What does ‘Work like a dog’ even mean?

“Working like a dog.”

It’s a phrase with roots probably stemming from the daily work of farm and ranch dogs as well as sheep and sled canines who persevered from sunup to sundown, sometimes in harsh conditions.

Aug. 5 is the little known (at least to me) Work Like a Dog Day, an annual reminder to remember and celebrate the determined efforts humans put into their daily tasks – just like dogs.

According to the American Kennel Club, working dogs generally have natural instincts that are carefully sharpened with training. There are 31 breeds in the “working group,” including the Boxer, Siberian Husky and the Standard Schnauzer.

The AKC describes dogs in this group as quick to learn, intelligent, strong, watchful and alert.

While those breeds traditionally worked, many other jobs they do are successfully accomplished by other breeds, including mixed.

The largest group of working dogs, service dogs, are trained to assist their human companions in a variety of ways.

Therapy dogs offer emotional support to physically and/or emotionally injured people, often visiting schools, hospitals and nursing homes. Signal dogs alert hearing-impaired owners to specific sounds, from a doorbell to a fire alarm.

Service dogs are trained to perform tasks for people with limited mobility (stroke victims, amputees). Usually the tasks learned are tailored to the person’s needs and can include opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off and retrieving dropped objects.

Police dogs, often called K 9s, are trained specifically to assist police and other law enforcement personnel in the line of duty.

Military working dogs assist members of the military with their operations. These dogs may be used as detectors, trackers, sentries and scouts.

Detection dogs have exceptional senses of smell and are highly motivated by positive reinforcement. They are trained to sniff out substances including illegal drugs, explosives, blood and human remains. Detection dogs can learn to sense when a person is about to have an epileptic seizure or needs insulin because of high blood sugar. These “sniffers” can even be trained to find certain types of insects (bed bugs, termites).

Finally, herding dogs work with various types of livestock, such as sheep and cattle. A herding dog is usually born for this type of work.

My family’s dog, Teddy, is a 7-year-old Labrador Retriever. This sporting breed is the No. 1 AKC-registered breed for the last 15 years.

Sharda Baker at Labrador-secrets.com writes, “Labs are highly intelligent and easily trained. The breed is able to perform complex tasks in a number of settings. These dogs are adaptable, confident, calm and hard-working.”

Our pooch easily adapts to family changes. Teddy knows when and where he and his fearless leader, my husband, Ed, walk each day, whether we’re in Dayton or on vacation.

Teddy is at ease with the youngest members of the family up through the oldest. He is always up for a game of tug-of-war or a quiet moment with Ed’s 94-year-old parents.

Teddy is the calmest dog our family has owned. Loud, piercing noise doesn’t bother him. To earn the AKC Canine Good Citizen designation, the Lab showed his steadiness when loud sounds occurred.

When given a task, Teddy is all business. The pooch doesn’t stop until he’s finished.

The more I learn about the tasks dogs accomplish for their human companions, the more I appreciate Teddy.


1. Appropriate amounts of sleep

2. Less multitasking

3. Good employee benefits

SOURCE: nationaltoday.com/work like a dog day