Categorized | Care, Dog

Giving Your Dog a Sense of Purpose

Because dogs are such a big part of many humans’ everyday lives, people often forget that they are animals. As animals, they have been hard-wired by Mother Nature to do certain things. No matter how much you want your Border Collie to be like a cuddly, mellow Pug, the Border Collie will probably never fit that mold. You must have reasonable expectations for your dog and learn to understand him as part of a breed.

Many dog breeds were created for specific purposes. Retrievers are one of the most popular types of dogs, and they were bred for retrieving dead birds for hunters. Huskies, Malamutes and Samoyeds have all been bred to pull sleds over long distances. Great Pyrenees, Shepherds and Collies have been bred to look after herd animals. Your dog will be happier if you learn to work with his instincts and give him an appropriate outlet for those instinctive urges rather than just squelching them altogether.

Giving Your Dog a Sense of Purpose

Retrievers can be taught useful skills for the home. If your dog understands when you tell him, “Go get your toy!” you probably can teach him to retrieve other things for you as well. These dogs are often used as service dogs for the disabled, happily fetching items for their owners. There is no reason why your retriever cannot be taught to retrieve your phone, remote control or slippers when you ask him to.

German Shepherds, Great Pyrenees and all types of Collies were bred to look after livestock like cattle or sheep. These dogs need to stay busy and may develop annoying behaviors if they cannot engage their brains and bodies every day. If you bought a herding dog and you live out of the city, you may want to consider buying some sheep or goats. These dogs love being out with the animals and sometimes prefer the fields to the home. Installing dog doors allows these dogs to come and go from the home as they please, regulating their own energy and impulses. Alternately, if you have several children, herding dogs enjoy looking after the kids. Of course, you should never leave a small child unattended with a big dog, but these dogs enjoy observing and interacting with kids.

Hound dogs, like Beagles and Bloodhounds, are tracking dogs. If you have a hound dog, you may despair of ever keeping him on your property. Once a hound’s nose hits the ground and he picks up an interesting scent, he will follow wherever it leads. If you have a hound dog, you can use his natural tracking instinct by taking him hunting. Some people use their hounds for tracking rabbits, foxes, opossums or raccoons. The dogs do not care what they hunt, but they are simply happy to be out of the house following a trail.

If your dog is a sled dog breed, you may have trouble getting him to walk on a leash correctly. These dogs tend to go with instinct when leashed, pulling terribly on it. While you may feel that walking your dog is frustrating because he drags you around the block, keep in mind that he may only be doing what he has been bred to do. Some owners take advantage of the pulling instincts of sled dogs by teaching them to pull small carts and sleds. If that seems daunting , simply strap on a pair of roller skates and allow your dog to take you for a walk each day.

When you provide allowances for your dog’s breed, your dog will be happier because he is living the way nature intended him to live. When you give him an outlet for his natural urges, you will not have to continually correct him for doing what he has been bred to do. Working within a dog’s nature will help you find appropriate activities to help him burn energy. After all, as dog trainers like to say, “A tired dog is a good dog.

One Response to “Giving Your Dog a Sense of Purpose”

  1. Adrian says:

    I was talking with someone that owns a Beagle the other day. She told me that most weekends, her husband goes out into the woods near where they live, and lays a sent trail. She then follows about ten minutes later with the dog. The dog has a great time hunting down her husband by smelling out the trail left for him.


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