How to Keep Your Working Dog from Getting Bored
Many dog breeds are built for jobs. But many companion animals don’t have those jobs to do. A herding breed without a herd or a hunting breed without a hunt will get bored if not properly stimulated. And bored dogs can become destructive dogs. Read on for some suggestions on helping your working breed dog feel like he has a job to do.
You can train your dog to carry things for you. Get a special backpack designed for dogs and fill it (not too heavy) with items you’ll need on your walks, like baggies and water. They’ll feel purposeful while they exercise.
Send Him on a “Hunt”
Train your dog to search for items you hide around your house or yard to let them exercise their need to hunt. To teach this skill, put your dog in stay then place a treat or familiar toy nearby. Release the stay and say, “find it.” Praise and give a treat when your dog locates the item. Repeat this process until they learn the command, and work on hiding different items throughout your house or yard.
Teach Your Dog to Clean Up
This is a win-win activity, as your dog will engage their brain and you won’t have to clean up their toys all the time. Get a box or bucket to keep their toys in and show them that this is where their toys belong. Train them to “take it” and “drop it” just like you would train “find it.” When you want them to pick something up, say, “take it” and give them a treat each time they do it. When you want them to put something down, say, “drop it” and treat for each successful drop. Then combine these two commands with teaching them to go to the toy box so that you can tell them to “take it” to pick up a toy and bring it to the box and “drop it” to get them to put it in. They will soon learn the routine that at the end of each day, they need to take their toys to the toy box and drop them in.
Games of fetch, chase, and keep away will all stimulate your dog’s brain and brawn and make them feel like they're fulfilling their working purpose. As an added bonus, you’ll get some fun exercise and bonding time, too.
Keeping your dog busy and mentally stimulated will keep them happy and prevent the damage they may cause when bored. These tips are easy ways to give your working breed dog a job they’ll love.