Tuesday Training Tip: What Was Your Dog Bred to Do?

Mama Sally:  Every day, when I’m out working with wonderful dogs and owners, I find that often, owners chose a particular breed of dog, or even a specific puppy simply based upon looks.  Even as a dog trainer, I promise you….I can absolutely love many different breeds of dogs that I would never, ever, ever want to live with.  There’s hardly a puppy out that that doesn’t melt my heart in some form or fashion.  But some dogs would just be far too difficult for me to live with, so I love them from afar.

lake-animals-dogs-petsKnowing what your dog was bred to do can make a huge difference in how you’re going to live with him.  All dogs are not created equally! Some dogs need much more exercise than others.  Other dogs have a much higher need to chew.  And others yet need jobs and lots of mental stimulation to keep them happy!

Dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise!  There is more than one way to wear out an energetic dog!  Long walks and backyard play are standard, wonderful ways to provide exercise.  But many dogs are under-exercised and get next to no mental stimulation in their lives.

Dogs are natural problem solvers!  I love pointing this out to owners when they watch me train their dogs.  With very little or no prompting from me, virtually every dog I train works hard to figure out what behavior I am asking them to produce.  And often, even after I think they understand what I want from them, they will try new things, almost as if they are checking to be sure that’s what I really want from them. Smarter dogs will often try new things to be sure that I won’t reward other variations of a specific behavior.  It’s absolutely fascinating to watch!

walking-garden-dog-outside (1)If you have a hound, try playing games like “Find the Cookie” or other scent games.  Even tossing a handful of kibble in the backyard for them will give them fun searching for their hidden treasures while they’re out in the yard for some fun!  It keeps them busy working those wonderful noses, and provides a job for them to do!

Most terriers will be happy if there are squirrels, chipmunks or birds to chase!

I’ve always lived with herders, and I just love everything about them.  They are smart dogs to a fault!  Sometimes that makes them challenging breeds to live with, because they’re fabulous problem solvers.  A German Shepherd that I trained a couple of years ago could open the door to let herself out, so I trained her to close the door when she came back inside!  She had given herself a job, and was one happy dog!

Knowing what your dog is bred to do will help you provide the correct environment and learning opportunities for him.  In turn, you’ll find a much happier dog with far fewer naughty things going on at home!

Rugby James:  I fink the Mama makes sum good sense here.  Sumtimes, Uprights want the ease of a kitty….but in dogger furs.  Doggers gotsa have a whole lot of attention. We needsa work.  If we didn’t have a house where everything was gived to us, we’d be working all day to find food, water, and shelter for ourselfs.  So we gets purty bored if we doesn’t has sumping what can challenge our brains on account of doggers is created to work.

Rugby Praying 010
This trick took a while to learn, but Rugby loves doing it!

The Mama is always training tricks wif me.  It only takes a lil bit of time every time we work, and wif enuff practice, I learns new stuff all the time.  This is really important on account of I can’t go very many places safely, so it keeps me working and that’s a really good form of exercise for me.

The Mama and the Daddy are really good sports about letting me herd them wif my lil piggies, since they won’t give me my very own sheeps or cows or real piggies for the yard.

Try to find sum fings what will be good for your specific breed of dogger, and I promise you they will be happier doggers!



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