Dogs are incredible animals with the ability to help people in many ways. When dogs are trained to serve, it becomes evident just how intelligent these animals are. With the help of intense training, a dog can become a life-changing resource to people in need. These are just a few of the services that dogs can provide:
- Guide Dogs: Dogs can be trained to guide vision-impaired people. These dogs learn how to lead their owners safely across roads and cross walks. They can also learn to manoeuver around/locate obstacles such as doors and stairs. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds are the most common breeds used as guide dogs.
- Seizure-warning Dogs: Some dogs have the intuition of knowing when a human is going to have a seizure. Some dogs can be taught how to react to a seizure. Dogs with the intuition will attempt to warn the owner by barking and try to lead the owner to a safe place to avoid injury during the seizure. Seizure dogs can be trained to stay with their owner until safety/relief comes to help. Tasks that trainers can teach these dogs includes fetching medication or a telephone and even activating emergency buttons.
- Herding Dogs: The most common herding dogs we see are Collies, Sheepdogs, and Cattle dogs. These dogs are born with the drive to learn, complete tasks, and please their owners. They can control herds (sheep, cattle, alpacas, etc.) by leading them through gates, closing gaps in the herd, stopping the herd from moving certain directions, and more. It is very impressive how much control a dog can have over animals more than twice their size!
- Police Service Dogs: Dogs can be trained to search for narcotics and explosives. Police dogs learn how to tackle people in cases of runaway criminals. They are also taught how to search vehicles and buildings. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Labrador Retrievers are the most common breeds trained to work in the Police force.
- Therapy Dogs: Dogs can be used for therapeutic purposes such as visiting sick people in hospitals, aiding people with anxiety and depression, visiting university students during exam times, and more. Animals can help children with disabilities learn how to socialize as well as boost their confidence. Spending time with animals releases Oxytocin, a hormone that increases the feeling of comfort and happiness.
This blog was written with the help of information gathered from the following websites:
Written by Liz Espejo, RAHT