Obedience – It’s a Job

A common theme that you will hear in the world of dog training is that dogs need a job. Dogs are intelligent creatures and just like humans, they require purpose and direction in their life to feel truly fulfilled. Almost all of a dog’s bad behaviors stem from boredom and not having enough mental stimulation. If you were stuck in the house all day without anything to do, you would certainly pick up some bad habits along the way – don’t you think?

Dogs were bred originally to work, they need a job to do and something to focus on. Examples of these would be, a herding dog that can be likely to nip at ankles and tend to be very high energy due to the way genetics have shaped their mind. Sight dogs can sometimes develop an obsession or might be constantly on high alert. Theses are both prime examples of dogs that need help to redirect their mindset. This will satisfy their need to carry out their natural abilities they were originally bred for.

Obedience is an amazing tool and a way to not only teach your dog respect, but by far the best way you can bond with your dog. Interestingly, when trying to give your dog a job, having him master all the basic obedience commands is not actually the goal. The goal of obedience is for you to provide enough mental stimulation to meet your dog’s needs and to create a foundation of calmness in the dog. Obedience can be his “job”, and is a way to boost their confidence and develop a calmer demeanor. When your dog has focus and structure, they no longer feel the need to continue performing “bad” behaviors. Dogs often develop bad behaviors because they have few outlets and then become frustrated. This can lead to minor issues like barking, but can also lead to major behavioral issues such as anxiety, aggression, or destructive tendencies.

Exercise is also a very important lifestyle component for a well-behaved and healthy dog. Have you ever noticed how much more energy you have after you get up and work out in the morning? When you are focused on your job or working at your computer you generally end the day exhausted because you exercised your mind. We all need a good combo of both mental and physical exercise to have a well balanced mindset. This is exactly the same for our dogs. We often hear people say “I don’t understand, we run him 4 miles everyday and he still doesn’t listen and has so much energy!” The piece of the puzzle that is missing in this scenario is mental exercise. After a good workout, your body is pumped up and ready for the day. When you get back from your morning workout your dog needs some structure. While you might start on some chores or head off to work your dog is now left with nothing to do.  We all know that a dog left with nothing to do can get into some mischief! This is a prime time to balance his mind with some mental exercise by working on some obedience. Finding this balance is an essential element for a well behaved dog.

Consistency and repetition is how your dog learns to listen and to feel calm. Make sure to incorporate some sort of “work” along with your usual exercise, playtime, and love you give your dog everyday. Obedience is very fun and useful, and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. At the end of the day, you will have a dog that is much more relaxed and is very grateful that you have taught him how to utilize his intelligence and how to be good at his job!  

Do you ever think to yourself why is my dog so bad? Why won’t he just be good? Sounds like it’s time for your dog to get a job…

Brooke Janke
Suburban K9