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Hi! I’m a new member, as I just applied with my local GSD rescue group to be matched with a dog, but don’t have one yet. My question: I know GSDs generally need a “job” to keep them busy and occupied. The best job would likely be herding, but the only thing available around my house to herd would be the cat and kids, so that’s no good. I plan do do obedience training and, depending on the dog’s interest, ball play, toys, maybe obstacle courses, hiking, etc, but what about when I’m not directly interacting with the dog— like when we’re not home, or I’m cooking dinner, or helping kids with homework? What kinds of “jobs” do your dogs have?
 

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That's when the dog relaxes and naps or just observes.They don't have to go constantly:)
 
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Dogs need to learn to chill and have down-time. When you can't be directly engaged with your dog, he can learn to accept that he needs to lie down and be quiet. Accept being put in the crate while the rest of the family goes about their business, etc.

A job does not have to be an official job, like herding, just giving them something to do. You are on the right track about training obedience, setting up fun obstacle courses in the back yard and teaching your dog to take directions from you, etc. Some dogs will love having a back-pack on a walk, or just having to carry a ball or toy, etc.
 

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Mine likes his routine. Knows he stays behind when I bring kid #1 to bus, knows he comes with when I bring other 2. Knows when we are going to club every other Saturday, knows when we are going to do a quick 10 min OB sequence or when we are going to the park to work on things. He doesn't need a particular "job" ..he is happy with the fact he is included in our daily lives and chores. If that makes sense :)
 

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In my experience, it was a lot easier to find "jobs" for Xena to do when she was a puppy, just because everything was new and she was so enthusiastic. We don't have an IPO club or an easily accessible obstacle course (my DIY efforts fell flat), and no sheep anywhere near here that I'm aware of. I think she mainly considers it her job to protect us (even though we don't need much in the way of protection).

I don't know if she considers it a game or a job, but she gets this almost "on the job" mentality when it comes to tracking things down. I hide treats for her around the house and make little trails for her to sniff out in the front and back yards. She figured out how to open the doors when she was a puppy, so I taught her how to close them (before we finally had to switch everything from levers to doorknobs). Every once in a while, I'll open a random door and tell her to close it. But she's like CometDog's - I don't think she cares about having a specific job, she's happy as long as she's included in whatever I'm doing.
 

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Oh, I know they don’t need to be active constantly, I guess I’m just feeling concerned about whether I’ll have enough stimulation for an active dog in the house. My last dog was an English Mastiff, which is a pretty laid-back, easygoing breed. She would be happy just to sleep in my lap all day. She had zero interest in balls, running, carrying anything, or anything like that. She did enjoy chasing squirrels when she was young (actually, she was a holy terror as a puppy, but calmed down as she aged), but as an adult, all she needed was an occasional walk, which was mostly me standing while she spent 20 min investigating a single blade of grass. They are great dogs, but very different from a Shepherd.
Related question: what kinds of activities do you do with your dog? One can only throw so many balls before I’m bored senseless. Hiking, obedience, obstacle courses, going on occasional outings with the family to the park, outside cafes, kids sporting events, etc,, dog parks, what else? Maybe that’s a separate thread...
(I don’t intend to do all those things, just thinking of things to try for variety and to see what the dog enjoys and what I enjoy with the dog.)
 

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My dogs don’t have jobs.... just really cool lives. When I’m chillin, they’re chillin... when I’m active, they’re active. If I come across a clicker while cleaning, I might take a break and teach them something - just because I can. They’re 5.5 and 11.5... so mature and settled now, but an off switch is crucial to the harmony of my home and I’ve encouraged it since the day I brought them home.

Nice thing about a rescue is that you can choose a dog with the temperament and energy level to suit your household.
 

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Throwing balls, frisbees and sticks (she's more interested in just chasing things that move than playing an actual game of fetch). The scent trails I mentioned earlier. Long and short walks, with obedience included (getting her to heel randomly, sit/stay, etc.). I hide her toys around the house and she looks for them.

Her trainer works for a company that also has an on-staff dog walker who also happens to be a runner. I can't deal with the heat here during the summers, so she takes Xena out 3x week and they go running. Since she's so well trained, I take her pretty much everywhere I go, and if dogs are allowed inside, she comes too. She loves all the smells and people watching and occasionally makes a fool of herself when she starts flirting. Those outings are good from not only a socialization standpoint, but provide mental stimulation as well.
 

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Mine think their job is to keep me on schedule. They are pestering me right now to go to bed. We do have adventures on the weekend and I like training them every day. Long walks are daily except for this summer, It has been too hot to go far unless it is really early in the morning. We started our big-boy on IPO but he didn't have the desire to work hard in the hot humid summer days and neither did my hubby. Now we do some Mantrailing, which they love, but basically are happy hiking anywhere on weekends.
 

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I too not long ago starting to understand that GSDs are the ULTIMATE working dogs, so they NEED a job in order to be physically and mentally active. Here are some jobs that I taught and give to my pup:

1. Hand me over his scattered toys, one by one, by name.
2. Sometimes, he has to put them back in the box.
3. Give them a backpack almost everytime we go on a walk, and pretend to put stuff and get stuff out of it. I like to pretend to get one of the water bottles out of the backpack and drink it in front of him, then put it back. He looks so proud everytime.
4. Pull me on rollerblades.
5. Move clothes from the washer to the dryer. It'll be MUCH faster if I do all of it myself, but it's always fun to watch him on his 'job.'

