Working Dogs, we all love stories about working dogs donÂ’t we? These dogs just capture our hearts. They are brave animals. They work in the line of duty and are canine officers of the law. We watched the movies like Turner and Hooch with Tom Hanks and his rather strange unwanted pet who took a bullet for him and then became his cherished companion and police officer partner. But because he was in a movie is it true this dog could do all that the movie said he did. Working dogs, we know they exist, and we do know they can do many great feats but exactly what can they do or what canÂ’t they do that we think they can?
Dogs are smart we know that. We baby boomers grew up with Rin Tin Tin Lassie and the littlest hobo, all these dogs were smart, I mean after all how could they act that way in the movie if they were not smart, and more importantly if they could do that in a movie they could certainly transfer those skills to real life? Working dogs can do all these things canÂ’t they?
Your pet is not a working dog, if you just have a family pet not particularly trained to do anything the dog is a companion dog not a working dog.
Show dogs are not necessarily working dogs either, a show dogs is judged primarily for the breed and its attributes picking up points for the proper appearance stature and gait.
What dogs are considered working dogs and what can they actually do?
These are the working dogs you see in the circus or on Television and in the movies
These dogs are not usually looked upon as working dogs but they are. They represent the team and are part of the publicity and media for that team or organization.
Service dogs also known as assistance dogs
These working dogs help people with various disabilities perform different activities. Seeing eye dogs, hearing dogs, and dogs that assist with mobility issues fall in this category. For example, working dogs are trained to fetch the newspaper, carry in wood, bring shoes and clothing to people with limited mobility and more.
Therapy dogs are working dogs, which have been trained to work with the sick and the elderly. They have been trained to bring happiness to people in their care. Research has shown that animals improve the quality of life for the sick and elderly and you will find these therapy dogs in hospitals, nursing homes and even prison facilities.
Farmers and sheepherders have used working dogs for centuries to tend their herds of cattle and sheep and other forms of livestock. These dogs are trained to keep the cattle together and on the right track. The lost of one cow or sheep, even a horse could cost a small fortune to a poor farmer. Just imagine what a stampede of animals could do as well. Not only would there be financial loss but the damage to property of the neighbouring farms as the animals stampede by would hurt the entire community.
The Iditarod might be a mighty race, a sports event in Alaska; but sled dogs are also working dogs used to transport humans in snowy and sometimes dangerous terrains.
These working dogs help people in distress such as a people trapped on a capsizing boat, a drowning swimmer, or someone stuck in a snowstorm.
These working dogs search for lost people in the wilderness, victims caught in an avalanche, under debris from bomb or and explosion in a mine etc.
These working dogs can track down lost people, animals, or criminals for law enforcement purposes.
These working dogs will hunt, track, corner, and sometimes attack a prey. These hunting dogs namely fox terriers and hound dogs are used for their swiftness and agility or their great sense of smell. The fox terriers in particular can go after a rodent in its burrow.
Watchdogs or guard dogs
Watchdogs and guard dogs are working dogs for private homes, and security establishments. Their job is to protect the proper from intruders.
Police dogs are used in police work in several different ways. These working dogs are often called the K9 unit and they are considered canine officers. They can be:
Detection dogs or sniffer dogs
These working dogs are trained to sniff for illegal substances like marijuana. These working dogs go into private homes, schools, and airports etc.
These working dogs also known as Human Resource Detection Dogs they work to find dead bodies in all kinds of situations such as fires, suicides, natural disasters, war, avalanches, and more.
Military dogs also known as the K9 Corp
These working dogs do the same as police dogs in a military capacity. In addition, they will be used in sniffing for mine traps, and wire tracking.
There is no doubt that these working dogs are incredible. However, sometimes Internet stories surface that are just not true. One particular story is about Brutus the canine that received the Congressional Metal of Honor.
As much as we would love to believe the story it didnÂ’t happen.
According to www.snopes.com Brutus is not even Brutus to begin with, contrary to what was stated by the email that has been circulating the Internet for over a year. The email insists that Brutus was a dog used in the Military K9 Corp in service in Iraq and was trained by sign language to go away and come back latter on and attack the enemy.
First of all no canine has officially been bestowed the Congressional Metal of Honor to date.
Snopes contacted an official of the Scottsdale, Arizona K9 Unit to verify the photo of the dog and to confirm whether or not the dog did serve in Iraq, The dog said to have won the Congressional Metal of Honor was named Spike not Brutus and never served in Iraq in a military capacity.
Spike is however retired now and was a valuable police dog working in the Scottsdale, Arizona K9 division from 2001 Â– 2007.
According to Officer Frank DiIullo, Three important points have to be made here:
No military or police dog is trained to fatally attack a perpetrator.
Police dogs and military dogs are trained to bite and hold the subject until they are apprehended and in police custody.
There is no training available through sign language to get a dog to understand that it must leave the area, come back later on and then fatally attack the criminal.
Though these dogs are wonderful, intelligent creatures, they are not invincible nor can they do everything a human can at this point in time. Beware of emails. They should be looked upon as a nice little movie made up by a team of writers until proven by facts. DonÂ’t believe everything you read in an email no matter how nice it is or how much you might want it to be real until you know all the facts.