Working Dog Theory

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Today I want to discuss a working dog theory and get everyone’s opinion on the idea and why people are so adamant that it works.  Although I really won’t weigh in on what I think, only giving the facts and the pros and cons, those who know me and my writing will probably know where I stand!  I am fascinated by the fact that this particular theory seems to work so well for so many.

Let me clarify, for today’s article working dog=police/military/competition dog.  This theory would not work for Guide/Service/Hearing working dogs.

As the theory goes; working dogs should not be treated as pets and are not pets.  Working dogs should be kept outside in a kennel and not live inside with their handler or owner.  The dog should be taken out a few times a day to work and some work related play is allowed.  It is believed that this aloofness creates a better working dog.

Let me be clear, I am not talking about people who leave their dogs in a kennel constantly and rarely if ever take them out at all; this type of treatment is abusive there is no question about it.

I am talking about police officers, military trainers and handlers and those that run kennels and some who train at a national or world level.   In order to have a quality working dog, they must devote the time to taking the dog out and engaging the dog in training, which is usually done several times per day.  And then they take the dog to work with them for 8 hours or more; these are not dogs rotting in a kennel 24/7.

Some police departments don't allow their officers to bring their police dogs in the home and treat them as pets.  Military dogs are NEVER taken home to live, they only live on base in a kennel.

Why It Works

The dog LIVES to come out and do his work!  This is in fact the only time the dog really gets to come out so he is intent on listening and obeying each command.  He pays attention with fervor and he wants to please his partner.  His whole life revolves around his training, playing control games and his work.

When he comes out of his kennel he is happy and animated and ready to work!

Not working well and ignoring commands often gets him remanded back to his kennel until he is more prepared and eager to work.  Mistakes are not ignored, and commands are expected to be executed immediately!  Commands are also never repeated, but behaviors are often repeated until they are accomplished with precision and only then are they rewarded.

He is given positive reinforcement, affection, praise, sometimes a yummy treat and a good game to play when he works well.

He normally gets to be involved in a large number of fun activities like; agility, retrieve games, detection work (sniffing), bite-work and all kinds of other behaviors the dog enjoys.

Defiance is rare because he wants to stay out and continue the training and playing as much as possible.  He is more than willing to refine his behavior and performance to perfection to get his rewards.

He doesn’t know where his handlers “buttons” are and probably wouldn’t push them anyway because he has only a working relationship with him.

Why it is More Difficult Once he becomes a Pet

Affection is lavished on our pets for just being…our pets.  We stroke them we talk to them and we coo to them, almost constantly.  We rarely ask them to perform tasks before petting them or showing them affection.

Living with someone allows you to find their weaknesses and exploit them (pushing their buttons) for your own needs, this isn’t just dog behavior this is mammal behavior!  Once you have found someone’s weakness, you can use it to your advantage when you don’t want to comply with commands or whatever you don’t find convenient!

Admit it; your dog has a certain “look” or behavior that you LOVE and think is totally adorable and when he does it, you allow him to get out of or away with certain things.

I use to have a Rottweiler that would jump in the bathtub whenever he thought he was in trouble or didn’t want to do something.  When he was young it was like pulling teeth to bathe him, so by jumping in the tub he was showing us he was still willing to please us in some way!

Living with a dog (or a person), means you are almost constantly asking them to do something for you but when they don’t immediately comply most of us don’t jump straight to enforcement.  Dogs get use to ignoring us because we drone on constantly and because we give so many commands and directions that we don’t enforce; we simply all get sloppy.

Precision and perfection are lost.  And dogs are rarely worked multiple times a day, some dogs are lucky to get worked weekly.

I think it is like a new relationship:   when you first begin dating you do everything right away to make sure things are going well and everything is successful; or perfect.  You listen to your partner, romance is almost constant and positive reinforcement is abundant!

Just don't get toooooo comfortable!

But once we have been with that person for months or years, we begin to slack and set up expectations that haven’t been reinforced and therefore are unrealistic!   Praise is rarely given and the relationship sometimes is strained and contentious.

I think, we as dog owners, spouses or significant others can keep the magic alive…if we are willing to do the work, invest the time and not get sloppy!  But, not getting too comfortable is definitely the key!

What do you think?

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  1. Kirsten says:

    Hmm. Maybe it’s true that working dogs are better at their jobs if they don’t have anything else in their lives to look forward to besides their jobs. But the same would probably be true of humans, and we would never advocate such a thing for ourselves. We recognize that humans need affection, comfort, and play in order to lead full lives, and that we’re not just machines for the accomplishment of work-related tasks. I would say the same is true for all animals, especially animals as social and gregarious as dogs!

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!


    Bobbe Reply:

    Amen, Kirsten!!!!! How horrible for these beautiful animals to be kept alone and isolated. That is torture for man and his best friend. What a way to treat a best friend.

    Give them all the love and attention they deserve; bring them into your homes and love them to pieces. They sooooooo deserve it!!


    Moni Reply:

    I totally agree with you. I’m not an expert or anything but as a long time “dog advocate” I’d say that even with some love and affection they’d still be able to do their jobs…


    Amber Reply:

    I agree!!! I love my dog to death and wouldn’t dream of isolating her at all. I feel bad when she’s at home alone for just a few hours! I try to take her wherever I go. I do agree we can get “sloppy” in our training, but animals need love too.


    Angelica Reply:

    I agree with Kirsten,plus, I want to say that there are exceptions because I met a police officer, who was off duty at the Vet with his dog and he said that his German Shepard was his companion and pet. He explained that only when he said the word, “work” his dog would transform and be on work duty otherwise he would be a normal pet. I thought that was intersting because his dog behaved no differently that any other dog at the Vet. But the man spelled the word and whispered it because he didn’t want to get his dog on work mode. I think that it is possible to train a dog to react differently under different situations!! Personally, I can relate because my dog seems to behave perfectly if we are in a dog obedience class of some sort but if we are just home she will be her typical distracted self.


    gloria Reply:

    I totally agree with Angelica’s reply. I work in a casino in Nevada and the most endearing and special bond that I have seen with a bomb-sniffing dog Branson and his handler is one of affection and mutual respect-Branson worships his handler who has incorporated games and some fun into his training–I have witnessed this for the last 2 years and am amazed at the special bond that these two have with each other. Other dogs and their handlers in the same casino are just working dogs and you can tell the difference in their behavior–they are adept at their job but it seems lackluster, compared to Branson and his handler–I love to watch them work together–it warms my heart !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    sylvia Reply:

    I do think that working dogs should have a family life with humans. We should not expect any creature ( dog or human) to live a life for work only. In my opinion dogs are clever enough to know the difference between work and home. Keep up the good work Dr Jon, many thanx


    Marie Reply:

    I totally agree. I have a very spoiled service dog. When she doesn’t have her vest on, she thinks she’s a person. When the vest goes on, nothing can take her mind off her job. I don’t hold any affection back. She’s treated and loved as a pet, but is always ready and willing to work. The time we spend together when we’re not working just makes us closer. It’s not the dog’s fault when we don’t follow through on a command. That’s up to the human to be more disciplined. They live to make us happy.


    Sarah Reply:

    My brother in law had a service dog that was kept inside with the other dogs. this was not recommended, however, he was the same as a dog above. he thought he was part of the family until he saw his vest come out event nothing to take his mind off going to work.

    Ire`ne Cannon Reply:

    I live in Israel and have been giving home to rescue dogs and cats since 1987. At present I have four dogs and three cats. I enjoy them but I am not unaware that certain dogs that are treated with to much cooing are losing a great deal.Two of my dogs are Cna-anim which is an Israeli desert dog. They are amazing dogs that have natural instincts.In 2004 I had another Cna-ani that had so much energy and was so clever that I realised that as a house pet he would have been a sad animal. I called a friend in the police who as soon as he saw him was ready to take him to train as a guard dog at a prison. He became there top guard dog. They don’t just guard but have all sorts of other duties they must learn. I was allowed to see him just once about a year after we had parted and I saw how focused he was and how happy he seemed and he remembered me. He had his own kennel and plenty of room to move. I know I did the right thing for him.

    When a dog is a working dog by keeping him/her in an enviroment that is a continuation of the work it does can only help the dog to stay focused and there by helping both the dog and us that may one day be saved by one of these working dogs.

    I believe dogs should be loved but not smothered they should know their bounderies but be a part of the family. I don’t believe in dressing dogs up or shaving their bodies in the summer. It’s done for the owners convenience not to make the dog more comfortable. Wash your animal at regular intervals and brush his fur if possible everyday and it will lessen the amount of hair in your home. Treat your pet with respect and a firm hand. Where there is mutual respect there is peace.


    Mark McLean Reply:

    Hi Guys, as a police officer with a working dog I disagree with Bobbe and Moni’s posts. My dog Zeus is a working dog, German Shepherd, he lives with my Wife and I at home. He comes with us every where we go, shopping, visiting, etc. He has to be around us 24/7. He sleeps outside our back door in a kennel.

    We play and train several times daily, play ball, tracking and agility games. When I am in uniform he knows it is time for work. He becomes a different dog, alert, keen and ready to go. An example is when he is in the car, off duty with my Wife and I and we are driving he sleeps on the back seat of the car for most of the journey. At work in the police car he is sitting up, constantly scouting outside the car. Harness on out of the car and it is all systems go.

    Dogs need a purpose in life, a job, I believe that my dog doesn’t think he has a horrible life, he has the best of both worlds, a loving caring family and home life, and a job that he absolutely loves doing and fulfils his need to work.

    All the best, Mark.


  2. Menachem says:

    I believe this can work for these “dog soldiers”. It has been my experience tha dogs are very military in their behaviors and respond well to commands, routines and work.


