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What is a "Working" dog?

Discussion in 'Dog Debates' started by kady05, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. kady05

    kady05 Krypto Super Dog

    What is a "Working" dog?

    NOTE: We had some OT discussion going on in another thread about the length of your dogs nails, so it was suggested that I move some posts and start a whole new thread on this topic.

    What do you classify as a "working" dog?

    This is where this topic started:

    You don't consider dogs that dog agility, Schutzhund, protection work, OB, WP, dock diving, lure coursing, etc. as "actual working dogs"? What is "work" to you?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  2. Joey&Zoey

    Joey&Zoey Good Dog

    Those are all fun sports and a degree of "work" yes, but actual physical conditioning to achieve a bulldogs top performance in athleticism and ability all around, is a whole entire different concept/strategy. Which is what I consider the real "work". To put it simply, it's like saying a basketball/football player is actually working vs a ninja/martial arts competitor. Both obviously are still highly active and are in a competitive mode, but, certain "sports" are strictly based on achieving only certain areas of potential vs the competitor who has worked in every area of potential and therefore, has taken the time and dedication to strengthen all abilities.
  3. kady05

    kady05 Krypto Super Dog

    Oh. Okay. I disagree completely.

    I guess I'd rather have a dog that didn't "work" (according to you), but that goes out and does numerous dogs events than one that all I do is condition it and then do nothing with it (other than taking pictures of it lunging at things to show off its muscles). Not targeting just you, btw, just making a general statement.

    FWIW, Sako had no issues on an of the agility obstacles with his short nails ;)
  4. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog


    Joey- Can your dog run 51 feet down a lane, over 4 jumps set at no less than 7in in height, hit a box, catch a ball, run back over those 4 jumps back down 51 feet, in 3.6 seconds? It took you more time to read that sentence that it does for some dogs to run flyball. It's not just a 'fun' sport. People devote their lives to it, to perfecting it, to perfecting the perfect turn, the perfect pass, the fastest dog. Any sport is 'work' if you condition your dog for it to the fullest and leave no holds barred.

    The unofficial NAFA record is currently 14.931, ran by Rocket Relay on September 2nd. It is awaiting confirmation, but it will almost surely be validated. They are the first team in NAFA to break 15 seconds.

    Here is what 15.222 seconds (over 11in jumps) looks like:

    You can half ass almost anything in life. But to say that because a dog doesn't spend it's days being uselessly conditioned isn't working is probably the one of the most naive things I've ever heard. Sure, some dogs may be well-muscled and look nice, sure they may run miles on end, but what do they actually DO?

    This is a conversation for another thread...
  5. MMSmith

    MMSmith Good Dog

    I gotta agree with Kady and LL on this one. Although I do many things that would constitute your idea of "working" a dog with Henry, it doesn't accomplish jack. He is pretty lazy. No ball drive, no strong ability in any dog-related sport, except hunting.

    Some may consider him a 'working' dog because of the time I have put into conditioning him, but I certainly don't--he doesn't do anything. I only work him to achieve an good physical condition.
  6. Joey&Zoey

    Joey&Zoey Good Dog

    Personally, you two sound more offended than anything ;) and you are entitled to disagree, but I made myself clear, that yes, those sports are considered a degree of "work". You both missed the entirety of what I was answering, that just because it may be classified as "work", they're all not designed to achieve the same performances, such as a competitor who is out to reach maximum ability ALL AROUND. So just because I feel that certain "work" is greater than other "work", doesn't mean I am speaking for everybody's view on the idea of work, but I am sure I am not alone either. Somebody just decided to ask ME what I considered as real "work" and I was never naive to say that, your sports are totally useless and not respected for what they are, when answering. Running after a ball at a high speed, while jumping over objects, no my dog can't do that alright :rolleyes::lol: would she be the fastest? well she's not a greyhound, but this is what I am talking about, she'll be able to go back and back and back and back, while the other dog will probably tire out/quit, sooner than she would, if she even were to quit at all. I don't consider a dog with nice muscles as a set deal that it can perform well either, however, you don't achieve a truly conditioned bulldog to just look nice. At least I don't, there is a reason why it's called getting a dog in it's "top shape" (keep conditioning) and pit bulls have been outperforming other breeds for hundreds of years now.

    So, now that all of that is out of the way (when all I did was answer what I was asked, that shouldn't have lead to a debate here), carry on with the OT :)
  7. kady05

    kady05 Krypto Super Dog

    So why do you condition your dog? Out of curiosity. What type of events are you conditioning her for?

