Every person is unique and has different needs and desires, that’s why deciding the right dog is a very individualized process. But in many cases, people just want to share their life with a companion dog. These are dogs that do not work and only provide companionship as a pet to their owners, rather than doing specific kind of tasks. Working dogs, on the other hand, have a real job that they do take very seriously. They are trained intensively to carefully honed their natural talents. Working dogs are trained to perform useful tasks that needs to be done in efficient and reliable way, and they love it.
Below are the different types of working dogs and the occupations that they are specially trained to perform.
The Police Dog
Generally called the K-9s, the police dogs are trained specifically to assist police forces and other law-enforcement personnel in the line of duty. They protect their handlers and can chase down and hold criminal suspects who try to run from police. Some K-9s can also be trained to sniff out substances and are categorized as detection dogs. German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are some of the breed that are known to be associated with being on the line of duty.
The Detection Dog
The detection dog or sniffer dog have a really exceptional senses of smell and are trained to use it senses to detect a particular substance or group of substances which includes illegal drugs, explosives, blood, human remains, wildlife scat, currency, contraband electronics etc. They are often used in law enforcement, wildlife biology and in health care. Breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Golden retrievers are often used as detection dogs.
The Military Working Dog
Similar to police dogs and detection dogs, the military working dogs assist members of the military forces with their operations. They are deployed worldwide to support the war on terror and help safeguard the military bases. They can be used to detect bombs and other explosives before they inflict harm. They are also used as trackers, sentries, scouts and for search and rescue operations. Breeds such as the German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are usually trained to be military working dogs.
The Therapy Dog
The therapy dogs are trained to provide affection, offer emotional support, comfort and love to sick and injured persons as well as to people with anxiety disorders or autism. They are often used in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices and disaster areas. Any type of dog breed, size or age can become a therapy dog provided that they have the right temperament, socialization and training.
The Search and Rescue Dog
Most dogs can be trained to do search and rescue activities. These dogs must have a high degree of intelligence and trainability, excellent physical stamina, great agility and exceptional senses of smell and hearing. Search and Rescue dogs are most often sporting, hunting or herding dogs and their strong “prey drive” is what makes them look for a missing person. Breeds such as Labrador retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Border collies are often used.
The Herding Dog
Considered to be among the smartest dog breeds, the herding dog is basically born for the job. They are developed to gather, heard and protect various types of livestock, such as sheep and cattle. However, not all herding breeds are natural expert herders, some might need their skills honed with training, while others are better suited to live as a companion dog.
The Service Dog
Service dogs are working dogs, not pets. They have been specially trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. The work or the task that the dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Some examples include a guide dog for the visually impaired, mobility assistance dogs and seizure alert dogs. Breeds such as Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle, and German Shepherd are commonly trained and used for this job.
Other kinds of working dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort and emotional support are not classified as types of service dogs as they are not trained to perform any specific task to help their handlers.