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Do Dogs Enjoy Working For a Living?

Do Dogs Enjoy Working For a Living?

When I take my dogs on walks, people often praise them for their good behavior. My usual response, “They are very well paid.” The people chuckle, but it’s very true. I reward my dogs well with high value, healthy treats for being well-mannered, good canine citizens.

I posted the adorable picture above of my dogs, Gina and Sanchez, on Facebook last Thanksgiving. A comment was posted from a fan saying that she didn’t make her dog work for turkey. She just gave him turkey for being cute. She believed it was cruel to make them work for it.

People enjoy doing work they love and getting well paid for it. Why wouldn’t dogs? People also love doing work that encourages them to learn. Dogs are no different.

Recent research reports that dogs brains resemble humans in ways we never realized. They can understand up to 1,000 words.

Every night at my house, I spend time working with my dogs. Even at 10 years old, I’m often teaching Sanchez new tricks. He not only loves it, but he begs for that time with me every night. I’m sure it’s his favorite part of the day as it is mine. I use reward based training and he gets yummy treats. If I chose to alternatively just give him the treats, I don’t believe we’d have the emotional connection that we do. I’m inspiring him to think.

I believe that dogs that work for a living are happier dogs. Whether they are service dogs with a job to do, or pet dogs with tricks to learn, dogs like working for a living. It gives them a purpose and supports a strong bond with the 2-leggeds in their homes.

Do your dogs enjoy working for a living? Thanks for sharing your thoughts in a comment below.

Have you seen the new Adoptable Pets page on Care2? Please also share with your friends. We’d love your help in finding homes for these adorable animals!

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cute Pet Photos, Dogs, Humor & Inspiration, Pets, , , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


+ add your own
9:25AM PST on Dec 17, 2014

Dogs enjoy Working! It's whaen they are not doing anything that they get stressed and do damage in the house or garden! Thanks to the author of this article!

3:51AM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

1:23PM PST on Jan 14, 2014

I have seen working dogs on a farm that LOVE their work and I have seen Seeing Eye Dogs that look like they are in slavery.

I think these dogs need a day off a week to do dog things. Run, jump sniff and just be a dog.

4:17PM PST on Jan 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!!! Thank you.

6:45PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

There are many dogs who are not happy unless they are working, just like people.

5:27PM PST on Dec 8, 2013

It always depends on the dog or cat or whatever animals.
If they seem to enjoy it then let them work or do what they don't mind doing.

There are some that if you need to push too hard ,they should be left alone!!! You don't ever force them. They will let you know in some way if they are interested in working.

10:07AM PST on Dec 7, 2013


12:28AM PST on Dec 6, 2013

Some breeds need it...Others Dang it leave them alone to chase the birds!

9:35AM PST on Dec 3, 2013

One of the best things about watching a working dog work is to appreciate the absolute joy that dog takes in his work. They love herding sheep, or being a helper dog, or doing whatever it is that they think you want. But the concentration a herding dog displays while working a band of sheep or hogs is a direct reflection of the pleasure it gets from the task.

As to treats? If you believe it is what makes your dog like to work, go ahead. I am not a fan of treat training, although a juicy slurp on a favorite toy is kind of a treat. I substitute an inedible reward, and have never ever felt as if I had to use edible rewards.

My lovely old dog Cholla knew more than 45 words, and the accompanying hand signals. She knew the difference between my slippers and my riding boots. She could be targeted in the field to "Bring that thing, that thing right over there". She could go into the rough and collect cans for recycling, odd bits of flotsam washed down by winter floods, and was entirely credible as a personal guard dog. When she got old and deaf, she watched constantly for hand signals, and loved doing her tricks. During the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, while the entire neighborhood was outside on the lawns waiting for the gas company to finish inspecting the pipes, she and her buddy Mell performed all their extensive repertoire of tricks for the kids and adults around. We tossed the nerf football for her to catch (she caught it, and almost never missed, and always

6:58PM PST on Dec 2, 2013

I think most dogs love to do tricks, or work what ever you want to call it. To the dog it might be all the same. This keeps their mind active just as humans need to keep their minds active.
They can be given treats or just love since they want to please their human.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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