  3. Cathy says:

    I used to work for the RCMP and saw how the police dog squad interacts with their dogs. Yes they are like a co-worker more than a pet. However, after everything we know about these animaals; I think it has already been proven they will respond much better to a kind owner then being treated like a robot that gets turned on and used when required.


  4. Judy says:

    I can see the positive points in keeping a working dog in a kennel but I do not think it should be kept there all the time. A bit of “family” time with his/her owner and family would not hurt. After all it has been proven that dogs have feelings too.


  5. Betty says:

    A friend of mine is a retired New York City policeman and he had a canine partner for years. The dog lived at home with the family and was an excellent “policeman” as well as family member. He was trained to know the difference between job and home life and succeeded well at both.


    Moni Reply:

    Amen to that!


    Sylvia Kalliski Reply:

    Yes Amen to that!!! The dog respects his handler, what does it matter where he lives, he will always have that respect as long as the handler/owner requires it! A dog is no robot, he also needs some time off and love.


    Ralph Reply:

    Years ago, I lived one street over from a policeman, our backyards abutted. His working German Shepherd was often in his backyard. When I would work in my yard, the dog would come to the fence and put his forepawas on the top waiting for me to pet him. I don’t know but i would bet if I had tried to come into his yard, I would have encountered a much different animal.

    ANother example, when I was on active duty and stationed in Germany, I had an NCO with a German shepaherd he trained as a watch dog. When the dog was away from its home, I could pet it at will. When I knocked on the door of its homes I was met with a dog that was definitely in “work” mode.

    So, it seems to me keeping a working dog at home isn’t a bad thing.


  6. Dawn says:

    I believe that working dogs can and should go home with their handler because they will have a tendancy to get a closer bond with the handler,then the dog will perhaps be more willing to end his life before the handlers. He will be more than willing to protect that handler with his life. I am not thinking the dog should be able to go up on the handlers bed etc. but i do think an appropriate place (by the door) in the house should be executed for the dog to stay while he is at the handlers home. I don’t think a dog is going to get to spoiled at home if the handler has rules for it. (strict rules).


    Peta Reply:

    I have 3 working dogs who live inside the house with my family. At times they can be loud and boistrus, but loving and gentle at the same time and would die protecting us .

    My dogs do get up on my bed every morning when we have a cuddle and a play around. they love it and cant waite to be let in my room ( they sleep inside the house).

    Milatiary dogs in Australia live with their handler, recently a dog and his handler were killed in Iraque, the dog was brought home to be burried at his masters home. Those dogs give their lives in alot of cases and its a strong bond that makes a team.

    My dogs can be playfull and sometimes not listen to me but I can take them off leash without worry as they do not like to be too far from me. You have to set limits, but they know that sit means sit.

    Love them and live with them is our house rule and you have a friend and protector for life.


    Erika Beckers Reply:

    I never could understand why Military Dogs and Police Dogs have to put asleep when there work is over.
    Your Story and many others show that it is not necessary and I hope that will change soon. Erika


  7. Taita says:

    Frankly, I think that a working dog, would work better with the affection of it’s master or trainer. That doesn’t mean that there are certain things that are detrimental to their traning schedule. But they must be loved and given the attention they need.


  8. The Police dogs that I have known are all taken in to live with their partner. They are excellent. I belive the dogs should be taken in.


  9. Irene says:

    I tend to agree with Kirsten, I would never leave a dog of any kind, young old, or a working dog all alone when not working. This is very cruel, I baby my dog and the rest of my animals, which include my ducks and chickens, they were given to us to care for, so why not treat them with kindness and respect. This dosent mean I dont make them respect me also. So I treat them the best care and attention I can, they have feelings as well. Thank you for airing this question, I hope it make people think and appreciate all pets.


  10. Cynthia says:

    I believe due to the necesity of structure these dogs are given that having them live in a kennel with this much structure, they are living an excellent quality of life. Without the structure it would be cruel. If an officer had this much structure at home then yes let the dog live with him/her. With a family it is nearly always impossible to have perfect structure and to have the exptectations to ALWAYS follow through on EVERY command. It sounds like these dogs get enough structure, love affection, and treats to live a happy life.


  11. Gail Tillotson says:

    Under no circumstances should these dogs not be given a loving family. Dogs and people thrive together and show me a good working dog and I will show you one who goes home to a family or with his trainer.


  12. I have encountered a few police trained dogs and noticed that they dont
    display any affection. Perhabs they are trained this way.However taking
    in consideration how many pets are euthanized on an annual basis, even
    if they are the best. To give them a purpose and a new life is obviously
    a better choice. And it will also demonstrate to the public how many
    valuable services they can serve. Instead of qouting ” It is “just” a dog.


  13. Laurie says:

    I think all dogs should live in a real home, wether working dog or not. I couldn’t imagine not having the biggest reward of all-a family to come home to after working all day. What happens to these dogs when they retire? Do they know how to play? Do they know how to interact with other pets and humans? Have you ever seen a dog that never truly learned how to be part of a family/pack? They develop fears, aggression or other anxiety issues, do they not? Don’t dogs need a full life to be happy and well-rounded? Wild dogs/wolves work very hard to make a living, but they still have a home and loving/caring family members to hang with during off time. I realize that guard/police/military dogs are on many occasions required to be aggressive, but don’t they need to unwind too? I think it just takes the right kind of home for working dogs, not just any home, but still a home.


    Carol Anne Reply:

    I agree with you Laurie. I can maybe understand the idea of a work discipline when it’s their ‘career’ but will they then be too old when they retire to know how to interact with a family. After all they say ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!’

    I sincerely believe that dogs can differentiate between work and home life. When my dogs don’t act properly, it’s always my fault for being slack in my training or commands. Once I retrain and discipline myself, they soon pick it up again!

    I am thinking now that the dogs I have had from puppies never developed anxieties, fears or strange behaviours, BUT the rescue dogs I have had – although being lovely fantastic family members – did all develop some anxieties, fears and abnormal behaviours no matter how well they were treated and how loved they always were.

    I don’t like to think of any dog in kennels and will NEVER put mine in kennels or outside to live. I have dogs (pets) to be part of my family and be my friends. Otherwise what’s the point. However, with working dogs such as police/army, maybe a life like that is preferable to being treated badly, beaten etc., or even put down too early in life!


  14. Janet says:

    Good article. From what i’ve seen on tv and such about police officers who handle work dogs…is they love them like a pet. and i’d bet it’s the same in the military. in the work environment…even a dog having to live like a working dog lives..they are loved like pets. that’s how it is in this culture. those who love animals…love animals! those who abuse them need a good kick in the butt!

    i just returned from 3 years as a peace corps volunteer (pcv) in ghana…west africa. in africa…dogs…and cats…are food. and never ever pets! no one feeds them…they even beat them at times. most pcv’s get dogs and cats while serving…as pets. that is how one goes about changing a culture…subtly…by example. i had a cat there. all africans were afraid of that cat…and never would even consider letting it inside. it slept with me…and the young african that lived with me. it purred. they had no idea cats purr! but…i must admit…that african dogs and cats are different. they are not domesticated like cats and dogs are.

    i didn’t like the relationship africans in africa had with dogs and cats…but i could understand why.


    Netterine Reply:

    @ Janet, slightly off original topic

    I understand and respect the experience you had in Ghana, but I think you generalise a bit by saying cats and dogs are never pets. I live in South Africa, and work in a township, and a lot of dogs here are pets. Unfortunately they’re often not treated very well, as their owners are often too poor to even feed themselves properly, but they are pets.

    I know in the more under developed parts of Africa they are considered food, but that’s really worst case scenario, it’s definitely not the norm. And isn’t this the case in the Far East as well? It’s definitely not only Africa.

    Also, a dog living in an apartment like you often see in the US, is a very strange thought for me to get used to, because here we generally have the space to keep them outside. So yes, in that sense our pets are not as domesticated as yours, because they don’t need to be.

    Minette thanks for a thought provoking article. It was well worth the read.


  15. There are some police dogs that live with their handlers.That said, dogs are not furry little children. They don’t think like children although they do have some child-like characteristics. Having been brought up in a place with no indoor plumbing, I realized that one doesn’t miss anything that one doesn’t know anything about. A dog that has never lived in a house doesn’t really care about living in a house because he doesn’t know anything about it.

    If a dog is happy working, especially if he’s rewarded for doing a good job, let him work and be happy. There are a lot of dogs that live in houses with their owners that aren’t happy dogs. If the dog works better, is more reliable, and is quicker to respond to commands, if he doesn’t live in a house with his owner/handler (which he doesn’t know anything about anyway) it seems like a win – win situation. The handler gets a great working companion and the dog gets a happy life.


  16. Donna MacTear says:

    I know two working dogs, one which lives with her handler, and the other lives in the kennel environment. Neither of these dogs have suffered in anyway. I have to say that the one in the kennel gets lavished with just the right amount of attention (not spoiled), while the other one also gets attention, the handler sometimes has a hard time trying to stop the family from “spoiling” her. (food from the table, treats etc..)

    I am certain both ways can and do work for some of the working dogs (ie – dogs that need to maintain high “people skills”), but not convinced for all. Military and police dogs do very well in the kennel environment, the rules are obeyed by both people and animals, and are constant ( no inconsistancies). I say, ” if it ain’t broke……don’t fix it!!!”


  17. Hafren says:

    I agree with Kirsten and Irene. These animals should be treated with respect and love.I have known some officers who had their police dogs at home with them, and treated them well. These dogs did not let down the officer when it became time for the dog to work. I also had one of these dogs as a rescue dog, and I was amazed at how much he cared for me as his owner.
    We do not give these animals enough credit for what they are and to how they behave in emergencies.


