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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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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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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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OH MY GOSH Angela you are a patient woman!
And I thought I had problems because my Lab counter surfs!
 

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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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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 [email protected] 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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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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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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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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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.

Frank
 

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I have backpacks for my two GSD's,weather permitting just going for a walk with a backpack on is a mental exercise. I have put my mail in the backpack and walked to the postoffice to deliver the mail. I have also used the backpacks so the dogs can help bring in the groceries from the car to the house but this took "forever" but was fun for them. I also do the "Find Mommy" game with Shay. I also put their treats under a plastic bowl sometimes so they have to "work" to get it. Shay always brings me my gloves or socks. I love this post and am always looking for more ideas.
 

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Originally Posted By: adasAloha, 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.

Frank
This might be better answered in it's own post. Or you can continue to follow this one and see if someone elses idea can work for you.
 

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Originally Posted By: AmaruqAngela's dogs are from the lines that worked on Hogan's Heroes so they learned about about escaping for the greater good.
I keep waiting to find the spoon their using as shovels, lol.
 

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Originally Posted By: doggiedadthis is an interesting post. upon further reading i noticed you answered your own questions and given us ideas for our dogs.
I simply gave some ideas of what you CAN teach them and asked others to contribute as well.


Quote: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?
"Working" and "Job" in this thread are basically interchangable. For the purpose of this thread "physical action + THINKING= work/job"


Quote: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.
I do not fully agree with this. The GSD bred as it was intended to be bred should require more mental stimulation that eatting and crashing on the couch. They are a thinking and devoted breed that has been watered down to an extent over the years. But that is a different discussion.
 

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GREAT thread, Ruq!!


I also disagree that pet GSDs wouldn't be interested in having tasks to do. Even the laziest, most couch-spud-y GSD has a craving, an urge, to be needed. They crave a sense of HELPING. Think perhaps not? Give your GSD a job! A task to do regularly.. and watch the change in the dog's attitude.
My showline dog who has passed away, was quieter about this than my workingline dog is, but ohhhh.. how clear it is when you see them realize that they are NEEDED! The vibes emmanating from Grimm are: "Yes.. YES! I am doing this. I *am*! I am The Star. Me. It's all about ME stepping in to fill THIS role, THIS job! I'm the MAN!! YES!!" His eyes speak volumes about how proud he is... and it is the ONLY thing that makes his craziness go away. Amazing, huh?


Carrying an item while in heel really works for my dog.

You can have your dog bring his foodbowl to you after he has eaten, so you can wash it after each mealtime.

Have your dog carry a few LIGHT groceries home from the corner store in a doggy backpack.

Your dog can carry in his mouth:

Your keys from car to house.
The newspaper from the end of the driveway to you at the front door.
A grocery plastic bag filled with light items such as a loaf of bread or box of rice.

Make a JOB out of sitting by the door, waiting politely for collar and lead to go on before going out on walks.

Make a JOB out of holding a down-stay on returning from your walks, while you hang collar and lead up, hang up your jacket, etc.

GSDs-- even pet GSDs-- crave a sense of helping, and REALLY act fulfilled and happy when given a job to do!
 

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Renji brings in the newspaper as his regular task. Other than that, we just do a lot of training so I guess his other task is to be my "practice dog." I train him to do a bunch of different things and he gives me feedback when things work or don't work. He's also our alert system.

He takes his job as alarm system WAY too seriously, though.
 

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Tooz's official job title is Crumb Cleaning, Cat Wrangling, Visitor Greeting, Newspaper Fetching, Bear Patrol Officer who escorts her person on daily rounds as a petsitter/dog walker. In her spare time, she dabbles in agility, obedience, sheep herding, rally, and dock diving.
 

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The first job for all of my dogs is to be a good companion to me. They're to always focus on where I am, what I'm doing, and be responsive to my voice when I say their names.

Other than that, each dog has some different jobs. Trick, at nearly 13, doesn't have to do much now but at one time she fetched beer from the fridge, brought me pretty much anything I sent her for, guarded my van when I went into a store, did tricks and behaviors to entertain people of all ages (from pre-school demos to nursing home visits) and also competed in obedience and agility. She also has been an absolutely perfect dog to help me teach classes and do private training - she is so non-reactive that I could assess other dog's temperaments and use Trick to help calm nervous dogs. She has also had the job of helping to raise several pups.

Tazer is in the process of learning her jobs. Eventually (hopefully) she will work as a Service Dog.

Just a note about the "pet" comment in the first post. Dogs in the Non-Sporting group were not bred as pets necessarily. The Non-Sporting group includes poodles and dalmatians as well as chows and some of the other spitz type dogs. Chows were a highly versatile breed until people decided to push the heavy bone and heavy face and made so many of them into overdone "foo-foo" dogs. I consider my chows as working type dogs, however. Khana is currently working as a Service Dog and is doing a wonderful job. She's also been a therapy dog, visited at the nursing home, and is a very willing worker. So while her breed is very different from the GSD, she still needs a job to do. I think most dogs do, in all honesty. Dogs with no real job find ways to entertain themselves and that often means "bad" behaviors.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 

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My dog's job is to:
(a) be my best companion/bud

followed by...
(b) become a therapy dog
 

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Melanie, I forgot my disclaimer about "most" or generally speaking. I am still baffled that there are at lease three HOUNDS, one sheepdog, a spaniel and a terrier in the "Miscellaneous". Very confusing when there is a whole group dedicated specifically to those "groups" yet they are in the "Miscellaneous"......WTG AKC! <sarcasm>. Anyway, generally speaking I am speaking in broad terms in situations like this as I know there are many exceptions.

 
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