    FYI: I started this new thread because I thought this would make for some interesting discussion among members!
  8. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    Alright, here goes, I'll try to not get too riled up right before class starts :lol:.

    Offended? Well, yea, a bit. Considering the effort I put into my dog, and then to have someone not call her a "working" dog because she doesn't look the part. I've never seen a 'ripped' border collie, but I suggest you not argue that they are not working dogs to someone that owns border collies, lest you be teared a new one.

    What do you consider 'out performing' to be? I've never seen a pit bull out perform a whippet in lure coursing. I've never seen a pit bull out perform a border collie in herding. I've never seen a pit bull out retrieve a lab in a field trial. I've never seen a pit bull out perform a jack in GTG trials.

    Do pit bulls excel in what they were created for? Yes. But I fail to see how they have a history of outperforming any other breed.

    To say that what my dog does is not 'work' is like saying a CEO does not 'work' when compared to a construction worker.

    Why condition your dog if you're not doing anything with it? Why waste that potential?

    If you look into the keeps of dogmen, and there are plenty on this forum, you'll see there's more to conditioning that meets the eye. My favorite, and I don't remember what keep I read it in, but it says that the key is to keep something in the dog's mouth while conditioning it. It should run for miles with something in its mouth to condition it to remain able to be in a hold forever and not need to let go. Is this true? I don't know, I've never done it, but it makes sense.

    I never look at ADBA show dogs, who only have conformation titles, and think them to be better working dogs than my dog just because they look better than her. Prove it, is what I have to say. I can prove my dog's working ability, even if it's in "silly sports" as you say. But she has proven herself to be a well-rounded working dog, and she can prove it.

    But again, I would never have a dog and just show conformation, so I have a bias I guess :lol:.
  9. LovePup

    LovePup Good Dog

    Great idea Kady! I think this will be a very good topic.

    Honestly? As long as the dog isn't laying around in bed or on the floor I consider it "working". You Obedience train your dog, its sniffing something out I consider mental work. I am shocked someone said Weight Pulling Wasn't work. Weight pulling is a skill that can not only be used in competition, but at home too. Playing is work to a dog (Fun work!) and conditions them. Running, Swimming, Climbing, Jumping, Pulling, Pushing, Are all ways to condition a dog and train them for different 'sports'.

    At least to me it is. D:

    I love watching dogs that compete because you literally can watch them 'think'. Flyball. The dog knows it has to run as fast as it can, over the hurdles and get the ball and bring it back as fast as it can. Gears are turning because the dog is trying to figure out the best way of doing this. How early should it jump the hurdles, how late? How soon after the ball comes from the box should I catch it? Will I please my owner?

    I plan on training in Weight Pull. This alone is a sport that can be considered hard work. I plan on using this skill to not only (hopefully one day with successful training) to compete, but to do things around the house and yard. Hell You might see me one day with a dog strapped to a buggy pulling the kids as we walk! LOL.

    It just baffles me really what some people consider work, and to say sports are only to a degree work for a dog, has never watch the dog who is driven to do its job. Watched the dogs mind think, plan its strategy and finish it. They have never seen the dog push it's self to go faster, try harder. Even the sports them self condition a dog.

    0o; Am I looking at this wrong?

    BTW LL- THAT VID.... wow. I held my breath.
  10. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    I have two separate categories, "working dog" and "true working dog".

    To me a "working dog", is a dog that has the drive and train-ability to perform sport tasks, field trialling, herding tests, IPO/Ring Sports, tracking trials etc. Basically any dog activity out there. A dog that can perform, and succeed at those tasks in a controlled, measurable setting. More a statement to say that the dog enjoys working with its handler, or performing a task is above average.

    A true working dog is just that. A dog that may be without a conditioning routine, but performs a real life job. SAR dogs, K9 units, hunting dogs (bird or hog or anything else people hunt), farm dogs (herding, protecting livestock etc), guide dogs (real service dogs not ones that people claim to be service dogs so they can take their dog into Walmart) etc.

    So because a livestock guardian doesn't do a strenuous job it isn't work? That's absurd to me. Sheep farm just outside of town has a few Pyrenees that live with the mans flock of a few hundred. There are wolves, we have had cougars around, coy-wolfs and Lord knows what else. Even though those dogs are ripped, aren't ran beside a bike everyday or trained with cookies and hugs, those dogs perform a real job, every single day. That is a real working dog to me. It might not be "trained" as well as my dog, but my dog doesn't perform any comparable task.

