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.

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Marilyn Byrne Graziano
Marilyn G3 years ago

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!

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Mary M.
Mary M4 years ago

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.

Judy Apelis
Judy A4 years ago

Happy New Year!!!! Thank you.

Patt Tashjian
Patt Tashjian4 years ago

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

PrimaSICK B.
PrimaAWAY B4 years ago

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.

Arlene Camden
Arlene C4 years ago


Mm M.
MmAway M4 years ago

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

Mandy Kleykamp
Mandy Kleykamp4 years ago

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

Carol M.
carol m4 years ago

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.