Pet Articles

Skills of the Modern Dog.

Dogs and men have formed partnerships for many centuries. Possibly the first animals to be domesticated, and since then dogs have variously been used for hunting, herding, guarding and as companions. Whilst it may be true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, it is also true that humans will always try to find new ways of utilising the skills of man's best friend.
Some of the new roles dogs now perform on a daily basis include:-

Assistance dogs.
Dogs specially trained to help people manage physical or emotional problems.

  • Dogs for Blind or Partially Sighted Owners
    There is no doubt that “guide” dogs have expanded the possibilities for blind people to go to many more places and enjoy happier and more fulfilled lives. Many blind and partially sighted people put total trust in their guide dogs, often taking their life in their hands - for example, crossing a busy road. Their dogs also make it easier to move about in snow, ice, mud and other rough conditions
  • Buddy Dogs.
    A new service that gives partially sighted children and young people the chance to build vital communication and mobility skills. They are retraining dogs that weren’t quite suited to our full guide dog programme and placing them with families and schools. Young people get the opportunity to feed, groom and walk their buddy dog – and ultimately gain the skills they might need for future guide dog ownership.
  • Hearing dogs for the deaf.
    In the UK there are nearly ten million people with some degree of hearing impairment
    Many of these people have had there lives changed by dogs trained to alert their severely, profoundly or totally deaf owners to sounds that many of us take for granted. Everyday sounds which hearing people may take for granted dogs will respond to such as:-
    • Alarm clocks
    • Telephones
    • Doorbells
    • Cooker Timers
    • Smoke alarms
    • Baby alarms
    The dogs communicate by touch and then lead owners to the sound source, providing the deaf person with greater independence and confidence, as well as companionship and feelings of security.
    Dogs for the Disabled (Service Dogs).
    In an effort to improve the quality of life for many people with disabilities, dogs have been trained to:-
    Open and close doors, collect post, put rubbish in the kitchen bin take clothes out of the washing machine, turn lights on or off, push elevator buttons, pull wheelchairs or even take off someone’s socks. They can also fetch a wide variety of things on command and recognise several objects by name, including 'fetch the phone' which could be vital in cases of any emergency. Dogs can even pick up crutches and sticks.
  • Therapy Dogs
    Dogs are increasingly being used in active therapy; this may involve visiting hospitals, care facilities, nursing homes, etc. to cheer up patients. Studies of dogs interacting with autistic children have shown that dogs calm them down tremendously just by their presence and with specific tasks such as grooming a dog; the children can learn to focus on a task, something that's very difficult for an autistic child.

Working Dogs.
Dogs trained with specific skills useful in many environments outside the home.

  • Life Detection
    Increasingly dogs are used in more specialist areas such as in water rescue and in the search for human buried in earthquakes, landslides etc.
  • Bomb and drug detection
    The dog’s keen sense of smell is sensitive enough to detect minute trace amounts of many compounds, this makes them very effective in screening objects, it is claimed that some trained dogs are able to recognise over 20,000 explosive compositions.
  • Mould Detection
    Mould detection dogs are regularly used in European countries such as Denmark and Germany, where mould has been known for decades to be a problem in buildings, they will sniff out mold hiding behind baseboards and walls in houses, office buildings and schools.

David Bates - -



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