Join Date: Feb 2010
Although most modern dogs are kept as pets, there are still a tremendous number of ways in which dogs can and do assist humans, and more uses are found for them every year. The following list provides an idea of the versatility of dogs:
Turnspit dogs were used as a source of power, they turned a treadmill connected to a roasting spit. Similar arrangments were used for household duties such as churning butter.
Service or assistance dogs help people with various disabilities in every day tasks. Some examples include mobility assistance dogs for the physically handicapped, guide dogs for the visually impaired, and hearing dogs for the hearing impaired.
Therapy dogs visit people who are incapacitated or prevented in some way from having freedom of movement; these dogs provide cheer and entertainment for the elderly in retirement facilities, the ill and injured in hospitals, and so on. The very act of training dogs can also act as a therapy for human handlers, as in a prisoner rehabilitation project.
Rescue dogs assist people who are in difficult situations, such as in the water after a boat disaster.
Search dogs locate people who are missing; lost in the wilderness, escaped from nursing homes, covered in snow avalanches, buried under collapsed buildings, etc.
Herding dogs are still invaluable to sheep and cattle handlers (stock men) around the world for mustering; different breeds are used for the different jobs involved in stock work and for guarding the flocks and herds. Modern herding dogs help to control cattle and wild geese in parks or goats used for weed control. A well trained dog can adapt to control any sort of domestic and many wild animals.
Sled dogs, although today primarily used in sporting events, still can assist in transporting people and supplies in rugged, snowy terrain.
Performing dogs such as Circus dogs and dog actors are trained to perform acts that are not intrinsically useful, but instead provide entertainment to their audience or enable human artistic performances.
Hunting dogs assist hunters in finding, tracking, and retrieving game, or in routing vermin. Less frequently a dog, or rather or a pack of them, actually fights a predator, such as a bear or feral pig.
Guard dogs and watch dogs help to protect private or public property, either in living or used for patrols, as in the military and with security firms.
Tracking dogs help find lost people and animals or track down possible criminals.
Cadaver dog or Human Remains Detection Dogs use their scenting ability to discover bodies or human remains at the scenes of disasters, crimes, accidents, or suicides.
Detection dogs of a wide variety help to detect termites in homes, illegal substances in luggage, bombs, chemicals, and many other substances.
War Dogs or K9 Corps are used by armed forces in many of the same roles as civilian working dogs, but in a military context. In addition, specialized military tasks such as mine detection or wire laying have been assigned to dogs.
Police dogs, also sometimes called K9 Units, are usually trained to track or immobilize possible criminals while assisting officers in making arrests or investigating the scene of a crime. Some are even specially trained for anti-terrorist units, as in Austria.
This is what I found Most Interesting:
Dogs are sometimes used in programs to assist children in learning how to read. The Reading With Rover program in Washington pairs trained dogs with children who read aloud to the dog. This process builds confidence and reduces stress.
Search And Rescue:
Dogs are commonly used as search and rescue workers in cases of lost people and disasters. The St. Bernard was historically used in Europe in the case of avalanches and lost travelers. Search dogs are used in lost person searches each year saving human lives. Several breeds of dogs were used during World War I to locate wounded soldiers in the field. Several cities in Italy are experimenting with working dogs as rescue swimmers. In this situation, a strong and well-trained dog is equipped with flotation devices and dropped in the water near a floundering swimmer. The swimmer then grabs onto the dog, and the animal tows the swimmer to shore. The Newfoundland has long been used for water rescue, not only on shore, but from fishing boats as well
The breeding of working dogs originated from selecting highly intelligent, hardy, alert mixed-breed dogs. Working dogs resulted when dogs with similar desirable characteristics, such as loyalty and good temperament, were bred. As a result, many working breeds are sought after as family pets.
Working dogs make excellent pets as long as potential owners realize that these dogs must be given 'work' to do. Dogs that are not to be used for their original purpose must be trained from a young age and are best suited to active persons and families. Obedience training, dog sports, informal or novelty shows, and trial work are all excellent channels for these breeds' energy. At the very least they must have daily walks or other exercise at an appropriate level for the breed, given toys, played with, and provided with human company.
Working dogs that are chained, left alone, or ignored become bored, vocal, and even neurotic; they may exhibit malaise, lethargy, destructive behavior or attempt to escape. Working dogs inappropriately chosen as pets are often surrendered to shelters for these reasons.
"Home of the bone, heavy bone with substance, blocky brick shaped heads, dogs built with heavy bone and large heads but without compromise to movement, powerfully built dogs with full body muscularity from head to tail", the Bully look had begun. -Razors Edge