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If we were playing a game of 20 questions, what would you guess if I said, “This object is a four-legged, carnivorous mammal with a great sense of smell and hearing?” Maybe a bear, a deer, or even an elephant. Now, what if I said, “This animal lives with you in your home, greets you happily every time they see you, and they just want to give you all of their love?” Most people would now see that I am talking about dogs; A man’s best friend, a support system, and a service in the workforce.
Dogs are known as a man’s best friend because of their loyalty and companionship with their owner. They are easy to bond with, due to how forgiving they are. Because of their terrible short-term memories, they will forget you pulled their tail three minutes ago;
However, they have a tremendous long-term memory, so they will never forget the special bond you have together. They are also known as a man’s best friend in the terms of hunting.
Although it takes lots of obedience from the dog and patience from the owner, dogs make one of the best hunting partners. The best breeds for this task are Retrievers, Spaniels, and Pointers, each with their own unique set of skills. Retrievers are most commonly used in the sport of hunting ducks or geese. They lock their eyes on the shot game and only retrieve when they receive the command to do so. Pointers can also run the role of a Retriever, but they are known to be able to hunt any terrain.
They get their name “Pointers” from another special trait. If trained correctly, they will stop and “point” out the game, showing the hunter where the bird is hiding. Spaniel breeds tend to their best hunting on land. They spook up the bird out of the tall grass for the hunter to shoot, and they then retrieve it and bring it back to their owner.
Dogs also make great support animals. They can be trained to help with just about any task. They can provide services such as being a Guide dog, Hearing dog, Mobility Assistance dog, Diabetic Alert dog, Seizure Alert/Response dog, Psychiatric dog, Autism Support dog, or even as an Allergy Detection dog. These dogs allow their owners to go about their daily lives and help them with tasks they otherwise could not do. Some of these dogs have the opportunity to save people’s lives, either through a long-term effect or in a sudden situation. Dogs are often used in different types of therapy. T
herapy and Service dogs both receive training, but play different roles in a community. Whereas Service dogs are assigned to one differently-abled person, Therapy dogs help those other than their owner. They visit a diverse set of places; schools, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other places where the community of people can receive a positive impact from the dog. In a survey conducted by Therapy Dogs International, they found the positive effects of pet therapy on residents and patients in facilities in the following ways: 86% increase in verbalization and socialization, 92% increase in positive mood alternations, 76% increase in more positive responses, and a 63% increase in physical movement/mobility. It also provided people with a distraction to their pain, gave them something to look forward to, and reduced anxiety and aggressive behaviors. I can testify to the benefits that dogs can bring through therapy.
After my father had multiple back surgeries, he was put on disability through his healing process. The only company he had at home with him throughout the day were our two dogs. They mimicked his emotions and knew how to react when he needed something. If he was having a bad day, they would lay in bed with him and cuddle with him. If he was having a particularly good day with little pain, they acted as a mode of motivation for him to get up and go on with his day. When he could walk down the driveway to pick up the paper in the morning, the dogs were right there next to him, watching his every move to ensure he was okay. After his successful trip back to the front of the house, the dogs ran a victory lap around the yard for him. Dogs can also positively benefit people in certain areas of work.
The most known job a dog can have, other than a Service or Therapy dog, is a Police dog. This breed of dog is most commonly a German Shepard, but they can also be Rottweilers, Dobermans, or Belgian Tervurens. K-9’s go through extensive training, so they can serve in the line of duty. They start with obedience training and then go on to learn about the specific field they will be working in. Police Patrol dogs are looked at as another unit on the streets. They are trained to protect their officer and trace the scent of a criminal, drugs, and other specific scents, much like Drug Detection and Scent Tracking dogs.
However, Drug Detection dogs are only trained to find different narcotics without getting distracted by other scents. Scent Tracking dogs focus on tracking a certain scent of a suspect who has fled or a missing person, no matter the intensity of the smell. The best breeds for this job are Bloodhounds and Beagles because of their strong nose. Each of these dogs is placed with a handler after its initial training, which will then be continued on duty and when home with it’s owner. Dogs are also very helpful on farms. Like Police Force dogs, these dogs must be easily trainable and be able to maintain a high level of energy. Their job is to round up the animals, normally cows, goats, or sheep. The hardest part about training a dog to herd is that you do not want them to treat your livestock like prey, but you want them to stay fierce and competitive. They circle the livestock or nip at their feet to direct herds in and out of certain areas.
The best breeds of dog to do this job are types of Collies, Shepherds, Corgis, and Sheepdogs. Dogs are the perfect companion. They can help with a variety of tasks and give you their unconditional love. They make a good addition to a home, they are able to uplift a group of people when needed, help people throughout their days, and make a great partner in the workforce.
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