Working dogs work. It is that simple. Dogs take on a number of jobs, and normally perform those jobs with or under the supervision of a human counterpart. Often, extensive training is necessary to get the pooch in tiptop occupational shape, but many duties come naturally to a working dog. Perhaps the most popular working dogs include those that debut on our favorite television shows, but other working dogs include cattle herders and service and assistance dogs. A working dog is more than a companion.

The term ‘working dog’ is often used as a catch all term that covers all dogs that are more than just pets. Some working dogs are bred for a specific occupation, while others just take on jobs because of extensive training and responsiveness. Because of their responsiveness and temperament, working dogs can make great pets. However, if the dog is bred and exhibits a natural tendency to work, the owner should make sure that the dog is given work to do. If not, the owner should be highly active with the dog. Working dogs that are left alone for long periods of time or those that are not allowed sufficient exercise or mind stimulation often resort to destructive behavior. Digging, chewing, excessive barking, and attempting to escape are all behaviors that a bored working dog may exhibit. Often, working breeds end up at animal shelters, because the owners were unable to foresee the time, attention, and care the pet needed.

Herding dogs are often seen with cattle, sheep, and geese. Bred to herd, these dogs have a natural tendency to guard and move the livestock. Even if the dog exhibits these natural tendencies, he still must undergo training. The dog needs to be able to understand and respond to the owner’s commands. Some dogs work better with certain type of herds, but there is a variety of herding dogs. Popular breeds of herders include the Australian Shepherd or Australian Cattle Dog, the Border Collie, the Koolie, and the Newfoundland.

The use of therapy dogs is continuously rising in popularity. Therapy dogs must show a love and warmth for all people. Often, the dogs enter nursing homes and hospitals to perform their work. Once there, the dogs visit patients and provide companionship. The use of therapy dogs mainly raises patients’ spirits, but it has shown medical effects such as lowering blood pressure. The dogs are often trained to perform cute tricks. It is extremely important that the dogs show good temperament and are properly socialized; they must allow strangers to pet and play with them.

As strange as it may seem, mascots are also considered working dogs. Mascots represent schools, organizations, and teams. Since they normally make appearances at public functions and may perform tricks, dogs that take on a mascot roll are, in fact, working.

Hunting dogs also perform work, but many kennel clubs do not put working and hunting dogs in the same categories. Hunting dogs are trained for a variety of hunting tasks. They can point to the prey, stalk the prey by sight, stalk the prey by smell, and locate and retrieve the prey. Many breeds of dogs excel in hunting jobs, including Feists, Terriers, Setters, Spaniels, and Retrievers.

Dogs trained to protect people and homes are guard dogs. Guard dogs often receive bad publicity due to aggressive behavior. However, a properly trained guard dog will alert the owner by barking at the trespasser. The dog may be trained to attack, but this is an illegal practice in many areas. Most breed of dogs can be trained as guard dogs, but like all forms of work, certain dogs excel in the task. Dobermans and Rottweilers are often used as guard dogs; there size only helps scare away an intruder.

Dogs perform a variety of everyday jobs. The ones listed here are only five specific jobs from a long list of occupations. Some breeds of dogs show natural tendencies to work or perform certain tasks, while others learn their occupational skills through training. If you are interested in getting a working dog, then remember that they can make wonderful, loving pets. However, you must provide a working dog with a job, or he may resort to unwanted behavior.

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