Is the economy so bad that dogs are now looking for work to help out their owners? Not quite. Although there are working dogs in various fields that use their ‘just born with it’ gift of smell in service, medical and government fields of trades.
Why are people using dogs? James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University explained the dramatic differences to a dog’s ability to detect through smell than a human’s ability to decent by sight to PBS in an article regarding the subject that “If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.”
See what kinds of jobs these working dogs are tackling in this article.
Pest control companies all over the nation are adapting to using trained dogs in their practice to sniff out termites, bedbugs and other pests. An elite group that requires certification, these four-legged terminators attend elite schools get their certifications through the National Pest Management Association.
Insects can easily hide from people, human exterminators can easily overlook and infestation. But nothing can escape a trained dogs scent and beagles are one of the best breeds when it comes to their impeccable ability for scents.
Brandon is a 15-year industry veteran. The pure bread beagle is the leader in K9 termite treatment at Brandon Pest Control. According to his website, he is one of only 12 dogs in the nation trained and tested at the University of Florida and only one of six dogs in the U.S. used by the University of Florida Entomology Department to determine the effectiveness of the latest termite products being marketed.
From post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, diabetes, seizures and Cerebral Palsy to sniffing out cancer—medical alert dogs have become a a game changing alternative to medical research, health service and therapy. PBS explains that medical research dogs are trained to detect the smell of cancer cells. Scientists at the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University in Tallahassee have trained canines to smell skin and prostate cancer, while the Pine Street Foundation in California reports they were able to teach dogs to detect lung cancer with a 97 percent accuracy and breast cancer with an 88 percent accuracy, according to PBS.
Service response dogs are trained to detect changes in a person’s body chemistry while seizure dogs have been trained to respond to patients by barking, laying next to them to protect them or by moving objects away from them, according to PBS. Dogs can also sense mood changes and are used for people with psychiatric disorders while therapy dogs provide comfort for patients in hospice or mental institutions.
A License to Sniff
While some dogs are trained to care and serve, some pooches are trained to sniff out arson, narcotics, mines and explosives. These dogs are trained all over the world, from the K9 Centre in Australia, to Worldwide Dog Detection Training in Canada to the K9 Global Training Academy in Texas. These dogs are trained and used by fire fighters, police forces and military and have worked in countries like Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Mexico, Rwanda and Nicaragua. The Global Training Academy has been training dogs for the DEA, DPS and ATF for 28 years. Their website states that Arson dogs are trained to smell fire-starting chemicals like gasoline, diesel, brake fluid acetone; bomb dogs are trained to find chemical components of all different explosives like TNT, sodium chlorate and nitro dynamite and C-4.
2012’s American Hero Dog, presented at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, was a specialized search dog named Gabe who saved lives in the military and had completed over 210 combat missions with 26 explosive and weapons finds in Iraq.