Friday, 12 June 2009

P&M’s best of the best working dogs

It’s a well known fact that our dogs give us unconditional love but it's also obvious to us that they lead a life of leisure. That’s probably why they talk about ‘a dog’s life’. Our pets only ‘job’ in life is to make us happy, however what most of us don’t appreciate is that there is a large population of hard working super pooches out there who are happy to put a full day's work into a day just like the rest of us.

Man’s best friend can be trained to carry out the most incredible working and life saving tasks most of them using their powerful noses. Some dogs are even used a therapists for autistic children and elderly people who respond well to a furry cuddle and the joyful presence of a dog.

We have looked at some examples of the most popular pooch professions and amazing stories.

The GI fido - Police dogs can be trained to carry out a variety of death defying tasks and can even be trained to charge at criminals on command. A police dog must make it through endurance and agility training. This includes rigorous tests to prove he can jump over walls, climb stairs and is fully accustomed to busy situations where there are lots of people around. A well trained police dog can also sniff out anything from firearms and pirate dvds to drugs and bombs in situations where an officer would spend hours searching and putting themselves and their team at great risk. Click here to watch this amazing police dog training video to see what some dogs can do!

The Sniffer - Without a doubt the most powerful tool a dog possesses is its nose so it comes to no surprise that ‘sniffing’ is a dog’s gifted talent. Trained sniffer dogs can work in many different fields from police dogs who help during drugs raids to customs and export search dogs who sniff out parcels and packages for anything suspicious. Springer Spaniels are one of the most recognised sniffer dogs as well as Border collies and Labradors. Dobermanns, Weimeraners and German Pointers are also used in other police work. A police force in Fife, Scotland recently recruited a new member to its team, an 18 month old cocker spaniel called Rocco who has the amazing ability to sniff out cash! The dog's super-sensitive nose is able to seek out the Euro and Sterling notes which may be linked to crime. He has also been trained to detect drugs and firearms.

The Rescuer - Dogs used in search and rescue work are trained for specific tasks. Air scenting dogs are used to search for missing walkers or climbers, even missing people. Depending upon the conditions, these dogs can pick up a scent in the air over a quarter-mile away. Tracking dogs can follow the tracks of a human by following where they went. These dogs are used to find suspects for criminal investigations and are named Mantrackers. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s newest recruit is a 10 month old black Labrador called Hooky who will be helping fire fighters sniff out danger in rescue situations. Hooky is being trained to find people trapped in collapsed buildings or transport accidents and help the Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) with other rescue work. Read more about this amazing dog here.

The guider – These dogs are bred and trained to assist disabled owners (often blind or deaf) in everyday activities from walking them and taking them to places by foot or on public transport to picking up the phone, turning on the lights or opening doors. Every year Guide Dogs for the Blind breed over 1,000 guide dog puppies. The most widely used breed for guiding is a Labrador/retriever cross, but other breeds like the German shepherd are used. Guide Dogs also works with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Dogs for the Disabled to train 'dual purpose' dogs. One superstar Labrador Retriever in Hampshire helps his owner withdraw money from ATM machines and was nominated for Lifetime Achievement Award by Dogs Trust Honours 2007.

The therapist – Dogs have the magical ability to make us feel happy, in fact Pooch & Mutt’s recent studies show that 59% of people share their problems with their dogs by talking to them. National charity, Pets As Therapy provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, care homes, special needs schools by volunteers with their own friendly, temperament tested and vaccinated dogs and cats. Every week these calm friendly pets give more than 126,000 people, both young and old, the pleasure and chance to cuddle and talk to them. Therapy dogs were also used in the US during the World Trade Center tragedy in 2001. The Delta Society brought therapy dogs to the Red Cross respite centers so workers and volunteers could have a friendly (and furry!) face to help relieve some of the stress of the rescue efforts. Read more about this amazing story here. And if you want to unload your worries try talking to Drs Pooch and Mutt they are great listeners.

Do you have any amazing dog stories? Tell us about them and dont forget to enter Pooch & Mutt’s monthly prize draw.


Britannia said...

You should also mention Canine Partners that also work with Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf as part of ADUK (Assistance Dogs UK, also because your main picture and the attacthed article are showing Canine Partners Dogs!!

Anonymous said...

...but they aren't really CPI dogs are they? One retired, one an apparent demo dog and one a pet of a staff member!

Lisa & Milo said...

Hi Britannia

I will add something in about Canine partners.