Service Dogs and Assistance Dogs aren’t the only dogs in the world who do amazing, life-changing work, but they are one of the few types of working dogs clearly defined and protected by United States federal law. Too many people don’t understand the differences between many types of working dogs, though, and it’s time to clear up some of the confusion.
Fire departments and dogs have been working together for a couple centuries or more. Historically, Dalmatians were known for their ability to clear the way for the horse-drawn fire wagons. In modern times, working dogs still play a very important, but different, role in fire departments across the country. Arson Dogs Arson Dogs sniff out accelerants left behind at fire scenes. These hard-working detection dogs perform important work with their fire investigation handlers. They're taught to sift through the remains of suspicious fires, smelling for trace amounts of common fire-starting substances like gasoline or lighter fluid. When an arson dog encounters a substance they've been trained to detect, they sit next to the source of the scent in order to alert their handler to its presence. Arson Dogs can be any breed of dog with a lot of food or toy drive. Usually, though, arson dogs come from the retriever or sporting dog groups, which includes popular breeds like the Labrador Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, and several types of working spaniels. There are hundreds of arson dogs at work in the States today, with many of them provided to fire departments by the State Farm Arson Dog Training Program. Search and Rescue Dogs Search and Rescue Dogs search for lost or missing people in wilderness, urban, and disaster environments. Fire departments often employ Search and Rescue Dogs to help them find or recover missing people more quickly. Some teams, like the Phoenix Fire Department in Arizona, are certified as a FEMA Task Force, and their search dogs work worldwide during urban disasters. Search and Rescue Dogs are usually medium or large dogs who possess a lot of stamina, drive, and good temperaments. Labradors, Border Collies, and German Shepherds excel at search and rescue work. Tracking Dogs Tracking Dogs follow scent trails left on the ground by wandering people. These specialized scent work dogs excel at recovering people on foot, whether or not they want to be found. When the trail is fresh, a tracking dog can follow it through a variety of terrains, including urban ones like concrete or asphalt. Some tracking dogs can follow trails that are weeks or months old. Fire departments commonly use tracking dogs to help recover lost children or missing elderly people. Bloodhound are the most well-known tracking dogs, but Labradors, German Shepherds, and other working dog breeds often perform the job well. Crisis Response Canines Crisis Response Canines are a type of therapy dog. These
Search and Rescue Dogs work with their handlers, team, and emergency personnel to find and recover people or human remains. Utilizing scent, these highly trained dogs can cover and clear vast amounts of hostile terrain quickly, thoroughly, and effectively. They work on a grid, with the dog covering the entire grid side to side.
I was lost among the junipers in the starkly beautiful La Tierra Mountains just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. I sat in a deep stream bed that could drown me in seconds with one flash flood. Lucky for me, temperatures hovered around 60 degrees during a storm-free afternoon. Would I be found by the search dog, I nervously wondered?
Service Dogs can ride in airplane cabins with their handlers, but other types of working dogs often aren't allowed. Learn about the best kennels and crates for transporting working dogs, including search and rescue dogs, police K9s, and detection K9s. Airline policies can vary widely concerning non-Service Dog working dogs.
London-based Hanwell Pet Store has created an infographic titled, “10 things you probably didn’t know about dogs.” (But since you’re reading Anything Pawsable, you likely already know these things and more!)
Some dogs come into our lives and they never leave. By lodging a residence in our hearts, minds, memories and souls, a piece of them continues to live in the environment around us, in us and through us. These dogs oftentimes have a spirit that exudes vibrance and that paints the very fabric of life with their color.