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Does Your Dog Need a Job?

By ChristineMorrison. | Dog Info

Employment… for your dog?? You’ve seen that look on your dog’s face when you leave for work. They are thinking that we are gone all day having tons of fun without them when in reality we long for a day of napping and watching our favorite shows. Let’s put those pups to work! It’s time they learned bacon does not grow on trees and they could pitch in to earn theirs.

2018 and dogs are working more than ever in a variety of ways! Some dogs need and put a value on work; similar to us although I’m pretty sure dogs don’t suffer midlife crises like we humans do. I can’t picture a dog waking up one morning feeling inadequate because they haven’t left their mark on the world. (Especially if you have a male dog, odds are he’s left his mark on most of the world.)

What kind of employment are dogs suited to perform? The list is long and everyone knows a working dog is a happy dog.

Not that it was essentially a job per se, but my Golden Retriever was part of a university study on canine cancer. Goldens have the highest cancer rate and she lived 16 years cancer-free.

Can it be considered a “job” if your job description encompasses visiting places and inviting people to love you? If so, then IMHO it’s about the best job in the universe. Therapy dogs that visit rehab centers are often asked to fetch a ball for a patient or to sit nicely for brushing. These activities improve motor skills and patient progress is measured by a physical therapist.

What about those serious jobs? Like law enforcement K-9 officers, bomb and drug-sniffing dogs. I bet they feel a sense of fulfillment at the end of the day. SAR and cadaver dogs, Service Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs are all trained to perform specific functions. SD and ESA dogs provide emotional and physical support to those in need. SAR dogs are trained to find people who are in need of rescue. Cadaver dogs are brought in to, well we won’t go there, but you get the picture.

Is your dog suited for any of these positions:

Animal Herding

Moving animals where the dog wants them to go. Typical breeds include Australian Cattle dogs, Border Collies, Corgis, Kelpies.


These dogs work hard pulling carts. Typical breeds include Bernese Mountain Dogs, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Huskies.


Sniffing out everything from bombs to bedbugs (ew), even contraband (cellphones) in prison! Typical breeds best known for their sense of smell include Bloodhounds, Bassets, Beagles, GSD, Labs, Belgian Mals, English Springers, Coonhounds, Pointers and GSP.


Protecting home, business and/or loved ones from anything threatening from mailmen to neighborhood kids on bikes. Typical breeds used: Great Pyrenees,  Belgian Malinois, any breed with a sense of guarding.

Hunting & Fishing

Flush game out of the bush, retrieve kill without destroying it. Typical breeds used: English Cockers, Labs, English Setters, GSP, Brittanys, Weims, Goldens, Hounds.


For college campuses. Typical breeds: Bulldog, Husky, Saint Bernard, Boston Terrier, Greyhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Collie, Saluki, Scottish Terrier.

Police Work

From partners to bomb sniffers. Typical breeds: GSD, Belgian Mals, Labs. Bloodhounds, Beagles.


Greyhounds run for money.

Search & Rescue

Land and Water Rescue. These dogs track the scent of missing people in hazardous weather, debris, wilderness, underwater. Common breeds: Lab, GSD, Bloodhounds, Australian Sheps, Schnauzers, Dobbie, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands (water), Rotties.

Service Dogs

Provide assistance for physically and emotionally challenged individuals enabling them to live more independently. Common breeds used are Labs and Goldens but many breeds qualify!

Show Dogs

Every (purebred) breed and size fit into a category! There are 6 different classes and 7 groups.

Sled Dogs/Pulling

Ever heard of the Iditarod? Talk about dogs that enjoy pulling! Common breeds: Alaskan Husky, Malamute, Samoyed, Siberian Husky.

Therapy Dogs

Certified comforters who provide a calming presence in hospitals, nursing homes, college campuses, courtrooms, airports-many stressful situations. All breeds are welcome, this job requires the right temperament.

Truffle Sniffing

Logatto Romagnolos find rare mushrooms!

Maybe your family pet doesn’t have the training for any of these but you could consider purchasing a backpack. If a simple walk doesn’t provide exercise enough, get him a backpack and give him the job of carrying water for you while you walk. Backpacks are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and prices. Your pup will feel useful (he is, especially on those hot summer days) and pleasing you will set his endorphins on fire. Begin slowly, with lightweight then work up if he seems to enjoy it. 

What does your dog do to earn his bacon? 

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Christy MorrisonChristine Morrison

A native of Massachusetts and a resident of Georgia where I have lived since 2008 with six rescue dogs, commonly referred to as my merry band of misfits, and one husband. I am proud owner of Best Buddies Dog Training in Hoschton, GA. When not in the training studio, you'll find me in a nursing home, hospital or special needs class with my certified pet therapy dog or recruiting for my pet therapy organization, Happy Tails. I also spend a great deal of time researching the latest information on dog food, health and training techniques and volunteering with local rescues. I have written stories to contribute to Titan's Tales and Other Dog Adoption Love Stories and In Dogs We Trust.


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