  18. Leanne says:

    Yes,thought provoking. Competing in the dog world with my dogs/pets I have seen both theories being utilised by others. The working dog who is kenneled and only brought out to compete. The pet/working dog who has the best of both worlds. There is no difference in the performance of these dogs – but there is a difference in socialization. The kenneled dog does not know how to “play” in our world. I believe in a balance between work and play both in my own personal life and in my dogs’ lives. You can achieve an incredible working dog and enjoy all aspects of this relationship by having them be part of the home/family environment too.


  19. Jimmie R, says:

    Although the dogs may be receiving good training treatment -its the human love and living structure combined that affects their overall response to living among humans. My current experience with dogs visiting hospitalized humans tell me that they not only love and respect their owners they are willing to share that love with others as long as they are loved and respected by their owners.


  20. Angela says:

    I think all dogs have a pack mentality they are led by the leader(s) of the pack. All activities are to please the leaders even what we consider work.
    These animals could do the work they are trained to do and be a part of the pack without failing in their duties. As what they are doing is playing with their leader, making him/her happy and being rewarded in the process.
    Containing them to a kennel when they are not working is cruel and I imagine confusing to the dogs.


  21. Ruth Macdonald says:

    If a dog doesn’t build closeness to you how can he protect you. If that is all they know to live in a kennel what more can they expect. If you bring up a child in an orphanage – he doesn’t know anything else but if that were to change it would make a differenceto that child. I personally think it is inhuman. I have six rescue daxies and they thrive on human inter action.


  22. Sherry says:

    I think I have to agree to the point of the article written even though I have always had dogs and other animals in my home… THE main thing I think Should change is the OUTDOOR kennel I think a climate controled INDOOR Kennel with access for the dogs to also go outside would be more humane and loving for these animals


  23. Lisa Miller says:

    I believe all dogs including working dogs should never live in a kennel! It is not neccessary nor is it humane! I also believe it affects the life span, mental well being and performance of the dog.


  24. Gary says:

    First off let me say I would do anything for my dog including protecting him with my life. The idea that someone would send a dog out to take a bullet for a human is not much of an animal lover. So we cage an animal to help it keep focus. I know a lot of law enforcement people out there that would benefit from being caged up to help them keep their focus.

    My dog could/would do some serious hurt to someone given the chance, but I didn’t raise him to hate or kill anything, so I don’t expect he’ll ever get the chance. He watches birds, plays with cats and other wildlife outside, and he’s also very protective of our little neighbor girl, but at the same time if she wants to play with him she can with no fear of injury. Why? Because he doesn’t live in a cage where he can’t experience life. We don’t raise humans to live in jail cells, so why should we raise animals to life in jail cells. If you really only want a part time best friend, and you don’t want to be bothered the remainder of the time, find another human to hang around.


  25. Terry says:

    I’m on the fence on this, but tending toward having them at home. I can’t imagine not giving the dog love and affection and only using the dog as a worker doing a job. If it can be proven that having the dogs live with an owner/co-worker affects their ability to do their job, then I guess they should stay at the kennel. These dogs do a remarkable, very important job and we need them to be as efficient and effective as possible.


  26. Janet says:

    And how would YOU like it if your only interaction with people was WORK related?

    Not so much I’m thinking.


  27. Mary Klepac says:

    If this were true then it would also make sense to make them fight every day to keep them in “top fighting condition”. It is said that dogs have the mentality of a three year old. Who would treat a three year old like that? Are the “humans” who would advocate this all related to Michael Vick???


  28. Paul says:

    A dog should be part of the family.


  29. Janet says:

    At first I believed it was wrong for the dogs to be in a kennel and not at home but after reading the article I’m not so sure. I have had some exposure to military working dogs and from what I’ve seen they are happy and well adjusted. Canines may have feelings but if they are well cared for and rewarded etc., this seems to be an acceptable situation. This isn’t like a child misbehaving. A working dog such as police and miltary canines are relied upon to be like a partner and sometimes may “take a bullet” instead the handler. The situation is no different than military personnel living in a barracks with 75 strangers. Most of the time after the dog retires the handler adopts them. I don’t think competion dogs should be in the same category as police/military dogs. It’s a different type of work they are doing.


    Minette Reply:

    It really depends on the KIND of competition they are doing, yes I was not referring to the basic AKC type of obedience more national and world type of competition dog (Schutzhund, etc.) . Most of these people have multiple dogs that they compete with and their dogs do not usually live in the home.


  30. Sandra Taverner says:

    I do not believe that I have enough knowledge of working dogs to form an opinion, as we are presented with only one side of the story. I’d like to hear from professionals who handle working dogs and who do take them home with them, and the pros of this approach. I have 2 thoroughly spoiled shi-poos, and I can’t imagine not letting a dog live in a house with human companions, but my dogs are bred to be lap dogs, not working dogs. One thing that does concern me is what happens to working dogs who have never lived with humans once these dogs are retired. I have read of police dogs going home with their handlers upon the dog’s retirement. How well would a dog never having shared a human home adjust? As well, I do believe dogs are instinctively pack animals, and are happier with the companionship of at least one other dog. For this reason, I normally have two canine pets. I would like to think that working dogs that are kenneled have the opportunity to play with other dogs, but then this would reduce their motivation to be released from the kennel, I suppose.


  31. LouAnn says:

    When a dog is in special training, I don’t think exposing it to children, home invironment, or other family members would be in the best interest of the dog. Although we treat our pets as family and enjoy their companionship, that is not the case when a dog is partnered with a trainer that is controling his responses. This often causes incidents with outsiders that dogs do not understand and they may respond to certain gestures as commands. The dog does not process thoughts and experiences with the same comprehension as humans. Until it has been terminated from the work force, the trainer needs to maintain control of the dog’s experiences to protect both humnans and animals. Most can be introduced to home environments and family after their tour of duty/work.


  32. Gail says:

    Although on the surface this sounds cruel, it sounds like these dogs get more attention than the normal household pet. How many people spend probably 8 hours a day doing some sort of activity with their dog? Working dogs are bred for this and are not happy if they don’t have a job.Although some people let their dogs sleep with them, many put their dogs in a crate for the night.These dogs have lots of inter action with their handlers and I’m sure they would protect them. A trainer that competes internationally with his dogs said that his retired dog spends most of his time now sleeping on the trainers bed. I’m sure that dog has had a very good life.


  33. Peggy says:

    I feel a working dog should be allowed to go home with the trainer. They are sociable animals and I feel need to be more than a robot.

    It seems to me that a balance should be sought. All work is not what God put these animals on the planet for. That is man’s idea!


  34. Jerry Wyatt says:

    Some years ago while in the Army I had the opportunity to command a small detachment of sentry dogs and handlers for security of an air defense missle site. While these dogs were highly trained and could be very aggressive in appropriate circumstances, they were typically almost puppy-like during training sessions with their handlers. The dogs behaviors were radically differnt when outfitted with their “training” collars as opposed with their “working” collars. When working, they were as serious as a heart attack and approachable by no one but their assigned handler. When alone or in informal play with their handler during “free time” they behaved with the handler like most any other pet. However, not necessarily so with anyone else although considerably less serious than when “working”. I’ve seen “rescue” dogs respond amazingly well to respectful handling even though having been handled poorly for years, and even abused. Rehabilitation requires considerable time and patience, however. I firmly believe that it would be a travesty to waste a good animal because its life’s work is about to change. Patience and care can do wonders.


  35. Sue Williams says:

    I don’t see a problem with having dogs living in kennels as long as they are not left there without company for days on end. I live in New Zealand and our farm dogs are not considered family pets. I personally have 8 dogs. We have a small property (14 acres) and I do agility with some of them. Some of the dogs live inside and some live outside. They all have company outside in kennels while I am at work and get run morning and evening together. I work each competition dog seperately so they get one-on-one attention.
    The attention they do get is more focused because I am not ‘noticing them’ everytime they do something that irritates me. They have set routiines in their day and sleep most of the time they are kennelled.
    I have no doubt in my mind that should I need ‘protecting’ they would do that, but on the other hand I don’t need a dog that attacks in the mistaken idea that I need them to protect me if someone comes onto my property.


  36. Paula Powers says:

    I believe that since dogs were bred to please us that they would whether living in a cage or not. They are companion animals and man is their chosen companion. We owe it to them to not only use them and their skills to assist us, but we need to nourish and encourage the love and affection they feel. A dog will work harder, longer for someone that he/she loves than they will for a mere “handler”. It may seem like a military dog is only for work and not play, but remember the dogs that have been rescued from Iraq, Afganistan and other places that were strays. They were loved and fed by soldiers. They repaid that love by saving their lives-there are stories where these “homeless strays” gave their lives for the soldiers they loved-would a military dog do that? If ordered they sniff out mines and explosives, if ordered they scout for hidden enemies, if ordered they do most everything including dying but as for love-that is the unknown ingredient that will make an untrained stray do pretty much the same thing so, no I do not believe that they should be kept in kennels.


    Paul Reply:

    Rescued strays are NEVER, EVER used as military working dogs. We select them as puppies and they are trained from a VERY young age.


    Paula Powers Reply:

    I never said that stray dogs could be used as military dogs are-what I said was that stray dogs that were adopted by military personnel had on occasion given their lives for their soldiers when insurgents broke into where they were sleeping. I am not stupid enough to think that a stray could do that work if not trained for it. I still do not believe that military dogs belong in kennels, they should be with their handlers 24/7 just like most police dogs are kept. A dog that loves you and gets love in return, that has its emotional needs fulfilled makes a much better working dog. I did say that a dog that loves a person will be more willing to do for that person than a dog that is merely trained to do a job-dogs are not robots-they are thinking, feeling beings and have needs that only humans can fulfill.


