I always say that a dog needs a job or a friend. I don’t mean that all dogs need to be service dogs, or military dogs, or therapy dogs. Dogs who do these jobs are highly trained and do very important work. What I mean is that dogs without a job may be bored. Bored dogs can be destructive dogs. Or sad and lonely dogs. Dogs love their humans and get much enjoyment from our interaction with them. If you are lucky enough to be a stay at home dog dad or mom, then read no further.; your dog is happy as can be. If however you work outside the home, have hobbies, or have kids that keep you busy, then your dog may need a job.
Author Bethany Johnson writes the following:
When we think of dogs on the job, we imagine K-9 units with special training or therapy animals on the clock. Rarely do we consider our own pets as working animals. But is it possible that they see things very differently?
Dogs love duty. One of the fundamental needs dogs have is for simple "dog jobs." Their sense of responsibility is shown in their deep loyalty. In fact, their brains crave the challenge. This is also why they love to learn new skills and play games with us. The small achievement of each game invigorates them.
When we first welcome a canine into our lives, we tend to focus on what we need. We need the dog to be quiet. We need him not to run away. We need him to leave our shoes where they belong. We need, need, need. Our focus is on teaching our dogs not to engage in certain behaviors, when many negative actions would disappear if we replaced them with simple dog jobs or tasks.
Keep the tasks simple. For instance, you could teach your dog to retrieve the newspaper when it comes through the mail slot. Or you could train him to put his toys in a basket to keep them off the floor. Simple tasks like these will keep your dog busy.
Dogs who have jobs are happier dogs. They engage in less destructive behaviors and make better companions. At home training can be fun and simple. Start small and work on it every day. You will be amazed how much your dog can learn.
Sandra Goodwin, DVM