From guarding our homes to being our most faithful mates, the bonding between dogs and humans has come a long way. Be it Hachiko and his unmatchable loyalty or Marley and his never ending goof ups, canines have been and shall always be an integral part of our lives.
But today we will be talking about how dogs have helped humans through various activities. Before you start reading this, it is time to acknowledge your pet with their favourite treat for all the love, support and mischiefs that they keep adding in our life. Cheers to that!!!
Service Dogs: Devoted cares
Service dogs are specially trained to assist or help people with disabilities. They lead and navigate people who cannot see. For the hearing-impaired people, these dogs alert them to sounds in the household and environment that are necessary for everyday safety and independence. They do this by making physical contact and lead their persons to the source of the sounds like telephone rings, oven timer, alarm clock, doorbell/door knocks, fire & smoke alarms, etc.
For mobility assistance, service dogs help the physically disabled. A mobility assistance dog can be trained to open and close doors, to operate light switches off and on, to help disabled people in their day-to-day activities. These dogs are also called ‘Working Dogs’ and most of them wear a jacket which makes it clear to the people around that the dog is assisting a disabled person. They empower people in being independent and are constant friends.
Herding Dogs: Flock together
Centuries have passed but the role of herding dogs has not changed much. They were and might always be the best guard dogs. Well, let us understand the meaning of herding dogs. These are pastoral dogs who can be trained in herding. They can closely work with cattle, sheep and even ducks. Some of the most popular herding dog breeds are – Sheepdogs, Collies and German Shepherds.
Their role as herders is to keep the livestock or other animals confided to groups. With excited running, making eye contact and frenzied barking they round up cattle and sheep. Athletic, full of energy and very intelligent – that’s what herding dogs are.
Hunting Help: Jungle safari
The roots of hunting can be traced back to many centuries. Hunting dogs used to assist humans in hunting. They are known for their heightened smelling, sniffing and seeing powers. Hunting dogs are categorised into various sub groups – scent, sight and tracking dogs. The most popular hunting dog breeds are – Terriers, Retrievers, Dachshunds, Hounds (Sight Hounds, Scent Hounds), etc. Hunting dogs were used in hunting and retrieving birds or other small game animals by tracking scents in the air. Gun Dogs are the types of breeds who have been trained to assist hunters in finding and retrieving birds in games.
Bomb & Drug Detection: Sniffer team
When they get to work, they mean serious business. I am talking about the very efficient sniffers. Their unbeatable smelling powers have made them an integral part of bomb and drug detection teams. They fulfill their duties efficiently at various airports and security zones. Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and German Shepherds are some of the common breeds who do the same. They go through a rigorous training in the specific works they are supposed to perform.
Think detection dogs and you have to know about Zanjeer–a Golden Labrador, who served as a detection dog with Mumbai Police for eight years, saved thousands of lives. Trained at Dog Training Centre of the Criminal Investigation Department in Pune, Zanjeer joined bomb detection and disposal squad of Mumbai Police in 1992. During the time of Mumbai bombing in 1993, Zanjeer helped to avert at least three attacks. He was known for his courage and impeccable sense of smell. He died in the year 2000 and buried with full state honours.
Sledge Dogs: Against the wind
For us dog lovers, a sledge is incomplete without a bunch of fluffy sledge dogs. Originally Sledge Dogs were bred to pull dog sleds to transport people, goods, information, etc, but now this activity has become a major sporting event.
The most popular breeds are – oh! the so cute Huskies (Alaskan and Siberian), Greenland Dog, Samoyed, Canadian Eskimo Dog, etc. Strength, high endurance and athletic built are some of the characteristics of Sledge Dogs that make them so special. La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc is a popular international sledge dog race spanning 900 km in French Alps and Swiss Alps.
Search and Rescue: Angelic saviors
Dogs have been an indispensable part of search and rescue teams all over the world. From finding drowned people to those buried under debris, helping find missing individuals, these dogs have been doing it all. They are broadly classified into two categories – air scenting and tracking dogs.
Air scenting type relies on the air borne human scent to locate humans. Working hard they have been known for their innate ability of smell. German Shepherds, Border Collies, Golden Labradors are the most popular air scenting breeds.
Tracking dogs can be used to locate not only people but also objects by using the scent of the person or object. German Shepherds, Dobermans and Bloodhounds are the typical tracking (trailing) breeds.
Water Rescue: Furry lifeboats
When talking about water rescuing dog breeds, there needs to a special mention for the Newfoundland. Reckoned for their giant size, intelligence and strength, this breed excels in water rescuing. Their love for water makes them a perfect choice to be part of water rescue team.
The muscular build, webbed feet and connatural swimming abilities prove to be added advantages for Newfoundland. Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs is one of the leading organisations which imparts training to dogs and their handlers for water rescue operations. The common breeds apart
from Newfoundland which they usually train include – Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.
Our canine companions perform a host of other activities and never cease to amaze us. They are dedicated learners and sincere students and expect their teachers to be loving, patient and affectionate. So who knows that your naughty little baby could be saving lives if given a chance
Seeing the popularity of canines, they have made it to movies, television and print media to add that factor of love, affection and loyalty.