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Service Dogs

Dogs can be categorized into 5 groups. The most common being pets. There are also service dogs, therapy dogs, emotional support dogs and working dogs though there can be some overlap seen in some of the categories.


Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that their handler cannot do giving the handler confidence, independence and a sense of security. They are legally not defined as pets and are considered working animals. This sounds harsh, but service dogs and working dogs have some of the best lives. They are respected by the public, they receive the best care to keep them healthy for as long as possible and have full access public buildings and use public transport so they to spend all their time with their handlers to which they form an extremely strong bond with because both parties rely on each other and the relationship is built on mutual trust. As long as they are trained humanely, my understanding is that these dogs have an amazing life.

Here is a list of the most common working dogs and a small example of what they can do:

Herding dogs


Dogs started assisting humans with herding in the 1570's. Their job is to herd and protect a variety of livestock. Herding is more of an instinct that was a result of breeding so many herding dog breeds are born with the natural instinct and drive to control large groups of animals (which can sometimes mean their human family members too).

Police dogs


Along with military working dogs, these dogs are also held in high regards. These dogs assist police by detecting drugs and explosives, tracking missing people and holding suspects hostage until their handler catches up. They will also attack an armed suspect to protect their handler.

Detection dogs


These dogs are specifically trained to sniff out and detect a wide variety of things, depending on the laws of the particular country they're in. most commonly, drugs, explosives, money and wildlife feces. Many dogs are put to work for their incredible sense of smell, like hunting dogs (animals), search dogs (live people) and cadaver dogs (human remains).

Mobility Assistance Dogs


These dogs help people with mobile disabilities and pick things up if the handler drops it like keys, phone, fork etc. They also open and close doors, turn lights on and off and retrieve objects.

Guide Dogs


These dogs are paired with the blind or people with low vision. They're the most commonly known kind of service dog and in Japan, the only known service dog. Unlike other service dogs, these dogs have selective obedience. So while other service dogs tend to obey every command, these dogs will disobey their handler if the handler keeps them from potential danger. For example if the handler tells the dog to cross the road but a car is coming, the dog will assess the situation and disobey accordingly.

Diabetic Alert Dogs


These dogs will warn their handlers when their blood sugar levels get dangerous. Dogs amazing sense of smell can detect this so the handler knows to test their blood and inject themselves with insulin.

Search and rescue dogs


These dogs are mostly used after a natural disaster. They find survivors and alert the rescue team. They are able to reach the survivors first and often have first aid kits around their necks for the survivors to use as necessary. In Austria after an avalanche, they are usually equipped with flasks of schnapps to keep survivors warm until the rescue team van reach them.

Military working dogs


These are some of the most honored and respected dogs. Their jobs include explosive detection, search and rescue, patrol and attacking.

Psychiatric Service Dogs


These dogs are often paired with people suffering from PTSD. They can sense when their handler is about to have a panic attack and retrieve medication and water. They will physically get between their hander and another person to preserve their personal space and prevent a trigger. If their handler has fainted or fallen from a panic attack, these dogs will circle their handler to stop people approaching.
*These dogs are often mistaken for ESD (Emotional Support Dogs - listed below) but unlike ESDs they are selected from a very young age go through extensive training like other service dogs and aren't considered pets.

Allergy Detection Dogs


Dogs have an outstanding sense of smell so these dogs will warn their handlers before they touch it.

Seizure Response Dogs


Possibly the most complex job for a dog, these canines can call emergency services from a dog friendly touch screen called a K-9 alert phone. If their handler has fallen in a dangerous place, they will drag them to a safer place and help them regain consciousness and bring medication when their handler starts to regain consciousness.

Hearing Dogs


These dogs are paired with deaf people and alert them of important sounds like the doorbell, phone, fire alarms and alarm clocks.

Other types of jobs for pet dogs:


Therapy dogs are friendly, gentle dogs that love humans. They are pet dogs but go through extensive training to bring physiological and psychological therapy to people other than their owners. They visit the sick and elderly, nursing homes, children's hospitals, and various institutions bringing the residents smiles, lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety.


Emotional support dogs are pet dogs that don't undergo any formal training because they're not required to perform any specific tasks. Their affection and companionship can be a great comfort, especially for those with mental and/or emotional problems.

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