Some dogs need a job.
The Maremma sheepdog, for example, needs to protect something, or someone … like me.
Border collies need to be working dogs. All. The. Time. Lawd, do they ever stop? Just watching videos of them on my social media feeds tires me out.
Many breeds historically come from working lines. The Yorkshire terrier was bred to hunt small vermin, specifically rats, in England.
The Newfoundland was bred for carting and hauling, especially pulling fishing nets out of the ocean.
(Fun fact: I lived in Central Newfoundland for four years and never once saw a Newfoundland dog. Plenty of hockey players. No Newfie dogs.)
Some dogs, like four German shepherds and one special chocolate Lab I know, do an incredible job helping my friend Laura find her mobility and independence.
Other dogs get to have a cool office job.
Nevus is the office dog at Spokane Dermatology Clinic in downtown Spokaloo (also very commonly known as Spokompton … don’t ask).
His official name is Sir Harry Nevus Werschler.
I thought Princess Bella Bossypants Macneider Schisaac was a handle.
And oh, how he lights up his mama’s eyes. Pamela knows life wouldn’t be the same without Nevus.
Nevus lives The Pug Life, assisting intakes at the dermatology clinic and offering therapeutic snuffles and snorts to anyone who needs them.
“I make him go eagle hunting in (Coeur d’Alene) but it’s not his favorite activity because he isn’t the center of attention!” says Mama.
Working dogs in Paws of the Inland Northwest
Nevus is one of several working dogs who will be featured in Paws of the Inland Northwest, my fundraiser book for the Spokane Humane Society.
(How can I convince you Bella is a working dog? We also have the aforementioned chocolate Lab, Little One, who is an excellent service dog.)
Pamela purchased a corporate session, which gets her five digital files that she can use on her website or social media profiles as she likes.
Or print them. (Because you need to.)
If you have a business and want to learn more about the corporate sessions, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I know if my dog needs a job?
Not every dog needs to be like Oddball and his successors, saving little fairy penguins on an island off the coast of southern Australia.
Not every dog can return independence to someone’s life.
You can give your dog a job if she seems bored. But how do you know your dog is so bored that she needs to join the ranks of working dogs?
Here are a few key signs:
1. Bad behaviors are on the rise.
If you’re seeing more holes in the backyard, coming home to complete chaos or throwing away chewed up shoes, you might have a bored dog. (When Bella was a puppy, she chewed through the middle of the vinyl floor in my Kelowna, B.C., apartment. I still have no idea how she did it. Also … byebye, damage deposit!)
2. Your dog doesn’t relax as much.
A restless dog might pace around or wander the house looking for something to do. Remember: one tired puppy is one happy puppy. Give her a job, keep her active and she’ll be snoring soundly at your feet for a while.
3. There are too many awkward staring contests.
You might be trying to catch up on your favorite show but your dog is more interested in a faceoff. In our house, this is known as Peanut Butter Time, which I will delightfully now refer to as Time to Work.
4. Whine, whine, whine. All they do is whine.
A bored dog might try to get your attention with regular whining or whimpering. Don’t get this confused with “Mama, I gotta poop,” though. It could end up going sideways really quickly.
5. Incessant barking
And for no apparent reason, could mean he needs a job.
Caveat: does not apply to livestock guardian dogs. Because barking is their job.
Dogs thrive when they have a job and a stimulating environment. If you’re faced with a bored dog, here are some quick ideas to try at home:
- Mix up the daily routine and take your dog to new places in the neighborhood.
- Hire a dog walker to take your pup out for a daily stroll while you’re out.
- Schedule play time with your dog … a quick game of tug, fetch or frisbee is always fun.
- Hide treats in a snuffle mat or a similar type of toy.
- Teach your dog new commands like “stand on hind legs” or “put your toys away.”
- Leave treats around the house so they have something to look for.
- Doggy daycare might be a great option once in a while – try Free Range Boarding with my friend Amy Fumetti!
- Make a safe space for your dog to hang out in that keeps their brains busy and minimizes chances of them getting into mischief.
- Enroll in nose work or agility training.
All around the circle
Your dog might be bored. But if you’re consistently coming home to destruction, she might be coping with separation anxiety.
I encourage you to give my friend Stephanie at Pawsitive Connection Dog Training a call or email and she can help you build a bond of trust and love like no other trainer I’ve seen.
In the meantime, I’ll sit here staring at the new sheer curtains we had to replace on the front window because a certain Princess Bossypants couldn’t handle being alone one day.
Now I want you to go visit the pet photographers blog circle, starting with Seattle Dog Photographer, Holly Cook, who takes you into the world of Conservation Canines.
Holly has a passion for working dogs and is currently conducting photography sessions for her second book, Send Me Too, highlighting working dogs of the Pacific Northwest.
When you get to the bottom of Holly’s post, click the link for the next post in the blog circle. Keep that up on everyone’s post until you find yourself back here to badass office dog, Nevus.
That’s when you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.
And if you’re ready to get your own badass portraits of you and your dog and help me raise money for the Spokane Humane Society, get registered for Paws of the Inland Northwest!