” My dog needs a job”.
We often hear this statement from new clients when we speak with them about training. They think their dog will calm down if he does some type of sport or organized activity. While engaging in a sport with your dog is tremendously rewarding for both you and the dog it is not the only thing to do. Engaging in a competitive dog sport can be very difficult with people’s busy schedules. Like all sports, you must devote a huge amount of time, and money, to the sport in order to be competitive. So, what else can you do? Lots. Your dog, first and foremost, just wants to be with you. Using a reward based system you can teach your dog to perform all sorts of tasks, limited only by your imagination and your dog’s physical ability.
Over, Under, Around and Through
I always tell clients their dog should know the basics of “over”, “under”, “around” and “through”. These actions, together with some solid obedience behaviors: “sit”, “down”, “place” and “come” lets the world be your playground. An agility course can be set up in your yard using everyday items you have, or purchase from a hardware store. Rocks, benches, tables, trees, lamp posts out in the world can be used for agility tasks. Nose work can be done by having your dog search for his favorite toy or person, indoors or outside.
While physical activity exercises your dogs body, he also needs mental exercise. Teaching your dog to perform everyday tasks is fun and gets him to think. Such things as opening and closing drawers, putting his toys in a basket, retrieving objects, distinguishing between different objects. Your imagination is the only limit to what you two can do together.
In the end, the best, most fulfilling job your dog can have is enjoying life with you.