  37. Stacey says:

    On one hand it is understandable that given the extreme circumstances that these dogs are often placed in, that their environment would need to be as structured as it is described. Their handlers do not want mistakes or hesitations to be made. But we could also argue, how structured are their handlers’ lives? People can be very disciplined as well but lets face it, we’re not perfect so how can we expect perfection from an animal? It doesn’t seem right. I personally know several dog trainers who when ‘working their dogs’ say for a show, have pretty extraordinary, basically perfect performances from their dogs and yet these dogs live at home with their trainers, as ‘house’ dogs who are not kenneled – they play outside, sleep on their owners’ beds, get plenty of attention, etc.

    It is virtually impossible not to get ‘sloppy’ with training especially if there are multiple people in a household – there is usually one person leading the training & then trying to not only keep up with the dog but with the rest of the household as far as being consistent & following through with commands. Still think there could be some kind of ‘happy medium’ – if you want perfection, get a machine & even they aren’t perfect sometimes!!!!!


    Minette Reply:

    EXACTLY!! 🙂


    Fred Reply:

    We have two Rottweilers, bitch 2 years and dog 9 months as pets. we prepare them for IPO competitions. It was also suggested that if you want to succeed in IPO that it is best to keep them in a kennel. We have made the choice not to do that and keep them in the house as family.

    As to sloppy training – well, we are reprimanded every day during training that we as handlers needs more training than the animals. They will work and give their best. you as a handler should also do your best and that means getting to get the dog to work/play on a daily basis. lots of love and socialising works wonders.


  38. Judy Robertson says:

    I believe the bond built as a pet would make the working dog even more intent on pleasing it’s owner and even more dedicated to it’s job. It’s the consistency of “command/reward” that assures the outcome so I disagree with constant kennelling. Seeing eye dogs are an excellent example. They have a very serious job and yet the ones I have known were pets as well. Excellent training for dog and owner would be the ruling factor I think.


  39. SmithD says:

    I have owned six dogs in my life of different breads , the first being a mixed Black Lab / Shepherd. He was one of the best hunting and guard dogs
    that I and quite a few people won’t forget. There are some who don’t
    believe a house dog makes a good hunting dog. Well just like the police or military working dog. A dog who is well trained will perform because he
    loves to please his trainer, especially when they are praised and rewarded.
    I know of a military handler who was having chow with his K9 sitting behind
    his seat. He turned around to look at the dog and the dog jumped up and
    bit him in the face. What happened there ? Is this a case like the circus
    animal , who gets fed up with maltreatment and lashes out? , and we have
    seen what takes place when it is an elephant ! It’s my belief that a good
    trainer and well picked dog can and should live in house with it’s
    handler , it makes the K9 more faithful and bonded.


  40. Margie says:

    I have always thought it mean to keep a dog (make it live) in a kennel. Lately there have quite a few articals on the closness of military dogs and their handlers. These heroic animal have done amazing work,and the loyalty they have towards their handlers is incredable. These dogs are the “camp’s pets” when not working, and many of them even sleep with their handlers. Also many police dogs are the “family dog”, when they and their partners are off duty.

    Sure a dog could be kept in a kennal and trained to do a job. But for them to go beyond that training (as many of them do), I think a bond needs to be formed between the dog and handler, which can only be formed by spending more than just training time with the dog. When you love and care for a dog, even a “un-trained” dog will do miraculas things for his/her beloved human.


  41. Paul says:

    Why does everyone keep saying the dogs need interaction and affection? It’s clearly stated in the article that they get, at a MINIMUM, 8 hours of interaction EVERY day and a great deal of “fun” time. How many of the responders can honestly say they give their dog(s) 8 FULL HOURS of truly interactive time EVERY day? Not just being in the same room, but really involving time? I’ll bet the number is zero.


    Vet tech VTS Reply:

    This whole article harkens back to the days when horses were broken as opposed to trained but the natural horsemanship movement has lifted the veil on the former barbarism perpetuated by a bunch of bullies, and so it needs to be with the ignorance of repeatidly isolating a PACK ANIMAL away from its pack. These bullies du jour would be surprised how easily their working dogs can transition between business and pleasure if they would work WITH the beast’s natural proclivities instead of consigning them to a man-made existence! Sheesh!


  42. Susan says:

    We live in Florida. Within the past month a local community lost a working dog which lived just as the article suggests. The officer was home for a couple of hours in the late morning/noon. He put the dog in his kennel. When he went back out, it was dead. He had a heat stroke. If he was allowed to live in the house, he would still be alive.


  43. CJ says:

    I think we should never put human feelings on a dog. Although I love my dogs, I don’t think dogs love people. Dogs can be wonderful pets, working dogs, or feral animals. They fit every category. Dogs are versatile, make great companions, work to serve their masters/owners, whatever they want dogs to do. That is NOT to say that ANY animals should be abused, either. If the dog’s being in a kennel keeps that dog able to accomplish what he is intended to do, then that is the best lifestyle for that dog. To each their own…….


    Karleen Reply:

    I agree with what you say, CJ, except for one thing. I’m sorry you don’t feel dogs love people. In all honesty, I don’t understand how human and animal emotions should or could be so different. Our intelligence, yes, but emotions…. I know my dogs love me. There is no other explanation for the way they look at me, interact with me when no food or other reward is involved, greet me as if I have been gone for days when it has only been minutes or hours – I could go on and on. I have to ask – WHY should we never put human feelings on a dog?


    Merle Ann Reply:

    I so agree with you…I am the owner of my first ever dog (a mini French Poodle) and he is a joy and has made me feel so wanted and happy…It is amazing…:O)


  44. Sharon says:

    Actually, we do advocate such structured lives for our military … especially when they are on duty. There is little affection, comfort, or play on the front lines, and that’s so that they can effectively do their job and remain alive.

    As for having nothing to look forward to but their jobs … I have owned German Shepherds throughout my life, along with a few other breeds. Shepherds (and most of the military dogs, Belgian Malinois, etc.) need a “job” … if you don’t give them one, they will choose one for themselves (not one you’ll necessarily appreciate!).

    The fact is (as I understand it) these dogs are only in the kennels during rest (which they need). The remainder of the time they are training, conditioning, or “doing their job.” As for “play,” most well-trained competition or working dogs see their job as “play”… as soon as they perform the required “task” they get to play with their toy/ball/whatever. The time spent alone isn’t much different than an owner leaving the house for 8-9 hours to go to a job.

    The dogs are regularly exercised, well fed, cared for, and they have a “job.” They are never truly “alone” – they have kennel mates nearby, and their trainer/handlers spend much of their own working time with their dogs.

    Not a choice I would make, but I believe the dogs are happy, fit and well-adjusted. Dogs do not need to be treated as humans, they need owners who understand what makes for a happy, well-adjusted animal. Treating them as children too often leaves them, sadly, overfed, unfit, undisciplined and often, dangerous. Working dogs need the discipline to be crisp, obedient and effective. It is more likely they and their military/police handlers will survive that way.

    No dog should be left unattended, whether in a kennel or tied to the garage or back porch for hours/days with only food and water and no interaction. I believe that is indeed abusive to an animal who needs not only a “job,” but also to be an interactive part of a pack, whether human or canine.


  45. Barbara says:

    The “theory” sounds great, and I’m sure it produces some good police/military dogs, but I honestly can’t see why a little love and affection wouldn’t make them even better. I understand that they can’t be allowed to lose their direction and sharpness, and be “house ornaments” when they’re off duty, but I think they would perform better for love than just duty.


  46. Witz says:

    As most of the submittals here there is the usual lack of experience and clear misunderstanding of the process of raising, training and proofing a dog that is going to be in one of these jobs. The majority of the “kenneling” approach is critical to the dog understanding it’s job. The jobs vary and the level of skills vary. Most patrol police canine are socialized so they can interact with the public and once their training is proofed, can live within the family setting. Military training can be a whole different thing, depending on the job that the dog will have.
    Remember many of these dogs have been bred to be more then the average “pet” owner would even know how to deal with their temperaments and drives to be effective at theri job.
    The questioned posed is much more complex then “is it right to kennel a dog fulltime”. Unless you have been actively involved with this world the ability to answer can not just be based on an emotional guess.


  47. SJR says:

    I agree with the article and the way a working dog is trained and treated. I have owned dogs all my life and also grew up with horses, so I completely understand the need to “work” animals on a daily basis. I currently have an Australian Shepard 7 1/2 yrs old and a Doberman 1 yr old. They are both dogs that love to work and please me and are most content when they are working.

    I started showing dogs this spring and my Dob is my first show dog. Because of the requirments of the show ring, I have raised my Dob in a way slightly different from my other dogs. I am still learning a lot about different training methods and do instill methods similar to the ones in this article. My Dob is not confined all the time that I am not working her, but when she isn’t confined, she is with me and I am interacting with her occasionally to make sure she remains responsive to me.

    From my recent experience, especially when the puppy is young, this sort of constant attention/training and confinement method really speeds up the learning and bonding process. This way, when you are not around and unable to monitor your pup, there is less of a chance for him/her to develop bad habbits. When you are around, you can give an immediate correction or praise because you are completely focussed on your dog.


  48. Mike says:

    Sharon is right. None of our pets will be required to do what military/police dogs do. These dogs are in this environment from puppy-hood on, they don’t know any different. Happiness is one thing, contentedness is another. I’m sure these dogs are quite content, and with dogs that equates to happiness.
    Further, these dogs know their kennel IS home. A safe place where they can rest. When it thunders, my dog goes to her kennel if I’m not home.
    To her, it is safe thee.
    Lastly, I know first hand what these dogs are required to do in combat.
    Hesitation is not an option or they do a dis-service to their handler.
    Many a dog have saved a soldiers life.


