Dogs have long been the centerpiece of our close animal interactions. In ancient times we trained them to work alongside us for our mutual benefit. Since then, dogs have evolved to fill our needs for companionship and friendship. However, there are still dogs out there that work hard for our benefit and their enjoyment.
Here are a few careers in which dogs are still contributing significantly to the benefit of our society:
Nearly all of us have been in an airport and seen dogs walking around sniffing bags at one point or another. Although the primary use of these highly trained dogs is to find illegal drugs smuggled over international borders, they can also be trained to find a number of other things. These can range from banned produce, to outlawed products such as elephant tusks used for ivory objects, to explosives.
The dogs are trained by hiding products in a training room and encouraging the dogs to sniff them out. Once they’ve found the substance they lie down and wait for the officer to check the bag. If they are correct they are rewarded until the routine becomes ingrained.
K9 Unit Police Force
Another facet in which canines are used in law enforcement is directly for local police departments. K9 unit officers still frequently use their companions to sniff out illicit substances, but the career path in general tends to be more broad. One of their largest tasks involve locating evidence. This can include drug paraphernalia, but also might entail weapons used to carry out a crime or even searching for cadavers that have been hidden after a crime has been committed.
Of course the dogs can also be used to chase down an accused individual attempting to escape. Dogs can run distinctly faster than humans, and therefore, make for a very efficient tool. Sometimes the canines aren’t used to chase people, but rather, to protect the officers they are working with in case of attack.
Search and Rescue Dog
After a serious event or natural disaster it is common for search and rescue dogs to be called to the scene. These canines are typically highly trained to search out humans that could be trapped or lost. However, it is possible to have your pet trained to be a volunteer search and rescue dog. Volunteers with the right certifications are commonly called when there is need within the local area.
The occupation of service dog is a pretty broad one to begin with. Probably the most common types of service dogs are those that help the deaf and the blind manage day to day activities on their own. But the specially trained canines can help a range of people suffering from disabilities such as autism, seizures, or low blood sugar.
Service dogs can perform simple tasks such as retrieving objects out of reach of their handlers or opening/closing doors. But they can also be trained to do an number of more complex tasks such as helping their owners cross the road safely and barking to alert other people of a medical emergency.
Hospital companion dogs are a special form of volunteer service dog. Dogs with a certificate to participate hospital visiting programs are brought in to spend time with the patients. Frequently they are invited to visit children’s wards and nursing homes because the presence of a dog brights the day of residence. Many of the hospitals that allow this service report happier patients and tend to heal slightly faster.