Everyone knows the tried and true expression, “work like a dog.” It may seem contradictory when we look at our own furry family members’ happy life of leisure, but there are many of our canine friends who happily put in many hours of work every day.
Working dogs put in a full day’s work just like the rest of us, and they often work for many years before retiring to a carefree life in their twilight years. Some of these jobs are so difficult or complex, that only the most elite dogs can perform their daily tasks.
Here are some of the jobs dogs have that show just how amazing our canine companions really are.
Four Types of Working Dogs and Service Dogs
Guide Dog or Seeing Eye Dog
To act as the eyes for someone who cannot see is the work of a hero—and guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired are definitely heroes. These dogs, which are some of the most respected dogs around, help people navigate the world and lead normal lives.
Guide dogs are both loyal and smart. In fact, they are so smart, that they not only follow a strict set of commands learned through rigorous training, they also learn how to disobey any of their owners commands that would put them in danger. This ability, called selective disobedience, means they can balance obedience with their own intuition and real-time assessment of the situation. For example, if they are given a command to take their handler across the street but a car unexpectedly speeds by, a guide dog can quickly react and disobey the command for the safety of their handler.
Service and Companion Dog for Veterans
There are a few different types of service dogs for our wounded warriors but all of them work in some way to help veterans restore their physical and emotional independence once they return home.
If a veteran is disabled, a service dog can help with anything he or she can no longer do, such as climbing stairs, retrieving hard-to-reach items, alerting their companion to important sounds, and more. In addition to physical disabilities, many veterans experience psychological trauma, such as PTSD, which is treated often with the aid of companion dogs. These special companions to our heroes are true multi-tasking masters that help a veteran restore their independence and reconnect with their family and community.
K-9 Dog or Police Dog
Police dogs, also called K-9 dogs, are the most loved in any police force. Aside from being a fan-favorite in their local communities, K-9’s have a rigorous workload. They are so advanced that most dogs fail to complete training. Police dogs in any department are usually assigned to one specific handler in order to deepen the bonds that form between the two.
Police dogs perform a multitude of duties. They can aid in crime scene investigation, illegal substance apprehension, and search and rescue. K-9 dogs also use their universal popularity to help public relations in the police force. They frequently appear at schools, daycare centers, hospitals, civic organizations, and churches as a way to help police connect with their communities.
Hospital Therapy Dog
Many hospitals employ specialized therapy dogs to help patients in the healing process. Therapy dogs don’t require as rigorous of training as other working dogs and don’t need to work every day. However, their job is beneficial to the health and healing of patients. These dogs visit with patients, play with children, and provide comfort to the sick and terminally ill. Health professionals and scientists claim that hospital therapy dogs boost chemicals in the brain that helps patients heal, and provide much-needed social interaction to any patient that is feeling isolated.
While we love our pets and carefree pups, it is easy to see why there is a true appreciation for working dogs, guide dogs, and canine companions for wounded warriors. Not only are they intelligent and loyal, they also help people heal, get healthy, enjoy life, and keep a community safe. Thank you service dogs!