Posts Tagged ‘training’

Dogs and their jobs

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

For most of us, a dog is a beloved family member, and a pampered pet.  We provide our canine companions with luxury dog beds, an abundance of squeaky toys, and the best pet food we can find.  However, not all dogs live pampered lives in return for performing the occasional trick to impress the next door neighbour.  Some dogs hold down full time jobs, using their strength, or their sense of smell, to earn their keep.

dogs and their jobs

Here’s a quick look at some of the jobs that a well-trained dog might do:

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs, or emotional support animals, are used to comfort people who are stressed, traumatized, or depressed.  They are used to help the elderly in nursing homes, calm young people testifying in courts, and offer support to survivors of natural disasters.  Some airlines allow emotional support animals to travel with their passengers, providing comfort for those who are scared of flying.

Military Dogs

Dogs have been used by the military for many, many years, and some of them have even been awarded medals for their bravery.  Today’s military dogs are highly trained, and are almost as well equipped as the humans they’re working with, being given bulletproof vests and high-tech cameras so that they can provide intelligence to their two-legged co-workers, whilst staying as safe as possible themselves.

Service Dogs

Most of us are familiar with guide dogs for the blind, but there are lots of other service animals.  People with epilepsy often have a service dog that will attempt to warn them of impending seizures, and fetch medication for their owner if a seizure occurs.  There are also hearing dogs for the deaf, and dogs that are trained to help patients in wheelchairs, and fetch items for them.

Racing Dogs

Dogs can be professional athletes too!  In Alaska, the Iditarod long-distance racing competition is a huge event, with entire villages turning out to watch the dogs (and the sled riders) pass through their village.  Teams have avid supporters, and the breeders consider training and caring for their dogs to be a full-time job.  Alaskan huskies are tough, strong, and have thick coats of fur, enabling them to survive in the difficult conditions of the Alaskan highlands.

Sniffer Dogs

Dogs have a far better sense of smell than humans do, and this makes them incredibly good at detecting illicit substances.  Police train dogs to sniff out a range of things, including drugs and explosives.  Dogs are also used in search and rescue missions, and customs officers use dogs to detect foreign produce that tourists might unwittingly (or dishonestly) try to bring into the country.

Medical Dogs

While this isn’t an official “job” yet, it could well be one in the future.  German researchers have ran some small scale trials to see if dogs could detect lung cancer by sniffing a patient’s breath.  The dogs had a 71% accuracy rate of detecting cancers, and a relatively low false positive rate too (just 7%).  More testing is needed, but it’s entirely possible that we may see dogs used in the diagnostic process in the future.
Guest post written and contributed by dog lover Amy Fowler, on behalf of House of Paws, specialists in luxury dog beds and other cat and dog accessories.

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Training Your Puppy without the Classes

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Choosing to get a puppy is a massive decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. As well as all the costs and commitment, a puppy also requires a great deal of on-going training to ensure it grows up to be a healthy and happy dog.

Before you can train a puppy, you need to develop a mutual respect for one another. A dog won’t always do as you ask it to without a reward, whether this is a treat or plenty of attention and affection. Quite often, a puppy will seek a master in which it can follow and aim to please. This is usually the person who walks and feeds it, not necessarily smothers it with love and affection all the time. This relationship needs to be developed from an early stage to ensure your puppy looks to you for instruction.

Training Your Puppy without the Classes

House Training

So first things first, you will need to teach your puppy some basic house training rules to ensure it uses the toilet outside as oppose to inside on furniture and expensive flooring. Puppies, like babies do not know there is a right or wrong place to relieve themselves, so you need to teach them this. Under no conditions should you result to violence to correct your dog in any aspect of its training, as it can encourage vicious behaviour.

House training is usually achieved over a considerable amount of time, there is no short cut and there is bound to be slip ups from time to time as well. Encourage your dog to go outside at regular intervals, and when it does choose to urinate outside, reward it and give it affection. Take your puppy outside throughout the day, from the moment you wake up, before and after its meals and of course before bed time. This minimises the likelihood of accidents and also teaches your dog a positive routine.

Eliminating Biting

Puppies will usually bite and chew as it is a natural reaction to their teething process. Sometimes biting will be playful, other times out of boredom, and in some cases when your puppy is feeling a little tired and irritable. Again, avoiding using violence, encouraging good behaviour and discouraging bad behaviour will send the right message to your new four-legged friend that you and your belongings don’t appreciate being chewed or bitten, and that this will not earn it affection and rewards.

Another option is to encourage your pup to chew something else when you see it gnawing on your favourite piece of furniture. Supply it with a durable chew toy to keep it occupied, and in time your dog will learn that this is what should be chewed and played with, not the furniture.

Taking your puppy to training classes is of course not compulsory and by training your dog yourself; you will also save a great deal of money and build your very own bond with your dog. Training will be an on-going task throughout the dog’s life as its learning will never be complete and like humans, can occasionally make mistakes too.

Photo Credit: Adam E. Cole

This article was written by Sarah MacLeod on behalf of My Pet Stop, a UK based dog boarding company offing puppy training, dog grooming and much more.

 

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