  49. Jean says:

    We have our dog as a companion dog so he will not be kenneled. Good behaviour that makes for a good family life is desirable and worth working for with our dog.

    It seems to me that it depehds why and where you hae a dog, that should dictate the cercumstances of their lives.


  50. Barbara Haynes says:

    I understand and can visualize both scenarios, however, I think it is cruel to kennel any dog for long periods of time on a regular basis. I believe our dogs call them dogs, pets, or whatever, “want to please us” and if they have “good training” a handler can get the same results as he thinks he can get by “not getting close to the dog” on a regular basis. I think “people” have a lot of “head problems.” I recall appraising a home and they had large show dogs, all in kennels in a row in one room. What a “sad” “lonely” and “BORING” life! What is good for the animal is good for the human, for the most part. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.


  51. Char says:

    I can see both sides of this issue. As long as there is no abuse on the military side and as long as there is not too much lack of discipline on the pet side of the issue, then I think either would work. But I would really like to see a true comparison study done, which probably has been done. If an animal is caged, the owner has to really be on top of the situation to keep it from turning abusive and even dangerous.


  52. Eileen says:

    Interesting article. Puppies socialize best around 12 weeks and after that, your window closes. I wouldn’t have any problems with true working dogs being put into a kennel when not working provided they have been socialized. Once they have been, then it would be easier for them to maintain their ability to exist among humans.


  53. Gail says:

    I don’t believe a dog won’t work if it is given love and affection. You only have to see Cesar Milan’s dogs to see that but I think there are some families that wouldn’t keep with the rules of giving affection at the right times so probably working dogs’ families would have to be trained first and then I think a dog that is working for the love of working and the love of its handlers would be an even better working dog. I guess even children would work better if we were more careful about when we give affection and attention :)) but we shouldn’t withhold companionship and love from anyone or anything.


  54. Candace says:

    for the initial training, Yes they need to be kept kenneled, I can understand that. A young dog would have a hard time understanding the difference. But then again. a young puppy is not the age required for this kind of training. So if the trainer/partner, raised the puppy at home to the age of training, the dog would be use to the family life and would then be able to make the transition after boot camp per say. After a hard day at work, the dog deservers to have down time to relax and let go. A dog that gets to relax fully, would be better able to give it his all for his trainer/handler/partner. And, when its time for that dog to retire, it will be so much easer for him to acclimate to home life. A police dog, that has never really known home life, would have a very hard time learning to let go of the job and would not be able to be trusted in a home. And That, would be a real shame. A dog puts its life on the line for you every day and in return when its to old to work any more it then has to live in a kennel or be put down.


  55. Don Harris says:

    ON your post: If the police & especially the Army does it with kennels, they know what they’re doing from 3– years of experience.

    My three dogs are “Family”. We love them , each one and all. Roudy, a coocapoo, does tricks better than the others, but his quirks are interesting. New years eve & 5th of July he spends in my lap. ut when company comes, he becoms the defender of the fort! I have suggested he recognizes the Vet who Neutered him and wants to get even. Rowdy came from our daughter when he was about 6Wks old.

    Smokie, a Black Kkiperkey/Palm mix, is a lover. He will sit in your lap and remind you “it’s time to Pet me”, with his paw. Smokie was a mistake… I asked my wife if she would like to visit the Pound. BIG MISTAKE!


  56. Karleen says:

    After reading through these comments, I think some people aren’t reading the entire post. As far as someone saying kenneling is cruel or that dogs are not machines or robots and shouldn’t be left alone when not working – you point out in your post – “He is given positive reinforcement, affection, praise, sometimes a yummy treat and a good game to play when he works well.” Working dogs are happy, they are given affection, praise, treats and get to play games! They are with their handlers usually 8 hours a day. Dogs also need time to rest and do spend a lot of time sleeping if left alone, which is probably what these working dogs do when they are kenneled. How many of us who keep our dogs in the house, on our beds,etc, and I am one of those, can honestly say we spend 8 hours a day in constant companionship with our dogs and are able to get them to do as we ask after ONE command? These are working dogs, not family dogs. They have a job to do, whether it’s saving lives or sniffing out drugs. These dogs are totally different, as you pointed out Minette, than our family dogs and the situation is totally different than someone leaving their dog in a kennel all day while they are at work. Show dogs are another matter. I will only say I am a proponent for spaying and neutering, so that should indicate where I stand on someone keeping a dog kenneled for the purpose of showing it.


  57. Brenda says:

    I think dogs, all dogs, need love and connection with all types of humans. I do think dogs love and I know they love to please us. They need the social conditioning no matter what they do in life, just as humans need that. Put them in a loving home with their own place to rest and let them know that their down time is shared with humans. The next day, they go out and do their jobs just like everyone else.
    My children were in Dog 4H while growing up, and had Shelties to work for the fair. These dogs (3 of them) won at the County Fair and got to go compete at state fair. They lived in and around us all the time, yet when the leashes came out they were ready to go and do their job and became extremly close to the child that trained them.


  58. Muntaqa says:

    I do agree that working dogs are more obedient and that all work dogs should learn to respect what there owner says. But I think house dogs are not used to the life of kennel and though should be trained… should not be in the kennel as much as work dogs.


  59. debbie koop says:

    Many Police Dept. do indeed let the handlers have them at home. Some of the Military dogs share barrack visiting and a lot of search and rescue dogs belong to independent people volunteering thier services.
    In my opinion, I’m sure each situation is treated with respect and knowledge of the dogs whether they be kenneled or part of the family life.
    After all, every dog is different. Right?


  60. Corina says:

    My concern is: What happen when the dog can’t work any more?…


    Don Harris Reply:

    The LVMPD K-9 Detail consists of sixteen officers and twenty-five dogs

    Your K-9 Teams are invited to participate in the 20th Annual Las Vegas Police K-9 Trials, sponsored by Friends for Las Vegas Police K-9’s and hosted by the Ls Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

    We will be offering tactical K-9 deployment training seminar on October 21, 201

    People quite often ask what happens to our partners when they retire. Here at Metro, the handlers purchase the dog for a small fee and allow them to live out their life. We do not sell or give away the dogs outside the Department. This has never been an option, and never will. Our K-9 partners mean too much, and I can’t think of a handler that would allow it.

    Mor info:


  61. Don Harris says:

    I’m sold!~ Can you get me a 6′ cage, for my wife?:_)
    we have 3 dogs, Never caged. trained with a ‘doggie door’ They pretty much have full run of the house.
    The “Down” command is 2 fingers on the shoulder and a whispered “get down”. Obedience is immediate.
    The come command is “Pst…Pst” He can hear it from almost anywhere in the house and comes immediately.

    The dogs, all 3 are “second chance dogs”, love treats and will do anything they understand for something special. Most of the time it’s just affection though.

    Our daughter had 2 really cute little Puppies. She put down Pee Pads and they chewed them up before using them. It wasn’t untill she bought Cages for them that she won the house training battle. The dogs were eager to go outside when allowed out of the cage. The process pretty much solved the problem.
    When we Got Lady from the same daughter, she had been ‘Crate trained’… It tookabout 24 hours for her to decide the house was hers!
    Cages work, occasionally when other methods fail. But Love is the fundamental principle I use now, and wish I had seen more clearly when I was raising my kids.


  62. Sherry says:

    My husband Steve and I agree, that this is a whole new era. Hopefully we are evolving. Bonding with your pets means treating them as valuable ,respected and much loved members of your family.
    Steve’s dad had working/hunting dogs over 40 years ago. The dogs were kept outside in a kennel and used for hunting.
    I have always had dogs and cats that were as valuable as my other family members and lived inside with us as part of our family.
    I introduced Steve to this concept when we met.
    He now is an advocate of this idea and feels that how his dad handled their dogs was insensitive. However that was all his dad knew. His dad was a good man.
    We know better… We have comfy pet beds for our rescue Lab and for my cat. However we welcome them joining us to cuddle at night or in the morning and they both do on a regular basis.
    We give them exercise,play,respect and affection and we get it back.
    Working dogs for individuals with disabilities are always trained in a family setting. It is all about bonding/ mutual respect and love…
    The more an animal feels they are loved and respected the more they are willing to also give back. It is a win/win situation and common sense.
    It is no different to how people react when they are treated with love and dignity.


  63. Gayle says:

    Hi, very interesting post.Are some comments suggesting these dogs aren’t LOVED? ITS TRUE, they are working dogs, but the handlers job is to be the Centre of the universe to these dogs. They DO love their dog, DO have FUN, are trained to a high level of communication, have excellent interaction time throughout the day, are well exercised and have high quality food and care. Its about time people understand that just letting a dog live inside, without the above, is NOT love, its not spoiling a dog.
    Loving and spoiling a dog is to give it what it needs to be fulfilled as the animal it is.
    QUALITY FOLKS! QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY. After all, even inside dogs are left alone regularly! (and often ignored all day)
    ( the way, living at a kennel is not boring for the dog, they are very busy places, most dogs enjoy the constant commotion, along with training grooming exercise etc.
    All that said, my dog lives inside, is trained to a high level, including obedience (CDX) & assistance skills and I believe all dogs should live inside. I would also not leave my dog at a kennel, but thats just me.


  64. Narry Moyer says:

    I disagree, I have trained champion herding border collies ans they all lived in the house and were wonderful pets. But when it was time to work sheep they alwyas rose to the challange.


  65. Charles says:

    Working dogs are still a pack animal; if they are treated differently it may affect the outcome in the field.
    They should live with their handlers and maintain their ability to exist among humans.

