Our Pets Need Jobs, Too
When we think of “working dogs” we usually think of military canines, police dogs, or dogs working as service animals for their disabled companions. We don’t typically recognize our own pets’ need for daily responsibility. Dogs have an innate need to work. In the wild, every member of a pack contributes to survival. Hunting for food and protecting the pack are necessary to existence. When we welcome a dog into our human pack, they still have that instinctive desire to contribute and be an integral part of the family group. It’s our job to provide our pets with the essentials: food, water, shelter, and a job.
A job provides the mental and physical stimulation that dogs need. It builds their self-esteem and allows them to contribute to their pack. If we don’t provide our dogs with specific jobs, they’ll find things to do on their own, and many times they aren’t things we like. It’s important to find ways to enrich your dog’s life when you’re around, and when you’re not. These jobs don’t have to be meticulous tasks. They can be as simple as cleaning out a Kong while you’re away at work, or retrieving all the toys from the backyard and putting them in a basket.
Get creative with the responsibilities you give your pooch. Dogs love to be challenged and solve problems. Puzzle toys, KONG Classic stuffables, and food dispensing toys are all great options for your pets. Working alongside you is also a way to help your dog build confidence. Simple training of basic obedience techniques with positive reinforcement gives a dog something to figure out, enact, and achieve. Scent work and retrieving games challenge your dog both physically and mentally.
Keeping dogs engaged is a significant way to reduce many behavioral problems. Puzzles such as our Nina Ottosson line offer different levels of difficulty and require different strategies for your pets to complete. Your pet can hunt for treats by trying to lift or push away one block after another or by sliding the puzzle pieces from side-to-side with their nose or paw.
The KONG Wubba is the perfect interactive toss and tug toy. Floppy tails make them exciting for dogs and easy for you to pick up and throw. Did I mention dogs love the squeak? A quick game of fetch provides exercise and mental stimulation, and training the proper way to play tug is a great way to teach your dog many different behaviors and teach them to control their excitement level.
Tug-of-war is a fun, interactive, and physical way to play with your dog. Once your dog learns the appropriate way to play tug, a quick game before you leave for work can leave them relaxed and fulfilled for the day. It’s a powerful tool in training as well. A dog who can play excitedly then sit calmly on cue is a dog with immense self control.
Mammoth rope toys make tug-of-war fun for you and your dog. With many different styles to choose from, you can keep the game exciting with a new rope toy every now and then, without breaking the bank. The rope fibers also floss your dog’s teeth as they tug. When you buy a rope toy, we’ll give one to a local shelter.
Dogs are the best example of unconditional love. In their minds, the ultimate job is loving their human. They want to do what is asked of them, they want to take care of and be there for their human companions. Because of this, it’s our job to provide them with the absolute best in food, shelter, and responsibilities. We owe that to our loyal friends.
Watch these videos below to learn to teach your dog to tug, and see how to introduce and use KONG Classic Stuffables:
- Billie Claire Darby