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The Various Lives of Working Dogs
Friday November 13th 2015
Dogs have long been considered ‘man’s best friend’ and part of that is no doubt due to the various ways they’ve been able to help us throughout the years, with everything from hunting and catching our food, to assisting the visually impaired in gaining more freedom and independence in their daily lives. So, here at helpucover, we’ve created an article to explain some of the most common tasks we so regularly get our dogs to help us out with, and also explain what it is these jobs entail.
What they do: Herding dogs are bred and trained to help farmers or ranchers herd their livestock.
Why they’re right for the job: The most common breeds of herding dogs are Border collies and Australian Shepherds, these dogs are suited for this type of work due to their size and athletic nature. They are also extremely obedient.
When they start training: Herding dogs will usually start being trained at the age of between ten to twelve months.
What they do: Bird dogs are used by hunters in order to find and collect their game once they have shot it down.
Why they’re right for the job: The most common breeds of bird dogs are Golden Retrievers and English Setters. These dogs are suited to this task as they love to satisfy their owners and can easily be taught to retrieve.
When they start training: Owners must begin to train bird dogs from their very first days, as it’s vital that the puppy knows and trusts it’s owner and that the owner understands the puppy’s personality in order to know when it is ready to learn.
What they do: Guard dogs are usually trained to protect someone or something, most commonly they are used within a household to alert the owner if anyone is intruding but they can also be specially trained to alert, find, and even attack, someone who is attempting to get close to whatever they’re guarding.
Why they’re right for the job: Rottweilers and Komondors are common breeds of guard dogs. They were both originally bread in order to guard cattle and sheep and are therefore natural protectors. They also possess the traits of being extremely loyal and intelligent which aids their protective nature.
When they start training: The prime time to begin training a guide dog is usually between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks old. This is when it is important to socialise the dog and beginning their training at a younger age will help it to retain it learns more strongly.
What they do: Sight dogs are trained to help visually impaired or blind individuals gain more freedom and mobility in their day-to-day lives. In most countries these dogs are allowed access to anywhere in which the public is allowed to go.
Why they’re right for the job: The most common types of guide dogs are usually Labradors or Golden Retrievers. With their renowned great temperament and their ability to learn new skills quickly and easily, these dogs are the perfect breeds for the intense training that goes into becoming a Guide Dog.
When they start training: It is important to start training the puppy with basic commands and manners within their first six weeks to four months. The dogs need to be used to following strict orders at a very young age if they are going to be able to complete the rigorous training that follows in their next two years of life.
What they do: Tracking is a skill which any dog will naturally possess. However, some are specially trained to enhance this skill in order to acquire a technique for locating certain objects or even people using just their scent. This is most commonly used for the purpose of police dogs, search and rescue dogs and also hunting.
Why they’re right for the job: The most well-known breeds for tracking are usually the Bloodhound, the German Shepherd and the Beagle. These dogs are often used for this activity as they are believed to have a more astute sense of smell, greater than that of most other dogs.
When they start training: A common way to begin training tracker dogs is to, at a young age of about three to four months, encourage it to play ‘Hide and Seek’ type games with their owner. This will encourage them to use and improve their natural tracking ability which will continue to develop as they get older.
Adopting a Working Dog
As these dogs are often purposely bread for their work, it’s very common for owners to have to rehome them once they have passed the age where they can fulfil their duties. These ages vary depending on the type of dog and which job they are doing, but trying to find a household to rehome these dogs into is often a great challenge for the owners.
The needs of these dogs will vary depending on which job they have been doing during their previous years but the most common qualities desired in a person looking to adopt a working dog are usually to guarantee you won’t be leaving the dog alone for long periods of time, to be prepared and able to cover all costs related to the dog (dietary needs, vaccinations, flea prevention..) and to have no more than two other pet dogs already.
If you can fill this criteria then there isn’t much that will be more fulfilling than adopting one of these retired working dogs.
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.