Historically, dogs originated as working animals and only later developed into the companions and pets we know today. Nevertheless, working dogs, both as distinct breeds and intra-breed lines remain popular today. Unlike companion breeds, working dogs primarily exist and are bred to perform specific tasks, i.e. guiding the blind, guarding, herding, or vermin control.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is perfectly possible to keep working dogs as pets in normal family settings. In fact, this is the very principle that underpins our work at Protection Dogs Worldwide. Working dogs will naturally be somewhat more demanding, but are very rewarding when placed with the right owner and family.
The most important consideration to factor for when owning a working dog is that they will naturally be intelligent and driven. How this manifests itself will vary from breed to breed, but enrichment will need to be carefully planned to suit these needs. Working dogs are usually happiest and most fulfilled when they are able to perform the tasks they were bred for. Collies like to herd and be around sheep, terriers enjoy hunting rodents, and German Shepherds will find fulfilment in protecting. Enrichment activities should be tailored to these needs, and a professional dog trainer will be best placed to advise on how to achieve this.
On a daily basis, you will need to be more active and proactive than is perhaps the case with a non-working dog’s owner. Working dogs thrive off exercise and mental stimulation, so both long daily walks and frequent short training sessions throughout the day are recommended. All dogs enjoy using their sense of scent, so hiding food nutrition which a dog then needs to actively search for is an easy to deliver but engaging activity. A tired dog is a happy dog, and working dogs can never receive too much enrichment.
If you require advice on how working dogs can be kept as pets, this is something Protection Dogs Worldwide can help with. We offer bespoke training programmes at our headquarters in the North East of England, and regularly visit clients in their own homes as well. To find out more or book an initial consultation, please email [email protected].
Protection Dogs Worldwide is a globally respected working dog dealership and training company. Although based in the UK, we have exported our dogs around the world and have recently worked with customers across North America, continental Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Our reputation is largely based on our…