I am a Dog Handler Coach, and I started my dog training journey in 2010. I have the privilege to bring some of my knowledge to others, and even though it has been over ten years, I still feel like I am just scratching the surface of what I can learn from these fantastic God-created animals.
Today I want to talk about the unlimited potential of service dogs; I believe they were functionally bred to help with guarding, hunting or some form of herding behaviours in the past.
We have come quite far in development over the last 100 or so years. These days, most of the world have very comfortable lives; our physical survival and security are ensured, to a much greater extent than previous generations. The dog is being bred for different functions as our needs have changed to becoming more of a companion and providing emotional support. We need to be cautious and remember that dogs are great, but they cannot replace human companionship and support.
I see the term “Service Dog” as a treasure chest word. Imagine a treasure chest, and it contains treasures of different descriptions, sizes and value. Let’s open my treasure chest and see what kind of service dogs I have been involved with training. Just remember this is not an exhausted list by any means:
- 2010: I got to work in a K9 Security Company (which makes me think of well-made swords and shields in the treasure chest). Crowd-control Dogs: Strikes in South Africa are pretty standard. Some people can be pretty passionate about being treated fairly, but it can quickly turn into violent riots; the dogs were used as deterrents to ensure people would be less likely to escalate their actions. Yes, we used fear to do this; after all, who wants to be the first to be bitten in the bum and then arrested.
- 2015: There are two types of poaching, one for culling numbers to ensure the flora isn’t overwhelmed by the fauna. The second is illegal poaching of animals because there is a demand for animal parts worldwide. The killing is unsustainable and thus threatening the survival of many species, which makes it more valuable to obtain these animal parts. Usually, the average man who lives in poverty and struggles to provide for his family does the actual poaching and gets paid a lot of money for it. Anti-poaching dogs (let call them the gems inside the chest) deter and catch these poachers. There is quite a lot to it. Detection Dogs these dogs are mainly used in law enforcement.
- 2018: Started NDTF (Gold and silver inside the chest) course and met a trainer who does Search and Rescue Dogs for natural disasters. She has three dogs, puts in a lot of work to maintain these dogs’ skills, and then goes out to help on a volunteer basis.
- 2019: Assistance Dogs are your precious stones (Diamonds, Pearls, Sapphires, Emeralds and rubies); these dogs are tasks-trained to help people with disabilities. I will talk more about them in future podcasts and more detail.
- Therapy Dogs are more your jewellery (earing to necklaces etc.); it depends on where the dogs will be utilised to provide comfort and support.
I believe we are limited in our imagination, time, money, passion, country legislation. Dog’s are limited by genetics, which helps us make better predictions on their physical appearance, health concerns and drives.
In the next post, we will be talking about “What is an Assistant Dog?”