How to Give Your Dog a Job at Home

by Maggie O'Leary
    Many dogs enjoy retrieving or "fetching" items for their humans. This makes them feel useful and needed.

    Many dogs enjoy retrieving or "fetching" items for their humans. This makes them feel useful and needed.

    Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

    Many canine breeds are hard workers and want to please their humans. Some dogs are bored when not occupied with a task, and this can cause them to get into mischief. Assign your dog a job around the house, and he will feel useful and part of the family.

    Step 1

    Choose a job for your dog. Pick something that is fairly easy for him to learn and can be done without a lot of effort. Some examples are picking up his own toys, taking laundry to the hamper or picking up the newspaper. Your dog also can be the helper on walks or hikes; many manufacturers offer doggie backpacks that hold water, supplies and even your cell phone. Jobs that your dog can perform by using his mouth to carry items are a good choice to ensure that he won't get frustrated or confused and give up. Once your dog learns an easy job, you can move to more difficult tasks.

    Step 2

    Show your dog how to perform his job. This is as simple as showing him an object on the floor and then showing him where it belongs. Repetition is key, but don't overdo it. Show your dog his task several times, then take a break so he won't become overwhelmed.

    Step 3

    Reward your dog for learning. Give him a treat and lots of praise for making an attempt, and several treats when he gets it right. Dogs are pack-oriented creatures and look for approval from their humans. Praising him for his efforts will make him want to work even harder to make you happy.

    Items You Will Need

    • Training treats
    • Objects, such as clothing or toys


    • When learning new tasks, it can take some time for your dog to adapt. Daily training sessions of five or ten minutes are sufficient to give your dog good instruction without overwhelming him.


    • Don't get frustrated. Some dogs take longer to learn than others. Your dog can sense your frustration even if you don't voice it, and will give up if he feels he's not making you happy.
    • Some breeds are better at performing jobs than others. Labrador retrievers, German Shepherd dogs, Siberian Huskies, and other medium and large breed dogs are hard workers and adept at learning new skills. However, don't discount the small dogs; any dog can learn a job with the right amount of patience and instruction.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Based in Oklahoma, Maggie O'Leary has been writing professionally since 2001. O'Leary has served in the United States military since 1997 and is a two-time OIF veteran. She has been published in several local military and civilian newspapers and national media outlets including "The Washington Post" and CNN. O'Leary has a Bachelor of Arts in history and legal studies.

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!