I ran into a question posted in a group and it made me think about something. The question was "I see people saying that a German Shepherd is a working dog. But what does that mean? I don't have any work for my GSD to do. I don't have anything to herd and I don't need him to detect anything. What does it mean to 'work' my dog?"
I never thought about this before. How many people who aren't in the training world don't understand what it means to work a dog. Working a dog is not a specific task. Working a dog means to challenge a dog. Mentally and physically. Mentally work your dog can be as simple as teaching your dog obedience (I will break down what obedience means in my next post). It can also be taking your dog to unfamiliar environments and requiring them to perform obedience tasks on different surfaces. It can be a game of hide and seek with their toy; take some buckets, make some holes in the bottom of them, put their toy under one and nothing under the other 2, as soon as their nose hits the bucket with their toy, lift the bucket up and reward them. As they become better at the game, add buckets and add variables under the other buckets. These are all tasks that are going to challenge your dog. Physically challenging your dog is far easier. Runs, walks, fetch, obstacle courses. But if you are not mentally challenging and working your dogs mind, you are simply conditioning them to be bigger, faster, and stronger than you with no sense of purpose or direction. The bond you create when you challenge your dog and you see them unlock that potential is far greater than anything you create by allowing your dog to be purposeless and out of control. I hope this helps some of you who may have had the same question and feel free to ask questions!
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