There’s a good reason dogs are known as man’s best friend. Not only are they loyal and cherished companions, dogs are also used to help with important jobs across Australia to help save lives, combat crime and even heal people.
We have spoken to Melanie Griffiths, pet expert at Mad Paws, Australia’s leading pet sitting network, to find out the top jobs for dogs. If you think it’s time your pooch started earning his keep, then take a look at these top jobs for dogs to find out what he could do!
Training time: 1 – 4 months
Typical length of service: Infinite
Common breeds: Any dog with the right temperament!
There is no better cure than a dog’s smiley face and waggy tail for when you’re feeling the blues. If you see a pooch wandering the halls of a hospital or hospice, it’s likely to be a Therapy Dog. It has been scientifically proven that Therapy Dogs improve patients wellbeing in 5 areas: physical, social, cognitive, emotional and environmental.
Search and Rescue Dogs
Training time: Up to 3 years
Typical length of service: 5 – 7 years
Common breeds: Border Collie, German Shepherd, Bloodhound & Labrador
Dogs impeccable sense of smell and their determination to keep you safe makes them ideal candidates for this job. Search and Rescue Dogs are highly trained to use airborne scent to search for humans. Some Search and Rescue Dogs use the scent of the missing person, taken from clothing or belongings, to track them down in a large area or even through a busy city centre. After disasters such as earthquakes or explosions, Search and Rescue Dogs can be used to locate human life – or cadavers – and indicate to rescuers where they should be focussing the search.
Training time: 1 – 4 months
Typical length of service: 7-8 years
Common breeds: German Shepherds, Springer Spaniels & Labradors
Perhaps one of the most visible working job, dogs in the K9 department must have highly trained noses and great work ethics. Common tasks include sniffing for drugs, weapons or suspects but dogs can also be used as a confrontational deterrent – one low growl from a German Shepherd can be enough to make a suspect think twice about causing trouble! Police dogs work with one handler all the time and often go home at night to live with the officer and their family.
Training time: 6 months (usually after 12 months on a puppy program)
Typical length of service: 8-9 years
Common breeds: Labradors, Golden Retrievers & German Shepherds
When we think of service dogs, or guide dogs for the blind usually pops into mind, which was an initiative introduced after World War I. Service dogs can help people with a whole range of disabilities. Hearing Dogs can alert deaf handlers to alarms or other hazards in their environment and Medical Alert Dogs can give their owners a warning and time to get to a safe space before a seizure or attack starts, by sensing tiny changes in their handler’s hormonal balance. These dogs live with their handlers and are trained to understand that ‘harness on’ means it’s time to work and ‘harness off’ means it’s playtime!
Training time: 1 – 2 years (when trained from puppyhood)
Typical length of service: 6 years
Common breeds: Kelpie, Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog & Huntaway
Another common job for dogs, especially in Australia, is the herding of cattle. It may look easy when a pooch moves living creatures exactly where he wants them to be, but it’s, in fact, a lot more difficult than what it lets on and requires years of training. In the mustering world, a dog is not seen to reach its full potential until it is 2 years old.