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Service Dogs: More than a Pretty Face

 

 

Dogs are capable of working in many different capacities, but one area they excel in is service. Some service dogs protect, others save lives, but all strive to help humankind. Of these, there are five main types of service dogs: assistance, rescue, personal protection, estate guard, and sled dog.

 

Assistance Dogs

 

Assistance dogs are trained to assist those with mental or physical disabilities, giving their human companions a more independent life. The Golden and Labrador Retrievers are among the most popular breeds used in this category. Other assistance dogs include the Samoyed and the Smooth Coated and Rough Coated Collies.

 

Rescue Dogs

 

Used in a search-and-rescue capacity, these dogs work in various conditions, many of them harsh. Great stamina, intelligence and skill are required of rescue dogs, of which the most popular breeds include the Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, and Portuguese Water Dog.

 

Personal Protection Dogs

 

The canine equivalent of the bodyguard (and better at it than Kevin Costner), these dogs protect people and homes. They are highly trained, strong, smart, and devoted to their owners. If they are to be a family pet, they need someone who is confident and calm. Popular breeds in this category are the Doberman Pinscher, Standard Schnauzer, Giant Schnauzer, and Boxer.

 

Estate Guard Dogs

 

Estate guard dogs pretty much do what their name suggests: protect family, property, and the surrounding grounds. They tend to be territorial in nature. The Mastiff, Rottweiller, Komondor, Great Dane, Bullmastiff, Kuvasz, Akita, Anatolian Shepherd, and Great Pyrenees make for great estate guard dogs.

 

Sled dogs

 

Sled dogs are strong and hard working animals that pull wheel-less vehicles on runners (a sleigh or sled) over snow or ice. Because of this, they also must work well in the cold (in fact, they prefer it to the heat). Popular sled dogs include the Samoyed, Siberian Husky, and Alaskan Malamute.

 

Many retired service dogs make great pets, so long as they are brought up to be non-aggressive and calm. Check with your local service dog agencies to see if there are any available.

 

Image: Steve Jurvertson / via Flickr

 

Comments  1

Leave Comment
  • Train My Chocolate Lab
    11/30/2010 12:08pm

    I am disabled by mental health disorders and arthritic conditions. I would like to have my Chocolate Lab, Reesie, trained as a service dog so she can help me function in the outside world. This is very difficult for me, alone, so I rarely venture out of the house.

    I live on SSDI. Is there a support organization that can help me with training expense?

    Thank you and regards,

    Thomas Schmitt


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