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Other than the obvious - making them work. Does anyone have an idea what the purpose of a "dog job" is. I was thinking about getting a pack for my puppy to give him a "job" while we are out ... but I don't see how this is giving him something to do or stimulating him - other than to be a pack-mule.
Do you think dogs honestly feel better about "helping"? Or does it just tire them out faster?

This is just pure curiosity.
 

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All dogs 'want' to do something. That is what they were bred for. For the most part, it is the fulfillment of their PREY drive, which makes them feel 'good.' Although I'm oversimplifying, this is how the behaviorist research papers describe it.

For example, many retrievers like to carry a soft stuffed toy (like carrying a duck). Many types of bulldogs like to pull.

IN addition, Temple Grandin has suggested that animals like the feeling of compressing their chests (like a powershirt ?). So, maybe the weight of a pack feels good to strong dogs...

... on the other hand, my dog likes to sleep :)
 

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I have an old rott mix. For twelve years he has carried buckets back from the barn to the house when we are done feeding the horses. He did this on his own. I would set the buckets down to latch the gate, he grabs one and walks up the hill. Never trained him, and if I don't have his bucket he will grab my hand, until I give him so.ething to carry.

He must enjoy it, he never chews it or runs off. He will just wag his tail waiting on me with his bucket in his mouth lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have an old rott mix. For twelve years he has carried buckets back from the barn to the house when we are done feeding the horses. He did this on his own. I would set the buckets down to latch the gate, he grabs one and walks up the hill. Never trained him, and if I don't have his bucket he will grab my hand, until I give him so.ething to carry.

He must enjoy it, he never chews it or runs off. He will just wag his tail waiting on me with his bucket in his mouth lol.
Aww this is the best! Today Loki tried to "help" in the garden, ended up filling in holes rather than making them! Then he helped clean up by bringing me my tools, It was fun to watch though.

Is anyone familiar with pulling? I was thinking about starting off with a pack and then maybe try and find somewhere in the toronto area that trains for pulling - everything I have read says to start at home - but as a new owner I don't think I'm comfortable with that. I have been told they enjoy it?
 

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I think it depends on the dog, although certain breeds are more prone to enjoy having a job. I know that my Sibe mix Shasta enjoys her backpack. Her whole attitude kinda of changes when she has a pack on versus when she doesn't. She's much more focused staying on trails and when other people walk by its very much, "Don't bother me now, I'm working". Plus, I think giving your dog a "job" like agility, packing, pulling, etc. allows you to form a bond with your dog that is unparalleled to just ownership.

The time it takes to introduce a dog to a job and teach them that it is fun is not only time spent with the dog, but you (general you) also get the benefits of appreciating the dog for helping out and I think the dog can pick up on that to some effect. For example, when backpacking with my dog, I depend on her to carry her supplies and some of mine. I am depending on her to help me as she depends on me for food and shelter. Or, for a job more fabricated like agility, I depend on a dog to do the obstacles right and to the best of their ability while they depend on me to give clear cues and signals. A regular "pet" dog that doesn't necessarily have a job doesn't get that feeling of deep appreciation and pride from the owner as someone who does a job with them. (Granted, I am sure there are individuals that completely disprove this idea).

Pulling is a great sport that, when done safely and with common sense, lets dogs get out extra energy and their desire to work. You can pull with any breed from toy poodles to Great Danes.

This site (http://www.pulldoggies.com/weight_pull_training.htm) is educational and worthwhile if you are thinking about getting into weight pull. It's fairly easy to do. The only big concern is that you don't want to use a standard harness you find at Petco or Petsmart for this. If you do weight pulling you want a weight pulling harness and they are generally $40-$60. But, you only really need to buy one good one that will last the lifetime of the dog.

This is a sticky a member made a while back that is an awesome overview of weight pulling.
 

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I used to work with a narcotics dog. 10 hour shifts. That dog LOVED to go to work. My cousin has a bomb dog and a "dual dog" who does detection/tracking/apprehension work. His dogs drool to get in the squad.

When I do agility or obedience work, I work one dog at a time. My non-working dogs will do the "prey shriek" to work unless I crate and cover them.

Great dogs love jobs.

Boredom and pent-up energy aren't good for any living thing. It is my opinion that dogs who dislike work most likely would not if they were trained/handled in a different manner. And as bad as this sounds, I bond better to a dog that I view as a partner. Even if the "work" is volunteering as therapy dogs in nursing homes or schools. Putting a dog on the job, in my way of thinking, is a way of deepening respect for the dog.

Obviously, the work has to be suited to the dog and a dog who grows old or injured deserves to be retired and live out the rest of his or her life in dignity, but withing reason, I want all of my dogs to be employed. They want it too.
 

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I have three now that work (besides Chester the bucket toting dog lol)

They definitely know the difference in training and real work. They LOVE it! If I say the words wanna work, they go nuts! They get happy about "walk" or " ride" , but nothing like work!

Two are detection dogs, one tracks. Actually Greta does both. She actually jumped in the open window of the SUV when I mentioned work, then had to run back in to get her collar. Lol, I came out and she was smiling in the drivers seat.
 

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Excellent information all around Thanks! It seems as though everyone is in agreeance that dogs just love to work! I suppose a job well done is satisfying no matter what animal you are!

Does anyone know WHY though, know of any studies that explain it ... or is it like asking why a horse loves to run!?

Thanks especially for the pulling info - very helpful indeed! I was worried about injury and training but all seem to say the same thing - start out small at home. Makes sense to me!
 

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http://www.PennVetWDC.org/

Actually, they are doing a study to find out why. Greta gets to be a part of this. So excited! We are doing our USAR workshop and hopefully certification this weekend, and Penn vet will be there to do the samples.

I know my dogs enjoy the work because its fun. They get to tug and play when they are correct, and I don't use corrections during training or work, so its all fun lol.

There is something more to it though. For instance, dogs are basically born with hunt and prey drive. You can't get it if it wasn't there to begin with. You can improve it, but some just have a ton of desire, while others don't. Maybe this study can help determine exactly whats behind work ethic.
 
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