to name but a few) above and below ground, they would be bold and fearless. In the nineteenth century spaniels gained prestige as bird dogs with a strong talent for hunting in forests in high bush, flushing birds out of the thickets.
Now back to the present day most of us get a dog for companionship, we love nothing more than curling up with our furry friend on the sofa in front of the TV, or taking our dogs out on a lovely relaxing walk in the countryside.
Sometimes however, we can start to see the dog-human relationship break down. This is often the case when our dogs starts to display a behaviour that we, as twentieth century humans, do not find so desirable. Often the behaviour is instinctual and related to what the dog was initially bred for, such as tracking or chasing prey.
Yet, this is a great opportunity to use our understanding to provide more suitable outlets, that allow the dog to practice instinctual behaviours safely, to employ them in activities which will feed into their instincts.
Give your dog a job!! You will likely see a massive improvement in your dog-human relationship.
Here are a few options for you to consider:
Nose Work; For those dogs that love to use their noses, maybe they have a tendency to disappear in the woodland after a scent they have picked up or always have their nose on the floor looking for something tasty! Take your dog to scentwork classes, there are lots of organisations and trainers to choose from, as a start try Talking Dogs Scentwork/ Scentwork UK
Swimming: For those dogs that will jump into anything that could be classed as water, even if it turns out to be 10 % water 90% mud!! Some dog hydrotherapy pools offer fun swims. If you live close to London then these dog-friendly indoor swimming pools might be perfect!
Gundog Training: Gundog breeds such as Labradors, Spaniels and Pointers for example, are popular, yet, most owners do not intend to work their dogs. However, you will find great benefits from taking your dog to classes to practice controlled hunting and retrieving. If you fancy giving it a go, take time to find a positive reinforcement gundog trainer.
Trick Training: If your dog is energetic, busy and keen to learn, they can often get themselves into mischief when they are bored! Trick training is a great activity for mental enrichment and is lots of fun for you too!
Also don't forget, if you want to get involved in 'Bring your dog to work day' you can donate money to charity and your dog can star in the Dog with a Job' Hall of Fame!