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Working Dog Types And The Roles They Perform

While most dogs are regarded as pets or companions, there are a few breeds that are used for serious jobs. Working dogs tend to have natural-born instincts that are honed carefully through intensive training so that they can perform specific tasks. Dog breed organizations and kennel clubs classify specific breeds into what is known as a “working group”. While these breed types traditionally worked in specific roles such as herding or guarding, today these dog types may not or may perform such functions. In fact, today many of the “canine jobs” can be performed by various breeds and even a few mixed breeds. If you are in need of a pet sitting franchise then see here.

Below are some of the working dog types along with the roles or jobs they are trained specially to perform:

Service Dogs

Assistance dogs or service dogs are dogs that are trained to help people with certain types of disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act has specific guidelines when it comes to service dogs and how they should be treated in public spaces. True services dogs receive the necessary training to behave very well in any type of situation, allowing the dog to accompany his/her handler anyway. Emotional support and therapy dogs are not regarded as service dogs.

The service dog types include:

  • Mobility-assistance dogs
    • Guide dogs that assist people suffering from visual impairments
    • Medical-assistance dogs or seizure dogs
    • Hearing dogs which are typically used for people with a hearing impairment

The common breeds that are used include standard poodles, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and German shepherds.

Animal-assisted therapy typically involves using certified and trained animals to add to the therapeutic plan of a medical patient. These are the therapy dogs that provide emotional support by visiting nursing homes and hospitals with injured or sick people. These dogs are also taken to daycare centers and schools to provide education to children about these types of dogs.

A dog of any age, size, or breed, can be used as a therapy dog. Yet they will require the right training, socialization, and temperament. A therapy dog must be well-socialized, non-fearful, well-trained, and even-tempered.

Police Dogs

Also known as K-9s, police dogs are specifically trained to help police officers or any other type of law-enforcement personnel while they are on active duty. Police dogs are trained to protect the person who is handling them. They also receive the training to chase down or hold a suspect that attempts to escape from arrest or the police. In certain cases, police dogs will receive the training to sniff out a substance. These are K-9s that are also known as “detection” dogs.

The common breeds that are used for police dogs include Belgian Malinois and German shepherds.

Military Working Dogs

Like the police dogs, a military working dog assists military members during their operations. These are the working dogs that are commonly used as scouts, sentries, trackers, and detectors. They also usually participate in operations that involve search and rescue.

Many working dogs that work in the military include Belgian Malinois, Dutch shepherds, and German shepherds.

Detection Dogs

These dogs have an extremely good sense of smell. These dogs are usually motivated using positive reinforcement. Detection dogs receive training to sniff and find specific substances or substance groups. These often include blood, human remains, explosives, or illegal drugs. Certain detection breeds can even be taught to detect abnormal blood sugar levels, cancer, animal feces, or even insect types like bed bugs. These dogs are used in health care, wildlife biology, or by law enforcement. One of the more traditional uses of a detection dog was to hunt for truffles.

Detection breeds usually include golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and beagles.

The search-and-rescue dogs typically have great senses of hearing and smell and excellent agility. These animals are highly trained to serve various fields such as avalanche rescue, cadaver location, tracking, and specialized search.

The common breeds for these roles include German shepherds, Leonbergers, border collies, golden retrievers, and labrador retrievers.

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