Each of the 29 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club under the “Working Group” is bred for its intelligence, dedication and trainability. Working dogs perform myriad tasks, such as search and rescue, pulling sleds, guarding property and bomb detection. Because working dogs are bred with jobs in mind, providing your working dog with something to do will help keep him mentally and physically healthy and prevent troublesome or destructive behaviors.
Spend at least 45 minutes each day on training and obedience. Whether you are working on basic commands like “sit” and “stay” or working toward a full off-leash “heel,” working dogs thrive on the mental stimulation provided by training.
Use puzzle toys when giving treats. Puzzle toys hide the treat away until the dog solves the puzzle; a working dog will enjoy the challenge of earning his treats through problem solving.
Make your dog earn his meals. When feeding, ask your dog to sit and wait patiently for food, and run him through some of his tricks and commands before allowing him to eat. A working dog should earn his meals and playtime.
Play fetch with a Frisbee or tennis ball. Working dogs need physical exercise more than other breed groups, and fetch is one of the most efficient and fun options.
Consider your dog’s breed and look for appropriate work tasks. Huskies, for instance, are bred to pull sleds, while mastiffs are bred to guard and patrol. A mastiff may not enjoy pulling you around on Rollerblades, but a husky will find it right up his alley.