    September 27th 2011.


  66. Cliff W. says:

    Good question – good discussions/arguments.

    It appears that the”kennel only” advocates are thinking that all dogs are alike; have the same needs, personality, and responses. That is no more true of dogs than it is of people. You can “condition” both, subordinating their individual personalities. That may work, but is it right?


  67. Carolina says:

    I believe is ok for these dogs to stay in their kennels. As Chet said, these dogs are not trap in their kennels 24/7. They go out and workout, learn and help socieaty. I imagine that when they are in their kennels they rest, they are not anxious or panicking as normal PET dog would be. I would never live my dog in a kennel thou and I wonder do these dogs get in a kennel with other dogs or By themselves? That would make a difference too



  68. Maura Rudden says:

    All of these reply’s are extremely viable and truthfully I do not have anything to add but I would like to relate a small story: When one of my grand daughters was approximately 2 years old we went to the County Fair. The local Sheriff Department and CHP had their guard dogs to show to the public and explain some of the dog’s duties. My daughter and her family raised Rottweilers and I also had a big male (165#). The grandchildren would take their naps on the dogs and my dog actually pulled this grand baby away from the fireplace by her diaper. As yukky as it sounds these two also shared bones. She would take it away and then give it back to him. Our dogs were not neutered at the time. This day my daughter had the baby in the stroller with a harness on so that she could walk also. We are walking by the officers as they are showing the Rottweiler, who is sitting there absolutely perfect, and my grand daughter goes up to him and kisses him right on the nose. You can imagine all of our fright and the officers also, but this beautiful dog just let her kiss him and stood right where he was. Oh yes, this could have been tragic except for the fact this officer had trained his dog AND the dog was part of a family unit. We did keep in touch and when the dog retired (with the officer) he had a wonderful home to go to. I do not advise or condone this type of behavior but children as well as pets must be trained.


  69. Sammie says:

    I believe that every dog military police or pet needs socialization.He needs the opportunity to be part of a family and learn to be with people as well as with other dogs. A military police dog needs to love his handler and respect him. In our location the police dogs live in the house with the handler and his family.


  70. Freedom Elom says:

    Thanks for your professional article on dog training.All that is in the article is true.


  71. gabrielle says:

    I think working dogs also like to be by themselves,so if they get enough training,working and playing during the day,they can easily be in a kennel the rest of the time.I believe in quality vs quantity.


  72. Carinna Burnett says:

    My dog lives outside in a pen and hasn’t been listening to come at all! How do I get her to listen again? I know it’s probably cause I got sloppy but how am I suppose to correct her when she’s half way across the yard? I get tired of saying NO all the time just so she’ll listen!


  73. Minette says:

    Wow! Great discussion! The irony is that when I wrote this article I was flanked by two dogs on top of me and one at my feet.

    Although I admire the responsiveness and performance of working dogs, I could never keep my dogs in a kennel either! My dogs are pets and companions first and competition and working dogs second.

    Never was I implying that these working dogs (of which I write) were not loved nor did they lack in affection when they come out to work! That is the true question, or conundrum, they are loved probably as much if not more than many pets!

    Having been to many, many seminars and training sessions given by world renown trainers and competitors, I have often admired their dog’s immediate response and adherence to all commands despite the distraction. Most of them will tell you their dogs do not live inside with them and that is part of the reason they respond so well (yes they deserve and get a climate controlled kennel). So I have always wondered where I sit on this issue.

    My dogs also suffer from ignoring me on occasion and I know that is partly because they are spoiled 😉 But, I guess my point is admitting the problem and that “spoiling” can cause a problem and there are ways to find a happy medium and not get too comfortable so you can have the best of both worlds together under the same roof! or WOOF 🙂


  74. elathur jk says:

    I was a dog handler, when I used to put my dog into the crate after every search I felt sorry for them but no other option also .


  75. Laura Tinoco says:

    I show my dogs sometimes, but it is pretty hard for them to be in kennels during the whole day and the handlers only work with them,and back to the kennel.
    That should be ocassional.I think dogs deserve love and cares and they behave in avery particular way if handlers do not offerlove and care to them. You see them at the ring wagging their tails,and the way they look at the handler means a lot about how the handler behaves with them.
    But mainly a dog should be a pet and stay most of the time at home.
    About working dogs, I think it is the same. If we work the whole day, we have in mind that at the end of the daywe will return to our home with the love of our family. If dogs are separated from that care and love, they become only working machines and disposable dogs when you don’t need them.I believe that even though the dogs would be working very well, they bemome more stressed. Does somebody know at what ages those dogs die or stop working because they cannot be used because of emotional exhausting?


  76. Shalene says:

    Personally, I believe that this is an excellent example of “nothing for free” style of training. These dogs get the attention that they need to thrive, but do not get the attention for free. They do not to get the lavished attention companion dogs do on a regular basis. I myself even give my dogs attention just for being in the right place at the right time but it does make it so that my dogs think, at times, that they can get away with behaviors that are not acceptable in my opinion. These dogs are not supposed to second guess their handlers, handlers cannot afford to have a dog who suddenly does not feel like preforming a command (like companion dogs do at times), sometimes lives are at stake and a working dogs behavior can save a life but ONLY if they preform their tasks without fail, every time.


  77. Carmen says:

    Is it not all about trust. To get a dog to trust you is the key to difficult tasks. So the kennel dog gets his negative reinforcement everytime he is taken back to the kennel, not so? If he lives with the owner he gets his comfort / positive reinforcement after work / training by being allowed to stay with the pack ( handler)! In my opinion this is the way to built a great working relationship and helps to built the trust to the handler. If I aske my dog to jump through a window ( in the 4th floor) she will, not because I have trained it, but because she trust me.


  78. steephen says:

    i am not fully accord with your idea that the working dog shouldnot treat with pet dog if the dog gets proper training/ intimation what are the duteis and then it understands properly then it can be treated as pet or stay with handler /owner .



    Golden rule of human life is moderation in everything.Same is applicable in a dog’s life.More disciplined regime of a dog in a military kennel and somewhat linient regime of a pet dog, if applied in modeartion, can make best happy canine friend of a human.


  80. Jacquie says:

    I get the point of being aloof, I understand the theory behind it and have no real knowledge to argue otherwise but I’m not sure I have the strength or will power to home a working dog.

    Our gorgeous Golden Retriever is very much like our child. He is a pet after all, and not a “working dog”. But the love and devotion we show him in our home is, undoubtedly, the devotion he returns to us. He sleeps inside on a huge cushion and is talked like he is human. He is one spoilt pooch. But he listens to us and obeys us 100% when we do require obedience. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.


  81. Dennis Brown says:

    Well a working dogs need attention, love and care, keeping a working dogs in a kennel is the best way to treat a working dogs but the handler most be around to release the dog every 4 hours for he or her business because is not good to keep dogs in a kennel the own day.


  82. Linda Costa says:

    I think working dogs should be allowed to stay in the home not in a kennel. If they are being trained and going to work everyday they are not going to slack off. If anything I think it will make the dogs perform even better. Dogs need the love and acceptance we can give them.


  83. Tom says:

    I don’t think anyone realizes what TRUE TRAINING is for a working Police/Military dog.
    Most of you will say that you have ‘trained’ your dog. Ok. It’s probably the usual ‘sit’, ‘heel’, ‘come here’, and ‘stay’ etc commands, right? And…I’ll bet that most would say that they spent one or two hours each or every other day ‘training’ their dog.

    Try TRULY TRAINING your dog for EIGHT HOURS EVERY DAY. Yes…..EIGHT (8) HOURS EVERY DAY. I bet you can only imagine what you could get your dog to accomplish if you spent that much time with your dog every day.

    A K-9 handler spends a MINIMUM of 8 hours every day training their dog. It’s VERY RIGOROUS and he subjects his dog to almost EVERY situation imaginable. I’m not talking about the ‘USUAL’ training that a normal dog owner does. Try subjecting your dog to gunfire right next to them, a LOUD siren, 100 or more people screaming, crying, etc, ‘things’ (rocks, bricks, sticks, chains, etc) being thrown at them, different animals AND humans jumping out at them from behind a building or car, and subjecting them to exploding devices (remember how loud a cherry bomb sounded? Quadruple it!) These are only some of the REAL scenarios that happen regularily on just an 8-hour shift on the streets and alleys of the ‘real’ world.

    That’s why a K-9 handler spends at LEAST 8 hours each day with his dog. He NEVER knows what type of situation that he will encounter on his shift, and to truly TRAIN a dog to do ANYTHING…yes, LITERALLY……with only a finger, hand, or whisper command takes 8 OR MORE hours to accomplish.

    A few of you have stated that a dog doesn’t know how to ‘love’; you are incorrect. A dog not only LOVES…but he LOVES UNCONDITIONALLY. The best way to say it would be to spell D O G BACKWARDS. He not only knows how to love, but was BORN TO LOVE. That’s why he’s called ‘Man’s Best Friend’. And, a dog does NOT HATE. He may ‘dislike’ something/someone, but he’s incapable of ‘hating’.

    About keeping ‘working class’ dogs in kennels; Some handlers use kennels and some do not. The ones that do, do so only for short periods of time, and only for good reasons. Some examples are; to let their dog rest peacefully ALONE after a really rough day/night of running, jumping, being overwhelmed by lots of loud noises, to let a bitch whelp some pups, and for TEMPORARY boarding. MOST handlers take their dogs home.

