“What a beautiful world it would be… If people had hearts like dogs,” a memorable and true quote. I can’t imagine my life without dogs. I’ve yet to see a puppy that didn’t crumble my heart. However, some grow up to be working dogs while the sole purpose of the lives of others is to sit on satin pillows and look pretty. Then there are those that just love their owners and all they ask is to be loved in return.
Not everybody recognizes the importance of working dogs and the roles they play in making our world safer. So today, I want to list some of the essential jobs working dogs do.
Working dogs on the farm
What is a farm without a dog? Farm dogs are rugged and hard working. They are essential on farms with livestock. Farm dogs herd and guard sheep and cattle and protect goats, chickens, and other farm animals from predators. Furthermore, they keep the feed storage sheds and barns free of rodents and join the farmers on daily missions.
The breeds most suited for farm work include Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Corgis, Jack Russell Terriers and Great Pyrenees dogs.
Working dogs that guard property
Also called watchdogs, their primary duties are to guard property against unexpected or unwanted intruders — both humans and animals. Guard dogs could be vicious when they encounter intruders but insightful enough not to threaten or attack those they guard.
Although instinct lets most dogs guard their owners, breeds known for excellence in guarding are Bullmastiffs, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Giant Schnauzers.
Some Police Force members are working dogs
There’s no question that only particular types of people make good law enforcement officers. The same goes for police dogs. Typically, the most impressive skills in dogs are genetic and specifically bred and passed down from one generation to the next. They perform complicated tasks that not any dog can do. Therefore, specific breeds of dogs make the best K9 officers. They are German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Bloodhounds. However, these are not the only breeds to work in law enforcement.
Sniffers are working dogs that use their senses
Sniffer dogs, or detection dogs, receive training to use their senses to detect an endless list of substances. However, each dog specializes in certain substances. Across the range, they sniff out illegal drugs, explosives, currency, wildlife scat, blood and even illicit mobile phones and other contraband electronics. Customs officers at borders and airports use sniffer dogs to detect illegal exporting or importing exotic plants and animals.
While many detection dogs serve in law enforcement settings, some work with wildlife biologists and researchers.
Sniffer dogs in California detect and discover harmful and invasive quagga mussels. Another field in which detection dogs excel is wildlife scat detection. Their task is to find feces of caribou, killer whales, black-footed ferrets, Oregon spotted frogs and other wildlife.
That is not the end! The medical industry makes more and more use of the detection skills of sniffer dogs. Studies indicated that canines’ exceptional sense of smell enables them to detect the odors of many medical conditions, one of which is cancer.
Dogs known for their detection capabilities include English Springer Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd dogs, Border Collies and the Belgian Malinois.
Working dogs with hunting skills make good cadaver dogs
Cadaver dogs detect human remains of those who died in accidents, disasters, suicides and murder. They work on land and water. German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers have the necessary skills to become cadaver dogs. However, most handlers say the breed is not what allows them to excel. Any confident dog with a drive to hunt and strong nerves can learn to work as a cadaver dog.
Trackers are highly skilled working dogs
Tracking dogs undergo extensive training to follow a person’s scent after sniffing a clothing item or something used by the person whose trail they must follow. Law enforcement use tracking dogs to locate missing people, collect evidence and assist with search and rescue missions. Their skills also serve to track wildlife poachers.
Successful tracking dogs need superior senses of smell, like Bloodhounds and German Shepherds.
Military dogs must be trainable and intelligent
Dogs used in wars are not as common as before, although they still provide some services in modern warfare. In ancient times, trained combat dogs served as sentries, scouts, trackers, messengers and mercy dogs. They participate in patrols, carry messages, detect mines and carry medical supplies to injured soldiers.
From ancient times, dogs that excelled in warfare included German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Belgian Malinois, Airedale Terriers, Giant Schnauzers and Boxers.
Working dogs in the search and rescue service are called SAR dogs
I am always in awe of the many skills of SAR dogs. They find people under snow, underwater and among the rubble of collapsed buildings. Furthermore, they accompany search and rescue teams after mudslides, avalanches and earthquakes. In many cases, the participation of SAR dogs is responsible for victims rescued and not deceased and recovered. In Italy, SAR dogs wearing flotation devices on their front legs rescue swimmers in trouble and help them back to the shore.
Some SAR dogs learn air scenting techniques. Instead of following a track with their noses close to the ground, air scent dogs track scents in the air and disregard ground smells. They smell the wind to catch the hot scents of people. Reportedly, this technique is ideal and produces excellent results when search areas are large.
Breeds favored for training as SAR dogs include all those mentioned for law enforcement services. However, here’s a surprise — Poodles and Mixed Breed Huskies have also made the grade.
Guide dogs for the blind
Blind people and those with impaired vision can do a whole lot more with the help of guide dogs. For example, they make it possible for those in their care to use public transport, find doors and seats. Furthermore, they help their handlers navigate shopping malls and other buildings and help them find the buttons at pedestrian crossings.
Most importantly, they provide companionship and also promote social inclusion. People with guide dogs find it easier to make friends. Characteristics of guide dogs typically include intelligence, and they are thoughtful, quiet companions.
The most frequently trained guide dogs include purebred German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Labradors.
Hearing dogs are the ears of those with compromised hearing
Hearing dogs improve the lives of deaf people or those with limited hearing by alerting them to sounds that they cannot hear. For example, sounds like the alarm clock, text messages, the doorbell, and danger signals like the fire alarm and car horns. Their canine companions save their lives multiple times each day.
The dogs that make the lives of deaf people easier include Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, mixed breed Cockapoos and Miniature Poodles.
Therapy dogs provide comfort and affection
Someone said, “The Best Therapist has fur and four legs.”
How true. Therapy dogs are working dogs that spread their affection in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, hospices, disaster areas and similar settings. Assistance dogs assist patients who can’t take care of day-to-day physical needs. In contrast, therapy dogs do not work with one needy individual. For instance, they interact with ill, injured, handicapped and lonely elderly people in medical settings and institutions. Their loving, gentle and loyal natures bring hope and feelings of well-being.
The following dogs own those characteristics: American Staffordshire Terriers, Labrador Retriever, Corgis, Yorkshire Terriers and Golden Retrievers.
However, some dogs just love their owners, and all they ask is to be loved in return.