While the first dogs were undoubtedly kept as companions, it probably did not take long to realize the working value of this newly-made friend. Even before the history of dogs was recorded, these pets were helping man for a variety of purposes, mainly to hunt for food. In those days, however, hunting was not a sport, but serious hard work.
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Today the dog still helps man in his quest for food, but the nature of the job has taken on a different form. The dog still helps man to hunt, but for a different reason. Whatever the purpose or nature of the job, the performance of work always requires time expenditure of energy. As a consequence, every working dog's primary dietary need is increased energy. Whenever dietary energy is increased, those B-complex vitamins, minerals, and the water necessary for burning the energy must also be increased.
Except for this increased need for energy and the nutrients to burn it, working dogs require most nutrients at no greater levels than non-working dogs. When working dogs eat large quantities of ordinary maintenance dog foods to obtain all of the energy they need, they frequently consume some of the nutrients in excessive amounts. Paradoxically, they may also eat such large quantities that the digestibility of all the nutrients in their diet are adversely affected and some nutrients may actually be obtained in inadequate amounts.
In other cases, a working dog simply cannot, physically, eat all of a food needed to supply its energy needs. In these instances the dog suffers from the lack of total digestible energy, and loses weight. If the condition is allowed to continue, the dog will reduce its activities in order to reduce its caloric demands. If the dog is forced to continue working at the same pace, it will lose weight faster and laster, and eventually work itself to death.
Herd Dogs are the most common working dogs that are fed in the United States. Herd Dogs are dogs that wattle or protect animals use the least amount of extra energy of any of the working dogs. They seldom are required to expend energy in excess of normal activity for any duration of time. Even their short-term expenditures of energy are not very great. The only time herd dogs ever utilize large amounts of energy are when they are rounding up strays, lost or semi-wild animals running at large.
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