    The idea that just because a Police dog or Military K-9 is trained to stop, bite, and even kill a human is a reason to not take a dog home to be around a family is a myth. Remember….after a handler spends 8 HOURS (or more) of Training a dog EVERY DAY, he KNOWS his dog VERY WELL…and his dog KNOWS him. The person that stated that her young daughter walked up to a completely strange Rottweiler and kissed him on the head is a PERFECT example of just how well-trained a dog can….and should be. That dog KNEW from instinct that the child was no threat, and I commend his handler for doing such a good job training him!

    My neighbor is a K-9 officer of 17 yrs with a 4 year-old German Shepherd. He brings ‘Rocky’ home every day, and lets him stay in the house. He has 3 children aged 3 yrs old to 7 yrs old and this dog acts like a puppy around them. I have been in my friend’s house many, many times and have always seen ‘Rocky’ lying next to a couch. When I walk in, he hardly gives me a 2nd look. The only ‘rules’ that my friend tells me is; Don’t make eye contact, don’t touch him, and don’t talk to him unless he tells me to. I know that all my friend would have to do is give his dog a simple command and he would take my arm off. THAT is TRUE TRAINING.

    Please don’t put a stigma on a ‘Working Class’ dog that looks meaner than a junk yard Pitbull. A handler that spends 8 or more hours each and every day training a dog has most assuredly honed his dog to a fine-tuned FRIEND.


  84. PJ says:

    For all the people that go to work and leave a dog alone at home, then walk thru the door and do nothing for or with their dog, I would say that the working dogs you mention, probably have it better than most dogs overall. As you mentioned they have commands to work, agility sessions, rewards, and attention (positive when they are out of the kennel). It sounds like they have more interaction daily than most dogs at home. They have the full attention of the human and, don’t forget that a working dog has shown that they LIKE working. Lazy dogs aren’t used, and dogs without the working disposition are not used either. It’s the dogs personality that they consider.

    So many owners come home, feed them, maybe walk them (just out to pee/poo), and then forget about them as they watch TV or numerous other ‘activities’.

    It would be great if we could all work/play/love/ our dogs, and this blog is probably has a higher rate of caring owners. But like military humans, there is a certain amount of discipline that is required to do the job without jeopardizing the ‘team’. They are not being tortured, and strictness is not abuse.

    I agree with the quality vs quantity.


  85. MBJ says:




  86. Katie says:

    Dogs working in a military or police environment are the property of these institutions. They and their handlers are chosen due to their individual character and personality in order to compliment each other and work well together and archive a desired result. These dogs are not trained 8 hours non stop but there are intervals of training, playing and relaxation periods during these 8 hours. It is impossible to work any animal 8 hours non stop. Being the property of mainly a military establishment, the dogs are kept in a controlled environment to which they have been conditioned to. Military and police dogs are very well socialized and know the difference between working and time off. We found that in a military environment the dogs were sometimes better treated by their handlers than the wives or family of the person. The handler has to learn to control stressful situations when working with the dogs and stay calm, not a necessity when at home. For the dog it makes no difference whether it lives in a kennel environment or a family home as long as there is stability, safety and security. From the dogs perspective as long as these conditions are fulfilled, it is happy. Professional handlers give “their” dogs or partners a lot of love and respect on and off duty. Most handlers buy their ex-partners when they retire as over time a very close bond has developed between them. It is our human perspective and the way we perceive our immediate surroundings, that causes us to humanize everything which then leads to emotional judgement. The military and police environment is not governed by emotions but bare facts, it could not function otherwise. That includes the people and the dogs working in this environment.


  87. Judith Hosheit says:

    I thank you for the thought provocing message. As for the dog always staying the in the kennel except for working time is inhuman as far as I am concerned. They need a time to relax and enjoy life as well as work. They are very much like humans and can work when they are on duty and play during recess.


  88. Mary says:

    Dogs are like family no matter if they are working or not. Dogs want to please their owners and will protect with their lives, so why would you want to keep them outside all the time. They need time to feel happy by playing and relaxing with the family. I feel they are more responsive if the feel they are part of the family. Most police officers treat their partners better than their family and count on them to protect their back. Dogs are the same way


  89. Carol says:

    I have dogs that sleep in the house, and some that sleep in the kennel or in the yard but they all get lots of daily love and attention. I understand the theory of not integrating working dogs into the family but I don’t really agree with it.

    Dogs are very intelligent and all it would take is a “Working Collar” or harness that is ONLY used when they are working. They understand when that collar or harness is put on them they are “on the job” and it is time to go to work. My Mom had a Rott that always knew when they were going to go train because that was the only time she wore a thick leather collar, she would get so excited and would immediately go and sit by the door to have the collar put on.

    Dogs are social animals, I think they would do their job just as well if not better by being included within their handler’s family.


  90. nino says:

    animals have rights to have a normal life with games, freedom, friendship and family. happy animal works better and FIRST of all is happy! if we change your article for humans, will it sound normal? would you be happy to be locked up so that your work improved? I don’t think so! care for dogs as they care for us! prisoned dog is a terrible misery. they are jailed for nothing. they are jailed for their wonderful abilities? It is not fair!


  91. danielle says:

    I am a shepherd and goatherd. I also keep chickens, and alpacas. My dog is a working dog, don’t get me wrong, she comes home with me at the end of the day, but I expect nothing less of her than every command obeyed and every expectation fulfilled. Only when she does exactly as she is told does she get any kind of praise, affection, or treats. She is without a doubt, by my neighbors and not by me, the best behaved and happiest looking dog they’ve ever seen. Certain breeds of dog live to WORK. It is inherent in their makeup. The most miserable dog I have ever seen is a working breed dog kept as a housepet, and treated as a human in the family. Working dogs are not humans, and to treat them so is cruel. Certain breeds of dog are meant for lives such as the one mine leads and the ones talked about here. Certain breeds (herders, workers) should never be raised as simple pets, it is traumatic to them to keep them so confined away from real work and tests of control and agility.


  92. rockbilly says:

    I worked in close contact with military working dogs for well over 20 years during which I learned that some don’t need much encouragement to bite! The concept of training and objective has changed over the years from training an attack dog that bites everything that moves to dogs that only act on command. Personally I would not trust a military working dog in a household with children, the background and pedigreed of the dog is rarely known as most are only accepted over a year old. No one knows how the dog was trained/treated prior to being transferred to the military.

    That said, most military handlers are very devoted to their dogs, the bond between the two is usually very strong. I have known handlers to re-enlist for a four year period to prevent a dog from being “put-down.” This has been the case since day one; some dogs are so attached they won’t accept another handler, what do you do with them then? As for being left alone in a kennel, these dogs see very little time when no one is around. Most military kennels have a “Kennel Master” on duty at least sixteen hours a day. In addition there is activity almost constantly during any twenty-four period with dogs coming and going.

    The military has a good program that provides for some outstanding working dogs, these dogs are counted on to save the lives of humans and should be treated as such, not pets.

    I only hope we bring the dogs home after Iraq/Afghanistan wars are over, don’t walk away and leave them chained to a dog house like we did in Vietnam when we pulled out.


  93. Leslie says:

    I’ll probably get alot of slack for this, but here goes. Although I enjoyed reading this article for it’s information. I’m very interested by people’s reaction. I respect their thoughts and feelings so please bear with me. I was brought up around hunting dogs who were treated the same way. They were worked everyday and loved, but they had their place. They were hunting dogs. They were happy to scare up rabbits, retrieve water fowl, corner or tree whatever they were trained for. These dogs were also very well taken care of. We also knew, no matter how bad we wanted to, we couldn’t play with them. Especially during hunting season. This did make for a better hunting partner. I understand the need for these particular animals not to be humanized. They know their station. It is not master.


  94. Attila says:

    Very thought provoking subject posed here, however my response is just as thoughtful-do their masters work 24/7? No, they get off work, go to the club or wherever, and so too should these dogs have “after work” activities in which to stimulate them further, its proven to be very contributional to their developement. They too, as we have thoughts, feelings and emotions and are smarter than we previously thought. On the program “Science of Dogs” they had the best research facility and Dog experts in the world located in Hungary and in this program it states that man’s best friend’s problem solving abilities are far superior than that of chimpanzees. Yes, I think they should be rewarded to not let boredom set in and listlesness


  95. sam says:

    I believe any dog should be kept with it’s master (and family if possible). I have had many dogs during my lifetime and never found any to be disobedient due to be loved and played with.
    I was given a 2 year old Rottweiler who had been used as a guard dog at a workplace during the day and taken home at night. At night she was put into a crate and left there until time to return to work (for 2 days over the weekend). She was an excellent guard dog,but wasn’t all that interested in her Humans. When she came to live with me she got to stay in the house,and occasionally even on my bed. When I told her “watch me” no one could come near me until I told her it was alright. She would never let anyone,friend or foe, approach me from behind. She was seriously injured protecting my home from burglars when I was at work. She loved me very much and I adored her. She was very loving with everyone and especially loved children. Everyone played with her and loved her very much. She used to go on “play dates” to my friends house.
    It broke my heart,and everyone who knew her,when I had to have her put to sleep when she was 12 years old. A long,and I hope,very happy life for a Rottweiler.
    I think she would have still protected me if I left her in a kennel,but not with as much love. And I would not have had the 10 years of extraordinary happiness she gave me.


  96. Hayley says:

    working dogs or not what does it matter…they need love…they didn’t ask to be put on this earth to work, so it is up to us as humans to make sure that they are givin love…I just adopted a puppy about a month ago and the thought of her being locked up in a kennel and only being brought out to “work” is horrible. They deserve love, I maybe the handlers should be put in a kennel for long periods of time and see how they feel about it…


  97. Bobbie White says:

    Well, after reading almost all of the previous entries, I must say thay every creature that God has created needs love. Dogs, cats, whatever… we ALL need love. So in my opinion whether a ‘work’ dog, or a pet, both need the companionship (love) of their human care giver. I have had so many pets (birds, cats, fish, dogs) amd evem the fish seemed to need the human companion.

