We’ve all witnessed or heard stories about incredible service animals and working dogs who are trained to help people. From assisting a visually impaired owner to comforting a soldier suffering from PTSD, there’s no end to the contributions these animals make.
The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital wants to take a moment to recognize and pay tribute to working dogs!
Working Dogs 101
Dogs have evolved alongside humans for millennia and have performed invaluable tasks throughout history, such as guarding, herding, hunting, pulling, and more.
Nowadays, most dogs serve as companions, but some are also trained to perform certain tasks that make our lives easier.
- Detection dogs – It’s no secret that dogs have incredible noses, and this attribute is fully utilized in detection dogs. These dogs can be trained to sniff out odors such as narcotics, explosives, currency, blood, human remains, and even food and plant material.
- Police K9s – K9s work closely with their human partners to perform duties such as protection, tracking, and drug/substance detection.
- Military working dogs – Military working dogs assist soldiers with daily operations, such as guarding, scouting, and search and rescue.
- Search and rescue dogs – These dogs must have an extraordinary sense of smell and highly specialized training. They serve in fields that include tracking, avalanche rescue, and cadaver search.
- Service dogs – Service dogs undergo extensive training in order to perform specific duties for a handler with a disability. Training takes up to two years and generally includes assisting with daily tasks or detecting and alerting a handler with a health condition.
- Therapy dogs – Therapy dogs are trained and certified to offer emotional support to individuals who are ill, injured, or suffering from various conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Therapy dogs can be any breed but must have the right temperament and socialization, as they typically visit hospitals and nursing homes.
- Hunting dogs – Hunting is one of the oldest ways in which dogs and humans have bonded, and one that’s still going strong in many parts of the country today. Training must begin as a puppy and may include scouting, pointing, and/or retrieving.
- Herding dogs – Certain breeds (e.g., border collies, blue heelers, Australian shepherds) are more easily trained to herd and enjoy working with sheep, cattle, and other livestock.
Do you have a question or concern about your own incredible canine companion? Please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re always here for you and your pet!