So many ways you can give a job to your GSD. But most of them requires training in advance. Be patient and consistent.
 

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I too not long ago starting to understand that GSDs are the ULTIMATE working dogs, so they NEED a job in order to be physically and mentally active. Here are some jobs that I taught and give to my pup:

1. Hand me over his scattered toys, one by one, by name.
2. Sometimes, he has to put them back in the box.
3. Give them a backpack almost everytime we go on a walk, and pretend to put stuff and get stuff out of it. I like to pretend to get one of the water bottles out of the backpack and drink it in front of him, then put it back. He looks so proud everytime.
4. Pull me on rollerblades.
5. Move clothes from the washer to the dryer. It'll be MUCH faster if I do all of it myself, but it's always fun to watch him on his 'job.'

So many ways you can give a job to your GSD. But most of them requires training in advance. Be patient and consistent.
From washer to dryer??? If my dogs did that I'd have to wash my clothes over again. Still that is pretty cool. I'll stick with picking up the laundry I drop accidently (on purpose) on the way to the laundry room.
 

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Dog “jobs”

It’s good to keep them busy by giving them physical and metal outlets but they must know how to relax and be quiet and enjoyable in the home. One of the jobs that I care about the most in the home is Max and Luna keep the house and property incredibly safe. We live in a house surrounded by woods so it is a big plus. We have alarm systems but it’s the dogs that make me feel safe. After our first shepherd -we had a king Charles cavailier, who even though she was relentless in alerting us when someone was trying to take our truck in the midddle of the night despite all her barking. I still felt much safer with a german Shepherd in the home.
When my nephews come over the dogs herding instinct arise making sure the kids who some are toddlers don’t wonder to far off by gently cutting them off and watching over them. They are good at keeping the crew together. We often play hide and seek games so the dogs are good at finding the kids in woods etc. I have a bad sense of smell so if I’m burning something in the oven I can tell by max’s Subtle body changes. We have a chihuahua - topper and many hawks and foxes in the area so Max and Luna do watch over Topper when I let him out in the yard. Of course I’m watching to but they make a great deterrent when Topper wants to sun bathe. I see max scanning the yard and the woods surrounding it. Knowing when to give that extra love when needed. Max and Luna make great personal trainers- swimming, biking and walking. AlwYs keeping me and the kids learning.
 

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Here are my guys picking up laundry. I originally asked it of my big-boy when he was a pup to keep him busy. I wanted my dogs to help my mom pick up dropped things, too.

I'm not using variable rewards today because I have their favorite high value treat, lightly cooked chicken. I'm spoiling them a bit for the video with a treat for each "bring". It is nice to take concepts from obedience trials and make them useful.
 

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Love the video! Those two are adorable.
 

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Here are my guys picking up laundry. I originally asked it of my big-boy when he was a pup to keep him busy. I wanted my dogs to help my mom pick up dropped things, too.

I'm not using variable rewards today because I have their favorite high value treat, lightly cooked chicken. I'm spoiling them a bit for the video with a treat for each "bring". It is nice to take concepts from obedience trials and make them useful.
So adorable they can come over to my house! Lol!
 

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Inga's job is guarding this ranch and all its inhabitants. She lies on top of her doghouse and surveys the countryside, barking at anything different or out of order. She will remove predators. She knows 30 commands, some by distant hand signals. She will 'get' and 'bring' the pony. Thats about it.
 

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guarding the property and fetching the pony, that is good work.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the responses! You gave me some great ideas of things I might be able to teach my dog to do!
The laundry video is adorable! With 4 kids, there is plenty of laundry on the floor around here, although I’d really like my kids to be responsible and pick it up themselves. Come to think of it, if I can’t train my kids to keep their clothes off the floor, I don’t know how much luck I’ll have teaching the dog to do it, though. On the other hand, dogs are easier to train than kids. They don’t get distracted when their friends send texts, or make excuses that they have homework.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It’s sweet that Max and Luna keep your tiny dog safe!
We had an English Mastiff who was super friendly, but was a good crime deterrent just because of her size (180lbs). Once, I accidentally locked myself out of the house, and as I walked around trying every door and window, hoping I’d left something unlocked, she followed me, watching and clearly wondering why I didn’t come inside. I had to call a locksmith, and when he came and unlocked the door, she was waiting, tail wagging and mouth gaping open with tongue lolling and drooling. The locksmith shouted “Holy crap!” or something, as he ran and hid behind his truck! From behind the truck, he yelled, “What kind of dog is that?!! Does it bite?” Of course not, and I chose not to tell him that, had she been interested in biting you, running would be the worst thing you could do. She saw where you went, likes to chase things that run, and is faster than you. Of course, she never bit anyone, and was only interested in giving me kisses, as she was so relieved I came back inside. She never noticed the locksmith at all. I normally invited people to come pet her when they were afraid, but I can’t remember if I did that with the locksmith or not. I remember thinking it was probably better if he was afraid of her, since he had the tools to get into my house. That’s the advantage of larger dogs.
 
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