    I agree that the working dog does need the companionship of his/her human trainor, to play, and be a part of it’s life, but don’t we all!!


  98. Tony says:

    Hi Chet,
    In your example it is essential that police or military dogs work without question, more often or not ,peoples lives depend on it, hesitation could
    mean someones sons or daughters wont be coming home in one piece.
    It may look harsh to all us doggy lovers, but they actually have a better more structured life than our own pets(who misbehave given the chance)the variance of serious work and times of reward, play and other time out activities, actually mimics natures way,So guys and girls, put away your heart strings,and take time out to watch the dogs that protect your borders, your homes and your troops, they actually have a very rewarding life. Wish my golden retriever was as obedient, but then she is not trained to SAVE YOUR LIFE ONE DAY.cheers, Tony of new Zealand says thank-you to the dogs who searched in Christchurch after the EARTHQUAKE


  99. Joan says:

    We have cow dogs that live to work. They can hardly stand up at night after a long days work moving cows. We praise them through out the day with words, and always bring treats for them. At night when we feed them we also take time to love them and enjoy their company. The next morning they are excited and ready to work another day. We would never think of not loving these animals and praising them for the work that they do. Our jobs would be much harder without them. Dogs don’t have to be robots to be a working animal. They love the affection just like a human does. Everything needs TLC….


  100. Placido says:

    Hi there, in my opinion dogs should be respected and treated well by the owners, it`s ok that they have to work , but still they need to receive love and fun, remember that some day they can`t work anymore.


  101. Debbie says:

    Working dogs are basically bred for these kinds of jobs. Read up on the history of certain breeds of working dogs and their genetic makeup. This will show the breeds temperament for specific jobs.

    If you treat a K-9 like a pet they can become overly friendly in a working situation endangering themselves as well as the trainer and partner.


  102. Curt says:

    I can agree with much of the article for a working dog.

    If the job that the dog is trained for has a high amount of risk then you want a dog to respond to the demands of the job.

    Training a dog to do only work seems almost cruel, especially if we view it from a dog lovers point of view who has a dog at home. I know I am guilty of spoiling the heck out of my dog, he’s just a great friend to have.

    But from the view of a working dog, he probably doesn’t know any better. Besides, he is always looking to please his master and I am sure the working relationship and bond created is a perfect one, especially if the dog knows of no other life.

    So does the working dog think he could have a more enjoyable life with more freedom? I don’t think so and I’m sure that the working dog wouldn’t want any other way…


  103. Lexi says:

    I have to say, until animals actually have some rights, isn’t this point moot? People can say how they feel, and it seems after reading the previous comments the vast majority here believe dogs, even working dogs, deserve the at-home with family down-time, yet what can you do to prevent it if you feel the kennel living is cruel? I am an avid animal rights advocate, completely involved with fighting the ontario pitbull ban, and even with hundreds of petitions and thousands of people also willing to fight this ban, all we have accomplished is more awareness. Fight animal cruelty, like dogs kept in kennels at shelters who are allowed no human contact for years before euthanasia, or puppy mills, or the idiots who feel every dog deserves to have puppies at least once. At least these working dogs get attention, and some affection. It’s better than what thousands of other dogs get.


  104. PAT GREMAUX says:

    I can understand both programs; I am inclined to think that those who condemn the kennel program are using their ‘humanizing’ thoughts. Most pet owners do not consider a strict regimen as loving, whereas the kenneled dog owners do provide love – but in a different way.
    This is a very thought provoking question – good for debate.


  105. Mat says:

    Well, it is obvious by 99% of all of your comments that 99% of you have NEVER even SEEN the type of dog that this article is written about, let alone INTERACTED with one….Unless you have driven a Ferrari or seen one, how can you comment on how to drive one? All cars are not equal, neither are dogs. The type of dogs used for tactical military operations are dogs that the general public, YOU ALL, do not even have access to. EVEN LAW ENFORCEMENT!!! Sorry K9 officers, your dogs are great, but still not the type of dog that is used for tactical military operations. I have been around these dogs, worked some of the LESSER quality ones, and even their low end stuff, is miles above most dogs…

    THEY NEED TO BE RAISED AND HANDLED VERY DIFFERENTLY.,…you all act like living in a kennel means they dont get love….YOU ARE WRONG….when they are out, which is OFTEN, they are lavished with stimulating attention, interaction, and affection from their handlers…..if they weren’t, THEY WOULD EAT THEIR HANDLERS ALIVE!!!!

    To perform the tasks that these dogs do requires COUNTLESS hours of attention and training, which is done almost exclusively now using positive reinforcement methods…..These “kennel” dogs get MORE attention and stimulation than MOST pets do!!!! People think the fact that their dog is happy because he gets his belly rubbed and can lay on the couch for 21 hours a day…..that goes to show how selfish and ignorant people are…..I am hard pressed to name pet owners who give their dogs as much HEALTHY interaction as the average military dog gets…..

    These dogs CANNOT be abused or neglected, because they are SUPER dominant, aggressive dogs that will NOT TOLERATE abusive treatment… all have ZERO experience with dogs like this…ZERO….that doesnt make you dumb, that just makes you UN-INFORMED and INEXPERIENCED…nothing wrong with that…i was there too….then i was educated in the world of these dogs, and my views have evolved along with my experiences….

    You only weaken your own comments and arguments when you make such convicted statements and declarations with ZERO objective information or evidence to support your statements.

    and to re-clarify, MILITARY TACTICAL DOGS are NOTTTTTTTTTTT the same as the average patrol dog in a police car…..thats just the truth, objective truth…

    I personally work with other trainers who broker and train dogs that come from THE breeders who supply and supplement the governments own Malinois program. I have personally been around these dogs. I have also worked around police k9’s my whole life….they are NOT the same….


    David Reply:

    I have been a K-9 instructor working with law enforcement dogs for almost a decade. I have also done a significant amount of work training family dogs. I know it is very difficult for most people to accept and understand the kennel process while the dog is in service.

    When I brought my first detection dog home, my wife thought that it was mean to place him in his kennel following our day of work. It took some time for her to fully grasp the importance of kenneling the dog while not working.

    Mat could not have articulated it any better. These work dogs are out with their partners for 8 to 15 hours a day. When they are out they are reacting to to stimuli which directly engages critical drives. Despite what most people think dogs do not thing or reason. They react to drive related responses. Work dogs have an unbelievable life full of what they love to do. Hunt, track, retrieve, pack, play,air scent, chase prey along with many others. The work dog is praised and rewarded all day at work. When the dog comes home, he wants to go in his kennel.

    Now let’s talk about most pets. Fluffy for example stays at home all day when the owners/families are away. When they come home they get a little love and play, sometimes walked if they are lucky. Most people think a walk is taking the dog outside to break. Following this the dog sleeps all night as do the owners. When working with peoples pets, I have discovered that most of the families should not own them. People pay me a significant amount of money to correct issues with their dog. Most of the time I am training the people and modifying the dogs behavior. Their problems often involve poor pack structure because and 90% of what they have done in their training is completely incorrect, despite their best intentions. If the dog has issues, I fix them. However, the family needs to do their part as well. Their part is easy. Be consistant, follow my advise and take the dog on at least two walks a day and use sit commands and down commands. What I find is that families are so busy these days, that they walk the dog, never. I am talking about a twenty five minute walk. People are paying dog walking companies and doggie day care companies to watch their dogs during the day. They drop them off like they do their kids at school. They often do this not for the dogs sake but for their own. People do this because the dogs destroy things inside or out when they are left at home inside or out. That behavior is frustration and boredom, which can be easily fixed.

    Now which lives are better. the dog who spends all day doing what they love to do or Fluffy.

    As far as law enforcement agents making the dogs pets and letting the dogs roam the house after work with the family. Those dogs are typically horrible detection K9’s.

    In fact, if one of my K9 teams that I instruct is performing unsatisfactorily at training when typically they are a strong team. The first thing we instructors ask the handlers is if the dog is being kenneled at home or living on the sofa. If you turn a work dog into a couch dog you will ruin them. Home can not be more fun than work. The dogs work very hard for their reward object and praise and they need to value both highly. The dogs focus needs to be 100% work. They can become a couch dog when they retire. When retired most find that the dogs are very stressed because they do not want to be a lazy couch dog, they want go to work.


  106. Karen says:

    I am a rancher, haven’t always been, so was used to pet dogs; some smarter than others, some more well behaved than others, but definitely house dogs. Then I met a working border collie, a cowboys right arm in many cases his best partner. With an amazingly strong bond to his rider, and desire to work cattle these dogs, while some can be very human social, all they want to do is work and when the work is done put me back in my kennel so I can think about work. I totally agree with this theory because this is how the dogs i’m around want to be. Our dogs, given the choice prefer their kennel over being in the house. It is their space, just like we want our space after a hard day at work. Now don’t get me wrong, our dogs get tons of encouragement from the one who works them, the rest of us leave them alone. And it seems to be fine with them.


  107. Susan Pierce says:

    What if you live in Florida! How can you kennel in the heat! One guy did and put the kennel in the garage with door open because there was a breeze! Either the dog was let out or escaped! They found him dead, hit by a car!


  108. Linda Kowalski says:

    I have a GSD out of show stock put IPO1
    Pet dog
    I rescued a check republic military dog
    Put a BH on her
    Working on tracking titles
    And IPO obedience. She refused to run blinds
    I have had 10 GSD in my life nothing prepared me for a military did
    I am learning a lot
    Hope the general public do not get a hold of these dogs


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