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At Home Activities for Dogs That Like to Work

 April 7, 2020

A boxer puppy looking at the camera.

Spring has arrived and typically we’d be out and about staying active, enjoying the warming temperatures and generally having outdoor fun – with our dogs frolicking right beside us. But with stay-at-home mandates extended through April, we’re all challenged by how to best to stay active and maintain a positive outlook. The same is true for our dogs. 

Playful and Protective. The Ideal Companion.

In our previous blog about how to keep dogs active while you're at home, we shared that keeping your dog active and happy during high stress times can, to some degree, be determined by the American Kennel Club (AKC) group into which your breed falls. After sharing tips on training and activity for Sporting Group dogs last week, this week we’re focused on dogs that fall into the Working Group. This group includes breeds like:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Boxer
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky

These breeds all make excellent companions. They’re large dogs and naturally protective, so it’s very important as an owner to know how to properly train and occupy a dog classified under the Working Group.  

When in Need, Call on these Breeds

Breeds within the Working Group category are quick to learn, intelligent, strong watchful and alert. In short, the perfect dog to keep you and your family secure. They excel at jobs like guarding property, performing rescues and pulling sleds. That’s probably why you most often see them serving in the military, on a local police force or as service dogs. They also make wonderful companions for owners and their families. But it’s important to ensure proper training.

Working Group dog breeds are in-tune with the emotions of their owner, and they have a natural desire to please. But in these unusual times, your Working Group dog breed is very likely pick up on any increased stress or anxiety you may be feeling. On the flip side, when you’re feeling great and positive – they will too.

So if you’re trying to improve or reinforce training with your pup while you have a little extra time at home, keep these four simple steps in mind:

  1. Give your dog the command your training, along with a visual cue. Make sure you use the same visual cue for the same command each time you train.
  2. Secure the desired command/action from your dog.
  3. Once this command/action is complete, praise and reward your pup.
  4. Repeat steps one through three, setting higher standards and improving the reward each time. This will strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

As with most dogs, one of the hurdles you’ll face while training your Working Group dog is motivation. Fortunately, this group is bred to want to help its owners so their natural inclinations will make motivation a somewhat smaller hurdle to cross. But it never hurts to keep the following in mind:

  • Heap on plenty of praise. Who doesn’t like to be told they’re doing a good job? Our furry family members are no different. When your dog does something well during training, give him lots of excited praise. Pat him, jump up and down, smile, tell them they are a good boy or girl. Seeing you happy and proud can be the best motivation.
  • Give a reward. Again, who doesn’t like a nice treat or reward every once now and again. When training your dog be sure to have plenty of delicious, healthy treats available as a reward. It’s also a great way to guide your dog around by placing the treat in your hand for him or her to follow with their nose.
  • Get excited! Remember, Working Group Breeds are very in-tune with their owners’ emotions. If you’re excited and looking forward to training time, they will too.
  • Keep it light. If you do need to correct your dog, remember to correct in a stern but loving way. Harsh physical correction should always be avoided. Beyond being cruel, it naturally makes training less fun and exciting for your dog – which makes training more difficult for both of you.

Be Well. Walk your Dog.

During days of stay-at-home and social distancing, finding new ways to connect with the community at large is critical. At Alden’s Kennel we hope these blogs give you a stress-free break as well as some useful tips on keeping your dog happy. Please remember to adhere to social distancing guidelines when walking your dog each day. .