Monday, July 1, 2013

Does Your Dog Help You with Chores?

Do you feel there is not enough hours in a day to get all of your work done? There may be a way your dog can help you with your everyday chores.

I have trained my Alaskan Malamutes to do many things for me. It came in very handy when I was injured with a fractured leg, and had surgery on my hand. Some breeds may not be able to do everything on this list due to their small size, but they may be able to help you with some of them.

Things our dogs can do for us to help out in our daily lives

Carry in groceries.

Pick up their toys.

Pick up sticks in yard.

Bring in the newspaper.

Carry their own luggage into hotel room.

Carry in a bottle of water.

and many other chores.

My sister had surgery on her neck and was unable to lift or carry things for several months.

I figured I could help her out by training her Labrador Retriever, Vader to bring the groceries to the kitchen for her.
"Vader Carries Groceries"
Credit: Anna Grob

This chore is very easy to train retrievers and terriers since they like to carry things around in their mouths.

Commands the dog will need to know to train the task, Carry Groceries.

Take it, Hold it, Drop it, Give, Carry and Bring.

I had Vader hold a plastic bag in his mouth with a small light object in it like a roll of toilet paper. I then asked him to bring it to me standing a couple of feet away. After he was used to walking around with it, I had him place it down in front of the refrigerator.

After he was good at that, I started to add heavier objects like a full roll of paper towel, or Kleenex box until he was used to the bag slightly swinging back and forth.

It helped my sister tremendously. One word of caution, do not allow your dog to carry very heavy, glass items, or eggs. Do not let him carry groceries up or down the stairs. He may trip on the bag as he is going up or down.

Pick Up Objects in the Yard

.Take it, drop it in a pile or box for yard waste. My dog Kia helped my husband bring in a 20 foot branch that fell from our tree. My husband carried one end, and Kia carried the other. My dogs help bring small trigs and place it near or into a small box for the yard waste.

"Kiana Brings Hammer"
Credit: Anna Grob
My dog Kiana helped my husband when he needed a specific tool like a hammer for building objects. Here again, be sure your dog is physically capable of carrying these objects. Never allow him to carry sharp or electrical objects.

Putting Toys Away
I usually tell my dogs, Toys Away. Teach him take it, bring, and drop.

Bringing in Newspaper
This is a very simple chore to teach your dog. Always go out with your dog to make sure he doesn't run off or into the street. I usually let my dogs bring in the paper while still on a leash after our walks. This way I know they will always be safe.

Pulling Utility Cart
This is very handy when you need help in the yard or for gardening.
"Pulling the Garden Cart"
Credit: Anna Grob

Your dog will need to be very obedient for this chore. He will also have to know the commands for carting. Sit, and down stays are also important. Please do not let your dog do this chore in the sun or hot weather or for long periods of time. I usually have my dog Kia attached to the cart when I am finished with my gardening and need to load the cart with weeds or my gardening tools. This way she will only need to be hooked up for a short time. A 70 pound dog should be able to pull between 10-20 pounds for yard work. Do not load the cart any heavier than that.

"Kiana Digging"
Credit: Anna Grob

My dogs know the command, Dig. Dogs love to dig, and this chore comes in handy quite often, especially with yard work. Our dog Kiana helped us dig out a wooden deck post, and many other unwanted objects in our yard. Our dog Kia, helped my husband dig out the doorway of a life-size igloo he made for our dogs. 

With Kia's help, it saved him many hours of bending and digging himself.
"Klondike Carrying Backpack"
Credit: Anna Grob

Carrying in Luggage
My husband and I travel with our dogs frequently. The dogs wear a backpack made for dogs to carry in their own luggage. Their backpack holds their brushes, toys, food, and other small objects. Again, do not allow your dog to go up or down stairs while carrying objects. Your dog should be in good physical condition to carry a pack. Most dogs can carry 1/4 their body weight. Which means, if your dog is 70 pounds, he can carry 17 1/2 lbs. Be sure to pack his bag evenly on both sides. It will be easier for him to carry it.

Your dog can make a difference in your daily activites by helping you with chores. Enjoy his willingness to help you, and be sure to praise him.

Happy training.

About the Author: Anna Grob has worked with animals for over 25 years as a vet assistant and professional all breed pet groomer. She studied the art of grooming for competitons and attended many workshops and seminars, while working side by side with well known groomers and judges. Anna participated in a study for many animal related projects such as animal behavior, skin and coat health and animal enrichment. Anna is a docent volunteer at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago. She has studied wolves, coyotes, and related canids. She is an Award winning artist, and an author and illustrator of Childrens Books. Anna's first book A Coyote Who Wished He Lived In A Zoo was released last year. Her second book A Wild Dog Without a Patch will be released 2013.


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