Dogs are happiest when they feel they are needed. Many breeds of dogs are bred for specific jobs, and they are happiest when they are completing the job they were bred for. Even if your dog is not one of the many breeds that are given jobs, you can give your dog a job to suffice. This can be something as simple as telling your dog you need help cleaning the house or taking the trash out. The dog may do nothing more than walk with you as you complete the task, but to them, this is important because you need them. An occupied dog is one that is well behaved, and the training you will complete will help keep your dog from doing things to get him or her into trouble.
When giving your dog a job, choose things that are going to be easy for your dog to start with. For example, if you have a miniature dog, it would not be a proper job for him or her to pull a wagon around the yard. However, if you do not give a dog a job that is enough to hold their attention, they will wander from their job. If you do nothing more than train the dog to gather all its toys as a job, this is a job that the dog will enjoy doing, and will do on a regular basis without being asked.
To give your dog a job, find a task that is suited for your dog. Something small to start with, nothing that takes skill or much training. Instruct the dog on how to do the job by showing him or her how to do it. Choose a specific time of the day, and complete this training every day at the same time. This way, the dog gets used to waiting for this time and will be prepared. If you choose to tell the dog to pick up toys, go around and pick up each toy and place it in the area you have for the toys to be stored. After you pick the toys up, place them back on the floor. Tell the dogs to pick the toys up and put them away and always use the same commands or you will confuse your dog. If the dog does not comply, pick the toys up and show the dog as well as tell the dog while you are putting them away on how to do the job.
Continue this training for a week, every day at least twice during your hour with the dog. This will reinforce the idea of putting the toys away. It is a scientific fact that repetitive movements, words and actions are the key to remembering most everything. Dogs are no different, they need to be shown, told and able to try the job you are showing them. Once this is done for an entire week, the dog should begin to understand the concept of the job you are giving him or her. On the first day of the second week, command the dog to pick up the toys. Wait for no more than 5 minutes to see if the dog will try to pick up the toys. If the dog does not comply, complete the above training for another week. Depending on your dog’s age, it can take longer to learn. Older dogs can learn, it simply may take them longer than a puppy. If your dog is a puppy, it can take 2 or 3 weeks of training to complete one task. This is due to the fact that while young, a dog’s attention span is much like a child’s. It takes immense amounts of information or fun for the attention to be centered on one thing.
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