The following post was originally published by Karen on KP’s Dog Blog, October 17, 2007.
Part of the canine psyche is a desire for gainful employment. Believe it or not, dogs who lie around getting petted all day are not feeling exactly fulfilled. They want to have something to do that makes them feel important. They want a job!
The jobs can be simple or they can be more involved and require training.
As a person who is not very creative, I have trouble thinking of jobs for my dogs, but luckily, they can sometimes come up with their own jobs.
For example, Rowdy came up with the job of checking the perimeter of the fence every time we go out into the back yard. And Sunny created for herself the job of keeping an eye on me (i.e., guarding me) as I move from room to room within the house.
I did actually come up with Dexter’s job, which is to go out onto the front porch with me whenever I have to take out the trash or the recycling.
As you may have guessed, the jobs don’t technically have to be useful; they just have to make your dogs feel useful. So to that end, you should always thank and praise them for their service each time they get the job done.