Every Dog is a Working Dog

The Job                                                                                                                                            Imagine being offered a job which promised not only a full benefits package, but also limitless earning potential. Imagine the work was so fulfilling it seemed you had been born to do this job. Imagine there was a direct and immediate relationship between the quality of your work and the pay with which you were compensated – the harder you work, the more you earn, guaranteed, for life. Imagine a job that became more challenging when you were bored and less difficult when you were over-worked or stressed. Would you work hard at this job? Would you put in extra effort in order to excel? How often would you need to be asked more than once to do something if you had this job?

The Boss                                                                                                                                      Imagine that when you were having an off day, or made a mistake at this job, your boss’s reaction was to laugh and ask you to try again, and when you were having a really bad day, your boss just said, “take the day off, and let’s try again tomorrow. “ Imagine a boss who never threatened to give your job to someone else. Imagine a boss who gives you new and challenging projects when you are ready for them, but who recognizes and rewards the hard work you do in the more mundane aspects of your career. Imagine a boss who is supportive and understanding, and whose only goal is to help you learn to be better at your work — a teacher more than a supervisor — who spends their time making sure your benefits are in order, your pay is appropriate, and that you are happy and fulfilled. Would you work hard for this boss? Would you respect her? Would you try your best to fulfill his expectations of you?

The Pay                                                                                                                                                The job I am describing is the job every dog can have if you give it to them, and the boss I am describing is the person you can become in your dog’s life. The compensation may change according to the dog, but almost all dogs like food as much or more than any other currency. Currencies include but are not limited to:

Meals                                                                                                                                                 Treats                                                                                                                                                  Access through doors (houses, schools, cars, etc.)                                                                        Leash on, Leash off                                                                                                                        Furniture                                                                                                                                               Toys                                                                                                                                                     Affection

All of these currencies are of value to most dogs, and all of them should be earned, every time. It is this relationship between work (sit, down, shake, rollover, spin, side, around, and front are all quick behaviors that can count as work) and currency (anything on the list) that helps the dog to understand they are working. Working at a job that is fulfilling, for a boss who is compassionate, allows dogs to be content and happy. Content and happy dogs make for content and happy people.

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