Before domestication, dogs worked just to survive. Now, a dog’s main job is to serve man. Whether it’s to simply provide companionship or to sniff out illegal drugs, a dog’s duty to man is as varied as the breeds of dogs that exist today.
The bottom line is, a working dog is a happy dog. Here are 5 interesting dog jobs for you to chew on, even if they aren’t necessarily essential to the survival of man – or man’s best friend:
Small, but tenacious, terriers were bred to kill rats and other vermin. Many of the terrier breeds originated in England, Ireland and Scotland, but eventually spread abroad. The name terrier comes from the word “terra,” which means earth. “Earth dogs” make excellent rodent hunters because they are determined and quick. During the 19th century, rat population control using terriers was so common it turned into a form of amusement for gamblers at “rat pits” where dogs were set loose in pens, and people bet on how many rodents the dogs could catch.
Even though certain dogs are trained as certified comforters, there’s more to Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) than spending time with a dog. Trained, healthy canines are incorporated into the treatment plans of a patient or client as determined by qualified mental health practitioners. People getting their degree in social work are increasingly focusing on Animal Assisted Therapy. Studies have shown that people with mental, emotional and behavioral difficulties respond well to the inclusion of animals into therapeutic treatment.
Do you ever wonder if your pooch has what it takes to become an actor? A well-socialized dog with a good temperament and manners is probably a good candidate. He’s likely to be a natural ham. Movies and tv shows just wouldn’t be the same without our favorite showbiz dogs. Safe and humane handling techniques make the best environment for animal actors.
Round ‘Em Up
On a ranch or farm, herding dogs always have a job to do. They were bred to help ranchers move their livestock. They are intelligent with a natural drive to work. This is why Lassie was no slouch. Without herding dogs, there would have been no British or Australian wool industry and farmers throughout the Old World would have been hard put to get sheep and cattle to pasture and market.
However, if you don’t live on a ranch where your dog is herding goats or sheep, he may be more likely to chase cats or herd kids into a corner. Find jobs for your herding dog to do, such as agility training or a game of fetch – or join a herding club.
Sniffer dogs are trained to use their sense of smell to find explosives, drugs, blood or even prison contraband in the form of electronics such as cell phones. In recent years, detection dogs have proven to be a good research tool for wildlife biologists. They have been used to find invasive species on boats, bumblebee nests and wildlife feces.
Dogs have basic survival needs, such as water, food and shelter. But we often forget they also need mental stimulation, especially if we want them to behave. Your dog doesn’t have to be “on the clock,”, per se, to perform a job, but understanding what drives them and what they were meant to do will help you understand their behavior.
About the author: Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer and proud owner of a rescue “Bug” – a lovable Boston terrier and pug mix. Follow Melissa and Romeo’s adventures at TetonRomeo.com.