Your dog is the ultimate volunteer.
Always up to help you, always up for anything. No other animal has a drive to please us like a dog. It’s a skill that we have capitalised on for centuries. As far back through history as you can go we have been using dogs to help us with tasks in our lives. Today we think of dogs more as companions instead of workers, but dogs are dedicated workers. Think of the things that you don’t want to do. Exercise, Learn, Work, Help Others (sometimes) – These are the things that most dogs want to do right now, at 2am or on the hottest or coldest days.
If you already pay attention to things that your dog is doing, like gets up when you get up out of a chair or looks at your willingly you will already have a fair idea of what I am talking about. For those who haven’t taken notice before, think of it from an “I’m ready, what do you need?” perspective. However, all dogs are different, some dogs are more somnolent that others, and those dogs are probably not as willing all the time, but there will be times that all dogs will give you the “I’m ready, let’s go.” look.
I love seeing dogs at work, guide dogs, companion dogs, drug sniffing dogs, even cancer sniffing dogs, these dogs are so happy to do what they do. To them it’s their dream job and it’s all from the desire to help us do what we need to do and to be a part of the process, and the centre of attention.
It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around the fact that the work is its own reward to a dog, but more often than not, a dog with a job is the one that doesn’t dig the holes, doesn’t chew the shoes and doesn’t bark at all hours of the night.
Trick training is the ultimate way to give a dog a job. You can teach your dog to do something that you need them to do, like open a door, retrieve your slippers, get a drink from the fridge, anything they are physically capable of doing, you could teach. In teaching so you are giving them a job to do. Something to keep their energy low, their brain active and help them sleep better at night knowing it was a day well spent. So give your dog a job, they will thank you for it!