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Old 01-26-2009, 01:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Give your dog a Job!

This idea started on another thread but I thought it would be an interesting topic for discussion.

Every day we come to this board and without fail there are posts about misbehaving pooches. Often asking for advice as to how to deal with "desctructive" behaviors, aggression, separation anxiety, obnoxious behaviors of all shapes, sizes and severity. One of the first questions I have begun to post in reply is "how much physical and MENTAL exercise does your dog receive? Daily, weekly, monthly, or when I-get-around-to-it?"

I wish there was some sort of a questionaire that owners are required to fill out before they adopt/purchase ANY dog, mutt or purebred. Something that will not tell them the answers the shelter/rescue/breder wants to hear but something that shows that the people have done their homework and understand what makes a German Shepherd Dog different in EVERY aspect from a Chihuahua, or a Pug, or a Husky. Not only what makes them different but what the breed was intentionally bred for and HOW they are prepared to deal with it.

<Insert my personal Opinions>
I would say about 75%+of the AKC breeds were bred to work in one venue or another. I think if a family wants a pet they need to find what they want from a dog bred to be a pet like the Toy, Non Sporting or Misc Groups of dogs (per AKC). I think this post will fit MANY of the breeds from the Herding, Working, Sporting, Hound and Terrier group of dogs.

I do not feel that all German Shepherds should be a working dog. In a perfect world EVERY GSD would be able to do the tasks that it was originally bred to do. But alas it doesn't work that way. Not every GSD has the balance of drive, nerve, temperament and structure to do police work and there are simply not the shepherds that utilize the GSD to herd their huge flocks. I do not feel that every German Shepherd owner SHOULD compete in dog sports like SCH, Herding, Tracking or Agility, etc. I DO feel that each German Shepherd owner should be prepared to teach their dogs some sort of "task" or "job" to stimulate the mind.

The long and short of this post is for all of us to contribute what types of jobs our dogs have been or COULD be trained to do within our own homes and daily lives! A working dog does not have to be out working the streets with the police; working to save lives such as a SAR dog; Guiding the visually impaired person safely across town; Herding and Guarding the Flocks.

In a nutshell, what is YOUR dogs job? Or what job can you give to your dog?
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

A dogs job could be to pick up the sock that you dropped on the way to the washer.

His job could be to pick up his own toys.

Fetch you a bottle of Coke from the fridge.

Take the empty bottle to the recycle bin.

Open the fridge door while you clear the condiments from the evening meal.

Flick on a light switch.

Carrying an item for you like keys, gloves, purse, wallet small bag etc.

Or as Gala does for Carolina, make sure the ice making unit is in proper working order, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Yes we can have some fun in this thread too).

Using a caning backpack he could:

Carry your books to return to the library

Carry his poop bags and water bottles while you go on walks
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

Diesel collects all the socks

She opens all the doors for herself,

She opens up all the kennels for everyone so they can all play with her. But if she's mad at one of them, she'll leave them in there. This weekend she decided come back to the kennels with me and got into a little fence ruckus with Jade, then promptly went and let Grace out to play.

Hardy can open his own crate, plastic or wire.

Oxana can open the doors in the house, so if you put her in the bathroom to you can let another dog out, you have to lock it.

Do those jobs count?
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

OH MY GOSH Angela you are a patient woman! And I thought I had problems because my Lab counter surfs!
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

Angela's dogs are from the lines that worked on Hogan's Heroes so they learned about about escaping for the greater good.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

Jobs that my dogs have had:

Pulling a wagon either with a person in it, or helping with yard work. (I load up the wagon with leaves, grass clippings, branches ect... and the dog hauls the wagon to the "dumping spot".

Picking up dropped laundry.

Finding/fetching the remote.

Delivering tools and/or notes/mail or packaged food (like chips, candy bars, ect...)to someone else in the house.

Carrying in the mail from the mail box. (Mail box is about 1/10th or more of a mile from the house. So we walk out there then the dog carries it to the house.)

Finding the cat. (The cat was NOT allowed to be loose in the house when I was asleep or gone, and would HIDE when she knew I was going somewhere, so the dogs job was to "find the cat". MUCH faster than having to do it myself!)

Bring the kitchen trash can in from outside after I dumped it into the big outside can. The dog made this one up on her own. One day she just took the can away from me and took it to the house. So from then on I just let her do it everytime.

One of Wranglers jobs is to "check for snakes". I HATE it when I go in a stall to clean or put feed in it before I put the horses in the stall and there is a 3 foot snake in the stall! SO I stand at the door and say "Check for snakes". He checks the whole stall and if he finds one he barks at it. If there is no snake, he comes to me and looks at me with his "there aren't any" look. (These are non-poisoness snakes but I STILL don't want to step on one that is under the straw!)

When we were raising game birds here I had a REAL problem with the human males not latching the gates. There were CONSTANTLY loose birds. (Mostly Ring neck Pheasants and Bobwhite Quail.) Wranglers job was to catch the birds and bring them to me. If they were young pheasants or quail, he would deliver then to hand, if they were adult pheasants he would pin them to the groud until I could get to them and pick them up. (He only weighed 35 lbs, a live adult pheasant was too hard to carry.) He NEVER injured a bird let alone kill one even though he is NOT a "bird dog" breed.

Keep the cattle from trying to kill me when I feed. (We have had some that are VERY nasty and would bash the fence with their heads. Getting bitten on the nose a time or 2 stopped that cr@p and after than as long as the dogs were standing there the cows behaved!)

Helping put the goats away. (I let them run loose during the day and the dogs help put them away in the evening.) Diva also helps if I have a calf "escape". Either she helps me or she gets them back in on her own.

Another job they have is killing gophers.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

We have been working Athena's mind with a little search and rescue fun.We go outside to play and I have one of the kids sneak away and pretend to be lost.Once they are lost in the yard I get Athena going by saying so and so is lost we have to find them.If she hears one of them in the distance yelling help she goes on her own.My daughter got her yesterday by hiding in a tree,she was stumped then heard her and found where it was coming from.She has been very well behaved since I make sure and take time to walk or run her everyday.Other than that her job is to make sure the toilet monster doesn't steel me.She is definetly my guardian,she knows my where abouts all the time.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

this is an interesting post. upon further reading i noticed you answered your own questions and given us ideas for our dogs. working, performing a trick or listening to a command, arethese the same thing? when we play find it, is my dog working or playing? when my GF or i hide in the woods and we send our dog to find one us is he playing or working?

when it comes to physical and mental exercise i have to think about the mental part. i'm not asking my dog to do something mentally everyday at least i don't think i am. for the physical stuff he either gets walked or he plays with his buddies in the woods for several hours a day.

as you said not all GSD's are cut out to do sports, herd or protect. i do think most if not all GSD's can become a pet with nothing more to do than greet you at the door when you come home, be fed well, exercised and loved.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

I think it depends on how you do it.At this point what I do with Athena is play but if she were to do training and we were actually finding people it would be work.In the dogs head it is probably all play as long as they are happy to do it.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Give your dog a Job!

Aloha, all. any ideas on mental tasks that last a long time. Something that occupies 1/2 to one hour at a time without any human intervention.

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