Most modern dogs are kept as companion pets. When we think of working dogs, we often think about seeing-eye dogs or bomb detection dogs but there are numerous ways in which dogs can also help humans and more uses are identified for them every year! The following list from Wikipedia provides an idea of the versatility of dogs:
- Turnspit dogs were used as a source of power, they turned a treadmill connected to a roasting spit. Similar arrangements were used for household duties such as churning butter.
- Dogs were used as draught animals to pull small carts for farms, peddlers, or travellers (milk, fish, rags & bones, meat, bread, and other products), to deliver mail, and to pull carts carrying people for transportation or entertainment. They were used in World War I to pull small field guns. Dogs in harness sometimes had guard dogs to protect them from stray dogs. In 1839, a ban on draught dogs in London and a later ban on all draught dogs and a tax on other working dogs caused the deaths of over 150,000 dogs, who were replaced in their work by children and adults.
- Service or assistance dogs help people with various disabilities in every day tasks. Some examples include mobility assistance dogs for the physically handicapped, guide dogs for the visually impaired, and hearing dogs for the hearing impaired.
- Therapy dogs visit people who are incapacitated or prevented in some way from having freedom of movement; these dogs provide cheer and entertainment for the elderly in retirement facilities, the ill and injured in hospitals, and so on. The very act of training dogs can also act as a therapy for human handlers, as in a prisoner rehabilitation project.
- Rescue dogs assist people who are in difficult situations, such as in the water after a boat disaster, lost in the wilderness, escaped from nursing homes, covered in snow avalanches, buried under collapsed buildings, etc.
- Herding dogs are still invaluable to sheep and cattle handlers (stockmen) around the world for mustering; different breeds are used for the different jobs involved in stock work and for guarding the flocks and herds. Modern herding dogs help to control cattle and wild geese in parks or goats used for weed control. A well trained dog can adapt to control any sort of domestic and many wild animals.
- Sled dogs, although today primarily used in sporting events, still can assist in transporting people and supplies in rugged, snowy terrain.
- Performing dogs such as Circus dogs and dog actors are trained to perform acts that are not intrinsically useful, but instead provide entertainment to their audience or enable human artistic performances.
- Hunting dogs assist hunters in finding, tracking, and retrieving game, or in routing vermin. For larger game animals such as wild boar or bears, dogs may be trained to either hold the prey at bay until the hunter arrives, or to directly attack and hold them.
- Guard dogs and watch dogs help to protect private or public property, either in living or used for patrols, as in the military and with security firms.
- Tracking dogs help find lost people and animals or track down possible criminals.
- Cadaver dog or Human Remains Detection Dogs use their scenting ability to discover bodies or human remains at the scenes of disasters, crimes, accidents, or suicides.
- Detection dogs of a wide variety help to detect termites and bedbugs in homes, illegal substances in luggage, bombs, chemicals, and many other substances.
- War Dogs or K9 Corps are used by armed forces in many of the same roles as civilian working dogs, but in a military context. In addition, specialized military tasks such as mine detection or wire laying have been assigned to dogs. Military Working Dog is the more formal, current term for dogs trained for use in military tasks.
- Police dogs, also sometimes called K9 Units, are usually trained to track or immobilize possible criminals while assisting officers in making arrests or investigating the scene of a crime. Some are even specially trained for anti-terrorist units, as in Austria.
- Dogs are sometimes used in programs to assist children in learning how to read. The Reading With Rover program in Washington pairs trained dogs with children who read aloud to the dog. This process builds confidence and reduces stress.
To read more, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_dog