Dogs with Jobs – A Short Profile
Our pet dogs provide us with companionship and love on a daily basis, but there are also innumerate dogs around the world who work with us to save people’s lives, fight crime, or simply make our lives easier. Here is a short profile on key roles working dogs play in our society.
Search and Rescue Dogs
These animals utilise their exceptional sense of smell to help rescue people in water, snow or in disaster situations such as earthquakes. Dogs often have one of the most important jobs on the rescue team, and can explore terrain much faster than humans. Thousands of lives are saved by rescue dogs every year.
It takes approximately one year to train a search and rescue dog. These animals must be calm, well-balanced, full of energy, intelligent and have a confident voice, as well as a keen sense of smell.
These are dogs that help people go about their daily lives in spite of a disability or illness, helping to increase independency and break isolation. Assistance dogs were first trained in Germany after WW1 to help blind soldiers with their rehabilitation. The USA and Great Britain soon followed suit, and now there are multiple countries with assistance dog training academies.
Golden Retrievers and Labradors are most commonly used as guide dogs, although Labradoodles are now also being used to assist people who are allergic to dog hair. As well as guide dogs for the visually impaired, there are now hearing dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as general assistance and therapy dogs. Numerous breeds now work as assistant dogs, but these animals must be obedient, fast learners who are able to concentrate for long periods.
These dogs are used by the police, customs and the armed forces. These highly trained dogs use their exceptional sense of smell to trace drugs, food stuffs, bank notes and even explosives. Dogs uncover millions of pounds in illegal drugs every year, and can even help save lives. Typically, German Shepherds are chosen to be sniffer dogs, but other dog breeds are becoming visible in the field – one of the Groomers team saw a King Charles Spaniel working as a sniffer dog at Gatwick Airport recently.