    I love doing dog activities with my dog, it's a lot of fun. In years to come I fully intend on getting involved with IPO and hopefully French Ring if the breeder I speak with is still involved and able to help me, but the truth is, it is a dog sport. It's not real life. It doesn't mean that a dog that does well in sport cannot perform the real life task, but it most definitely is not a guarantee. There are plenty of dogs out there that excel in dog sport that cannot perform the task in a real working environment. Dogs that have tracking titles can absolutely flounder in a real life SAR. Dogs with herding titles in some cases would be absolutely useless to a sheep farmer. And some dogs that excel in the bite work section of IPO may not perform the same way in a real life setting.

    So I do understand where Joey&Zoey is coming from. Some of us are so involved in our dogs and dog activities that we forget the other side of things. That there are dogs out there that perform these activities to put food on someones' table, to actually save real humans lives and that in some cases, the training that goes into a "real working dog" is very different than our sport dogs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2012
  11. Kamdon

    Kamdon GRCH Dog

    Re: What is a "Working" dog?

    So by sometimes definition, a show and sport dog is a part time worker, and a dog that runs the fields and herds all day is a working dog? Interesting..... So because the dog has a part time job, it's considered not to be a working dog?
  12. adjecyca

    adjecyca Good Dog

    Anything physical or mental that challenges the dog is work to me
  13. Joey&Zoey

    Joey&Zoey Good Dog

    You all are taking this work thing wayyyyy too personal. Plus, I for one, AGAIN, never stated that a dog competing in sports, is not a degree of work. Again, it's like saying every human competing in a "sport" is all considered the same, when we're going to draw abilities out.
  14. LovePup

    LovePup Good Dog

    Because it is personal.
  15. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with a cowboy that I had the great pleasure (snort) of working with at a ranch. Great guy, taught me a lot of shit, but he was also kind of a douche.

    I ride english mostly. It's fancy, snotty, your horse does a lot of useless movements (in comparison to a horse that let's say ropes cattle). He used to mock and belittle women who would ask his opinion on their horse that they trained themselves, or spent thousands to have trained with so and so trainer, or horses that they spent tens of thousands of dollars on. He'd get on it, horses wouldn't stand still, he couldn't light his cigarette, or sit with his leg over the saddle, or someone would sneeze and the horse would spook. Horses were useless to him, someone who uses horses everyday to do a real task.

    I guess I don't take it personal because I admire "real" working dogs (and horses). I understand and can admit fully that what I do with my animals is for pleasure (yes I make money training, but I'm not training any of these animals for a real life task).

    I think the word "work" can be used two different ways. Do weight pull dogs "work"? That's work, like, working out at the gym. But it's not work as in, bringing home a pay cheque. I guess simply put, that's how I separate "working dogs" and "real working dogs". Bah, I'm rambling now... :D
  16. Celestial88

    Celestial88 Good Dog

    I consider weight pull, agility, flyball, dock jumping sports, etc... well they ARE sports.

    When I think of working I think of something a dog was bred to do that aided humans in some manner, flushing, retrieving, tracking, catch dog, sledding, service animals to an extent, ratters, herding, bomb detecting dogs, drug sniffing dogs, police dogs, starting to get the picture?
  17. Celestial88

    Celestial88 Good Dog

    But, it's also a bit of a double edged sword since some people say "I'm going to go work my dog" and mean work them out to get them fit. I'd call it conditioning or giving them a work out personally to avoid confusion. But it's a double edged sword. As far as a "Working dog" they have to as mentioned above.
  18. Joey&Zoey

    Joey&Zoey Good Dog

    Well than you have issues and anybody else who feels I targeted something on a personal level, to simply degrade or vouch as, less in value. As that's the way this was taken by apparently.

    It seems like, the offence is still being taken, simply because, I am not crediting one sport or somebody's personal efforts ONLY. When what I have been saying all along is the simple realism of true working dogs vs sport dogs.
  19. Celestial88

    Celestial88 Good Dog

    And to clarify, a dog who does sports I consider a sporting dog, yes there are some amazing sporting dogs out there.
  20. Celestial88

    Celestial88 Good Dog

    Sorry for the separate messages, I keep thinking of things too late

    LL does your girl only do artificial coursing and flyball? I wouldn't consider a Olympic sprinter a "working man" (or woman), I'd consider them a top of the line sporting athlete. But what job are they doing? Running their ass off.

    Now I'd consider a military person a working man/woman because they're doing something that's benefiting another. A working farmer providing crops, keeping his family alive, same with a rancher. And I wouldn't consider a bull/bronco rider a working man/woman.

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