Dogs are known to work in various fields from therapy to the military; but one role that dogs particularly thrive in is service work. There are a range of service positions that dogs fill, including protection, rescue, and assistance and this article will discuss the four main areas of service that dogs provide.
- Assistance dogs are those dogs that are trained to help people with developmental or physical disabilities. Assistance dogs help their owners live more independently and generally improve their quality of life. While guide dogs for the blind are the most common example of assistance dogs, there are other areas where they can provide assistance. Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Samoyed, and Collies are all examples of breeds used for assistance work.
- Rescue dogs are used on search-and-rescue teams in a variety of situations. From outdoor rescues, to working in disaster areas, dogs can sniff out survivors and help save lives. Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, and Portuguese Water Dogs make great rescue dogs because of their intelligence, strength, stamina, and skill.
- Guard dogs are basically canine bodyguards. Protection dogs must be smart, strong, devoted, and require extensive training to protect their owners and their homes. These dogs are also usually a family pet so require an owner who is direct and confident, yet loving and calm. Doberman Pinschers, Standard Schnauzers, and Boxers are common examples of protection dogs.
- Sled dogs are larger dogs with strong legs and a hard working disposition. They pull sleds over snow and ice so they must also be accustomed to colder weather. These dogs are usually more comfortable in colder weather and breeds such as the Samoyed, Siberian Husky, and Alaskan Malamute are the most common sled dogs.
Dogs make great pets, but when trained properly, they can provide invaluable services to their owners and the community at large.