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How to keep working breeds active and happy

December 16, 2019

While some dogs are content to sit on your lap and look cute, working breeds have a different agenda. These are the dogs that are bred to hunt, herd, retrieve, and detect. They were born with an urge to work, and when they’re bored they tend to be mischievous and destructive. Working dogs like Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Border Collies, Newfoundlands, and all the others thrive on farms and ranches where there’s never a shortage of things to do. But what about the dogs that live in the suburbs or city? Their families have 9-5 jobs; they’re not farmers or ranchers.  So what’s an average dog to do? If your active dog is getting bored of life not on the farm, try these simple jobs for working breeds that they can do almost anywhere.

1. Scent Games

Your dog doesn’t need to be a professionally trained scent detection dog to put his powerful sniffer to good use. K9 Nose Work is a dog sport based on the same training those drug-busting and ivory-finding working dogs undergo. But instead of sniffing out illegal objects, you teach your dog to recognize and detect the smell of birch, anise, and clove. There are competitions where dogs earn titles and awards, but you and your pup can enjoy the game right in your home, in the yard, or on the trail. It works your dog’s mind and body while giving him a satisfying job.

2. Find it Games

In addition to scent, dogs use all their senses to track down items and even people. Think of search and rescue dogs but without all the peril. Teaching the “find” or “go get” cue will be your first step. Once your dog understands the basis of the game, you can teach him to find and fetch all kinds of useful objects. Teach him to bring you your shoes before a walk or carry over his own leash. You can even teach him to seek out specific people and pets. Retrieving breeds love this game because it’s based on their natural instinct to find things and bring them back.

3 Trick Training

Once your dog has mastered basic obedience, it’s time to move on to trick training. It’s not one of the most useful jobs for working breed dogs, but learning and performing tricks gives a dog a purpose and sense of accomplishment. The best part is, tricks are fun for both ends of the leash. There’s no end to the list of potential tricks you can teach your dog. Start with the easy stuff, like roll over and spin. With these types of tricks, you can lead your dog into it by luring him with a treat. From there, try teaching him to open and close the kitchen cabinets, weave through your legs, or jump through a hoop. Once he has a nice repertoire of impressive tricks, put them all together to make a routine that’ll impress all your friends and family.