By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – All canines, since having a strong heritage of structure and pack order, naturally possess an ingrained predisposition to “earn” or work. This means that dogs, regardless of age, size or breed, have an instinctive need to fulfill a daily task.

From their ancestral roots in the grey wolves, these daily tasks have included such activities as hunting, protecting, caring for young, gathering, nurturing and watching over the pack or simply following the pack, (that in itself is a task) depending on their status in the pack.

Regardless of what the task was, it was done on a daily basis and each task was an important contribution and an essential component that made up the whole of the pack every day. They were and still are extremely essential to the pack’s survival.

These tasks are just as important to today’s domestic dog. Since they fortunately do not need to worry about survival in our homes, it is still important for them to perform some type of task for them to feel balanced and relaxed. Without this, they feel tense and anxious and are vulnerable for behavior problems to develop.

Just as physical exercise is important, a daily task is just as important for their mental and psychological well being. This task can simply be in the form of “sit,” “stay,” “focus,” “follow, “ etc. for a few minutes each day. This creates a stable path for the dog to follow your leadership. Your praise and acknowledgement presents a satisfying reward.