Gift & Grain | How to be a Great Shop Dog
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How to be a Great Shop Dog

Tips and Tricks from Porter, the Gift & Grain Shop Dog

It might seem like an easy task, hanging out in the wood shop while Chris works. But let me tell you, it’s one of the hardest part of my day! Over the years, I’ve learned the best ways to keep Chris company while he toils away at the table saw, lathe, and other tools. At times it may look like I am just laying on the floor, getting covered in sawdust, but rest assured I am hard at work too. Here are some tricks of the trade I’ve gleaned that I want to pass along to help you be the best shop dog you can be.

1.Letting Chris know a tool is running – Sometimes I wonder if Chris knows his table saw or drill press is running, so I help him out by barking loudly until he turns the tool off and comes over to say hi to me. By barking and whining, I help Chris stay safe int he shop and not run the noisy tools a moment longer than he needs to.

2.Help keep the shop free from debris – When working with wood, lots of little chips and scraps end up on the floor. Those power tools generate a lot of small pieces of wood that are hazards just waiting to happen. I’ve learned that if I stand right next to the tool while Chris is cutting wood, I can sometimes catch those in my mouth before they even hit the floor. If I’m really on my game, I’ll stand right between Chris’ legs and catch the sawdust too.

3.Cleanliness – After a hard day’s work, the wood shop floor is covered in saw dust. Chris will inevitably have to sweep this all up which takes away from time he ought to be taking me for a walk or reminding me not to eat food of the kitchen counter. One of the most helpful things I do for Chris in the shop is laying on the floor where he is working and letting myself get covered in saw dust and shavings. By doing so, he no longer has to sweep that portion of floor I was covering. You’re welcome!

4.Paint Samples – Often times, Chris sets out a nice clean drop cloth to paint some table legs or custom signs. He is great at keep things clean and orderly. However, I sometimes wonder if he isn’t getting the true sense of the paint color by only seeing it on the wood and paper. I am confident that by walking through the wet paint and leaving footprints not he shop floor, he is getting a much better idea of what the paint color will look like in different environments. Sure, it might make my feet test funny when I lick them later, but it’s worth it to help Chris out in this way.

5.Warmth – There are nights when we are working in the wood shop and the temperature starts to drop. Sure, Chris’s body might be warm because of the jacket he’s wearing, but I’m sure his legs and feet are still freezing. I’ve come up with a genius way to solve this problem for him. If I lean against his legs or stand on his feet, I share my heat with him so he can stay focused on the job at hand. Chris is a humble person who doesn’t like asking for help, so I know when he tells be to stop he’s really just being bashful.

These are just some of the ways to be the best shop dog you can. I’m not sure how Chris would ever get anything done without me!

To hear more about my dad, mom and sister, check out our story at

  • Grandpa Mark
    Posted at 08:48h, 03 March Reply

    Best shop dog ever! So thoughtful and helpful. One day when I was in the shop helping to coat 300 dice with urethane, Porter came over and climbed up and put his front legs on my lap, looking me in the eye with those beautiful eyes of his – he must have thought, “How boring!” and came over to keep me company. Man’s best friend, for sure.

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