Super dogs have been around for a long time, and for hundreds of years, they’ve been man’s best friend. There are some pretty good reasons why we love dogs. Not only have they traditionally been warm and loving pets, they’ve also been essential parts of our work industries, all the way from pulling us around in sleds to herding our sheep. Today, dogs are trained for an incredible number of purposes. In an age increasingly concerned with security, it’s the dog at the airport that detects the illicit substances we don’t want in our countries and it’s still the specially trained guard-dog that sounds the alarm when a burglar gets in. Even more amazingly, dogs are now being valued for their benefits to human health and lifestyle in ways never even imagined before.
Working dogs are well represented by a diverse group of breeds; physically strong, fearless, very clever and physically active. Dogs used for working purposes can include those in security and crime-reinforcement, such as police dogs and security dogs, as well as the smaller, specially trained airport drug detection dogs. Other working dogs are found mostly in the agriculture business, guarding property and herding livestock. Famously, breeds like the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky are used to pull sleds in colder climates as a fast and reliable means of transportation. Because working dogs are typically larger and stronger than the average household dog, they have to be trained in a manner both firm and consistent. Physical force or displays of anger are never resorted to when properly training a working dog.
The real bomb squad
As more and more airports grow concerned over the threat of terrorism, high alerts have seen the increased use of explosive detection dogs at airports around the world. It is unclear whether or not current standard screening services at airports are able to detect concealed explosive devices, particularly those which have been implanted in the terrorist’s body. Fortunately, there is a team that may be relied upon to detect such devices. Teams of sniffer dogs and officials now conduct counterterrorist patrols throughout the airport as key parts of the airport’s responsibility to keep passengers both safe and reassured.
Help in the community
Most of us have probably bumped into a number of dogs on the street that are assisting their owners in a number of ways. While we’re all aware of dogs being used as an important part of helping the blind keep mobile in our communities, dogs are increasingly being used to help with other impairments in ways you may not have heard of. Dogs are helping the deaf community by being trained to alert a deaf person when there are any significant sounds being made that they should be aware of – such as a doorbell or alarm bell going off – as well as by leading them to the sources of sounds they themselves cannot detect.
Mobility assist dogs are trained to help people with physical disabilities complete daily tasks like retrieving phones, pulling wheelchairs, opening doors and much more. These dogs are typically trained with the traditional reward-based system, whereby pet food and treats are given in exchange for the completion of the required task.
Amazingly, dogs are now being trained to detect Type 1 diabetes in human beings by sniffing a particular scent on human breath and then alerting the person if it is detected. Dogs have long been known for their ability to calm and relax human beings, helping to combat common anxiety disorders as well as depression. Autism assist dogs provide a calming influence for children and adults who suffer from autism, providing both safety and security in public and at home.
Seizure assist dogs similarly are able to provide comfort and ease to people who suffer from periodic seizures, particularly epilepsy, and can even be trained to search for a phone or other person in the event of a seizure.
As you can see, as well as just being a great friend, companion and addition to your family, dogs everywhere are helping to look after some of the most vulnerable members of our communities in some pretty amazing ways.
Lilly Sheperd is an occasional guest-blogger and a self-proclaimed geek girl from New-Zealand. When not blogging, she likes to play netball with her friends. Lilly is interested in and produces commentary on education, technology, health, law, finance, fashion, beauty, green, non-profit, home improvement, and business.