Many canine breeds are hard workers and want to please their humans. Some dogs are bored when not occupied with a task, and this can cause them to get into mischief. If your pooch is acting out, this could be the case. Assigning your dog a job around the house will stimulate your dog's and improve behavior, while making him feel useful and part of the family.
Some breeds are better at performing jobs than others. Labrador retrievers, German Shepherd dogs, Siberian Huskies, and other medium and large breed dogs are hard workers and adept at learning new skills. However, don't discount the small dogs; any dog can learn a job with the right amount of patience and instruction.
Choose The Right Job
Pick something that is fairly easy for him to learn and can be done without a lot of effort. Some examples are picking up his own toys, taking laundry to the hamper or picking up the newspaper. Your dog also can be the helper on walks or hikes; many manufacturers offer doggie backpacks that hold water, supplies and even your cell phone. Jobs that your dog can perform by using his mouth to carry items are a good choice to ensure that he won't get frustrated or confused and give up. Once your dog learns an easy job, you can move to more difficult tasks.
Commit yourself to properly training your dog how to perform his job. Consistency, repetition, and persistence is key, but don't overdo it. Show your dog his task several times, then take frequent breaks so he won't become overwhelmed.
Reward your dog for learning. Give him a treat and lots of praise for making an attempt, and several treats when he gets it right. Dogs are pack-oriented creatures and look for approval from their humans. Praising him for his efforts will make him want to work even harder to make you happy.
Don't get frustrated. Some dogs take longer to learn than others. Your dog can sense your frustration even if you don't voice it, and will give up if he feels he's not making you happy.
By Maggie O'Leary
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American Kennel Club: Information for Dog Owners
About the Author
Based in Oklahoma, Maggie O'Leary has been writing professionally since 2001. O'Leary has served in the United States military since 1997 and is a two-time OIF veteran. She has been published in several local military and civilian newspapers and national media outlets including "The Washington Post" and CNN. O'Leary has a Bachelor of Arts in history and legal studies.